Saturday, May 30, 2009

Here we go again (UPDATED... Again!)

(UPDATE #2): Well, it looks like cooler heads, common sense and of course, the threat of having the county’s pants sued-off have actually been allowed to prevail as the county of San Diego will not force David Jones and his wife to obtain a permit in order to hold worship services in their home in rural Bonita.

There are still some troubling aspects to this as the county claimed that this was merely a parking/traffic issue, although, the lawyer representing Jones claimed that neither parking nor traffic was ever mentioned by the code compliance office in his visit to the Jones home and parking/traffic is not mentioned in the official warning. And indeed, the questioning of Jones by this officer documented below certainly suggests this was a shakedown, pure and simple.

And we loved this paragraph from today’s San Diego Union-Tribune:

The Joneses assert that the county's action violates their rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion. Their story was picked up by conservative Web sites for days, then made it to CNN yesterday.

Translation: Because this incident has been all over the blogosphere for days and was even picked up by the BBC, we as the newspaper of record here in the San Diego area decided we better get off our asses and play some catch-up.

(here endeth the update)

A local pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a San Diego County official, who then threatened them with escalating fines if they continued to hold Bible studies in their home, 10News reported.

Attorney Dean Broyles of The Western Center For Law & Policy was shocked with what happened to the pastor and his wife.

Broyles said, "The county asked, 'Do you have a regular meeting in your home?' She said, 'Yes.' 'Do you say amen?' 'Yes.' 'Do you pray?' 'Yes.' 'Do you say praise the Lord?' ‘Yes’”.

There’s got to be something in the water here in San Diego. Maybe what makes for the great micro-brews also causes dementia in its zoning and code compliance officials. First, there was the case of harassment out in Guatay last year(we need to do some follow-up on that one) and then a similar situation in neighboring Lemon Grove and now county busy-bodies are harassing home worshippers in Bonita.

Funny thing about code compliance, with which we have some limited experience, it doesn’t happen overnight, meaning one doesn’t call up code compliance bitching about lack of parking and code-compliance guy shows up that day, or the next… or even the next day after that. It doesn’t work that way, at least, in our experience.

The amount of documentation we were asked to compile regarding our crack-head neighbors across the street was certainly a disincentive to getting the city to force them to clean-up their front yard, remove the dumpster from their driveway and remove any derelict vehicles that found their way onto the premises from time to time.

With the city and county in the fiscal messes they are in, to say that this is a slight misplacing of priorities is a bit of an understatement. And the ham-fisted manner (“Do you day ‘Amen?’”) in which this appears to be executed is becoming an all too familiar theme.

So either someone has got an awful lot of time on their hands or someone has a rather large-sized arthropod up his posterior or possibly both. Either way, the county of San Diego looks like its got another 1st amendment-defying P.R. disaster on its hands. Nice work, fellas.

(UPDATE #1): Video below provides some more detail on the matter and it looks like there's more here than a mere phantom parking concern. It would appear that it's also a good ol'fashioned shake-down as these folks are worshipping without (gasp) the proper permits.


Road Dawg said...

Did he say, "Hundreds if not thousands of home fellowship bible studies"?!?! CHA-CHING!

Where is the easy revinue? From the crack-head neighbors or from law abiding Christians?

K T Cat said...

I wonder if there was a parking issue raised by their neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Off-topic. A fun read and debate...

Just to add to the mix my own local knowledge, I believe Mr. Starr-King does have one of the higher Sierra peaks named for him...

- Mongo Wonders Which High Sierra Crest Will Be Named For Him. I Can See it Now: Mt. Mongo, Mongo Peak, Mongo Butte, Mongo Mountain, Mongo Dome, Mongo Pinnacle...

Foxfier said...

Mongo- go talk to the Forest Service. They're busy scrubbing anything that refers to Indians becasue it might be offensive, they could use some names besides "first mountain. Second mountain. Third mountain...."

Ohioan@Heart said...

I am sure the paper work required to get something done with respect to innocent crack heads is much more than those scofflaw Christians.

K T Cat said...

They're suing Davy Jones? For what? OK, OK, so he didn't play an instrument until later, but that's no reason to sue him!

Anonymous said...

Tell me about it.

Apparently it's even getting dangerous to go to church in a church anymore...,0,6651538.story

- Mongo Stears Clear of Guns, Abortion, Church, and Anything Else That People Take To Extremes