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Government PoliciesNewsVideo

Mismatched Blinds, Basketball Hoops, and BBQ’s are Illegal in this City

Residents of Pagedale, MO (a suburb of St. Louis) are angry at local law enforcement for policing for profit, rather than protection. Thanks to the Institute for Justice, they can finally fight back.

Fox News reports:

Valarie Whitner, 57, has lived in the St. Louis suburb of Pagedale for nearly two decades, at first without any major brushes with the city government. But then, the tickets started arriving in the mail. For tree stumps in her yard. For not filling the recycling bin to the brim. For chipped paint. It seemed no infraction was too small to escape the scrutiny of fine-happy officials.

…Whitner was even forced to re-paint her two-story home three times in five years, to satisfy the city. It turns out she wasn’t alone.

… According to one report by, Pagedale now considers it illegal for residents to have basketball hoops in their driveways, dog houses on their front lawn, uncut grass, overgrown gardens and fallen tree limbs. That’s not all – city inspectors even judge interior design decisions. Another plaintiff said she was cited for mismatched curtains and not having blinds in every window, according to

These excessive fines are illegal, unethical, and immoral. The residents have opened a civil rights case against the city with representation by the Institute for Justice, and for good reason:

According to Joshua House, an attorney at the institute, Pagedale has issued 495 percent more property and miscellaneous citations since 2010.

This is a clear abuse of power and a full frontal assault on private property rights. Residents are being forced to take out high interest rate loans to pay the fines imposed by the city, dooming their personal financial situations.

Excessive fines are not only bad for citizens, they are also dangerous for police. Forcing law enforcement to act as revenue collectors for the city -rather than protectors of its citizens- drives an unnecessary wedge between police and residents.

When citizens are getting fined on a monthly basis for restrictions they didn’t even know existed, let’s call it what it is: a shakedown tax. Hopefully this lawsuit will get resolved quickly, before citizens get taxed out of their own hometown.

Tom Borelli

Dr. Tom Borelli is a Newsmax TV contributor and radio commentator addressing political issues from a conservative grassroots perspective. As a columnist, he has written for The Washington Times and authored articles for Newsmax Magazine, Newsmax Insider and previously was a co-host with his wife Deneen Borelli on the SiriusXM Patriot channel. Dr. Borelli appeared on numerous television programs, including the highly ranked Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Hannity,” “The Kelly File," and "America’s News Headquarters." He has also appeared on Fox Business Network’s “Making Money with Charles Payne” and “After the Bell” as well as TheBlaze TV’s "The Glenn Beck Program" and "Dana!" Prior to working for public policy organizations, Dr. Borelli was a managing partner with the investment advisory firm of Action Fund Management, LLC and a portfolio manager for the Free Enterprise Action Fund (FEAF) where he used shareholder activism to challenge corporations that sought to profit from the growth of government. During his 25 years with the Altria Group, Inc., he built a foundation in public policy and issues management, drawing from diverse experiences ranging from basic research to corporate affairs. Dr. Borelli served as science fellow for the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space, and Technology during the 100th Congress. Dr. Borelli has also published scientific papers on interferon and human leukemia.

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