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As we’ve seen in earlier posts, in recent years Pagedale, Missouri and many neighboring small communities St. 2.     A yawning budget gap and a desperate shortage of means of raising municipal revenue. This [very large] increase [in local building-code violation fines] came after the Missouri Legislature tightened a law designed to wean municipalities off overreliance on revenue from traffic tickets. In 2009, Missouri amended a law called the Macks Creek Law to enforce limits on the amount of money municipalities may raise from traffic tickets.] The legislature capped the amount of revenue a municipality may have in its general fund that comes from traffic tickets at 30%. The facts on which the I4J based its political theory derived from diligent investigative reporting by the St. That’s a nearly 500% increase from five years ago, according to an analysis of state court data by the Post-Dispatch.
In Pagedale, 40% of last year’s citations were from non-traffic matters, according to the newspaper’s analysis.

Yet the same evidence viewed from another perspective supports quite another motivation: fear of foreclosure invasion.
For those of us who live in strong-economy cities and open our morning Boston Globe to stories of Olympic dancing sugarplum visions, sprouting residential high-rises, extractive city redevelopment agencies, and ratchet-style buyer-pressuring broker strategies,  the foreclosure crisis is an unpleasant memory that is now fading amid our preoccupation with more recent tragedies, outrages, and scandals.  But for Pagedale, and places like it, many of them in St.
Instead it is more like a slow-zombie movie where the walkers rather than dying gorily linger about in our shadows and behind the windows of derelict homes.
Back then foreclosures were an isolated thing – early-onset zombie apocalypse, if you will – but seven years later the epidemic is not under control.  Further, not only is an empty home a crime target or crime haven, it’s also a signal to the observant herd – both the potential saints and the potential sinners – of a soft target for the flash mob. Aside from signaling the observant herd of malefactors, the code-violation-notice is also a means of probing the homeowner: Are you awake? A Post-Dispatch reporter and photographer spent an afternoon touring homes on the city’s list. Some had boarded up windows, bulging walls and doors so weathered that they felt like fabric to the touch.

Is this excessive?  Probably.  Is it understandable?  Definitely, especially if its purpose is to stimulate action. Other municipal tickets are exempt [Deliberately imprecise word – the I4J means ‘not covered’ but that doesn’t sound as dramatic – Ed.] and shortly after the revenue percentage in the Macks Creek Law dropped to 30%, the amount of non-traffic tickets issued by Missouri cities exploded. More than half of tickets in Ferguson and four other communities were for non-traffic violations.

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