Thursday, April 28, 2011


Monday morning I took the train downtown to City Hall, and the Mayor's office. There was a bizarre episode walking into that monolithic building of red quarry stone, a woman holding the door open for me, waiting while I covered the stairs to the door. Like a besieged public servant trying to display her devotion to service, but really just breaking the bounds of normal social expectations, awkwardly. I felt weirdly obligated then to hold the door for the woman with the young son, climbing the stairs behind me, though it made her more uncomfortable than it had me.

Outside the Mayors office I paused awhile to send an email. It was a business email, somewhat important, which I sent then not because I had to, but because I found I was afraid. What could I be afraid of? It's only the Mayor's office. Thinking about it, I realized it was only a generalized fear of my government, which made me angry.

I walked into the office, and stood there awhile before I realized the young woman behind the bullet-proof glass wasn't going to help me unless I pushed the buzzer. She came to the glass, and I realized she was afraid as well. I explained my situation, as she grew increasingly uncomfortable. She offered to retrieve someone else.

I sat down, and the young woman came out from behind the glass, to fill her water bottle, on her way out. I asked her if she liked working in the mayor's office. She replied that she did, and that she had only been there a year, while everyone else had been with the mayor from the beginning. I was thinking, you've been accepted then, that's great, because I know it's no easy thing to be accepted by a tight group of people, anywhere. What came out of my mouth was, "So you've been accepted by the clique then?"

It's about the meanest thing I've said to someone, in a long time. What do I know about Mayor Rybak and his staff? He's been mayor for years, and I've heard very few vociferous complaints against him, in this time of widespread rage against government. He seems to be a good mayor, as mayors go. What did I know about this woman? Nothing. She bristled, and explained that the Mayor has a staff of eleven, while the previous Mayor had 18. 'More work for everybody,' I thought, meanly. She hustled out the door, while I floundered in my stupidity. I tried to say something nice, but I was beyond redemption.

Another woman came to the bullet-proof glass. She explained to me that the city only condemns for a lack of water service. I corrected her, she looked up my address, and confirmed that in fact, there is an Intent to Condemn order. She explained that I needed to go to the Planning Department. She gave no sign if she thought it strange that the city would condemn my house for not having natural gas service in the summer. I was quite happy to get out of there.

At the office of Planning and Inspections, I found myself talking to an attractive, intelligent blonde. It's like they saw me coming. "Oh, he's angry, send in *****." We had a pleasant conversation, though it was clear to me it was more odd to her that I could function without natural gas service, than it was that the city was condemning my house for it. She let me file an appeal, and I left the office feeling like they would recognize the absurdity of the situation, and cancel the order. I called and left a voicemail with the issuing inspector, like I was told to. When I got home I found the letter of Intent to Condemn, in the mail.

Tuesday I heard nothing, so Wednesday morning I called the inspector and the Planning office, leaving voicemails. (While I made the calls I watched a white city vehicle drive by the house, turn south on the avenue, turn around half way down the block, and park in the middle of the avenue facing my house, before speeding to the intersection and turning east on the street. Lurking, seemingly.) I received two voicemails shortly after. In the first, Sandy in a very stern voice told me "this is not an appealable offense," twice, and that I would have to address the problem with Harold the inspector, who already told me he doesn't make the rules. What kind of law in America is unappealable, I thought? That sounds more like the law of kings, which is absolutism, which is tyranny. The second voicemail was from Dawn, informing me that there was a hearing May 19, but giving me no other information about the hearing. Is it for me and my case, or is it a general hearing? I still don't know.

I called the number Dawn gave me. A woman answered, and it took some time before I was able to ascertain that the woman I was talking with was in fact, neither Sandy or Dawn, but Bonnie. Bonnie could find no record of a "con", in my case. A con? Is that what this is? She used the word three times, evidently preferable to saying condemnation, though I can't imagine how. She said I needed to talk to Harold, but I informed her that I had left two voicemails with Harold and had heard nothing. She said she would be sure to have Harold call me.

He did. He told me I needed to turn the gas back on, or the city would condemn. "You realize," I said, "that the city is effectively saying it's a crime to conserve natural gas, to use the sun to heat my water instead of natural gas, and that I don't have enough money to pay my bill."

"I'm not going to get into that with you," he said, because he is only following the rules apparently no one makes, which no one can appeal, which can't be considered in the light of logic, reason or simple sense. He said he could give me until Friday to restore the service, or the city will condemn, and if I persist in the house, "the police will remove you."

Which is where it stands. If things continue as they are, I could be in jail this time next week. I've never been to jail. Perhaps it's time. I have, after all, said I do not recognize my government as legitimate. More to the point in this case, I do not recognize laws that are "unappealable." I do not recognize laws that make no logical sense. I do not acquiesce to extortion.

I spent much of yesterday sending emails to local media, and a few national outlets. No one has responded. More people have read this blog the last three days than at any time in the history of this blog, yet there has been no response but from one faithful reader, and two old friends. Reading through the last post again, I had to ask myself, who is going to support me in this? A radical anarchist gorilla gardener, in service to the Goddess, calling for revolution?

Anarchy is a word mostly used by people who don't have any idea what it actually means. In my case, it means I govern myself, and I don't need any government to tell me what's in the best interest of my "health, safety and welfare". It means I believe everyone is capable of governing themselves, though few know it, and many who think they do, govern themselves as if no one else matters.

A guy on HuffPost recently mocked me, as if I don't know the difference between Gorilla and Guerrilla. I didn't get a chance to respond that I am considerably more gorilla than guerrilla. One of the guiding principles of my life is that violent revolution has never brought us anything but a different kind to tyranny. Another is, there is more than this life, hence my service to the Goddess, though I don't claim to know any more about Her than I do about God.

I do what I feel called to do. I write what I feel called to write.

Finally, by revolution, I mean a broad evolutionary transformation in consciousness. What that looks like, I don't know, but I believe. We are better than what we have become, as a species, as a people, as a nation. Many believe we are beyond hope. I like to think we are all unique, astonishing and utterly beautiful manifestations of the spirit, divine beings, children of the earth, children of the sun, Homo sapien sapien, sacred, and so there is always hope.

I had a moment the other day, returning to my house from the Planning Department, when I felt that in that moment, I could meet my maker and not be afraid or ashamed. That feeling has passed, but I hold onto the memory, thinking about what seems to be coming from my civil government. I am an American. I love my family, friends, community, and the Earth. I am in service.

I think I'll return to the city Planning Department Friday, and see if I can figure out who makes these rules that cannot be appealed. After that, I think I'll go to the police department, and warn them what the city is going to ask of them. Though I expect to hear much the same from the police, as I've heard from the people in Planning and Inspections, which is much the same as I hear from many in public and private institutions: "I'm just doing what I've been told," and, "I don't make the rules."

But according to our founders, we do, by our consent.


Scott Ek said...

Mr. Duncan:

I can't explain how much I appreciate that there are folks out there like yourself that giving the "System" a fuck you. Unfortunately I am with you in mind, but have too many fortunes I have to fill, therfore, I need to play the game? Keep it up someone needs to do it, just remember it's hard for others to participate as much as they would like to. Later Buddy.

John Bray said...


I was amazed to read your sorry tale of such lunacy amongst the authorities in the "land of the free". One of the driving forces behind the creation of your country must have been a desire to escape the authorities and yet the authorities seem now to be totally in control. These parasites will continue feeding off the host until it dies off.

I understand that it's practically impossible for a US citizen to leave the country with any material wealth, but can't you at least escape to outside a metropolitan area? Or do the hills have eyes as well?

I'm a Brit now living in Spain - partly because I'd had enough of the authorities back in the UK. I can't imagine the authorities here attempting what's going on in Minneapolis. Uprisings do tend to focus the minds of the authorities on how far they can push the citizens. Over the border - in the land of the cheese-eating surrender monkeys - they also know that they mess with the peasants at their peril.

Anyway, being unable to offer any help or advice, the best I can do is to wish you the best for some kind of resolution for your problems. Or should that be revolution??

John Bray said...

Just an idea: you may like to point out to those who are bothering you that "I'm just doing what I've been told", "I don't make the rules" or "I was only following orders" will not necessarily be valid defences if it should be judged that in doing so they committed an offence under say, for example, The Fourth Amendment which proscribes unreasonable seizure of any person, person's home (including its curtilage) ....

It won't make you any more popular with them - but they might just give it a bit more thought :o)

Candice said...

I am outraged by the situation and I hope you are able to work it out without being arrested. I will post your blog on my FB hopefully getting some more attention (although I don't think it will help that much). Everyone should have the freedom to use (or not use for that matter) the resources they have available to them as long as they are not someone else's private property (<-another term I don't care for). Good luck!

Thardiust said...

Here's a link to a forum where Community Gardeners can meet with one another and exchange location information along with tools or skills. I'm not sure it will help much but, in the not too distant future I suspect this website may be the driving force behind a large round of sea changes.

William Hunter Duncan said...


Good to hear from you. Revolution begins within oneself. You don't need to be with me to participate. In fact, it may be that your thoughts alone can be of a help to me. If there is any truth to what some call the "noosphere."

John Bray,

Laeve it to an Englishman to remind this American that this case is a clear violation of the spirit of the Fourth Amendment, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." As for your reference to "parasites", I make a distinction between people and parasitic actions. Nothing is to be gained that is good, by making others less than human. And you are right, I can't get this overturned by accusing these public officials of not thinking for themselves. What I want is a process that allows them to think for themselves, to address discrepancies in the law, rather than this "unappealability" that essentially forces them to defend and apply what is so blatantly unconstitutional.

Candice and Thardiust,
Thank you for your support.


Brandon said...

If you do end up being arrested and your house condemned, I'd give the ACLU a call, I'm sure they'd love this one.

Jeff Z said...


This and your previous post chilled me to the core. The city of Minneapolis has always been a strange creature- one one hand generous to the unfortunate that it pleases to be kind to, and unbendingly cruel to anyone who dares to cross it- even if they are in the same category as the former.

The lack of accountability on the part of the city people is appalling. I think if you can bring this to light in a manner that doesn't allow them to paint you as a weirdo, you may prevail. If this matter actually lands in court, you may do well, as many judges side with real people against the forces of illegitimate authority.

I don't know if it will help- but I will post a link to this post on my blog as well. Keep posting and don't give up.


Candice said...

You're welcome.

Although I don't agree with what you said here:
"As for your reference to "parasites", I make a distinction between people and parasitic actions. Nothing is to be gained that is good, by making others less than human."
I do agree that I would categorize their actions parasitic and not themselves, and that you shouldn't use words that makes others seem less than human. What I don't agree with is the notion that human beings are somehow above any other living creatures on this Earth, including parasites. In that statement it seems you are suggesting that humans are "above" parasites in some way. Not sure if you meant it that way, but that is how it comes off to me. I am not saying I would jump in front of a bullet to save a parasite's life (if you could actually do such a thing), but I believe that we need to see the value in all living creatures because of the "circle of life" (as corny as that sounds).