This item appeared in the January 31, 2008, edition of the Arvada Press:
100 warned or cited after 'puffer' patrol Jan. 16Detective Johnson needs to mind his own business and not tell Arvada citizens what to do with their own time.
Nearly 100 vehicles were left running and unattended by owners the morning of Jan. 16 during an Arvada Police Department three-hour "puffer" patrol period. Puffer refers to unattended vehicles left running in the cold because of the smoke that emits from the vehicle's tailpipe.
Officers contacted citizens, who either received a warning flyer or a municipal citation, for leaving their car running unattended.
"Some people might not think it's a big deal to leave a car running unattended, but the fact is criminals oftentimes work in teams to steal cars left to idle in driveways or parking lots," states Arvada Police Det. Bill Johnson in a news release.
People should bundle up, get a hot cup of coffee and stay in their vehicle while it warms to avoid becoming victims of auto theft, Johnson said.
Making something illegal does not make a behavior wrong ... this is the case with this so-called 'puffer' law. Operating a vehicle with a proper registration and license is legal -- stealing a car is illegal and wrong -- city councils and police should stop criminals, not harass ordinary folks just trying to keep warm.
I don't want you to get a ticket or have your car stolen -- but take proper precautions -- and ignore Detective Johnson's and the Arvada city council's busy-body meddling.
The city government of Aurora, Colorado, has decided that doing nothing wrong can get you a ticket. If a person decides to warm-up their car in front of their house on a cold, frosty morning -- and then they go back inside the house to get their cup of coffee -- that's illegal.
This is an example that 'illegal' is not necessarily wrong.
The Aurora government has got this all backwards. It is wrong to steal a car, it is not wrong to run your own car or truck. But the heavy hand of Big Brother government that knows all ... whether an action is wrong or not, you better do what the municipal government tells you to do, or else.
Everywhere in every way these days government and corporations run our lives through a plethora of rules, regulations, surcharges, fees and taxes.
In this case, the Aurora city council has decided to criminalize everyday behavior because of what a bad person might do in the future. To be running 'sting' operations against people who have done nothing wrong is a misuse of police power that makes this travesty of justice even worse.
Individual freedom is a value upon which this Republic was founded -- particularly since September 11, 2001, and the rise Bushism, this principle has been under constant assault in the United States.
Understand, I would not encourage people to warm-up their cars for very long because idling contributes to dirty air and global climate change. But there is a difference between an encouragement of good environmental practices and passing oppressive laws against normal behavior.
Aurora citizens should tell their city council to repeal this ordinance.
Adrian Rascon-Almada left his Dodge Neon wide open and idling in a 7-Eleven parking lot Tuesday morning as he ran inside and grabbed a cup of coffee.
He was gone only a few minutes.
But it was long enough for police to spot him and issue him a ticket for "puffing" - leaving a car running and unattended.
"It takes just a split second for someone lurking outside a 7-Eleven or day- care to take off with your car and then use it to commit another crime," Aurora police Sgt. Dan Mark said.
"Puffer" thefts have become such a problem that Aurora police conducted a citywide operation targeting them Tuesday.
Rascon-Almada was among 60 drivers issued tickets during the four-hour operation. His fine will be between $75 and $105, and he isn't too happy about it. ...
... The sting was conducted from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., when dozens of officers fanned out across the city looking for violators in their driveways and at convenience stores, day-care centers and coffee shops - all hot spots for car thieves. ... MORE