Where would we be without bored city bureaucrats who spend their time trying to prosecute people for pruning shrubs?
There is this guy who lives in Ocean Beach, California. His name is Juvencio Adame, but his friends call him Vince. There are some bushes next to his house that are often overgrown, and as a result, provide a place for homeless delinquents to hang out and litter. Vince doesn’t like this, because it’s right next to his house, so when these bushes become overgrown, he trims them.
The only problem is, the shrubs are on “public” property. But the reason the bushes become overgrown is that the city doesn’t properly take care of the grounds. So, he takes it upon himself to take care of it. He told U-T San Diego that he’s “been doing this for 13 years, up and down this alley,” that he “sweeps every week,” and that he “encourages everyone to do the same thing in their neighborhoods.” He also stated that his family had lived in Ocean Beach since 1905, and that he has planted many trees in the area.
Since these shrubs were on “public” property, he was charged with felony vandalism. The case was transferred to the county, because the “damage” exceeded the $400 misdemeanor threshold. They estimated that Vince had caused upwards of $3,000 in “damages.”
Thankfully, the District Attorney agreed to drop the charges against him, following public outrage. But officials claimed they didn’t drop the charges because of outrage. They dropped them, because they brought in an expert arborist who inspected the bushes and determined that the shrubs would grow back. Yes, that is what plants do. They grow. Surprising, I know.
If the property is truly public property, paid for by the local taxpayers, then why would they object to Vince’s help? He was doing them a favor. City officials said that they had to cut their landscaping budget. Well, here was a resident who was taking care of their landscaping for free. In fact, assuming he’s a taxpayer, he’s giving them taxes and taking care of the grounds around his neighborhood.
No good deed goes unpunished.