Open Letter to Haltom City Council on ‘Junked Vehicles’

I intended to make this address to the Haltom City Council on July 23, but the vote on the ordinance changed referenced below was included and adopted in the council’s consent agenda (since it was initially approved at a prior council meeting) and was not open to public comment at this most-recent council meeting. I think I could have commented at the council’s work session, but I could not attend because of a work schedule conflict.

I urge this body for a division of the consent agenda to reject amendment of the ordinance redefining a so-called “junked vehicle.” Already this ordinance has a disproportionate impact on low-income people, and the amended language would increase the penalty for violation to $500 per day.

I can understand the argument for wanting to get so-called junked cars out of sight. It’s about maintaining property values and decreasing the opportunities for vandalism.

What is even more destructive of property values and enabling of vandalism is the destruction of property rights. Both are dependent upon the latter. And where you have a government that violates the rights of peaceful people who hold unpopular opinions or prohibits people from making of use of their property is ways that they best see fit, not only are you corrupting the very purpose of government, but sacrificing the notion that other people’s property should be treated with utmost respect.

Amending this ordinance does nothing to address why people are having such a difficult time getting their getting their vehicles running, and so it lacks in both the kind of compassion and understanding that a community should strive to uphold.

In conclusion, amending this ordinance would be both morally and practically destructive, and I urge to you to vote against it.