29 comments

  1. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    Erick,

    I’m not sure why you think it’s sad. Is it a) because you think people should be able to use water no matter what the conditions or b) because neighbors should just be, well, neighborly enough to discuss it amongst themselves without involving the police? I agree with point b, but not with point a.

    However, though unfortunate, some neighbors (especially those who don’t seem to mind breaking the law) find it difficult to have a mature conversation on the topic. If you read the message boards on this topic over at the AJC, you’ll find a disturbing number of contributors who think they’re entitled to do whatever they like with water on their private property, no matter what the drought conditions may be. Sometimes, neighbors you don’t know very well can become violent when you confront them about breaking the law and some people feel it’s just safer to let the heavily-armed police tell them.

    Quite frankly, they shouldn’t have to be told at all. What I think is sad is the fact that people are SO selfish that they can’t band together to conserve in times of drought. If they could, we wouldn’t need water restrictions at all.

  2. Holly says:

    Fulton, I’m with you 100%. Laws are there for a reason, and that reason is (usually) the common good of the residents of the community. When some people are selfish, it negatively affects everyone.

  3. spaceygracey says:

    Never understimate every teensy eensy little opportunity small-minded people will exploit to make themselves feel superior to those around them… and couch it as upholding the law.

    Take trolls on blogs for instance…

  4. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    SpaceyG…I’m disappointed!

    Yes, I suppose for some old ladies standing at their window all day waiting for something to complain about, it is a way of feeling superior. However, for lots of people its the incredible lack of respect for laws and the needs of our community that makes them turn in their neighbors, who obviously care only about themselves.

  5. Holly says:

    Eh, I think Fulton said it best when he/she pointed out that the usurpers were selfish.

    With that, I need to stop looking at this thread, because if I don’t, I’m going to get into how mad it makes me when people run red lights (oh, but they’re pink!), and then you’ll never hear the end of it.

    Same principle, though. πŸ™‚

  6. SpaceyG says:

    I’ve found, in my years of condo association board service, that most people will respond, quite positively, to a simple request to do better. A lot of the times they don’t realize they’re, uh, “acting out” to the point that it offends people, or are possibly breaking laws. I’m all for turning in law breakers, but when there’s a way to solve a problem face-to-face and privately, I hope people will use that as a first response. That’s more the American way than narc-ing out people for issues we are capable of handling ourselves.

  7. Erick says:

    OverInc., point two is my concern and I agree with SpaceyG.

    Grift, I do think we could find a market solution to this. I’d pay more to water outside.

    As it is, Christy and I are recycling bath water to water the plants.

  8. David says:

    Holly’s point of the laws being their for the good of the community is valid. This can also apply to immigration laws as well…start enforcing them with as much gusto as the water laws and this country would be much better off!

  9. Bill Simon says:

    Drinking water is a limited resource…can’t say the same for illegal labor.

    NOT that I am opposed to enforcing laws across the board…

  10. Bill Simon says:

    Erick,

    I read in today’s AJC that if you have a garden planted for growing food, that you can water to your heart’s content.

    As far as recycling goes, why not skip the waste of 3 gallons of fresh water every time you flush…just go tinkle on your plants, and pretty soon, you won’t have to worry about watering them anymore. πŸ™‚

  11. David says:

    Bill, taxpayer resources to support the illegals are most assuredly finite, as is our patience in protecting our nation from invaders.

  12. The Comma Guy says:

    I talked with my neighbor who waters twice a day, every day. Once or twice I’ve been home at lunch to see his sprinkler system going. Maybe it’s just an envy thing, but I’m up before dark, pulling hoses around my yard to make sure that I can get my watering done before 10AM. After several conversations where he told me that until he’s told by someone in authority, he wasn’t going to stop. He likes a nice green lawn and was going to have one.

    Thursday, I came home for lunch. His sprinklers were on at 11:30 AM. When I pulled out to go back to work at 12:45, they were still running. I called the local utility company. Call me a Nazi or a-hole. I did the right thing.

  13. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    For starters, I’m a he.

    SpaceyG and Erick: I’m glad we agree. I wish we lived in a perfect world. But since I live in Alpharetta where people throw a 4th/5th amendment hissy fit anytime you ask them to do something that inconveniences them, I prefer to involve the police. If I believed my neighbors weren’t flagrantly ignoring the law, I’d just talk to them about it. Instead, I’d rather not start a Hatfield/Coy relationship a la Comma Guy.

    It sucks that this is what it comes to, but it’s just the way things are. Wish I could change it with simple goodwill.

  14. GOP Girl says:

    I just spent Memorial Day weekend in Valdosta, breathing in smoke filled air constantly due to the fires in south Georgia. I think my lungs have been damaged for life. I can not imagine having to live in that environment day after day after day. Spend a little time in South Georgia. You will have an entire new appreciation for clean air and not only understand but abide by water restrictions.

  15. Nicki says:

    I have yet to actually report anyone because my neighbors and I have a good relationship — we talk to each other.

    That said, we have water conservation laws for a reason, and that reason isn’t silly. If it takes reporting someone, then so be it.

  16. Darth Mike says:

    GOP girl, are you really trying to tie in the GA wildfires to the police department in Roswell investigating water violators? Good to see that you are keeping up your exercise while in Valdosta by making HUGE leaps of logic.

    The problem is not the laws against watering. The issue really is “Should the citizens of Roswell be paying for the gas, wear and tear on vehicles, the police officer’s salary for time driving to the house, talking to ther home owner, leaving the house to drive to the next place, the salary spent for time in court prosecuting this (the time of the officer and the time of the city attorney) etc.”

    Personally, I would rather have my tax money being spent on the officer investigating more serious crimes, like rape, home burglaries, drug sales, etc, but I guess that is just my opinion. I could really understand someone saying that they would rather have the officer going to a nice big gated neighborhood with private security to issue a warning to someone about outdoor watering (first time is a warning, second is a $100 citation, third is a $500 citation) than have the officer waste his time patrolling a higher crime area.

  17. Nicki says:

    That’s a lame rationale, Darth. We’ve got laws — and all of them need to be enforced to the extent that enforcement reinforces compliance.

    Also, I think the entire perspective is off. We’re talking about people who should know there are restrictions choosing to disregard them because they feel their right to have a resource when they want it and in the quantity they want it is more important than the public purpose which is served by the restriction. And you’re irritated at their neighbors for taking action to enforce the law?

  18. Darth Mike says:

    Nicki, we have laws all have to be enforced. I agree. The problem, as anyone who has worked in law enforcement will tell you, is that there are limited resources in officers, cars, equipment, court time, prosecutors, and judges. That is why there is a delay in cases reaching justice.

    If Roswell has 12 officers on the street on duty at any one time, (just a guess given the size of the city), then you need to figure that the 12 are broken down as:

    2 on the way to or from jail/police station
    2 at the jail filling out a booking sheet on someone just arrested
    2 backing up traffic officers or patrol officers
    3 on duty for traffic (DUIs/trafffic violations)
    3 on patrol (responding to calls at businesses and residences, for burglaries, domestic violence, drug calls, etc)

    this does not include business inspections at night, lunch/dinner breaks, restroom breaks, backing up detectives and narcotics officers, etc)

    the ones responding to calls get everything from stupid crap like missing dogs or cat, to important calls like missing children, to armed robbery in progress, to rape just happened, to drug transaction occurring right now. If they get a call for a burglary, they go to that right away. Occurring violence has priority over property crimes.

    Now suppose an officer is goiing to the home of a water violator. He gets there, goes to the door, and starts talking. He then gets a call for a domsetic violence where a man is beating the tar out of a woman. He has to break off what he is doing, run for the car, get in, and drive to the new scene. This may only waste 2 minutes, but I have seen in police reports what 2 minutes can mean to a woman beaten with a baseball bat. And that is what I am talking about. I want the officer to respond as quick as he can. I can understand the officer breaking off a burglary response where the crime occurred hours before, and then taking 2 minutes extra to get to the DV scene. Burglary is a felony and is serious enough that it MUST be investigated.

    However, I could not face a woman’s family who was killed because of the officer taking an extra 2 minutes to get there from his water violator call.
    Sorry.

    In a perfect little ideal world in which you might live, there would be an officer on each corner who could handle all the little transgressions in life. In my world though, the officer has to choose between what is imporant and what is not. The water violator is not important if you open you eyes on the effect that this could have.

    And yes, I said could have. You might be willling to gamble that 2 minutes would not make a difference. I am not willing to make that gamble since I know for a fact what 2 minutes can mean in a violent situation.

    Now, to the above burden, you would add “reporting to residences for watering violations”. All for a first time warning, a second time $100, and a third time $500?

    So, after 2 trips out to the house, each one taking up to an hour of time, plus milage and gas, plus, if the home owner chooses to fight it (as they are legally entitled to) the officer has to drive to court, spend up to 3 hours in court. In court, you have to have a judge, a prosecutor, security, etc. All of thos people have salaries. All for a frickin $100.

    Most cities have what is known as city marshalls. They enforce the crappy little ordinance violations. These are the people that need to be called, not the police.

    I am not irrated by the neighbors reporting to the right agencies. I just think that this is so minimal when compared to the entire criminal law enforecement scheme and the judicial system that it is a complete WASTE of time and tax payer resources.

    But I guess my problem is that I am against the government wasting our hard earned money which we give in taxes on trivial isssues. Nicki, you seem to think that there is nothing wrong with the government spending all the time and resources to bring illegal waterers to justice in our court system.

    When I look at the big picture of what this means for my tax resources (and yes, I live in Roswell) I just don’t think that I can bring myself to agree with frivolous spending to which you defend. Sorry. I believe that police officers have enough crap thrown their way that they don’t need nor want this thrown on their burdens also.

  19. Nicki says:

    First off, who said the police had to be the enforcers?

    Second, I don’t know what it’s like in Roswell, but around here the cops respond on a priority basis. So the domestic dispute example is ridiculous unless all of the police are occupied in dealing with relatively trifling matters.

    Third, you’re still not addressing the basic issue — which is that a visit from an authority figure is warranted when other options don’t work if the law is a valid one. A law that will not be enforced is meaningless.

    Now, who’s the goon here? The guy breaking the law or the person who has the balls to ask that the law be enforced?

  20. Jmac says:

    Nicki alludes to one point I’d like to make, which is that (at least here in Athens-Clarke County), we have a different set of enforcement officials who handle these types of issues, thus meaning cops aren’t being taken away from the problems you cite.

  21. bowersville says:

    above….”I think the entire perspective is off. We’re talking about people who should know there are restrictions.”

    That sounds familiar, maybe it will come to me in a minute…clue please.

    “A law that will not be enforced is meaningless.”

    I’m getting closer, another clue please.

    “Now who’s the goon here, the guy breaking the law or the person who has the balls to ask that the law be enforced?”

    I got it, I got it, you’re repeating Hannity and you’re demanding that existing immigration laws be enforced, right? WARNING,THREAD JACK

  22. Adam Smith says:

    simply amazing that so many people on this site look to government regulation and laws to support their beliefs.

    Here is the simple solution to limit outdoor watering:

    1) Figure out the average usage for a household.

    2) Increase that amount by 50 or 100% and charge up to this new amount as is currently being charged.

    3) Charge $50 a gallon after that amount has been used. Use the new revenue (the price difference) to buy ac for the elderly or some other similar benefit to society.

    4) watch the amount of illegal watering activity drop significantly once those people realize how much they will now be paying to have the beautiful lawn.

    simple, market forces are always a better solution. A person will choose to protect their wallet almost always before they worry about violating a minor law.

  23. Doug Deal says:

    A.S.,

    Why not just raise the price of water across the board?

    Then it is truly a market force and not the government imposing what amounts to a ration.

  24. Adam Smith says:

    Doug Deal,

    I would agree in full with you, but in addittion to being a free market enthusiast, I am also a political realist.

    What sounds good in theory is not what will win an election. If it went to a complete free market approach, the media would have a field day with pictures of the “poor old granny” not being able to afford drinking water, the child who is dehydrated, etc. All the Dems would hop on this and decry how the republicans are looking out for the interests of “Big Water”, and how since Bush drinks water, bathes in water, and swims in water, he must have secret connections and he will always look out for “Big Water”.

    The only way to let free market forces come to bear (partially) and to ensure that Repubs do not get a bad name is to ensure the poor get water cheaply and to ensure that the lawbreakers get punished (even if only through their wallets). It becomes a win on the enforcement side, and just as importantly, a win on the public relations side.

  25. Doug Deal says:

    And we add another straw on the camel supporting personal freedoms.

    It is pointless supporting Republicans when they are afraid of the philosophy they claim to support.

    Might as well elect Democrats who at least do what they say they believe.

  26. Jmac says:

    All assertations of how absolutely wonderful and peachy-keen the free market is aside, I still don’t necessarily see how your example works with this problem.

    Water, due to our severe drought, is a scarce resource (as our reservoirs, tanks, lakes, etc. are drying up). A lack of rain to replenish those sources of water, coupled with warm, sunny weather, means those sources will dry up naturally. Compounding this problem is that a few million folks in Georgia are using water on a daily basis (some recklessly and wastefully), further straining the existing supplies.

    Your theory is that by charging more money for a specified amount per household, we’ll see significant decrease in water usage. That theory – though questionable – does have some well-reasoned rationale behind it.

    However, let’s say everyone in Georgia uses their new daily allowance to the full, and then 10 to 20 percent uses significantly more than that allowance (which is already higher than the average daily usage based on your suggestion) because they have considerably more disposable income and really, really like having green lawns.

    The very real possibility is that this increased usage means, coupled with the existing and forecasted drought, we enter an even more severe water shortage. What happens then? Prices have to go up higher to deter more folks, right?

    Eventually you’ve got minimal daily allowances, absurdly high prices for water usage and, possibly, little to no available water.

    I can understand this radical worshipping of an unadulterated free market, but I don’t comprehend why there’s this undying need to translate it to every situation laying before us.

    It’s quite possible mixing a little bit of government intervention and free market forces is a good way to manage a society.

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