Summary and Commentary
As Webmaster of this website, let me introduce myself. My name is Bill Cabana, Sui’s partner, and founder of Bill’s Better Businesses located here in Venice, FL
Sui is a kind, gentle, and caring person who is an asset to this community and has lived here for approx. 30 years in this same house. She even provides free Tai Chi lessons to the public.
She lived in China until she was approx. 40 years old. There, she was use to the abuses heaped upon its citizens by an authoritative and overbearing Communist government. That being the case, it would never occur to her to challenge a government official here in this country no matter how onerous their demands were such as the building department is now heaping on her. Their list of demands for her renovation and refusal of help in this matter is unwarranted.
However, I, on the other hand, am a US Citizen and have no reservations or restrictions on standing up and fighting for the rights I’m supposed to have in this country. And in Sui’s case, I alone take full responsibility for what is said on this site and I stand on her behalf to champion her cause and to right the wrongs that I see being exercised against her in denying the quiet enjoyment of her home. Then, I again, I live here too and it intrudes on my life as well.
The basic rule I have always believed was needed for people to live by is that of “The Golden Rule.” This one rule should be more than enough for peaceful people to live by. Through the years, I have seen the abuses of the government, fake news, fancy sound-bites that mean nothing, and many other things that tend to bring shame to the government that Lincoln in his Gettysburg address said: “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
What we see now as a far cry from the idealistic view of Lincoln. Instead of Civil Servants serving the people it’s the other way around. According to Wikipedia: A civil servant or public servant is a person so employed in the public sector employed for a government department or agency. Civil (or public) servants work for government departments, and answer to the government, not a political party.”
Challenging the government agencies appears to be as effective as a chicken challenging the foxes’ right to guard the hen house.
How Can a Government Agency be Challenged?
Most anything can be challenged if there has been an injustice inflicted on you. It all starts with your constitutional rights and works down to the local laws governing your municipality.
Keep in mind that the further down the chain the more resistance you will find as local bureaucrats and politicians are trying to protect their turf. Most of the laws generated on the lower level are most always made in favor of the lawmakers and enforced with fine, penalties, and imprisonment with no recourse to any government official who is involved with enforcement. Since they use lawyers to make the rules, it is extremely difficult to interpret these rules for an ordinary citizen. Therefore, you got to know that the cards are stacked in their favor.
IMHO, rules governing citizens should be written clearly so that an average person with only a high school education should be able to read and understand them. Obfuscation works to the benefits of those who make the rules.
When reading the plethora of governing rules, it is impossible for them to all be uniform since many divergent people are involved with them. Hence, you will find inconsistencies and contradictions. But the underlying concept here is that all these local rules are construed in favor of the governing officials. Therefore, you will have a difficult time trying to challenge them until you find the inconsistencies and contradictions .
What is the Best Strategy to Make a Challenge?
So, what chance does just one person have of making a successful challenge? Probably little to none if you attempt it by yourself. But if you solicit the help of public opinion to join your voice in the challenge, your chances multiplied by the number of protesters supporting you.
Simply moving up the chain of laws that will take your challenge out of the realm of your opponent area and expertise where you will find a more level playing field.
To do that, FIRST: start off with your Constitutional Rights and Bill of Rights with all the amendments that protect you. These laws were written to favor the citizens and their freedom from King George’s tyranny. Similar to what you will experience when dealing with a local government’s tyranny that restricts your rights.
SECOND: it is common knowledge that the people who make the laws rarely ever live by them as they are written. It is usually easy to find which laws these are and ask yourself: How does this rule protect my safety, health and welfare that lawmaker use to justify passing the laws. Does it limit any of my constitutional rights?
Take for example the 14th Amendment of the Bill of Rights:
“…. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.“
This amendment was also the basis of our discrimination laws which Webster’s Dictionary defines as:
“the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually.”
An interpretation of “categorically” is any category of individuals that can be categorized in some way and not just for a small sample category consisting of only race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status. Otherwise, by definition any other non-mentioned category of people are being discriminated against because they are not part of a select few that are mentioned in the law.
As applies to Sui’s case, she is being discriminated against by being singled out of all the other neighboring people with similar flood zone violations strictly because she tried to get a permit.
If you look at the Florida Statutes, title XLIV, Chapter 760, Section 01, you will find the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 which states:
760.01Purposes; construction; title.—
(2)The general purposes of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 are to secure for all individuals within the state freedom from discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status and thereby to protect their interest in personal dignity, to make available to the state their full productive capacities, to secure the state against domestic strife and unrest, to preserve the public safety, health, and general welfare, and to promote the interests, rights, and privileges of individuals within the state.
(3)The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 shall be construed according to the fair import of its terms and shall be liberally construed to further the general purposes stated in this section and the special purposes of the particular provision involved.
It is plain to me that discrimination extends to “all individuals within the state” not just some of the examples listed such as race, color, etc. The fact that the next sentence indicates that these terms should be “liberally construed” means to give the meaning as wide a coverage as possible and not narrowly construed to limit to only race, color, etc.
What is the Basis of Sui’s Challenge?
For the Ceiling Height requirement of 7′ minimum:
- She is exempt from the requirement because she is not in a Flood Zone A thru VE and not in any danger.
- The 7′ minimum is not applicable to a Non-habitable space.
- The 7′ minimum is not based on any rule that involves her safety, health or welfare but rather on aesthetic or cost effectiveness considerations.
- Because of her 4′- 10′ height, the 7’minimum actually presents a hazard to her safety in mandating the heights of cabinets to be installed to the ceiling and making the top shelves unreachable without climbing up on some hazardous device.
For the raising of the floor height:
- She is not in a hazardous flood zone A or V.
- She is in a community flood zone along with hundreds if not thousands of other like situated homeowners in the same category.
- She is being discriminated against by her being in a category of people solely requesting to pull a permit while other neighbors so situated are not bothered.
- She is not receiving “equal protection” as guaranteed by the 14th amendment..
- She is a victim of “selective enforcement.”
- `She has been disrespected because of the arrogant, inflexible, and contemptible attitude shown by Mr. Hutchins, the plan examiner.
For the addition of plywood shutters in lieu of replacing the windows:
- It’s a viable and common solution use by thousands of local home and business owners who board up doors and windows with plywood for hurricane protection.
- This option presented to Mr. Hutchins was rudely ignored and disregarded. Replacing the new double pane windows that had been installed without submitting non-existent Florida Product Approval Sheets would have been too expensive a solution and a financial hardship.
- If no window, had been installed, it would have been perfectly code suitable to use plywood wall sheathing to cover the area. By installing 5/8″ or better exterior or marine grade plywood would more than meet any hurricane wind code specification.
- Mr. Hutchins has no valid reason for ignoring or rejecting this optional solution for not having an FPA and his complying with Saraota Code Ordinances Sec. 2-341 (3)
Even though this matter takes place in Sarasota County, FL, the same situation mentioned above could well be applied to any other area of the country that uses the same basis for their building code.
You, as a homeowner and voter, need to take this seriously and take part in this protest. As mentioned earlier, these same problems and impositions very likely have either affected you in the past or will intrude somewhere in the future to the quiet enjoyment of your life and home.
Only by a show of the force of your public opinion will the officials and lawmakers ever take notice of your displeasure with their inequitable laws.
To take part in this protest will require very little of your time but will pay big dividends in the future if these onerous and unconstitutional laws can be driven from the books. You will definitely benefit from our efforts.
No public protests with placards demonstrating in front of government offices will be required. It will all be done by computer with full instructions to be provided to help you.
Please join Sui by letting her know you’d like to be added to her list of supporters.
With your support, we can make a change!