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  • Wednesday, May 17, 2006


    Dimwit of the Day Award to City of Black Jack, Missouri

    The Dimwit of the Day Award © goes to the City of Black Jack, Missouri and its Mayor Norman McCourt for disgracefully using an antiquated overcrowding ordinance to try to run a law-abiding, tax-paying family out of town ostensibly because there are too many “unrelated” people living in their house, i.e., the unmarried couple and their three children.

    Ms. Shelltrack and Mr. Loving and their family do not pose any threat to the lifelong maintenance of the city's housing stock. They do not pose a threat to new buyers having to repair a residence that was not kept up to code. They do not pose a threat to the general safety and welfare of the city's residents.

    It is a shame Mayor McCourt does not have the courage of his convictions and issue a public statement revealing his true motivation for trying to run this law-abiding, tax-paying American family out of town. In my opinion, his true motivation is that he, and the rest of his merry band of hypocrites, are puritannical, moralistic, cowardly, petty, insufferable prigs, and they are horrified at the thought of an unmarried man and woman living "in sin" together in their little town. Why don't they just admit it?

    St. Louis-area town rejects recognition of unmarried couples
    Associated Press
    BLACK JACK, Mo. - The city council in the St. Louis County town Black Jack has rejected a measure that would have changed the definition of a family to include unmarried couples with two or more children.

    The measure was rejected Tuesday in a 5-3 vote. As a result, Mayor Norman McCourt said in a statement that those who do not meet the town's definition of family could soon face eviction.

    "The purpose of these occupancy permit laws generally is to avoid overcrowding by non-related parties, assure the lifelong maintenance of the city's housing stock, prevent new buyers from being obligated to repair residences that were not kept up to code, preserve the character of the neighborhoods and the city, and to protect the general safety and welfare of the city's residents," the statement read. He declined to be interviewed.

    In February, Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit because they have three children and are not married. The move generated much attention and the proposal from the town's planning and zoning commission to change the law.

    The commission's proposal would have allowed "two unrelated individuals having a child or children related by blood, adoption or foster care relationship to both such individuals" to live together in a single-family dwelling.

    The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption." It had been used to prevent unwed people from living together with their children.

    Black Jack's special counsel, Sheldon Stock, declined to say whether the city will seek to remove Loving and Shelltrack from their home.

    The couple told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch they were surprised by the decision but that marriage remains a low priority for them.

    "I'm just shocked," Shelltrack said. "I really thought this would all be over, and we could go on with our lives."
    Black Jack resident Rose Curtis, 65, said she thought the council made the right decision.

    "As a woman, I'm not going to let a man have babies by me and not marry me," Curtis said. "I think it was a fair decision. It's cut and dried."

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