Nanny-stater of the month

Reason.TV’s “Nanny of the Month” award has turned a year old, and this month’s winner has a bit of an ironic twist to it. Remember how Mom (or Nanny, for those who had one) would always tell you to eat your vegetables, often invoking starving children somewhere to whom we would have gladly given our portion? Well, in this case, a man in Georgia is in trouble with DeKalb County not for refusing to eat his greens, but for growing too many of them:

I have to admit, this one strikes me as a little bit questionable. The zoning laws were in place before the gentleman in question started his organic garden; couldn’t he have sought a variance beforehand? Sure, zoning regulations can be arcane and picayune, but in a residential area, they exist to protect the value everyone’s properties from people who would use their land in ways that would harm that value, such as installing a home tannery or putting up a 90′ neon-green Elvis. Much as I sympathize with and support the rights of property owners, they do have a responsibility to check the laws before they do something unusual.

Still, it seems more than a little vindictive for the county to try to punish him after he got the necessary permits. He’s acknowledged the law, no harm was done, so what’s the point? Other than a bureaucrat’s game of “mine’s bigger than yours,” that is.

PS: Now that I think of it, wouldn’t the Oregon officials who made a little girl cry be a natural for this? They’d win the year-end award in a runaway.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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