” Residents of a neighborhood in Trabuco Canyon are vowing to fight an official order instructing them to remove an interlocking display of Christmas lights that have been hung from house to house.
Some 15-20 homeowners in Wagon Wheel each reportedly received a letter from Orange County Public Works stating that the lights, which are anchored on multiple houses and suspended overhead, are an obstruction and a violation of the county code .”
The further from the people the power grows the more arbitrary and unresponsive it becomes . While most attention these days focuses , deservedly ,on the Leviathan that is the Federal government , this story serves as a reminder that even on the county level the lawmaking and regulating has gotten way beyond the needs of the people said laws are designed to protect .
In searching the Orange County code , admittedly not an exhaustive search the only references to electrical/obstruction codes we could uncover are mentioned below and do not demonstrate to us where Wagon Wheel’s Christmas decorations have created a problem .
Under the category of roadway obstruction there is nothing about overhead electrical wiring . As you can see all the ordinances regarding roadway obstruction regard surface contamination of one sort or another and not a word about air above the streets.
” ARTICLE 2. OBSTRUCTIONS
Sec. 6-1-56. Clay or mud debris.
Unlawful to create hazard on highway. It shall be unlawful for any person to place, track or otherwise deposit clay or mud debris of any sort in any manner on the paved or traveled surface of any County road, public highway or street, which creates a hazard to traffic thereon.
Removal of clay or mud debris. The Road Commissioner has the right to remove the clay or mud debris, and thereupon submit a statement of the cost of such removal to such person, his employer, employee or agent, and said person, employer, employee or agent shall pay such cost to the County.
Action to recover cost. The County may bring an action against said person, his employer, employee or agent, to recover the cost of such removal by the Road Commissioner and for costs of suit.
Injunction. The County may bring an action to enjoin any continued such placing, tracking or otherwise depositing by such a person, his employer, employee or agent, and for costs of suit.
(Code 1961, § 61.021)
Sec. 6-1-57. Oil and petroleum.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to place, put, turn or deposit into or upon any public highway, street or alley within the County of Orange, State of California, any oil or liquid of petroleum content, or to permit any such oil or liquid of petroleum content to escape from any property, owned or controlled by such person, firm or corporation, so as to flow into or upon any such public highway, street or alley.
(Code 1961, § 61.022)
Sec. 6-1-58. Water.
It shall be and is hereby declared unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to run, or to allow to run, upon any highway or right-of-way thereof, any irrigation, waste or other water, provided that such water may be allowed to run upon or in any drain ditch along the side of such highway or right-of-way thereof if the same does not fill or overflow such ditch or run upon or percolate under the base of the paved or traveled portion of such highway.
(Code 1961, § 61.023)
Secs. 6-1-59—6-1-68. Reserved.”
These are the electrical sections of the code that we found that could conceivably be where the alleged violations are written but again we find no prohibition of overhead lighting .
6) Lighting. All exterior light fixtures shall be maintained in good working order free of broken lamps, lenses, and light bulbs. Furthermore, the structural integrity of all supporting poles and mounting fixtures shall be maintained. All insulation and connections shall be intact and free of exposed wire.”
” Required Permits. No electrical equipment shall be installed nor electrical work performed within or on any building, structure or premises, publicly or privately owned, in the unincorporated area of Orange County, nor shall any alteration or addition be made in any such existing equipment without securing a permit therefor, before such work is commenced, from the Building Official except as provided in this Article and except that no permit will be required to execute any of the following classes of electrical work:
Minor repair work, such as the replacement of lamps and connection of portable electrical equipment to suitable permanently installed receptacles.
Repair or replacement of fixed motors, transformers or fixed approved appliances of the same type and rating in the same location.
Temporary decorative lighting.
We are lead to speculate that this section of the County Electrical Code may be the culprit … a rather vague , catch-all type of weasel wording that seems to be at the heart of our Statist erosion of our basic rights ” In the name of public safety” .
” Sec. 7-2-8. Section 90-15 added.
Section 90-15. Unsafe electrical systems or equipment.
Electrical systems or equipment regulated by this Code which are unsafe, or which constitute a fire hazard, or are otherwise dangerous to human life are, for the purpose of this section, unsafe. Use of electrical systems or equipment regulated by this Code constituting a hazard to safety, health or public welfare by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence, fire hazard, disaster damage or abandonment is, for the purpose of this section, an unsafe use.
Unsafe electrical systems or equipment are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition or removal in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section 7-1-16-UNSAFE BUILDING, NUISANCE, and NOTICE. ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING, APPEAL – of the Orange County Codified Ordinances. As an alternative, the Building Official or other employee or official of this jurisdiction as designated by the governing body may institute other appropriate action to prevent, restrain, correct or abate the violation.”
As the code so succinctly states “Electrical systems or equipment regulated by this Code which are unsafe … are unsafe.” , but nowhere is any definition of what exactly constitutes “unsafe” or “public hazard” provided . The concept of “trust us” as the attitude from the State that should be swallowed unquestioningly by the taxpaying public is a notion that has lived on well past it’s expiration date .
The time has come for people to start questioning EVERYTHING that the State proscribes . We have been complacent too long and as we’ve slept the authorities have incrementally conditioned us to accept ever more intrusion into our daily lives to the point where it is now a crime to decide what is best for your own neighborhood Christmas display .
It is wise to remember that the State will never relinquish ANY power that it maintains is it’s right of it’s own volition . NEVER , EVER . A wiser man than us once said :
“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments’ programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”
President Reagan spoke of “programs” in that particular quote but it matters not , laws once created , have the same eternal life as government programs .