Thursday, May 04, 2017

Clary v. City of Crescent City (Cal. Ct. App. - May 1, 2017)

John Diehl lives in Washington State but owns eight vacant lots in Crescent City.  He doesn't much take care of them, and in a lengthy process, the City eventually made a finding that the overgrown weeds and rubbish on his lots constituted a public nuisance that required abatement and, when Diehl refused to abate the nuisance, placed a lien on his lots for the City‘s abatement costs.

Diehl fought this process tooth and nail, all the way to the Court of Appeal.  With long, discursive briefs defending his alleged right "to allow natural vegetation to flourish on my properties until they are sold for development" and to provide "shelter and foraging habitat for birds and other wildlife" and "replacing carbon dioxide with oxygen."

But no one else saw it that way.  Including the Court of Appeal.  All of these institutions concluded that the blackberry bushes, broom plants, other weedy vegetation, abundant trash and illegally dumped material on these lots were better characterized as "a blight, a habitat for rats and vermin, and an attractive [pun intended, I presume] nuisance."

So Diehl fights what he thinks is a good fight.  But loses.

Though he at least gets a published opinion out of it.  Albeit posthumously.  "Mr. Diehl passed away after the briefing was completed in this appeal," after representing himself both in the Court of Appeal as well as below.

At least he went out fighting, eh?