There are a lot of ways to fight government intrusion. One strategy involves using paint and brush.
Brent Greer of Bradenton, Fla., is the proud owner of a humble, two-story house where he and his wife raise seven adopted children and multiple foster kids. It’s the same American house he grew up in, according to the Bradenton Herald, the same American house his grandmother bought in the 1950s.
Earlier this year, a live Christmas tree fell over in his yard. According to the Herald, the city’s code enforcement agency asked Greer to remove the downed tree. He complied. But when a code enforcement officer came back to the house, things went sideways, according to the Herald:
It was during that visit that Greer said the situation became unacceptable.
“That’s when he told me, ‘We aren’t done,’ ” said Greer. “He said he had other issues. And keep in mind, this was said during the post-inspection for the tree. I asked what the issues were, and he said he forgot his list.”
Among the issues that were cited to Greer were that his house was not painted sufficiently to “city standards,” and that there were children’s toys in the yard.
Greer had had enough. So, he and his family started a patriotic painting project, slapping a few coats of red, white and blue on the home.
“I told the code enforcement officer that the Constitution gives me rights, and he told me that the city’s laws trump the Constitution,” Greer told the Herald. “I said, ‘Well, no, it doesn’t.’ This is America and what rules America is the Constitution.”
There were other issues, according to city code officials quoted by the Herald: Mold, mildew, bare wood showing, peeled and chipped paint, accumulated trash, exposed wires, a decaying balcony railing.
Greer will appear in front of the code enforcement board on June 17 to find out whether his patriotic paint job was enough to appease the city.
“My seven kids are far more a priority than what the city thinks the standard of my house is,” he told the newspaper.
In the meantime, he has the support of his neighbors, who have their own qualms about the city’s code enforcement.
“It’s his house, and he should be able to do what he wants with it,” neighbor Cindy Cook told the Herald. “They didn’t like where we parked the boat. If someone had a problem with the Christmas tree he had out, all they had to do was go talk to him and he would have gladly picked it up. It’s just easier to talk to your neighbors.”