Saturday, December 14, 2013

Why Politicize The Nonpolitical ? Part 3

Why politicize that which is completely unrelated to politics? I never get an honest answer to this question. When those who share an ideology are so utterly without accomplishment that a smokescreen of lies, twisted half-truths and propagandist fairy tales are all they have left one must question the credibility, intelligence and integrity of their entire ideological collective. Here's yet another example of their dishonesty, with the lies exposed and the facts brought to light.

The misleading and anger inducing headline du jour amongst the good Christian conservatives was “County Forbids Land Owner From Using His Private Chapel”. The story then goes on to detail how Shasta County, California is attempting to stop a property owner from using a chapel the man had built on his own land, a chapel built for the personal use of the property owner, his family and his employees. It took all of three minutes worth of research to discover that this was only one small detail in a much larger incident, naturally the majority of the details were left out of the story as circulated by the good Christian right, as was even the slightest hint of what was really happening.

This incident is part of a long running confrontation beginning in October 2007 between the property owner, one Mr. Reverge Anselmo, and various regional, county and local government agencies. Mr. Anselmo seems to operate under the incorrect assumption that their laws and regulations don't apply to him. Back then Mr. Anselmo had taken it upon himself to undertake a large land clearing project on his property. He failed to take the required steps necessary to stabilize the soil and prevent impacting wetlands, surface waters and surface water drainage courses of the nearby Bear Creek so his project was shut down by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. He eventually did what he should have done all along and in Aug of 2008 was allowed to continue. This is documented in a September 2008 report from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region, found here.

From that time forward Mr. Anselmo has continued to violate any laws, regulations and ordinances he chooses, even something as simple as requesting a building permit. There are two articles published in a local area paper, The Redding Record Searchlight, which provide some insight to the back and forth battle between Mr. Anselmo and Shasta County. The first, published 11 Sep 2012 can be found here and the second, published 13 Feb 2013 can be found here.

Eventually Shasta County filed an injunction against Mr. Anselmo but they lost that case in a Federal Court. Mr. Anselmo has also filed a case against Shasta County, the details of which can be found in the court filing available here. This document outlines his own transgressions, which are numerous, begining at the bottom of page 3. Everything from noncompliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act to lack of zoning variances, permits, licenses, inspections, and certificates of occupancy.

Mr. Anselmo believes he is exempt from needing a zoning variance clearing him to use land in a manner inconsistent with its current zoning designation. He thinks building permits are beneath him. He believes he is exempt from the necessary inspections and doesn't require the Certificate of Occupancy required to allow use of a building. He doesn't believe in compliance with the ADA, screw the handicapped, they can just stay away from his church and his offices and his restaurant, which by the way he feels is exempt from health department inspections. When officials "red tagged" the structures, forbidding entry to them, Mr. Anselmo believed that he was exempt from these as well, removing them in the presence of a County official.

All of this occurs on property that is zoned "Exclusive Agricultural," a designation for which they've already been granted zoning variances in order to use the property in a manner disallowed within that designation. But that's not good enough for Mr. Anselmo because he's rich special and therefore allowed to do whatever he wishes.

His property is also under a Williamson Act contract with the state which means he must maintain the agricultural, recreational, or open-space use of the land in exchange for a big break on his property tax. He's already been granted two exemptions allowing him to use the land outside the terms of the contract while continuing to receive the tax benefits. This is yet another example of a multi-millionaire playing the system to force everyone else to subsidize his business. Mr Anselmo then thanks the unfortunate Californians picking up the slack for the lowered taxes on his nearly 2200 acre property by refusing to honor the terms of his Williamson Act contract.

Once again the facts paint a picture very different from the lies and half truths spewed by the good Christian right. Mr. Anselmo is not a victim of the county government, forbidden to use his own private chapel, he is a criminal. His religion is not under attack, nor is his right to practice that religion. What is under attack is his belief that he has the right to operate above the law and at the expense of other Californians. He is nothing more than an arrogant, pompous man who believes he is so special that he can do whatever he wants and is exempt from any and all laws or requirements governing everyone else.

It's the same old song and dance from a group of people dishonest to their very core, with nothing to offer but lies, hysteria, hostility to all but their own, divisive politics, and plain old petty bullshit. Anything to cover their own record of ineffective uselessness.

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