For several years we have watched a few Clark Griswold-like Christmas light enthusiasts get dragged into court for their over-the-top displays.
The mother of all ridiculous displays is in Plantation, Florida where Mark Hyatt did battle with his city — and won.
Here is Hyatt’s hideous display of Christmas gluttony:
How’d you like to live next door to that every December?
Well, his neighbors didn’t like it and complained. The Hyatts just built it bigger.
Then the city started to complain and they began harassing the Hyatt’s to tone it down. The Hyatts just built it bigger.
And the people came. By the thousands. Then there was the reality television show — which the Hyatts lost — that only made the story as well as the controversy bigger.
The city sent notices and bills and the Hyatts just ignored it all and built it bigger still.
Then it started to get serious.
Someone called someone evil, Christmas lights were then said to be a public health hazard, freedom of speech was debated and all kinds of stuff that betrays the Christmas theme of “peace on earth, goodwill to men” was said.
There were fines and violations and citations and eventually a lawsuit.
The teflon-coated Hyatts won in court, the display got bigger again, and Mark Hyatt ran for the City Council. Of course, he won.
Now the city is auditing the whole thing and lo and behold the revelation is made that nearly a half million dollars was spent on attorney fees to fight the Hyatts.
Now people are pissed.
The absurdity of this entire situation seems to be launched solely at the city.
But when will the good people of Plantation wake up and see what the real problem is?
It’s Mark Hyatt.
Mark Hyatt is a realtor, so maybe he knows a thing or two about curb appeal. But he sure does not seem to know much about Christmas.
Just because people show up to look at the lights does not mean they approve of turning a neighborhood into Las Vegas.
Yep, hate to break this to you, Hyatt: people come to look at your lights because they wouldn’t/couldn’t/shouldm’t do that to their own home.
But let’s not place all the blame on the Hyatts.
The City, as Hyatt has pointed out, hasn’t exactly been Christmas-like in their behavior either.
Did anyone from the City even try to work things out with the Hyatts or did they just show up with their tickets and threats? Was there thought given to some mutually agreed upon strategy for the traffic and the trash and the safety hazards and the nightly timing?
This kind of thing happens just fine in cities around the world. Why not Plantation, Florida?
What’s wrong with public servants serving the public in the name of a little Christmas cheer? Is that asking too much? Don’t blame the weather, you’re in Florida for crying out loud.
Well now maybe Mark Hyatt can fix it all.
He’s got himself elected to the City Council.
Maybe he can be appointed to work with himself and make this all right so that Christmas can go back to obscurity in Plantation, Florida.
Maybe the Hyatts can pony up some cash and donate it to the city to defray the costs of taking them to court. It’s the Christmas thing to do.
And maybe Hyatt can reach out to the chief of police and come up with a plan that is acceptable to the City that doesn’t cost the city any more money for HIS lights.
Seems reasonable, right?
But it won’t happen.
The house next door to Hyatt is for sale.
Can’t imagine why.
But not even Hyatt the great realtor of Plantation can sell it.
Can’t imagine why.
A moody and tragic figure, Mr. Longfellow joins Christmas Weekly after a distinguished career in which he wrote "If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all". A wry observer of Christmas trends and controversies Longfellow tends to shine a light on the more negative aspects of the modern Christmas. But we know he's a purist at heart and actually waters his fake tree with great hope in his heart.
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