The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 22, 2013

North Mankato city code review gets heated



“It wasn’t discussed,” he said. “It was thrown under the rug.”

The council agreed to discuss potential changes to the firearms ordinance at a future meeting, possibly as soon as next month.

Finally, Councilman Kim Spears — who has a strong libertarian streak — suggested the city was joining other levels of government in regulating virtually every aspect of people’s lives. Spears was on the losing side of 3-1 votes on the boulevard planting rules (only grass for the first 5 feet), the rules regarding discharge of contaminants into sewers, which he thought were too vague, and a new rule restricting garage sales.

The latter stemmed from a Belgrade Avenue homeowner who had a yard sale — which he called an “occasional store” and neighbors called an eyesore — more or less from March to mid-summer of last year. The new rules restrict sales to three days at a time and four times a year.

Spears said each rule and regulation added to hundreds of thousands already in existence makes it a nearly impossible task to be a law-abiding citizen, results in arbitrary enforcement  and leads to disillusionment.

“This type of activity goes against everything it means to be a citizen of the United States and is more appropriately the action of a totalitarian society,” Spears said. “And it happens more and more.”

Councilman Billy Steiner disagreed: “Kim, I think you’re too paranoid. I think (yard sale problem) is what the ordinances are for.”

But Spears implored the Council to show restraint.

“Every law which is passed is another grain of sand through the hourglass of our remaining freedom,” he said.

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