A bad law for good people

Published 12:22 am Friday, August 28, 2009

I am usually not taken aback by the editorials of the Selma Times-Journal, because I have been accustomed to the slant in which this paper knowingly prints the news. However, every now and then, the editor or his agents will write something so obviously biased and intentionally misleading, that I am forced to take precious time to respond. In the paper’s recent editorial, Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw was singled out as being wrong, or at least one of the council members opposed to the city’s new policy that prohibits and penalizes citizens for parking on their front lawns.

This is a prime example of the Selma Times-Journal using its political influence to try to sway public opinion against Crenshaw.

First, it is no secret how the editor of this paper feels about Crenshaw. This was made known in the last municipal election when the paper endorsed her chief opponent. The paper was wrong then, and it is wrong now. There are just as many citizens opposed to this new law as there are in favor of it. I have personally been against this new ordinance since its inception. The main reason is that it is intrusive, overbroad and a case of too much governmental intervention. In my venting, this is to the said councilwoman: I have

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yet to hear her say, that she strongly opposed the ordinance.

But, I think she is wise enough and has enough of a feel of people to know that where a person parks his or her car does not make the list of priorities when we have double-digit unemployment in Selma.

Nonetheless, I am equally concerned about this issue in that I have retired my mortgage on my little place after 30 years of paying the same. I have over that same period paid my ad valorem taxes — both city and county — only to be told now by the government that I cannot park my car on my own lawn. There is something wrong with that, and I suspect that the authors of this particular law to include, Selma Times-Journal are counting on it being unfairly and unequally applied.

Those of us who have lived long enough know all so well who and what class of individuals will be most affected by the new ordinance. If by now you have no clue, I ask that you go to the City Court on any Tuesday that court is in session, or just go to any court on any day and observe who is there. My line of work often carries me all across the state, and I am amazed to see no matter how much things have changed, things remain the same.

If I should get ticketed while parking on my lawn, I am thinking about hiring a good lawyer and taking this matter to court. The scant knowledge I have about the law is that a city ordinance that is vague, overbroad and cannot be equally applied may be subject to constitutional attack on that basis. I think that if the Selma Times-Journal was really concerned about accurately reporting the news, it would conduct a survey to get a true picture of how the majority of people feel about the ordinance. It would then report those results to the council in order to get such an asinine law repealed. This would be much better than attempting to push a bad law off on the people. This is the same as trying to sell other bad goods and services when the public knows better.

Danny W. Crenshaw