This is perhaps a prime example of when bureaucracy goes too far. A Salem woman, fighting terminal bone cancer, has been trying to offset her medical bills by holding a series of weekend garage sales. Out of respect for the neighborhood, Jan Cline even kept the garage sales confined to her own backyard, but still, a meddlesome neighbor allegedly lodged a complaint with the city and now Cline is being shut down. The reason? Apparently the city only permits residents to hold three garage sales per year, and Cline has gone over that quota. Salem KATU reports:
“It’s a struggle,” Cline says. “It’s a struggle for me because I’m very independent, used to taking care of myself.”
She’s run businesses and supported herself for years but this summer she was diagnosed with bone cancer.
“It’s a bone marrow cancer that eats through the bones and causes holes in the bones so that just by walking I can break a bone,” she says.
In one day she lost her independence, her ability to work and earn an income that could pay for all those medical bills.
So she decided to sell what she owned. The sale was bringing in several hundred dollars each weekend until one neighbor complained and she got a visit from the city.
“He said, ‘I’m sorry. Rules are rules.’”
Many rules, zero compassion.
Cline, who understands why the city generally enforces the rule, says she doesn't want special treatment, just a degree of understanding.
“We make such an effort of making it back here (backyard) so that it’s not goobering up the neighborhood, so it’s not like a garage sale all laid out day after day after day,” Cline told KATU.
“I just hope that nobody else has to go through this kind of thing. I hope no one else has to give their lives away for nickels and dimes and then be told they can’t even do that. I hope nobody else has to do this ever.”
But thankfully, after hearing about Cline's situation, a supervisor at the Community Development Department reportedly said he is going to look into the situation and see if there is anything Cline can do to continue operating legally. However, KATU reports that if Cline restarts her garage sales now, she is subject to a misdemeanor that carries a $300 fine.
As if shutting down children's lemonade stands were not bad enough, now cities are cracking down on the garage sales of cancer patients. Where has the freedom gone?
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(H/T: Salem KATU)