The small injustices that keep me libertarian

Imagine facing a $100,000 fine for parking your own car on your own lawn

A car.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

In the city of Lantana, Florida, it is illegal to park your own car on your own lawn. If you place the tires of your vehicle upon your small patch of unpaved earth, you will be fined $250. Per day.

This is what has happened to a Lantana woman named Sandy Martinez. There's no good street parking at her house, so when her car, her sister's car, and her two adult children's cars are all at her home, the space constraints sometimes put two wheels of one vehicle on the grass. For this, the city fined her more than $100,000, plus nearly $65,000 for other minor housing code violations: cracks on the driveway and a fence that got knocked down in a squall. Martinez couldn't afford to repave the driveway, which was still functional. She was waiting for insurance reimbursement to fix the fence. And she tried to resolve the parking fines only to discover, months later, they were still accumulating daily. Now her collective fines are so large she could only repay them by selling her house, but then she'd still have to pay off her mortgage, and she'd have no home. Lantana's housing code threatens to ruin her life — and for what? Driveway cracks, a delayed insurance claim, and two wheels on a lawn.

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.