23 April 2008

city of alexandria, la. trying to stiff abandoned car ordinance attorney his legal fees

city of alexandria, la. attorney charles johnson
yesterday in the public safety zoning committee, chairman roosevelt johnson heard an update on "abandoned vehicles." in january 2007 the alexandria city council unanimously passed and the alexandria mayor signed, a so called abandoned car ordinance. the ordinance was so seriously flawed constitutionally that your average citizen could see it. besides being constitutionally flawed the ordinance was predatory and racist. the ordinance actually empowered city bureaucrats to come onto private property, tag and order removed privately owned automobiles. we're not talking cars parked on the side of the street but cars stored under sheds, garages and in one case, reported by the media, from an elderly alexandriaian's back-yard.

sure enough, the city towed one man named errick fatheree car which was stored "in an enclosed garage/shed upon private property."

a courageous local attorney, thomas d. davenport, jr., took mr. fatheree's case pro bono and won.

which brings us up to yesterday and city attorney johnson's statement to chairman johnson that one "sticky issue" remains and that is a "dispute over the fee that the attorney is seeking." it dont matter if mr. davenport's fee is one hundred or a hundred thousand or a million dollars, the city should pay whatever hes asking and be glad that no one was shot during the enforcement phase of this disastrous ordinance. mr. davenport provided a good and valuable service to the citizenry and more importantly to the constitution when seven members of the city council and the mayor who all should have known better passed this garbage.

the alexandria mayor is a lawyer and as the gannett/town talk editors pointed out in their sunday 20 april 2008 editorial [screen grab] how mayoral candidate roy sounded "jeffersonian." actually the mayor quoted jefferson quite often during the campaign. then on 22 december 2006 only eighteen days after he took office, this ordinance which is about as anti-jeffersonian as you can get, was introduced and which he eventually signed.

now the mayor and his city attorney want to stiff an attorney who reminded them about constitutional and jeffersonian principals? the city should pay mr. davenport whatever he is asking and be glad they got off so cheap.

something ominous that we can see in store is that councilman johnson was wanting to know when this suit will be finished so that the city council can revisit abandoned cars and another abandoned car ordinance. they never learn.