Monday, August 27, 2012

Explanations abound

Okay, I know I have been going a little haywire with posts about Lincoln's watering restrictions, but it has temporarily solved my problem with writer's block.  I promise to exercise a little more self control after this one, and try to bring a little variety back to the Director's Desk.

Several people, including the Big Guy, have asked me why so many folks seem to be having trouble following the watering schedule.  The violators are few (at least in comparison to the population), and the explanations many, dominated by "I didn't know," "I forgot," "I was fuzzy about the schedule," and "I don't know how to operate by automatic sprinklers."

I have been reading a few reports from time to time, but just got the bug Sunday night, pulled out the iPad, and read some more. I thought I'd share some of the explanations, by excerpting officers' reports--protecting identities, of course. With few exceptions, these are good citizens, with whom I empathize, but who nonetheless failed to follow the law.

"Def. said he and his wife were equally responsible for the sprinklers, but he thought she had reprogrammed them to run on the correct days."

"As I issued her the citation she angrily said it should be her husband getting the ticket since he was the one who turned on the water.  Photos were taken and placed in property."

"Def. showed ofc. the controller, which was set to 'Auto'.  Def. insisted that he had turned it to 'Off', and that someone from his family must have messed with it. Def. was cited and released."

"Officer arrived at 0944 hrs and observed a sprinkler watering the lawn. Def was contacted and stated that he believed his girlfriend may have started the water last evening (on the correct day for watering) and they both forgot about it and it was probably watering all night. Def cited and released."

"I was dispatched on a water violation.  I arrived and observed the sprinkler system was on in front of this address. Def. stated she did not know her system was on and thought her father had reset the system for her."

"She was not happy to receive an official citation as she had heard that people were receiving warnings and no one had come to 'warn' her about violating the watering restrictions."

"She stated she knew the city currently had outdoor watering restrictions, but said she thought the provision was that residents could only water two days a week, on any two days they chose. Def. was advised of the particulars of the current watering restrictions, and was cited and released."

"Ofc. contacted def. who was the manager on duty at the time of the offense. She said that she had already been ticketed on Monday and was confused about when the should be watering. Ofc. explained how to determine the proper date to water by address. Def. was cited/released."

"She said she had heard 'rumors' about watering restrictions in the city, but had not made an attempt to learn the details. Def. was informed of the specifics of the restrictions, shown how to turn off her lawn sprikler system, and was cited and released."

"Owner was contacted and she stated she did not know we were in a drought and that there was a water restriction in place. I advised her that we have been in this emergency water restriction for almost a month now and that information was being given through numerous news outlets. She stated she did not know there was a restriction and suggested that the city find another way to inform its citizens of it."

"She said she had no idea there was a watering restriction because she doesn't have a TV, radio, the internet or take the newspaper. She was cited for the violation."

"Def. was advised of the violation that he was in and he immediately stated that he was unaware of the complete ban on Mondays. He stated that he doesn't watch TV, but I observed his large screen TV to be on as he made the statement. After I issued his citation he stated that he will be watering his back yard everyday because he has a tall privacy fence and no one will be able to see that he is watering. Def. disclosed that he works for ________, maintaining customers' lawns, but still had no idea that there was no watering on Mondays."

"I was sent to 1611 ________  regarding a water restriction violation...Def. said she thought her house counted as even numbered because it started with 16. I corrected her that her address was an odd number and her days to water were Tues, Thurs and Sat. She was then cited/released for a water restriction violation."

"I was dispatached to 610 ________ on a watering complaint. As I walked up the driveway I obs the def sitting outside on his driveway.  He asked if I was there because of his watering.  Def said he thought since the address ended in a zero that it was an odd day and he was okay to water. Def. was cited and released."

"Def. said she got up this morning & thought it was a Wednesday so she manually started the underground sprinklers. Def. now realized that it was Tuesday."

"He said an officer could stop by after that time to issue the citation and said the officer could call first to see if he was home. I asked def. if his wife would be home prior to his return because she could be issued the citation instead of him. Def. said he is the one who set the controller for the sprinkler system in error. He also said that he would rather be shot than have to deal with his wife getting the citation."

"Def. said that the sprinklers had been set years ago and he had no idea when the sprinklers are set to come on. Def. was cited and released."

"Def. was shown how to turn his sprinkler system to 'OFF' and was cited and released."

"I made contact with def. who advised she knew she couldn't water her lawn on Monday but forgot.  After being informed she would be receiving a citation, she stated, 'I'll just turn the  %$#@*&!  things off.'  Def. was cited/released."


Anonymous said...

Made my day Chief... Made my day, thanks!

Anonymous said...

This is truly a waste of time peroid and I am not amused ! We need something more productive to do...

Steve said...

There is always the convoluted logic that since it hasn't been raining, we should be putting more water on the lawn, not less.

Anonymous said...

None of these are too surprising. I was walking through the mall with my daughter on Saturday and actually heard a woman complaining about the rain. I really don't think people understand how bad things are right now in regards to water.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed these.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, the only reason I know about the water restriction is because I do get the newspaper. I also have a large TV like one of your def. and only get Netflix on it (no cable, no local news). I only use my computer on occassion & usually for work purposes only. I only listen to KLove on the radio (again, no local news), so it is possible that a person with access to technology, does NOT necessarily have access to local news events.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting those comments Director. It is nice to know that I am not the only Lincoln resident that suffers from confusion.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

THESE ARE HILARIOUS! Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

What a hoot!!

Anonymous said...

I expect to see all police, fire, buses and all city transport to be dirty and not washed. It's only fair.

Steve said...


Nobody says you can't wash your vehicle. Just do it on the proper day for your address.

If you feel "picked on" for having a green lawn or clean car, you need to grow a pair and quit worrying about it.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

My dog once ate my homework.

Tom Casady said...


Mr. Wilson posted a great comment earlier, but while moderating on my iPhone, I fat-fingered it and hit delete, rather than publish. Fortunately, I have comments set up to push an email, so I was able to recreate his post, below:

Mr. Wilson has left a new comment on your post "Explanations abound":

Perhaps your officers should point them to my handy "May I Water Today?" page.

Herb said...

With apologies to Ron White: You can't fix stupid. Apparently, however, you can receive a citation for it.

Anonymous said...

It seems mean to keep poking the people who already have to suffer the consequences of the ticket, fine, court fees, criminal conviction, etc. Don't you ever forget to do something you intend to do? Havent you ever received a traffic warning or ticket? I enjoy a joke as well as the next guy but having you add insult to injury in this case isnt helping. Those of us who were given citations already feel like we got a raw deal....after all many people had benefit of a warning...we just had contact with your officers on days you directed them to give out citations...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, 1:37 AM: It's really a shame that you got a ticket (no matter which category you fall under!) but still, what Tom wrote is funny. So you got a ticket; it's not our fault. And I'm not going to be cheesed about it just because YOU are.

Steve said...


So some people "got away with it" and you didn't. Yeah, it sucks, but it's not a "raw deal" defined as "unfair treatment" but rather, the luck of the draw. Many people "get away" with speeding, littering, and all sorts of crimes. I doubt many can honestly claim they didn't know about the restrictions, and if they didn't, it's their own fault for being hermits (or whatever).

My wife ran out early this morning and shut off my sprinklers, which I had already set for the proper days, because she mistakenly thought they were going on the wrong day. I decided to let it go until Saturday. The point is that some people care enough to make sure they're not doing anything wrong, and some don't.

Anonymous said...

Some people are single working moms who spend their time just trying to get everything done in a day. problem taking responsibility and paying a fee...just don't think it should make me a criminal. I think that BECAUSE I care about not doing things wrong.

Anonymous said...

Your are quite the big shot Steve. My Grass is brown. You grow a pair, What the heck is the City doing? By the way Steve, what are you doing? I just installed a new toilet that saves water, and yes my new car is need of a wash.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:27: What is your point???

Steve said...



Anonymous said...

Why not just let it Run till midnight or far as that goes till next midnight, it would be legal since the violation can only be counted once per day assuming the next day would be your next scheduled watering day, Right? Not the spirit of things but so what!

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and try that and see how it works. My guess is you'd get another ticket and probably go to jail. I'll bet that one would make the paper.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 5:26: Why in the world would someone PURPOSELY waste that amount of water? Not only would the water bill be off the charts (for most of us) but the the violation ticket would probably be the max amount. And I would hope there would also be a ticket given for being stupid.

Anonymous said...

I think the misdemeanor/big fine system is a poor system. AS others point out, there are all sorts of ways around the restrictions for those that want to do so. (Water twice as long, water from midnight to 2 am, then 10pm to midnight again)

This is the Midwest. We are good people. Get those good people behind the conservation of water (without the silly fines that probably affect the forgetful and overworked and stressed more so than the hardened water-wasteing criminals) and then you have the best situation to a tough problem.

Tell us that we CAN'T do a thing, and we'll find a way around it. Make us WANT to do a thing, and we'll find a way to make it happen.

How about a PSA spot with Tom Osbourne or poor Rex Burkhead asking the "Husker Faithful" to conserve water. Radio spots, TV spots, or whatever would probably cost about the same as the manpower our police force uses to knock on doors and hand out citations.

I'll be honest; I carry a professional license with the State of Nebraska. The thought of calling them up and reporting that I am guilty of negligent watering and that I should be censured for this does really irk me.

At the very least, change the silly notion that this is a misdemeanor offense and make it an infraction. Then you could mail the tickets and throw some business to the USPS at least.

Tom Casady said...


Mandatory water restrictions exist all over the US of A, and a little research on the Internet will reveal that Lincoln's restrictions are pretty typical. While I think that some tweaking of our system could be beneficial in Lincoln, this is only the second time in our history that we've had these, this critical shortage came upon us quite suddenly.

The police department has been tasked with enforcing this law, not rewriting it. I can't do anything, at this point, about the concern some people seem to have that this is a misdemeanor offense. Hundreds of City ordinance violations are also misdemeanor offenses--dastardly crimes like posting a sign on a utility pole, tossing a cigarette butt out a window, failing to remove your dog's poop, pushing snow into the street, and placing an unfastened flowerpot on a windowsill adjacent to the street.

If an employer is so clueless that they would fail to discern the difference between assault and letting a cat out, I don't have a solution to that.

Anonymous said...

Mr Casady,

I agree that it is not the LPD's job to change the law, and I don't believe I ever said anything to the effect. I actually am sympathetic to the task set before them in this case.

As to your comment about employers: I am my own employer. What I was referencing is the fact that, as a holder of a professional license with the State of Nebraska HHS, I am required to report cases of my "crimes" to them for censure. Government entities, in my opinion, are best dealt with sparingly or not at all, and the fact that they would be within their constituent-ratified rights to remove from me my unblemished license to practice and substitute instead a probationary license, which is listed as such both in writing and on the HHS website just doesn't sit well with me.

True, I would hope that they would use discretion and perhaps take care of the situation in a more tactful manner, but then I never would have imagined that placing a flower-pot on a ledge too close to a street could land me in the Hoosegow for most of a football season either.

Regardless of it's intended use, this blog and it's comments are a semi-public forum, and in this representative governmental system of ours, the squeaky wheel gets the laws changed.

Anonymous said...

If some one has a "start" time prior to Midnight and they have lots of "zones" or areas to water possibly they did not factor in the lenght of all the cycles possibly putting them in violation. Your patriotic lawn will have your neighbor hood "blighted" and when it catches fire I only hope it's on the appropriate "watering day" ! Remember no outdoor watering "NO EXCEPTIONS" this is the problem there's not a lot of common sense.... and yes Im trying to be an smart ____......

Anonymous said...

Goodhue Blvd. running directly south of the state capitolappeared to be blessed in reference to the watering restrictions. I realize now,that 1 side odd the other even, the automatic sprinklers were ran EVERY night. why does one strip of grassy land, gets to be watered nightly due to the wording of the restrictions on watering. I guess I always thought our city would lead by example. Does the city own other properties that like Goodhue Blvd. (2sides-1 odd 1 even). Are all those properties being watered nightly also?

Tom Casady said...


Understood. After this season, the City intends to revisit the entire watering restriction system, to see if we can come up with something that is more effective, less labor intensive, and less intrusive for the public. Right now, we're stuck with what we've got. Watch those flowerpots.


I'll get someone over at the Lincoln Water System to look into who owns the irrigation system on Goodhue just south of the Capital. Look for me to post back here whatever I learn.

Anonymous said...

I was born in Lincoln, then my family moved away. Thank goodness. What a bunch of jerks (the government).