Why are flowers, grass, or shrubs better than vegetables? Why is a carefully tended organic garden consisting of five raised beds less "suitable" than a lawn that requires high amounts of water and chemicals to maintain?
|Photo credit Julie Bass|
City Planner Kevin Rulkowski has the Webster definition of suitable wrong. It doesn't mean "common;" it means "satisfying propriety". Follow "proper" in the dictionary and you'll find that it means "marked by rightness or appropriateness". Suitable has nothing to do with "common". In fact, one of the definitions of "common" is "falling below ordinary standards". [raised eyebrow]
You can show your support of the Bass family by joining Take Back Urban-Homesteading's letter-writing campaign. Below is the contact information for the various players in Oak Park who are pursuing this action against the Bass family, as well as a sample letter you can email to them.
Good luck to the Bass family. We're here to support you!
- Mayor Gerald Naftaly's e-mail: email@example.com
- Director/City Planner Kevin Rulkowski: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Council Person Angela Diggs Jackson: email@example.com
- Council Person Paul Levine: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Council Person Emile Duplessis: email@example.com
SUBJECT: Stop persecuting the Bass family for growing vegetables
I am requesting that the City of Oak Park, MI cease its prosecution against its residents, Julie Bass and her family, for the supposed crime of growing vegetables in their front yard.
The bylaw you are citing to pursue legal action against the Bass family - that lawns "shall be planted with grass or ground cover or shrubbery or other 'suitable' live plant material" - excludes neither vegetable gardens nor raised beds. Nor does it provide an adequate definition of the term "suitable". According to the dictionary the word 'suitable' can be taken to mean 'appropriate'. The Bass family's carefully tended garden is certainly more appropriate than any overgrown lawn or weed-filled flower bed.
If Oak Park is successful in prosecuting Julie Bass of growing vegetables, the associated charge carries a maximum sentence of 93 days in jail. It would be a travesty for this mother of six to be sentenced to even a single day in jail for the simple act of growing organic food for her family in her front yard.
By signing this letter of petition I am hereby showing my support for the Bass family, and demonstrating my belief that the City of Oak Park is wrong in its actions against Ms. Bass and the entire Bass family.