What creeps you out more — rats, or bureaucratic indifference and incompetence? Never mind, you don't need to decide — this story has both. Via our friend and commenter Dave, hear the flesh-crawling story of the Palisades Rathouse, a cautionary tale that makes you wonder if the Hamlin City Council reacted to the Pied Piper stealing all the kids by holding impotent committee meetings for a few years.
The bullet: senior citizen sisters Marjorie and Margaret Barthel feed rats in their home religiously (literally, as you will see). This causes a boom in the local rat population. Neighbors are appalled. What could be worse than teeming rats going in and out of a house, as captured by a YouTube video in the linked article? The local government's reaction to it, which ranges from it's-not-my-problem indifference to abject incompetence. For instance, consider why local authorities don't have records showing how long the Barthel sisters' rat-breeding program has been going on:
Okohira and other health inspectors, it turned out, had been to the house many times. Nobody knows how many times, because in Los Angeles County, the Vector Management Program throws away all such records after two years, says Terrance Powell, director of the department’s militaristically-named Special Operations Bureau.
“We don’t erase stuff,” Powell tells L.A. Weekly. “We just don’t have room. We throw it away. Consider this: We do more than half a million inspections a year of various types. Where do you think we would keep that kind of bulk [of] records?”
Digitally? “Well, that’s a good one. That could work,” Powell concedes.
The legal system, as you'll see, offers a bit more relief — but damned slowly, and not enough.
Taxes are for what, again?
One of the reasons that libertarians object to the Nanny State and don't want the government sticking its fingers in everything is that the overwhelming evidence is that the government sucks at most of the tasks it takes on.
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