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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
[CAN] Man's home 'invaded' by government search of fish tanks
    #15902375 - 03/05/12 07:28 AM (2 years, 7 months ago)

Man's home 'invaded' by government search of fish tanks
March 5, 2012 - cbc.ca

A B.C. man who raises tropical fish said his home and privacy were invaded when local enforcement agencies knocked on his door while looking for a marijuana grow operation, and then forced him to pay for an electrical inspection and upgrade his fish-tank operation.

“I felt violated,” said Mike Baynes, 67, from Surrey, B.C. “When they came in here and saw no grow-op, I think they should have said ‘I’m sorry Mike,’ and then turned around and walked out.”

Baynes is one of 128 Surrey residents who don’t have grow operations, but were nevertheless subjected to searches and electrical repair orders in recent months because they use a lot of hydro.

“I think that is an invasion of privacy,” he said. “I don’t think that the City of Surrey has anything to do with my hydro consumption.”

Seven B.C. municipalities, including Surrey, are registered with BC Hydro to get monthly lists of all customers who use more than three times the daily average amount of power.

Teams have police escort

Teams of electrical and fire inspectors then go out to the homes they suspect could be marijuana grow operations to conduct searches, with the RCMP standing by outside.

Residents first get a written notice that says if they don’t consent to a search within 48 hours, the team will seek a warrant.

“I heard a noise outside, and then when I went and looked I had this big yellow notice stuck on my door,” said Baynes.

Because he wasn’t doing anything illegal, Baynes said he had no problem giving his permission. In hindsight, he said, he wishes he’d asked more questions.

“They come in, they look around, different guys wander around here and there and the electrical inspector comes in and he looks at the power bars under the aquariums and he says, ‘I don’t like those power bars on the floor,’” said Baynes.

“I misunderstood the system. I didn’t know that they had the powers to order a safety electrical inspection.”

$800 cost to resident

Baynes said he was ordered to hire an electrician to look at his 19 fish tanks, which cost him $800. He added it was cheaper than it could have been because as a retired electrician he did some of the work.

“I think [municipal inspectors] have to justify their existence,” Baynes said. “They turned around and said, ‘We can’t find [any grow op] but — just in case — slap. Do this. And some of the quotes I got [for electricians] were $3,000.”

The electrician who did the inspection confirmed Baynes did nothing wrong, but some of his wiring wasn’t up to code. Baynes then made some upgrades to his fish tanks, which he felt were unnecessary.

“I was picked on,” he said.

Statistics show, for the first time last year, more often than not the Surrey teams found no illegal grow-ops at homes they inspected. In 2011, they found 82 marijuana grow operations, but also issued 128 electrical repair notices to law-abiding residents like Baynes.

“When you don’t find anything — and you still look for a reason [to issue an order] — I call that harassment,” he said. “And I’m paying for that. I pay taxes here.”

Surrey fire Chief Len Garis told CBC News that since the program started in 2005, the teams have inspected 2,253 homes, of which 1,158 were confirmed as illegal grow operations. Those homeowners were fined between $2,300 and $3,600, Garis said.

Many have no grow-op

At slightly fewer homes — 1,067 — the inspectors found no evidence of illegal grow operations. Of those, 642 had legitimate reasons for high hydro bills.

The other 425 — like Baynes — were given repair notices for electrical violations, requiring them to do upgrades.

Garis added that because of the 48-hour notice of inspections, the grow operations they do find are “almost always” dismantled by the time the team does its search.

“When we get in there, the operators have pulled out all the plants and left,” said Garis. He also said he can’t remember a single inspection that led to criminal charges.

“Possibly in the early days there were charges, but I’m not aware of any,” said Garis.

He said the program is revenue neutral. Fees levied against homeowners with grow-ops have brought in $3.42 million so far, which covered the cost of inspections. Garis also said most residents without grow-ops consent to the inspections and don’t appeal the repair notices.

The executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said he hopes more people will begin to stand up and fight. David Eby believes the bylaws and laws that allow these inspections would not hold up under constitutional challenges.

“There are an increasing number of people who are being subjected to these incredibly invasive searches who are doing nothing wrong except for potentially having some exposed wiring that they need to fix,” said Eby.

Searches challenged

“How much power do we want to give police? How much power do we want to give city authorities to invade our privacy like that? They are going to find some grow-ops, for sure. But they are also going to violate the rights of a lot of people.”

The BCCLA is supporting residents in Mission, B.C., who have launched a class action lawsuit over similar inspections in that community.

One Mission resident who grows cucumbers was fined $5,200. Another got the same fine for a hot tub with faulty wiring.

“If B.C. continues to operate in this way, these kinds of programs will be introduced across the country,” said Eby. “If people value their privacy and if they think this is an overreach in terms of government power, then they need to be speaking out about it now.”

The BCCLA suspects more detailed B.C. Hydro customer information will be available to municipalities, once Smart Meters are gauging usage more quickly and accurately.

“As technology improves, they will be able to get even more information,” Eby predicted.

B.C. Hydro is required by provincial law to hand over customer billing information on all high-usage customers when asked by the municipality.

Chief security officer Bob Harriman insisted Smart Meters won’t make much of a difference. He said the billing records given to municipalities will be more up to date, but otherwise the same.

“The data being collected with the new metering system is no more different than the data being collected under the old system,” said Harriman. “The smart meters are not that smart.”

The utility sent 32 reports out last year to registered municipalities, detailing two years of billing history on all customers who used more than three times the daily average amount of power.

“BC Hydro guards very near and dear customer database information, and only shares it under legislative process,” said Harriman.

Baynes said he pays $450 a month for hydro. He’s worried now that the inspection teams have him on their list, they could be back.

“It all reminds me of 1984 written by George Orwell,” said Baynes. “The government is all powerful.”


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InvisibleEnlil
The Johnny Appleseed of Hope™
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Registered: 08/16/03
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Re: [CAN] Man's home 'invaded' by government search of fish tanks [Re: veggie] * 1
    #15902416 - 03/05/12 07:59 AM (2 years, 7 months ago)

Thank God I don't live in Canada.


--------------------
Fuck the Amish

Ellis Dee said, "And those kids in CT deserved to die and I'm glad they're dead. I am glad that the survivors will have to "live with it" too. hahaha"


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InvisibleJessica Swift
यन्त्र
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Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 1,723
Loc: Flag
Re: [CAN] Man's home 'invaded' by government search of fish tanks [Re: veggie] * 6
    #15902419 - 03/05/12 08:00 AM (2 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

“It all reminds me of 1984 written by George Orwell,” said Baynes. “The government is all powerful.”




And furthermore, people are powerfully stupid. There is no such thing as enforcing these kinds of laws without the idiocy of the confused, control-hungry drones that think they are serving justice. "Government" is just an emergent phenomena from humans. You can't shake your blaming finger at an intangible process. Point it at stupidity.


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Offlinesmily
lookin 4 my ass wit both handz
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Re: [CAN] Man's home 'invaded' by government search of fish tanks [Re: Jessica Swift]
    #15902984 - 03/05/12 11:59 AM (2 years, 7 months ago)

I just love the I CAN'T REMEMBER ANY ARRESTS :rofl:


Most are dismantled b4 we get there  :dancing:

Lol WTF there a invasive public building code inspections traveling circus ...........Revenue neutral :rofl2:


So don't grow Hydro in Canada without an auxiliary water source lol


Edited by smily (03/05/12 12:02 PM)


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OfflinemrPiggy
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Registered: 02/20/06
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Re: [CAN] Man's home 'invaded' by government search of fish tanks [Re: smily]
    #15903073 - 03/05/12 12:27 PM (2 years, 7 months ago)

Actually hydro is referring to electricity, because how your electricity is made is how you refer to it, good thing I don't use a lot of nuclear.


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Offlinegandalfe
Gandalfe

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 29
Loc: Lithuania
Last seen: 10 hours, 33 minutes
Re: [CAN] Man's home 'invaded' by government search of fish tanks [Re: mrPiggy] * 4
    #15903148 - 03/05/12 12:49 PM (2 years, 7 months ago)

I live here in Surrey, and my neighbor smelt a skunk and called these Bozo's over to check out my place.An overweight, so called fireman, started walking around my yard walking over to my electrical meter.I told him he was a parody and a disgrace to the fire department, sniffing for skunk, when his comrades have to fight real fires.I ordered him off my land and continued mocking him as he drove away.Our area is overun ny gro-ops , and real skunks.I had the place withe the skunk.This place is an armpit of corrupt politicians, useless overweight fire inspectors, and power outages from the myriad of Gro-ops.I don't mind the grow ops, but hate the big Pitbulls, they use to protect them ,from the Pot smoking public.I still got scars from those Brutes.They bite hard and don't let go.


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OfflineMGMT
Not A Stranger


Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 165
Last seen: 2 years, 4 months
Re: [CAN] Man's home 'invaded' by government search of fish tanks [Re: gandalfe]
    #15903351 - 03/05/12 02:03 PM (2 years, 7 months ago)

^ I think I'd be looking to move.


--------------------
Ron Paul 2012


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InvisibleMeteloides
Clinically Expressed


Registered: 09/26/11
Posts: 2,187
Re: [CAN] Man's home 'invaded' by government search of fish tanks [Re: gandalfe]
    #15903579 - 03/05/12 02:58 PM (2 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

gandalfe said:
An overweight, so called fireman, started walking around my yard walking over to my electrical meter.I told him he was a parody and a disgrace to the fire department, sniffing for skunk, when his comrades have to fight real fires.I ordered him off my land and continued mocking him as he drove away.




:rofl2:


--------------------
:smoking:


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InvisibleDickhead
2 Times
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Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 28,602
Loc: groin
Re: [CAN] Man's home 'invaded' by government search of fish tanks [Re: veggie]
    #15904755 - 03/05/12 07:10 PM (2 years, 7 months ago)

This is utter insanity and complete incompetence.


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Multiplied


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Offlinejournery-on
Stranger

Registered: 12/21/11
Posts: 14
Last seen: 1 year, 1 month
Re: [CAN] Man's home 'invaded' by government search of fish tanks [Re: Jessica Swift]
    #15908489 - 03/06/12 12:39 PM (2 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

Jessica Swift said:
Quote:

“It all reminds me of 1984 written by George Orwell,” said Baynes. “The government is all powerful.”




And furthermore, people are powerfully stupid. There is no such thing as enforcing these kinds of laws without the idiocy of the confused, control-hungry drones that think they are serving justice. "Government" is just an emergent phenomena from humans. You can't shake your blaming finger at an intangible process. Point it at stupidity.



yes, and let the best ideas win


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