Saturday, May 9, 2009

Welcome to the Neighborhood

I used to think Copperas Cove was the most highly regulated city in the country, but I couldn't be more wrong. That dubious distinction actually belongs to Killeen (the ironically motto-ed "City Without Limits") where C and De recently moved. They were ever so excited to be in their own house, after ten weeks at the in-laws', but it wasn't long before the snake showed up in Paradise.

Barely two or tree days after the move, as C was busily sorting out the kitchen, she happened to look out the front window to see a man at the curb taking pictures of her house. Dropping what she was doing, she went to the door, only to see the man taking off in a city truck, so, still in her slippers, she sprinted off after him with the Other Princess hot on her heels. Fortunately, he was compelled to stop at the sign at the corner, giving her the advantage to catch up with him.

"Why are you taking pictures of my house?"

"Umm.... which house are you in?"

"Duh, the only one you took pictures of..." Gotcha!

It turned out that this was one of Killeen's code enforcement officers, and he was there to take pictures of all the codes that were being violated:

  • Thou shalt not have boxes on your front porch. Never mind that they are all flattened and clearly labeled with the name of the locksmith who had been by earlier and asked to have them, promising to pick them up that night.
  • Thou shalt not have a trailer full of boxes and other miscellaneous moving detritus on the grass. It's a rodent hazard. Never mind that the only rodents that had been encountered came from the facility where their stuff had been stored for the past three months (Maybe this diligent public servant could find time in his busy schedule to check them out?). And when asked how moving the trailer to the driveway, as he strongly suggested, would be a deterrent to rodents, he neatly sidestepped the question and deftly changed the subject.
  • Thou shalt not have bags of trash out here by the dumpster. Never mind that, courtesy of the last occupant, the dumpster was already FULL when they moved in, and if the city is so worried about the volume of trash, why don't they pick it up more than once a week? Could some of these code officers maybe go on garbage detail?
  • Thou shalt not park you car so that the tail end of it hangs a foot over the sidewalk. Never mind that it is your car parked in your driveway.
  • And on. And on.
C: Do you think it looks like we might be in the middle of moving in here?

Code Enforcement Zealot Officer: You never know. This is a military town and you would not believe how some people live.

C: So. Given the transient nature of the military, don't you think you oughta know what moving looks like? And what, exactly are you implying about the military?

And, given the overwhelming majority of military population in the area, I cannot imagine a civil servant making an offensive remark like that.

The man went on to explain that he was one of five code enforcement officers in Killeen, public "servants" whose job it is to drive around seeking whom they may harass. Given the dreadful state of the economy, are we sure Killeen can afford to keep these guys on the payroll? Perhaps the city could do everyone a favor and get rid of some of the dead weight, but until they do: Movers beware!

Commenting that she was unaware of the local codes, C was informed that she should have looked on the internet for the complete Rules of Engagement. Oh, well that solves everything, doesn't it? Like that is her top priority. Like she has plenty of time to sit and do battle with a sometime-functioning internet, leaving the children to run wild and make their own little living, while the unpacking chores pile up and proliferate. If the city's Code of Conduct is so all-fired important, why doesn't the city furnish copies to realtors and property managers?

Moving has to rate way up at the top of the list of stressors in modern life, so thanks, Killeen, for piling on a little bit more. C's final comment: Had we known, we would have never moved here, and we will never consider buying a house here.

Welcome to Nazi Germany Texas.


grammaw marina said...

Definitely send this to the Killeen newspaper and the Killeen Chamber of Commerce and the state tourism board of Texas, whatever military base is there, Oprah, and any other organization you can think of - This is abuse, brutality, harrassment and a huge embarrassment for the entire community, who tolerate corruption and injustice and mistreatment of responsible citizens.

Civilla said...

Wow, that's terrible! Killeen is VERY different from when we were stationed near there in the early 70's. When we lived there, it was a dumpy small town with nothing but bars. Maybe they're making up for it now. Yes, I hate it when people make disparaging remarks about the military, when they make their living off of them practically.

Marytoo said...

Well, there are still lots of bars here, as well as other unsavory sorts of businesses. But apparently they'd rather harass powerless new residents than try to clean up what really needs cleaning up.