I have this love/hate relationship with government. There's very little love in my love/hate relationship with government. Upon reflection I find that is because there is usually very little to love about government and this almost always because of the people involved. To sum up I would have to say, in theory, I am all for government; in practice, not so much.
Beyond that there is the possibility of simple arrogance. Just because you are the elected Whatsis of a major city doesn't mean that you are in charge of anything more than that particular Whatsis. You are not empowered to add to the position of Whatsisism and you are still certainly required to operate within the stated objectives of the position of Whatsis. It is too bad that when a Whatsis runs amok it is so hard to jerk a knot in their tails.
I offer as an example the recent seizure of the arabbers' horses in Baltimore. Animal Control and health officials seized 14 horses from the stable at South Carlton Street between Pratt and Lombard streets on January 13th after finding what they described as poor living conditions and excessive cobwebs. The animals were taken to Days End Horse Farm in Woodbine. I called Days End Horse Farm on Tuesday and asked what the general condition of the animals seized was. I was quickly put on hold and then told that the person whom I was to speak with was not present but would definitely call me back later that day. It is now 24 hours later as I write this and I still have no call back from Days End Horse Farm, so I would suppose that either definition of the word "day" has been fulfilled and I am free to say what I wish.
I really don't have to say much, though. As the good Dr. Phil says so often, I don't have a dog in this fight. But if you wish to find out a lot more about this latest aggressive governmental act there are several ways to do it. There is an excellent page (page 7 to be precise) explaining the matter in the February issue of the Equiery which can be picked up at any feed or tack store for free. The article is very fair, even including the statement by the Baltimore City Health Department that cited "poor living conditions" which were further explained as "cobwebs in the barn, urine on the floor and because the barn was cold."
OK, I went online and there were a LOT of cobwebs in the pictures of that barn, but that takes, what, half a day with a broom to clear up? That's an easy fix right there.
As far as the barn being cold, barns by their very existence are cold. Trust me, I have been in a bunch of barns and they are cold in January. Just so we don't have to do this again in six months or so, someone ought to explain to animal control and the health department that those same barns will also be hot in August.
Sometimes it makes me happy that I never did go to college. And relevant to that comes the final point of the complaint; as far as the urine on the floor, well, where would you expect a horse to urinate? If the health department and animal control has a problem with that I would refer them to a law which no government official can effectively confute: the law of gravity. What comes out of a horse goes down, generally speaking, and sooner or later it will hit the floor. I know this because for 47 years it was my job to remove that horse detritus from stalls in addition to everything else I did.
And speaking of jobs, there is a whole group of men whose jobs have been abolished with no warning. These men have had their livelihood taken from them, removed with no chance of argument except legal redress which will likely drag on forever and offer no recompense for the monies which will have to be spent on legal aid for this high-handed governmental act of arrogance. These men are businessmen in their communities besides being a historically based remnant of a life that was part of Baltimore's daily commerce. They also serve as a way for their communities to get fresh fruit and vegetables in parts of town that are not necessarily well served by supermarkets but of course the health department may not have thought of that.
For more on this please check out the Baltimore City Paper at http://www.citypaper.com and simply put in arabbers in the search box. There are several really good articles there and pictures are also available on line from this source.
Hope Holland is the Times' equestrian columnist. Reach her at 410-857-7896 or firstname.lastname@example.org.