STOP WORK You Plebs!!!
What is a Stop Work order?
Apparently we Americans think, and believe that we have a right to pursue life, liberty and property...WRONG!
If you ask those In charge, we only own our land, and things like homes, jewelry, and even money by virtue of the People, or the Public, and the people in their opinion are, of course them, the rulers of the public domain. Somehow in America we have become Surf's, Plebs, Slaves to the whims of our benevolent Royal Class of Monarchs in Washington DC.
Wait a tick! our problems are coming from our Local Governments, not the Fed's, so what gives?
Yes, Good Point, it has been said in the past that Local Control is always better than control from far away, but I ask the question, is that correct? Local Control may sound great, all warm and fuzzy, but look back in history, ever hear of a Tin-Pot dictator? Local governments generally act only within powers specifically delegated to them by law and/or directives of a higher level of government, but local autonomy grant these micro managers quite a bit of latitude, with a caveat that mandates they must color within the lines of our state constitution.
There is a Dark and Racial history how this all came about and I have written about all of this on Substack, but for this page and the dilemma you now face I will just advice you to do some research on the roots of City Planning. But alas, this is not about becoming a "Land Use Warrior" and trust me, we need lots of those, but perhaps this small but important fight may help open your eyes to just how close we are to loosing even more of our freedom, and all of our property as well.
I came home to find this “Stop Work” order flopping in the wind and taped to the new wall of my addition. It was on 12/04/2019 when some un-elected bureaucrat in training driving by my property in a city vehicle, paid for no doubt by me and all the other tax-paying plebs noticed that I had new walls erected, and standing 12 feet in the air.
Doing my Due Diligence I looked up, or tried to look up the Ordnance on the City’s website to no avail I met with the City Manager and we had a pleasant, but nonproductive meeting, and emailed me the City Ordinance.
After reading the Ordinance I emailed her back and ask to set up another meeting to discuss the matter more fully now that I knew what the complaint was about. We exchanged more emails where she ask if I would start the permit process, which I declined because I still wished to discuss it more with her first.
Before continuing, take a moment to Read the full story on Substack
Some Non-Legal Advice.
If you are home when a code enforcement person stops by while you are working on you property, this can be played a few ways and is up to you. Because I am not a lawyer I am not sure what option is best because things with bureaucrats can go sideways quickly, so be cautious, and RECORD IT!
Option (1) Be polite, but firm and ask the code enforcement person to "Please step off your property", if they say that you are in violation of some city ordinance tell them you will be happy to discuss it once he/she is off your property. If that person persists inform them that you are going to call 911 to have him or her "Trespassed" off your private property. Most folks can use what is called a General License, or Permission to enter property with, or without a No Trespassing Sign, but once you ask them to leave the Courts will consider that General License Revoked.
If he or she becomes argumentative, or continues to trespass, walk away and call 911, during this ordeal I would be recording the confrontation as well, that one act will usually de-escalate the issue quickly, but it is not a given. Now when the Police show up keep in mind that both of these "Officers" work for the Mayor, or City Manager and not you, so keep calm and keep in mind that this issue will not be resolved right then, so roll with it.
You have the right to ask to have the Police Officer call their Commanding Officer to show up, ask the Police to Trespass the Code Enforcement person off your property. If you feel things going sideways, you can even call your Sheriff, but all of these things will force the issue, and take you to Court sooner than later, my strategy is to make this all happen Later. My reason is to take all the time you can, and avoid Court, waste their time, and make them earn their money.
Option (2) Once again, be polite, odds are the Code Enforcement person will just drive on to your property and be looking around before you can cut him or her off at the pass, but you need to say the words with your Out-Loud Voice. Inform them that you want them to move their vehicle off your private property, and that they are trespassing, and you will be happy to discuss their issue with you over there and point to somewhere NOT ON YOUR PROPERTY.
Most of these un-elected bureaucrats will try and convince you that they are not trespassing, and that they have every right to enter your property, private or otherwise. You might say something like, "with all due respect", that may be true but not after I rescinded your general license, which I did when I ask you to park over there and told you that you are trespassing.
When they ignore you, and they will, allow them continue to do what ever they want because it has now become an illegal search, they do not have any authority to gather info, or to move freely around your “curtilage”, once you have rescinded your general license, and evidence gatherer due to an illegal search is, as we all know is inadmissible in Court, Right?
With option 2, you can show your authority without forcing the issue and making it front and center. Talk to them, ask questions, nod and say things like "Oh Really", "I'll Look Into That", and the one that makes me choke "Thanks", take their "Stop Work" order and wave them by by.
Once they are gone you can go back to work, kind of like getting a traffic ticket, you now can continue to drive away, they have made allegations and the matter will be resolved in Court. If the Code Enforcement person returns the next day, or even that same day because they hear you Working!!!, and then proceeds to give you another Stop Word order, you now have Cause to file an harassment charge agenst the City.
What Next You Might Ask?
The big secret is to keep them talking while remaining silent, try and not admit to anything and just ask questions, or make curious acquisitions. Here are some of my questions and comments to my City Manager:
- Contracting without a License??? I'm an Owner-Builder!
- Where do I purchases a permit and how much does one cost?
- You said it is my responsibility to get a permit yet you don't have a price and are asking me to do your job, is that correct?
- Why did your code enforcement person trespass on my private property then lie to me Saying he can walk on to my property and time he wants, a "Color of Law" volition by the way?
- How is it that my house on private property is part of "public housing"?
Because the City will have a response to your questions, be prepared to counter.
- As an owner-builder there is no one to contract with so there can be no contract between Parties, but they will try to say that you are acting as your own "Contractor" which is completely different than Contracting.
- These low IQ bureaucrats do not have a legal way to determine the cost your addition/building unless you Self-Incriminate and tell them.
- In many areas of the State they will just tell you that it is your Responsibility to go and get the permit, asking you to fill out their forms so they can determine the cost from the City Fee Schedule. Tell them you are busy and don't have the time to do their jobs but will try to get around to it. PS procrastination is not illegal in America.
- A code enforcement person may till you that he can walk on to your property and inspect at any time, but this is only the case if you have signed the permit Application, giving Code Enforcement permission, Sign Noting. If that person says anything about Arrest, Fines and or Jail time, for not allowing them to Search, that is a Felony under Color Of Law.
- Your Private residence does not fall under Public Health and Safety, they may think it does, but they are wrong.
Your Property, Your Rights, Stand your Ground
If you held on to your right to keep quite you are on the right course, their Stop Work order is the same as a Traffic Ticket, don't debate it with the ass-hat that is standing on your lawn, let them take you to court. Stand your Ground. Don't feel like you are the criminal, your not, you are only guilty when a Judge says so and not the Bureaucrat.