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Saving Us From Snowzilla

In: Snowzilla Articles

28 Dec 2008

Every year for the past three years a massive snowman has risen from Billy Power’s yard in Anchorage, Alaska. Starting out at nearly 16 feet tall his first year, the snowman has grown larger each year reaching a whopping estimated 25 feet this year. As might be expected, the snowman, dubbed “Snowzilla,” has annually drawn large crowds of admirers to the east Anchorage neighborhood he calls home. But this year the city government of Anchorage has chosen to bravely step forward to protect their fair city from Snowzilla.

The city tacked a cease-and-desist order on Billy Power’s front door deeming Snowzilla a nuisance and a hazard to the neighborhood. And yet somehow – mysteriously – Snowzilla still arose this year bigger and better than ever. Powers takes no personal credit for the latest incarnation of Snowzilla; when asked how the giant snowman got there, he replied, “Magic.” So how long will it be before the SWAT team is mobilized to deal with such an affront to public safety?

It’s not a facetious question. Implicit in every law, ordinance, statute, and code is a mechanism for enforcement which, taken to its logical end, allows the state or municipality to use increasing amounts of coercion up to and including lethal force, if necessary, against the non-compliant. This is worth remembering when government at any level seeks to “protect” us with official actions from “monsters” that seem to exist primarily in the minds of busybodies who are eager to use their power to control, intimidate or inconvenience citizens who dare think outside the box. Safety is fast becoming an Orwellian buzzword for justifying increased government control at all levels.

It doesn’t appear that any official move is afoot to address the nuisance of those appreciative spectators caused by Anchorage homeowners who decorate their homes so beautifully with Christmas lights. So why single out Powers? Part of the answer may lie in the fact that Powers has been a target of city code enforcers for some time now over what the city calls “land use violations” involving his business which have earned him nearly $100,000 in fines. In spite of his friction with city hall, Powers has managed to keep his sense of humor intact as the city considers its next move.

But how far can a man be pushed? The city of Kirkwood, Missouri, found out the hard way about a year ago when they annexed an unincorporated area and imposed their codes on a business owner named Charles Lee Thornton, hitting him with tens of thousands of dollars in fines for doing things exactly the same as he had legally done for the previous 20 years. They threw him out of city council meetings; they beat his lawsuit in court and it finally ended when he walked into city hall and killed 6 people including the mayor. There is no justification for Charles Thornton’s murderous rampage – he acted like a government, after all – but the $64,000 question remains: Were the city’s actions really necessary to protect rights and serve justice?

The truth is that many of the monsters from which government claims to be protecting us are those of its own creation.

By Bryan Hyde, a talk radio host and graduate student at George Wythe University in Cedar City, Utah.

Copyright © 2008

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6 Responses to Saving Us From Snowzilla



December 28th, 2008 at 4:53 pm

If the city of Anchorage had any kind of PR smarts, they would allow Mr. Powers to build snowzilla in an area like a city park–put a fence around the creation to keep people safe–and put Anchorage in the national news in a positive way over the holiday season. The traffic could come, people could take pictures and Mr. Powers’ neighbors would be left in peace.



December 28th, 2008 at 6:53 pm

I 100% agree with Susan. Anchorage has effectively taken what could be a very positive city PR activity and turned it back on themselves to make them look like a bunch of idiots with nothing better to do. They should instead encourage Mr. Powers to build him in a city park and give their blessings, turning it into a community event.



December 28th, 2008 at 7:31 pm

This is ridiculous. With all the negitivity in the world today. then someone tries to spread some joy and then here comes the Grinch (who hasn’t grown a heart yet) to ruin the day. This Christmas was on record for one of the poorest Christmases, God forbid someone tries to spread a little Christmas cheer.

No matter what you believe or what religon you are this time of year is for joy, thanks, love, friends and family. I wish Billy and Snowzilla the best of luck.



December 28th, 2008 at 8:02 pm

I totally agree with Susan too. It sounds really cool, but Powers shouldn’t be punished for others taking an interest in his creation. Obviously not every day do you get to see a gigantic snowman. Put it up in a park so everyone including little children are able to enjoy it individuality.



December 28th, 2008 at 9:22 pm

I was thinking the same thing as Susan. There is no reason the city could not let him build it in a park, or in a shopping district - I’ll bet they would LOVE some extra traffic! I think it could be a good PR move if the city let Powers build in a park, and then turned it into a city-wide contest. Sell entry forms for most creative snowman. Snowzilla could be the center piece, ineligible for a prize, but other small snow people could be. Charge an admission fee, etc. They’re losing out on $$ here.



December 29th, 2008 at 7:09 am

Good idea, Susan, except I don’t believe this is about Snowzilla at all. It’s just the most recent in a long line of problems that the city has had with Mr. Powers. And, apparently, the city thought it would be one that they could actually take care of easily enough for once.

Boy, were they wrong! As Sarena says, they could have made this a great P.R. move but they are so focused on getting Mr. Powers on one thing or another, that they’ve missed that opportunity.

The funny thing is: I live next to a guy who’s illegally used his 5 acres as a dumping ground for hazardous building material (was forced to clean it up), storage for junk cars, parts sales, parking of old trailers, parts of semis, barrels of oil storage…you name it, it’s there and looks like h**l. I hate it. Everyone hates it.

If I was Billy Powers’ neighbor and his property looked like my real neighbors, I’d want it cleaned up. But, I sure wouldn’t care if he built a huge, super cool snowman there.

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