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Something's Rotten in Denmark

My dear colleague, Brian Hodges, has a really interesting case that is getting all kinds of press this week. The Leus, retirees living in Blaine, Washington, live on a lot that abuts the Canadian border. In order to prevent the erosion of their property, they built a 4-foot high retaining wall across the northern edge of their property. Mind you, they contacted the local authorities to ensure they would be in complaince and were told that they did not even need a permit for such an insignificant modification to their property. Enter Feds....

The International Boundary Commission is a government agency - well, we think (and I say that b/c it is not all that clear and their web address indicates something more along the lines of a non-profit and not a government agency: http://www.internationalboundarycommission.org/ - oh, and it resembles something a border collie could construct) given the all-important duty of making sure the grass gets mowed along the border fence. The IBC, at the direction of their arrogant-ass leader (will explain soon), told the Leus that they had to take down the wall, or they would and bill them for it.

Apparently, the retaining wall is located about 8 feet from the border and the IBC claims to have jurisdiction, via a treaty, over a 10 foot wide strip of land south of the actual border. Even though the Leus' retaining wall is within their property line, the quasi, self-annointed, Canadian-US IBC believes it retains jurisdiction.

Notably, the treaty does not give the IBC any such power to enter and take private property. Nor does it say anything about mowing the grass.

(as promised) The US leader of the IBC is Commissioner Schornack and he was fired by the Prez on Tuesday, however, Schornack said he does not recognize the President's authority to terminate him. Now, we do not know if his firing has anything at all to do with this case, but the press is certainly portraying it that way.

For more info and lots of giggles:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003785546_border12m.html

http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/seattlepolitics/archives/117865.asp?from=blog_last3