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Friday, July 08, 2011

Frum Woman Faces 93 Days in Jail For Front Yard Vegetable Garden

Update: Here's the woman's blog.

According to (see the video there):
OAK PARK, Mich. (WJBK) - "The price of organic food is kind of through the roof," said Julie Bass.

So, why not grow your own? However, Bass' garden is a little unique because it's in her front yard.

"We thought it'd be really cool to do it so the neighbors could see. The kids love it. The kids from the neighborhood all come and help," she said.

Bass' cool garden has landed her in hot water with the City of Oak Park. Code enforcement gave her a warning, then a ticket and now she's been charged with a misdemeanor.

"I think it's sad that the City of Oak Park that's already strapped for cash is paying a lot of money to have a prosecutor bothering us," Bass told FOX 2's Alexis Wiley.

"That's not what we want to see in a front yard," said Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski.

Why? The city is pointing to a code that says a front yard has to have suitable, live, plant material. The big question is what's "suitable?"

We asked Bass whether she thinks she has suitable, live, plant material in her front yard.

"It's definitely live. It's definitely plant. It's definitely material. We think it's suitable," she said.


At Fri Jul 08, 10:29:00 PM 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

she is lucky, soon americans who are 'caught' growing their own food will be fined, jailed and g-d knows what else....welcome the nwo

At Sat Jul 09, 04:14:00 PM 2011, Blogger Daniela said...

Do you have confirmation about this person, this story, and the details? If so please post, and also the Rabbi's name and synagogue, so we may know it is truthful. If you have not checked, I think one should be very careful in taking such reports at face value. A frum woman - or any sort of jew - that receives a warning and afterwards a ticket, and does not go to city hall and talk to the officers in charge to find a way to accommodate and agree upon, is sort of odd. And that a lady with children ("the kids love it") would risk being imprisoned for nearly three months on such a stupid thing? Can you imagine lehavdil your mother or wife doing this? Beware beware beware, before believing such stories. They may be any sort of garbage, including the nonjewish newspaper making this up.

At Sun Jul 10, 10:28:00 AM 2011, Blogger Commenter Abbi said...

Daniela, click on the link and watch the video. What kind of "confirmation" are you looking for? And why do you need her rabbi's number? She's clearly frum. You sound like some kind of conspiracy theorist. This isn't tin foil hat time. Just a quirky news item. I'm sure she'll win the case with not problem.

At Sun Jul 10, 01:54:00 PM 2011, Blogger Daniela said...

Tinfoil hat? Funny you should say that, as her video is a big hit on Alex Jones website. Read also the comment above mine, and of course her blog and the comments over there. Yes I have seen the lady in the video is dressed modestly; I have also noticed she goes to court during the three weeks. She is not available to discuss the story (but she keeps asking it to be circulated and the city officials to be flooded with emails; please notice some of them are Jewish and that the Jewish community is generally very well respected at Oak Park and on good terms with the nonjews there). Do you know her and the facts personally? If you do, or YY does, or some other reader does, please say so and I will trust your word, but if it's just a viral post which is all over the web, sorry but I need to check and I need to hear the other side of the story. Especially since I have heard in the news, a few months ago, a similar story which I checked, and it turned out to be very different from the way it was presented. In fact, I suspect this is in disguise the same story, or should I say, tale. Also, as a general rule, Jews obey the law. There is nothing antisemitic about enforcing a city code, which is also a safeguard against property devaluation. Let me also remark that there are organic community gardens very close to her home, where a plot can be rented for 15$ per year only. But of course, if you know the facts personally, I will trust you: I will not rely upon a viral video though. Finally, am I the only one to think that jewish people who love courtrooms and journalists and picking fights and circulating viral videos, should use their abilities to do something for Yehonatan Pollard, for Sholom Rubashkin, for Gilad Shalit?

At Sun Jul 10, 07:52:00 PM 2011, Blogger Darla said...

I do not know this woman personally, nor do I live in the same state. But Daniella, I believe, after watching the Fox News clip, that she is frum. There were several boys in the background wearing kippot, and one of her neighbors was also frum.
Whether she is frum, Christian, or pagan - or anything else, for that matter, she, as an American should be able to grow food for her family in her yard. If she owns the home she pays taxes, and if she rents, her landlord has not spoken out about this issue that I have heard of.
I wouldn't say it is an anti-semitic action on the part of the city per se, but it certainly is an anti-freedom act.
When Americans are not allowed to do things that have been normal (growing food) since the beginning of the nation's existance, then it is pretty much a given that before long citizens will have no freedom at all.
I would imagine if someone asked her about Yehonatan Pollard and Gilad Shalit she davens (prays) for them every day. Just because she takes time to grow a garden doesn't mean she is not up on Jewish news or that she does not daven.
And yes, Jews do typically follow the laws of the land as well as the laws of Hashem. I bet she had no idea that growing the garden would become a legal issue at the time she planted it. And it is kinda "iffy" on the law books it sounds like to me.
I once had to stand up for my right to have my driver's license picture taken with my covering on. It went all the way to the governor's office of my state, and people lost their jobs due to breaking the law concerning my rights. I am typically a very private person and did not enjoy being in the public view, but I stood for what was right - for not only myself, but for all people. And I'm happy that I did.
I'm proud of this woman and hope American freedom comes out on top and she is allowed to keep her beautiful and healthy garden. She is a true American and her children are seeing her do what all Americans should do: stand up and do the right thing.

At Sun Jul 10, 11:55:00 PM 2011, Blogger Commenter Abbi said...

Daniela, you seem to be mixing up a few different issues- whether this video is "true", or some kind of hoax (why would someone take the time to pretend to have a garden when they really don't?), whether what she is doing is "right" and whether it's a waste of time and she could be doing better things in your opinion.

The video seems to be a real news report of a real person who has a real garden in her front yard. She seems to be wearing a real wig and her kids have real payos.

You seem to disagree with the tact she's taking on this issue and that's your right (why she'd need to consult a rav on growing a garden and fighting for her right to do so is beyond me). But that doesn't automatically make her a fake or an attention seeker. Obviously, her fight has touched a lot of people who are tired of silly government bureaucracy.

There are plenty of people working for for Shalit and Pollard and Rubashkin got a fair trial so not sure why he needs help. (Jews obey the law? Where do you get that one? There are plenty of white collar prisons in upstate NY with healthy minyanim).

In short, you disagree with her, which is fine. Doesn't mean she's a fake.

At Mon Jul 11, 12:48:00 AM 2011, Anonymous Regina said...
Here is a link from someone who does know this woman personally. Crazy times we are living in!

At Mon Jul 11, 09:39:00 PM 2011, Blogger Daniela said...

Sorry but, even though it is my job to discriminate true from false, I don't ever rely upon myself only, and always check (I think this is also a Torah obligation, if I recall correctly). Also, I see that not everyone is familiar with social engineering, viral persuasion, horizontal marketing, and the like; I am (but I would never abuse the good faith of other people, let alone fellow jews). These powerful techniques pose complex ethical problems even when used for unquestionable endeavours and let alone in the framework of a feud, but unfortunately, not everyone is so cautious and so responsible. Please, after you have talked to someone else in Oak Park - which is in my humble opinion the first thing to do in any such cases - you may check out the disaggregated traffic stats for this piece of news (which is single-sourced), attesting to a skilled, sophisticated, and well thought out plan, with heavy anonymization - try finding names and surnames behind websites, if you are not an IT and a good one.

Some commentators are ready to believe there's nothing odd about a jew who homeschools six children in Oak Park, MI, as if it were a jewish desert. Yet, there is a huge jewish community in Oak Park with a glorious history, a yeshiva or two and lots of orthodox jewish schools for all ages - none of them fit their taste? In regards to the question if she is jewish or if she is observant - how should I know - but it seems to me it is far from irrelevant: given that she has been presented as jewish, I don't circulate chainletters in the mail, be them supportive of either side, as I have no property in town, and only a rasha gets involved in disputes between other jews; if I were sure that she isn't... ouch, we all know what the halacha says. It was related to me, and reported by local media too (see link further down) that she refuses possible compromises, such as a green lawn (the one which she had until recently, and which can still be seen on Google satellite photos) with flowers and vegetables beautifully arranged; if as a supporter you are in touch with her, perhaps you can ask her how she suddendly decided to use her front lawn as a vegetable garden and why she insists on this particular setup; you could also ask what this issue has to do with anti-miscegenation laws, which in her blog embody the absolute evil and are presented as the very next step from ordering her to rearrange her front garden. It would be interesting to read more about that on her blog.

In any case, some neighbours (guess their religious identity?) decided to have their rights respected and enforce the regulations: can anyone blame them? No different than the poster who did her best to enforce her own rights that are protected by law, and too bad if some people get hurt in the process (in that case, some workers lost their livelyhood) in the very same way did the neighbours act, and requested the city to take action. There may or may not be an American (that is, United Statesian) right to grow food in the middle of a city (good luck with heavy metals and aromatic hydrocarbons and non-food-grade pesticides allowed for non-edible flowers and exterminators' chemicals, all of them abundant in any US city), however in this case it obviously conflicts with the obvious (and Jewish) rights that protect assets and their value and local customs; a court will sort that out (and will not send her to jail, as cynically and emphatically suggested everywhere, but will hopefully order that she makes changes). One important difference is that the other side is not using viral persuasion to advance their agenda, and they feel sadness, as I do, looking at jews pushed against other jews and gentiles pushed against our fellow jews - most of them unaware of the facts.

(continued in next comment due to character count limitation)

At Mon Jul 11, 09:39:00 PM 2011, Blogger Daniela said...

But please, by all means, don't rely on my word, I may be a bad person planting lies and slander or I may be a fake identity that does viral persuasion on behalf of the other side, please call someone you trust in Oak Park or nearby, call some of the synagogues and hear their side, hear what they have to say about her and about her family, of course let's discount those who don't even want to hear those people's name. Let me add that, of course, none of us has the whole picture and I definitely don't know everything about this strife: perhaps she does have a right to keep her property as currently arranged: that's what the courts are for, however they definitely don't need mail bombing to reach the proper determination, as proven by the fact that the other side is not resorting to such tactics. Finally, here is another link from the news, which I don't see anyone reposting, and which might be interesting to read:

At Tue Jul 12, 01:52:00 PM 2011, Anonymous Neshama said...

Well, I sent off an email that she should tell the Judge that if "Michelle" can do it, why can't she?"

"For the third time, First Lady Michelle Obama replanted the White House garden on the South Lawn with elementary students from local DC schools. The garden includes spinach, peas, lettuce, broccoli, blueberries, raspberries and other vegetables and herbs."


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