Fees on city petitions are unconstitutional

The Madison County Record Aug. 1, 2010, 3:14am

To the Editor:

On July 19 I attended the Waterloo city council meeting. I was there to petition the city to obtain a permit to put a storage shed in my backyard. I knew that I would be denied the permit because I wanted to have an architectural metal roof on the shed.

The city has a ridiculous requirement that storage sheds must have asphalt shingle roofs, but may have metal sides. I recently had an architectural metal roof put on my house; the new city hall has an architectural metal roof along with the courthouse and numerous other buildings about town.

I also instructed the council that I was not there for the council to tell me what to do, I was there to tell the council what to do (this is the duty of all residents) -- rewrite the storage shed ordinance to include architectural metal roofs.

I told the council that I found it arrogant and asinine that the city requires a property title for a permit, requires occupancy permits for new buildings and structures and charges an excessive, punitive fee for the late payment of utilities bills.

While at the city hall during business hours, I found that the interior hallway doors were cipher locked and if you get to talk to any city administrator, they meet you in the lobby.

What is going on behind those locked doors? Bullet proof glass has been installed around the receptionist's desk in the lobby. It is a sign of our time that city administrators have become fearful of their constituents.

Most branches of government have become repressive of our constitutional rights, especially the state and federal judiciaries. They believe that their absolute authority is being questioned, therefore they barricade themselves with locked doors and repressive ordinances, rules and laws.

Illinois residents are on the verge of losing all their constitutional rights.

Governor Pat Quinn has just signed a bill into law that makes it a felony to have a loaded gun in public without a FOID card. FOID cards are an infringement on the Second Amendment. Once you become a felon on the basis of a lame excuse of law, you lose your Second Amendment right to defend your life and property. Pat Quinn is unfit to be governor.

One of the most asinine parts of the city of Waterloo's ordinances is the requirement of a $200 fee for a petition for a zoning code text amendment, such as, in my case, allowing a metal roof on a storage building.

This requirement is corrupt and unconstitutional. The First Amendment mandates the right to petition government for any grievance. This right was established for all citizens of each state when it was ratified by the states.

I don't need the U.S. Supreme Court to tell me this, or tell the states that all rights apply to them also. A right cannot be taxed or licensed. A fee on this right makes it a privilege that can be denied, taxed or licensed.

Those persons who support these insults to the U.S. Constitution are either immature or shameless and should not be in positions of public trust. They should be voted out of office and replaced by cognizant mature individuals who will respect all rights, especially the First and Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Charles Sullivan

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