Steven Lathrop and his neighbors had a problem, which the government had identified and then inexplicably refused to solve for decades. Steven Lathrop, using his own money, finally took matters into his own hands. He bought an eyesore of a dump and used the land to save his entire neighborhood from debilitating floods.
Steven Lathrop stepped up when no one else would. Steven Lathrop is a hero, by any reasonable person’s definition.
Lathrop’s home of Granite City, Illinois, regularly suffered from storm flooding that damaged his neighbor’s homes, and even cost the taxpayers money in federal disaster aid.
In 1965, Congress directed the Army Corps of Engineers to fix the problem. They conducted eight studies from then until 1995, two of which recommended building lakes and channels to abate the flooding. But government did nothing, and the flooding continued.
Lathrop did act, however. He purchased flood lands that were being used as a trash dumping ground and converted them into a lake – a lake that fixed the flooding problem and would eventually allow him to build a new community of affordable homes.
But then, government’s heavy hand descended. The Army Corps designated the land he had improved a “wetland” and threatened him with jail and fines of up to $25,000 per day, unless he spent his own money to turn the lake back into its original condition.
The Environmental Protection Agency designated it as a “non-functioning wetland.”
I wish this were an isolated case. It’s not.
This is a nightmare that almost all of us fear: the blind, bullying governmental bureaucracy strangling the little guy with red tape, even as he desperately tries to play by the ever-changing rules.
Just a thought: if the GOP was looking for a message that would resonate with every property-owning tax payer in America, this’d be it.