City to strike ban on being willfully annoying
Alamy: Mark Scheuern Buildings and bridge on the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The City Commission is nixing a 38-year-old section of city code that states "no person shall willfully annoy another person." 3/4/14 - By Associated Press [ Credit goes to AP for portions of this item ]
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — It's soon expected to be OK to be willfully annoying in Grand Rapids. We at Global Perspectives had no idea that there was a law against the "willfully annoying" in any city.
Had there been such a law in a few cities we can think of, the jails would be full.
The Grand Rapids Press reports that the City Commission is nixing a 38-year-old section of city code that states "no person shall willfully annoy another person."
City Attorney Catherine Mish recommended repealing the language, saying the wording is "unconstitutional in terms of being vague" and "simply unenforceable." A final decision is expected March 11. Now we may disagree with Catherine Mish on this point. All of us can identify an annoying person. Some of those Tea Party radio talk show hosts are annoying, especially when they try to "shut down our nation" when they don't get their way.
And how to enforce such a law against people who annoy? Give them a ticket and a fine. It would help solve the financial deficit that many cities now face. Even with the change, related crimes such as obstructing someone in a public place or assault would still be on the books.
Mish has been scouring city code to find archaic rules. Now one rule I find annoying, is those 20 and 25 MPH speed limits on some city streets. Or the signal lights that seem to stay stuck for eternity when there is no traffic. Or the traffic cops who give out speeding tickets to little old ladies on the way to church or to families running late to catch an airplane. Those things annoy.
Last year, rules that got a look included one prohibiting people from riding horses on a sidewalk and another allowing jail time for failing to return a library book. I don't know about the library book, but why would we want to keep a horse from walking on a sidewalk? We allow bicycles, skate boards, those giant baby "trucks" that seem to take up the entire sidewalk. Seems like a horse would be mild, perhaps he would even clear the way for the rest of us.
Wouldn't it be great if we could have a city pass laws against ignorance, bigotry, greed, bad manners, loud talk on cell phones in public places and pollution spewing vehicles.
Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, http://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids