“Formstone is to Baltimore what Communism was to Czechoslovakia.” Although virtually no one installs the simulated-stone exterior cladding any more, and it doesn’t seem to raise any safety concern, Charm City authorities are still proposing to ban it, which has touched off a wave of protests and a Baltimore Sun editorial objecting to the ban. [Sun reporting, editorial]
Wheelchair-riding Linda Slone, 64, is suing 39 shops in her neighborhood for not being handicapped-accessible.
The legal crusade is netting her thousands, but Slone, who cannot walk because of polio, insists she is simply championing the rights of the disabled.
“If you think this is a money-making scheme, you’re dead wrong,” said Slone, a speech pathologist.
The Florida-based Weitz Law Firm, which represents Slone, “also represents Zoltan Hirsch, a Brooklyn double amputee who The Post revealed last year filed 147 suits citing the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Scott Greenfield wonders what the brownstones of Columbus Avenue will look like by the time the shopowners and landlords somehow manage to completely ADA-proof them.
It’s not just New York:
In Georgetown, for instance, Eastbanc has proposed to replace the Canal Rd. Exxon with a five story condo building. From a true historic preservation perspective, there’s not much of a case against the project. It wouldn’t break up the rhythm of the block and the proposed style, while not particularly elegant, was at least not discordant.
But neighbors along Prospect Street would lose a part of their fabulous view across the Potomac. So they argued vociferously during the design review process that the project should be reduced to preserve their views. This had little to nothing to do with genuine historic preservation. … This pattern is repeated frequently in Georgetown and in other historic districts.
The local opponents have thus far blocked the project, which means the historic district is still adorned with the Key Bridge Exxon. One might ask the neighbors whether they feel a gas station enhances the neighborhood’s quaint Nineteenth Century ambiance, except that, taking a leaf from lower Manhattanites, they might say it does.
More: David Schleicher, Prawfs, on the municipal political economy of zoning.
Coming up, if a controversy in Alexandria, Va. is any indication: historic preservation mandates for chain-link fences [Matt Welch, Reason].
- Feds indict activist for handing out “jury nullification” tracts outside courthouse [Volokh, Greenfield] Anti-abortion billboard taken down after demand by NYC pol; co. says fear of violence was spur [NY Times]
- Pigford class action (USDA bias against black farmers) defended and assailed [Friedersdorf and readers, Daniel Foster/NR, Mark Thompson/LOG, earlier here, here, here, etc.]
- Avik Roy on Pennsylvania defensive-medicine study [Forbes]
- Backstory: Scott Walker battled AFSCME for years as Milwaukee County exec [Aaron Rodriguez, Hispanic Conservative] “Wisconsin’s teachers required to teach kids labor union and collective bargaining history” [Daily Caller]
- “The return of the $0 Costco fuel settlement” [CCAF]
- Historic preservation vs. the obesity crusade: should a vintage Coke sign in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood come down? [SFGate]
- Law blog that covers a single beat closely can turn itself into a valued practice tool [Eric Turkewitz on John Hochfelder’s New York Injury Cases]
- “Soda suits: Banzhaf browbeats school officials” [five years ago on Overlawyered]
“Councils have ripped up or paved over acres of traditional cobblestones from streets across Britain, amid fears of compensation claims from people who trip over on them.” [Telegraph]
- Legal hazards of beachcombing: “Keeping bald eagle feather could result in a $100,000 fine and year in prison” [BoingBoing; our Sept. 1999 post]
- “E.U. Condemns America’s Online Gambling Crackdown” [Sullum, Reason “Hit and Run”]
- Much-loved Stockton, Calif. eatery Chuck’s Hamburgers is menaced by ADA serial litigator, and friends rally to save it [Stockton Record, 4000-member Facebook group]
- Doomed AF Flight 447 had multiple connections with France (airline, aircraft maker) and Brazil (takeoff, many passengers’ nationality), so of course some American lawyers are hoping to get resulting suits heard in U.S. courts [Bloomberg]
- Sure takes a lot of lawyering to bring a movie like “Bruno” to the screen [Althouse, WSJ Law Blog, Legal Ethics Forum]
- Form vs. substance: U.K. historic-preservation edict saves increasingly impractical Victorian bell frames, at expense of 650-year-old bell ringing tradition [Telegraph via Never Yet Melted]
- All in a day’s (double) work: take city retirement or even disability, then come back in second job [Al Tompkins, Lowell (Mass.) Sun]
- Can it be? In just about another two weeks your favorite source of legal consternation will turn ten years old [nine years and eleven months or so ago on Overlawyered]
- Historic preservation and habitat preservation laws can backfire in similar ways [Dubner, Freakonomics]
- Serious points about wacky warnings [Bob Dorigo Jones, Detroit News]
- Texas solons consider lengthening statute of limitations to save Yearning for Zion prosecutions [The Common Room]
- A call for law bloggers to unite against content-swiping site [Scott Greenfield]
- Drawbacks of CFC-free pulmonary inhalers leave asthma sufferers gasping [McArdle, Atlantic]
- Try, try again: yet another academic proposal for charging gunmakers with costs of crime [Eggen/Culhane, SSRN, via Robinette/TortsProf] More/correction: not a new paper, just new to SSRN; see comments.
- California businesses paid $17 million last year in bounty-hunting suits under Prop 65 [Cal Biz Lit]
- Trial lawyer lobby AAJ puts out all-points bulletin to members: send us your horror stories so we can parade ’em in the media! [ShopFloor]
The facade of the Old Morris tobacco shop in Victoria, British Columbia, which has operated at its location for 120 years, “has been preserved in it’s [sic] original design, including signs noting the tobacco, house blends and Havana cigars within.” New provincial legislation prohibits tobacco-promoting signage where visible to youths; “Businesses who violate the act face a $575 fine for a first offense, with penalties rising up to $5,000 for repeat offences.” At the same time:
In a letter sent to [store owner Rick] Arora, Steve Barber, senior heritage planner with the City of Victoria, called the store’s signs “an integral part of the history of this building and part of it’s heritage character,” meaning Arora cannot remove or cover the signs.
“They’ve made it clear I can’t touch them,” Arora said. “I could be fined $1 million and go to jail for two years.”
Neither government agency “is budging” on its demands. (Tom Mcmillan, “Tobacco store owner caught between policies”, Canwest/Vancouver Sun, May 27). Update: compromise struck (thanks to reader ras in comments).