Tuesday, November 17, 2015

International Property Maintenace Code Could Be Used Like IRS To Harass Property Owners

by Joyce Cook, Letter to Editor: The proposed International Property Maintenance Code that the Jonesboro City Council is considering appears to go too far in that it opens up another avenue for the government to meddle in our lives. (Supposedly the code has been "reworked" for Jonesboro, but why does Jonesboro need an "international code" anyway?)

The "Right of Entry" in the code is most troubling. We are told that the homeowner has to give permission for the government inspector to enter the home, but what if the homeowner won't grant that permission? What next?

Well, part 104.3 of the code states: "If entry is refused, the code official shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry."

This proposal seems like it could border on violating the Fourth Amendment barring illegal searches and seizure.

It may start out innocently enough and the code official may never dream of overstepping his or her bounds, but somewhere down the line someone would likely be tempted. Remember that power corrupts. It wouldn't be the first time people with a little power used that to punish political enemies or someone they just plain didn't like.

For example, take the IRS. It is theoretically a nonpartisan agency, but it has become a tool of the Obama administration to harass conservative groups. The IRS has even admitted this! If President Barack Obama wanted it stopped all he would have to do would be to whip out his pen and cell phone.


In Wisconsin, conservative activists were subjected to midnight raids on their private homes by local police that were usually reserved for violent drug lords. (Read "Wisconsin's shame: I thought it was a home invasion.") Their only crime was supporting conservative causes.

Plus, the local fat cats would benefit. It would only take a call to the government inspector asking him to drum up some new business by fining people for something in their homes not being up to code. This official has the authority to interpret the code, so anything could be a violation. The fines would make the city coffers bigger and the business generated would make the fat cats richer.

So this proposed code needs to be thoroughly scrutinized. Furthermore, people in construction, plumbing, electrical work, etc., will be the most likely to benefit from this code. It's not right that those on the city council who are part of these professions be able to vote on an area that might benefit them.

1. International Property Maintenance Code

SECTION 104: Jonesboro Property Maintenance Code

DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE CODE OFFICIAL

[A] 104.1 General. The code official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of this code. The code official shall have the authority to render interpretations of this code and to adopt policies and procedures in order to clarify the application of its provisions.

[A] 104.3 Right of entry. Where it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of this code, or whenever the code official has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a structure or upon a premises a condition in violation of this code, the code official is authorized to enter the structure or premises at reasonable times to inspect or perform the duties imposed by this code, provided that if such structure or premises is occupied the code official shall present credentials to the occupant and request entry... If entry is refused, the code official shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry. http://www.jonesboro.org/444/Proposed-JPMC

2.IRS admits targeting conservative groups - https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/irs-admits-targeting-conservatives-for-tax-scrutiny-in-2012-election/2013/05/10/3b6a0ada-b987-11e2-92f3-f291801936b8_story.html

3. Wisconsin’s shame: “I thought it was a home invasion” - http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417155/wisonsins-shame-i-thought-it-was-home-invasion-david-french
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Joyce Cook lives in Jonesboro, Arkansas

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