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Ex-inmates to clean up nuisance yards

August 18, 2010
By DAN MORAN <!-- e --><a href="mailto:dmoran@stmedianetwork.com">dmoran@stmedianetwork.com</a><!-- e -->

WAUKEGAN -- Summer-long complaints from aldermen about overgrown grass and weeds on private property could be addressed under a plan to pay former inmates to mow nuisance lawns.

The City Council voted Monday to authorize Former Inmates Striving Together -- a non-profit group that seeks to assist and encourage individuals who have recently been incarcerated -- to remove "nuisance greenery" from properties for up to $90 per job.

"We've got enough work for you," said 3rd Ward Ald. Gregory Moisio after the council approved the program, which will be paid for by fees charged to the owners of nuisance properties.

FIST founder and president Joe Schmidt of Waukegan said Tuesday that the program could start next week, but only if the organization is able to line up insurance that would indemnify the city from any liabilities.

"We need to get an insurance policy, and we do know there are agents out there who can help us," Schmidt said. "Basically, we will be using lawnmowers and Weed Wackers to clean up yards (and) give these guys a day's work."

Under the agreement passed Monday, the city will identify properties that are in violation of nuisance greenery ordinances and notify owners about bringing the land into compliance. If the owners "fail or refuse to remove the nuisance greenery after a reasonable time period," the city will refer the matter to FIST.

The structure of fees is set up for three tiers of properties -- 8,000, 12,000 and 16,000 square feet. Payments range from $30 for removal of 12-inch grass or weeds from an 8,000-square-foot parcel to $90 for removal of 24- to 36-inch greenery on a 16,000-square-foot lot.

The cost of the services are to be covered by the property owners, with payments to FIST to be made only after the city receives payment from the owner involved. The city could file a lien against a property for costs.

Schmidt said FIST, which was founded in 2009, has 50 to 60 active members out of a total member database of 600. He added that the group employs 15 staff members through funding from the Illinois Works capital plan, and those workers would likely participate in the nuisance greenery program.
Yeah, good idea to allow convicted thieves, burglars, rapists?, and other criminals onto private property. What next, let them into your house to change the water meter?
Danno Wrote:Yeah, good idea to allow convicted thieves, burglars, rapists?, and other criminals onto private property. What next, let them into your house to change the water meter?

Yea, let's banish them all to a prison colony on a remote island somewhere far far away, after they've already served their sentences. :?
kellyann1293 Wrote:
Danno Wrote:Yeah, good idea to allow convicted thieves, burglars, rapists?, and other criminals onto private property. What next, let them into your house to change the water meter?

Yea, let's banish them all to a prison colony on a remote island somewhere far far away, after they've already served their sentences. :?
That would be a little extreme wouldn't you think? If these convicts want to work on public property I have no problem with that. Maybe I should have elaborated on my point a little more.

We here in the USA have Constitutional Rights. One of those is known as the Fourth Amendment. This Fourth Amendment recognizes the right of the people to be secure in their houses from unreasonable searches and seizures.

The courts have recognized that a certain area around the house is afforded equal protection. This area is known as the curtilage of the home.

Now we have a city government purporting to have a right onto that property to mow grass. That same city government is now saying that certain people, people who have recently been convicted of who knows what kind of crime have a right enter the curtilage of my property.

With that said, you are certainly well within your right to your opinion and to be agreeable to the possibility of violent convicts coming onto the private areas of your property. Heck, you can let them into the shower with you for all I care. I don't want them on my property.

I hope it works out well. It seems to be not only a circumvention of our Constitutional Rights but also a calculated risk.
Well if no one wants these guys coming to your house to work, keep up the property!
TeacherThoughts Wrote:Well if no one wants these guys coming to your house to work, keep up the property!
That sounds like such an unthinking sheeplike comment to me.
TeacherThoughts Wrote:Well if no one wants these guys coming to your house to work, keep up the property!
On second thought maybe they are onto something here. The city could contract out bill collection to heavy duty mobster thugs of the leg breaking variety. Don't pay your water bill on time and they send a leg cracking goon to knock on your door. I'll bet everyone pays their water bill on time. Don't bring your garbage can back in right away and the city will send a homeless drunk to do it and then he'll knock on your door to collect the $10 fee, a carton of cigarettes and a bottle of cheap wine. If you can't pay he'll camp out in your yard and use the bush in the corner as a bathroom until you do pay.