Jun 23, 2007

Ottawa Hills: A Kakistocracy?

Sign in Ottawa Hills reading OTTAWA HELL WE'VE STILL GOT KAKISTOCRACY(Toledo, OH) This sign is evidence of the long-running feud between the village of Ottawa Hills and residents of a home on Bancroft Street.

Reading "OTTAWA HELL WE'VE STILL GOT KAKISTOCRACY," the sign is either: a) freedom of speech; or b) an unsightly, defiant nuisance in this wealthy Ohio village. Kakistocracy is rule by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens in a society, and one witty soul interpreted this as "rule by the s**theads," given the scatological implications of one of the word's roots.

You can find a lengthy summary of the legal filings related to Ottawa Hills v. Afjeh at this link, which details the Afjeh family's last appeal. The original dispute was a matter of property maintenance, and the Afjeh family upped the ante a few years ago by declaring the used toilet and empty 55-gallon drums they placed in the front yard as "art."

I find the sign amusing, although I admittedly do not live nearby, and I might have less tolerance for its prominent placement on Bancroft Street were I to live in Ottawa Hills. I'm not sure what type of market research has been conducted on the topic, but I suspect that these folks are not alone in their assessment of village officials.


Anonymous said...


Stephanie said...

So, do these actually count as PayPerPosts?

Kurt said...

As a former resident of the village, and now resident of Toledo, I can tell you that the village is in the right in this situation. I grew up in the village, and this lady sent her daughter to school wearing a t-shirt that said "My teacher is a bigot." While those of you outside of the village might find this humorous, there is truly nothing humorous about it. Like a troll (or a neo-nazi in Mike's case), this family has plagued the village for years and years and has done what it can to bring down property values. Ironically, in high school I was friends with one of the next door neighbors. They want to leave. But they can't sell their house for shit because they live next to the local nutjobs. It's too bad, because they have a nice house, which would probably sell for a lot if it weren't for this nuisance. If they truly don't like the local government, it is their right to sell their house and leave. I can assure you the village is not stopping them.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Despite their legal first amendment shenanigans they appear to be social misfits for this otherwise elegant and refined community.

Perhaps if their neighbors were to reciprocate, purely within their first amendment rights, a common understanding of what constitutes a "good neighbor" can be reached and suitably accommodated by all involved.

The Village just might have to overlook the education process for a while though ;-)

Pierce said...

I grew up elsewhere in Toledo, but my wife's parents live within a block of this family. I know nothing of the debate, but I can say that while this sign is visually jarring at first, it quickly fades into the periphery like so many lightpoles and mailboxes.... aside from a glance whenever i'm first back in town (to see that they are still living there) I don't think I ever notice it anymore

Jeff said...

If you write a posting like this you might want to consider getting the facts. The truth is the lady with the sign planted bushes along the street in the "right of way". The village asked her for over a YEAR to replant due to zoning violations. (right of way exists in Toledo as well) Anyway, she refused and then the Village offered to PAY to have them replanted in her yard away from the street and all this got was threats of violence against anyone who enters her yard. So, the village did what it had the right to do and that was cut down the plantings and remove them. This and only this is what caused the stupid sign, her painting the garage door pink and lots of tacky barrels in her yard. On a side note, her husband left her due to her crazy behavior and physical threats she has made to others.

With this in mind, do you think the village officials are the ones with the weaker mind?

historymike said...

Uh, Jeff? I posted a link to the court case for those who want to know the details. Please re-read the post.

Also, I acknowledged in the post that I would likely be less-than-happy (read: "pissed") if I had a neighbor who used their front yard in this way.

Mr. Futs said...

They are nuts. I have had a few (unforgettable) meetings with the land owners... None ended well.
"Lilly" as she like to be called seems friendly at first and then the crazy starts to burst from the seams.
Unfortunately she has my personal phone number and have contacted me at my place of business on several occasions crying and ranting about "killing herself"
I feel sorry for her neighbors...