Suit had sought judge’s ruling on whether two teens violated city code by selling cookies outside home.
My son is a cub scout in Pack 739. For the past two years, I was the Den Leader of Den 5 of Pack 739. Between you and me, I don’t think I was very good as the den leader. I was basically appointed as den leader when we were at our first meeting three years ago and the parents were asked to raise their hands if they had been a scout. I raised my hand and was asked if I minded leading a den of the new cub scouts. I cannot say no and my son, who was 6 at the time, looked at me so excited that I had to say yes. Back then there were 2 dens of new scouts. The leader of the other den abandoned ship eventually so we added those kids to our den. I got my brown shirt and had my own uniform. Big C and I won the pinewood derby in our division last year. We came in third overall in the pack. I think the other two cars were kids who are now boy scouts so the competition is gone. I resigned as den leader this year and passed the baton to KJ’s dad, Keith. Keith is great with the kids and has far surpassed me in organizational skills. Scouting is great because it teaches kids about social responsibility and what it means to be a good citizen, which brings us to the purpose of this post.
One of the den mothers in Pack 739 is Carolyn Mills. Carolyn is a real nice lady and is very involved in cub scouts and girl scouts. Her family lives in Hazelwood, which is a suburb of St. Louis. Like any other metropolitan area, some parts of that city are better than others. I lived in Hazelwood until my divorce in 2006. Carolyn’s daughters are in girl scouts. My favorite season is what I refer to as Cookie Season. Roving packs of girls amass on the outskirts of the subdivision and at the appointed time make a mad dash to as many houses as possible before anyone else gets there. Their goal is to sell as many boxes of cookies as possible. They have a special mark by my house. They make sure I’m there because they know that I cannot say no to any of them. I end up placing orders with every girl scout in the hood. Last year I think I had to cash in a portion of my IRA because the bad thing about ordering so many cookies is that they expect you to pay. Not only do I order from the roving packs, I buy them at Walmart, Home Depot and any other place they are sold. My justification is that I have to stockpile enough for an entire year. Carolyn and her daughters operated a stand on their driveway to sell the cookies. Had I known about it, I would have been a repeat customer. However, I had no idea until I saw a news report about the City of Hazelwood issuing them a citation for running a business without a license.
At the time, I remember thinking that some Code Enforcement official is going to have to explain to the higher ups at City Hall how it is that he thought picking on Girl Scouts was a good idea. I was certain that th City would use it as an opportunity to get some positive publicity. However, the next thing I heard was that the Mills’ filed suit in court against the City. They claim enforcement of the code for a cookie stand is unconstitutional. It then struck me that the City took the opposite path of what I expected. They fully enforced the ordinance. Apparently, the City believes it’s safer to have packs of girl scouts, gangs if you will, roaming the city and approaching houses where they don’t know anybody. I remember thinking at that time that maybe it was just me who thought the City’s stance was ridiculous based on my political views. The odd thing is that I really have no political views other than what I call the Self-Preservation philosophy. Simply stated, my political view is that everyone should stay away from any legislation which would affect trial lawyers. As long as there was no affect on my profession, I really don’t care.
The next thing I heard about the Hazelwood Cookie Scandal was on the Sean Hannity show. The story had now drawn national attention. I knew at that point that I was not the only one who saw how ridiculous all of this was. Now the case has been in court and will go up to the Missouri Court of Appeals. I am sure the City will hire one of the big firms in town to represent it in this epic battle, By the way, the Mills are being represented by an attorney who is not charging them for his services. The costs of this case will be outrageous. The only positive is that the Mills’ children, all of them scouts, will be able to see the inefficient and irrational way in which our courts operate at times. That has to be good for a badge or two.
In the end, the City is looking like a bunch of thugs picking on these girls, not only locally but on a national scale. Hannity has said that if they open the stand again, he wanted to broadcast his show live from the Mills’ driveway. I think this could turn out very bad for the City. However, I don’t think they get it. What will happen is that on that day when the cookie stand opens with Hannity there live, a Hazelwood Police paddy wagon will arrive. A swat team will emerge and take the Mills’ girls into custody. They will then confiscate the video in any cameras, will disconnect power to Hannity’s live feed, and then take Hannity into custody. I would laugh at this scenario as being a joke except that with the City of Hazelwood I’m not so sure it won’t happen. The City has played this all wrong and now can’t get out of it. Remember, don’t mess with the roving gangs of Girl Scouts because they can bring you down.