Reason's Nanny of the Month video producer Ted Balakar says:
Imagine a city forbidding un-related people from sharing a home in a residential neighborhood. That's what happened in Watertown, New York.
Deborah Cavallario doesn't like the fact that her next door neighbor Travis Hartman shares his home with his fiance and two friends, so she convinced the city council to zone out un-related roommates from their residential neighborhood. It didn't matter to her that the 27-year-old Hartman says he was just starting out and needed help paying the mortgage on the home he recently purchased. It didn't matter that, by Cavallario's own admission, Hartman is a good neighbor. It didn't matter that Cavallario was in Hartman's shoes when she and her husband first moved to the neighborhood many years ago:
This is how Linda Morrison explained it at a city council meeting:
I remember very well a well-to-do neighbor who was very much upset about a low income couple that was moving into a house close to her. She considered them “servant class.” One was even a schoolteacher. That couple was Mr. and Mrs. Cavallario. Let the irony not be lost. If a neighbor had her way 30 years ago. Over 80 percent of our neighborhood would not be there today.
Unfortunately, the irony was lost on Cavallario and the council members who support zoning out peaceful living arrangements that make them uncomfortable.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.