The Keys To The City

Following up to Sis’s post from the other day we get an update from Adam at POWIP on our friends in Cedar Falls, Iowa, who passed the ordinance requiring certain folks to give them their keys

An Iowa city has passed an ordinance requiring hundreds of commercial buildings and apartment complexes to literally leave the keys outside in case of an emergency, allowing quicker access to first responders but potentially to those up to no good, as well.

The Cedar Falls City Council voted 6-1 on Monday to expand an existing 2004 ordinance that required lock boxes containing keys at buildings with six or more units and commercial buildings with sprinkler system or unsupervised alarms. The new ordinance, which can become law with a signature by Mayor Jon Crews, expands the requirement to apartment buildings with just three or more units.

As I said over there, how is the Government requiring you to give them the keys to your property not a violation of the 4th Amendment? They can blather on all they want about how it’s for “emergencies”, but when just what exactly that is is left up to their whims, well, no, I do not believe they have any such “right.” Remember police forces stealing confiscating people’s guns after Katrina? Well, golly, it was an emergency, don’t ya know. And even though the courts afterwards said that was wrong the PROBLEM is that the government thought they could get away with it in the first place.


This has got to stop.

13 Responses to “The Keys To The City”

  1. I have read some of the comments elsewhere from people in that city, and have come to believe that sheep really do not mind having the wolves guard the door.

    Seriously, it takes less time to break a window than it does to open that lock box, and then get the key to open that door. I just don’t buy it.

  2. Skyler says:

    I wonder how it is enforced. Do they check to make sure the key in the lockbo actually opens the door? That’s where you get a 4th Amendment violation, I would think.

    I suspect it will only be enforced negatively, that is, if the building is burning and the lock isn’t working, then they’ll fine you.

  3. Rob says:

    So, we have no objection to the fire department breaking and entering in an emergency? We just don’t want them to have the keys in an emergency?

    Breaking a window IS fairly easy. Breaking down a fire door is like “a whole other country” (Apologies to Texas).

    I’m not necessarily for this measure. I’m just not opposed to it for any reason I’ve heard yet. I’m not sure why it needs to apply to apartment buildings.

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    Nope, I have no objection to them breaking in if there’s a fire. And I suspect that when armed with a fire axe or sledge that a firedoor doesn’t present too much of an obstacle, either.

    I strongly object to giving them the opportunity to do warrant-less untraceable “fishing” expeditions. You know darn well that they will not be able to resist, especially knowing that, by using the keys, it’s highly unlikely anyone will catch them.

  5. Rob says:

    Not true, Mr B. An axe wouldn’t scratch the paint on the door to our warehouse. Neither would most battering rams. Also, our lockboxes record who accesses them. We know which employee, unassisted delivery driver, or emergency crew open our doors.

  6. Mr. Bingley says:

    Well, I bow to your knowledge, Rob, on door integrity! Do you know how much, roughly, your lockboxes cost?

  7. aelfheld says:

    And when the Cedar Falls ‘lockboxes’ are plundered (kind of like Al Gore’s ‘Social Security’ lockbox) and the keys to these buildings are in the hands of miscreants, will the Cedar Falls City Council fully indemnify those complying with this bit of police-state overreach?

    The most disgusting part of the hearings on display was when the City Council members kept insisting that this couldn’t be unconstitutional because no court had yet ruled on it. If we have reached the point when only the judiciary can determine the constitutionality of government actions we are no longer a free citizenry.

  8. Rob says:

    I couldn’t even hazard a guess, Mr B, but I don’t think I’m guessing if I say it must be expensive. There are no keys here. Everything is done by access code. If the objection here is an unfunded mandate sort of thing, I’m in. That significant additional cost up to a point should be subsidized by insurance discounts or tax deductions or some combination thereof.

  9. JeffS says:

    A warehouse is a different matter from a small business, Rob. Or an apartment. Or a condo.

  10. Rob says:

    Yeah, I’m not sure why apartments need to be included. I didn’t know condos were.

    As for small businesses (BTW, our warehouse is part of our small business), they are undoubtedly the council’s main concern. They’re worried about Titan Security being on fire and, while they’re trying to get in, Sherwin-Williams next door in the same strip mall catches fire. And if I own the pet store next to Sherwin-Williams …

    There is another side to this, Jeff, and they’re not all that unreasonable. To me, it’s a close call between the legitimate concerns of the businesses and the legitimate concerns of those charged with protecting citizens and property.

  11. Jim - PRS says:

    If someone desires to put a lockbox on his door, fine. But, making it mandatory is a government overreach.

  12. JeffS says:

    Rob, please, I am aware that there’s another side to this. I’m not unaware of the reasons supporting the law.

    But the fact is, this the heavy handed approach.

    Why couldn’t they offer an incentive to this? Say, negotiating with insurance companies for lower rates? A rebate in taxes or fees?

    Cooperation is better than coercion, any day. Were I in that city, I would find some way to not cooperate. And certainly push for a recall of the elected officials who voted for this.

    Or, I would just vote with my feet. Ask California about how their heavy and burdensome regulations encourages businesses to come and/or stay.

  13. Rob says:

    It’s not overreach, Jim. We require people to have liability auto insurance here in Louisiana. This is the same exact principle. Businesses burning out-of-control and cars moving out-of-control do not only endanger themselves.

    I agree that cooperation is better. I already mentioned tax deductions and insurance discounts. Cooperation is a two way street. The old “ask not” theme is still valid. The citizens should be looking for a solution here, too, instead of just fighting, fighting, fighting.

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