Monday, August 18, 2014

Nightmare Government: Town Outlaws Giving Water to Thirsty Families

The thing about Idaho is it is a very conservative state.  Small government state.  Or so it was.

You can find some interesting articles about it, but if you're from out west, you know Californians are destroying every state around them.  Mostly, its urban liberals mucking up places like Idaho.  But in Idaho, it's urban conservatives.  Ultra religious, ultra law and order, ultra conservative.  They are tone deaf, insane, and ravenous.

So I suppose I should be unsurprised that this happened.

But I am kind of surprised because, holy shit.  Water?  

Bless Mr. Freitas for fighting.  The Court of Appeals released a rather harsh opinion.  Here are my two favorite parts:

Here, Freitas fails to acknowledge or address the state’s legitimate interest in retaining control of the authority delegated to the city to exclusively provide domestic water services. He also fails to recognize that the municipality’s ability to effectively collect delinquent water fees is undermined by circumvention of the penalty for failing to pay those fees--disruption of service. Although the water provided to the third party is still being paid for, the water previously provided to the third party for which that third party has not paid remains unpaid and the incentive to pay that debt is reduced. This threatens the city’s ability to provide low-cost water services.5 Thus, the municipality, and thereby the community it serves, is harmed and the municipality may take steps to prevent that harm, including criminalizing the causal conduct. As a result, the ordinance is not arbitrary. Instead, it is the result of a legitimate exercise of the city’s local police powers granted under Article XII, Section 2, of the Idaho Constitution and I.C. § 50-323 in regulating the provision of domestic water services for the peace, good government, and general welfare of the city residents. Accordingly, the ordinance is facially constitutional and the district court did not err in so finding.

So, a city has a legitimate interest in preventing a family from having any access to water in their home if they can't pay the bill.

Imagine this:

I can't pay a debt on time, so by law, I cannot get a loan from ANYONE.

I can't pay my electric bill, so you're a criminal if you loan me a flashlight.

I can't pay my water bill, so you're criminal if you GIVE ME A GLASS OF WATER.

Oh wait, that's what this case is about.

My other favorite part:

Freitas fails to specify how, under any of the several provisions he invokes, the ordinance is unconstitutional. Instead, he provides several statements about the value of charity followed by conclusory assertions that charity must be protected under the state and federal constitutions. These assertions are unsupported by cogent argument or relevant authority applicable to the facts of this case. A party waives an issue on appeal if either authority or argument is lacking. Zichko, 129 Idaho at 263, 923 P.2d at 970. Accordingly, we will not address this argument further.

A couple points here:

1. What authority "relevant to the facts of this case" do they expect?  NO OTHER GOVERNMENT IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY FOR THE LAST 200+ YEARS HAS BEEN THIS INSANE.
2. Seeing as how he was claiming charity is protected by state and federal constitutions, he's required to prove it's a traditional value around since those documents were adopted.  That substantive due process for you.  Either judges buy it or they don't.  Obviously, this set didn't.
3. This would have been a watershed moment for the judicial branch and these fuckers totally let it go by.  Why?  Seriously.  

This case is the biggest black eye I've seen our appellate courts receive from the public since cases where they let really bad people go.  You've got the IFF writing articles and getting them published all over the state.  I mean.  Self inflicted wound guys.  Why do this to yourselves?  

I get the opinion for the most part.  I don't find the ordinance as clear as I think the constitution requires, certainly not if it's intended to apply as it does here.  I'm of the "if a government wants to outlaw something totally normal it needs to do it in neon letters" crowd.  

Bad news bears man.  Bad news.

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