Car Wash Appeal Denied

Judge Harry Michael, the senior judge of the federal court (on the corner of Water and McIntire), has denied the appeal by Henry Weinschenk in his suit against the city. Weinschenk’s Express Car Wash was prohibited from using water during the 2002 drought, causing him to bring a lawsuit against the city in June of 2003, citing equal protection claims and irrationality of the water rationing. After the case was dismissed in April, Weinschenk appealed. This affirmation of the lower court ruling is likely the end of the line for the case. The ruling in Express Carwash of Charlottesville, LLLP v. City of Charlottesville is available on-line (PDF). (Via SW Virginia Law blog.)

9 thoughts on “Car Wash Appeal Denied”

  1. This town is corrupt to the core. Like so many.

    Because Weinschenk isn’t a well-connected businessman, he has zero leverage. If he had been UVA or one of the other big local employers, his predicament would have never happened. In fact, it *did not* happen to them.

    Anyone who thinks America’s legal system is just or even remotely fair has never dealt with it from the wrong side of the bar. I recommend to Weinschenk treat this as a misshapen business loss and move on. He cannot beat city-hall. I mean, look, an 86 year old judge is determining what is and what is not acceptable for the courts: what the hell does he care, at that age?

    Oh Waldo, good one: “irrationality of the water rationing”. That’s almost paraphrasing, as both word have the same etymology.

  2. It is easy in hindsight to say that water rationing was irresponsible, but there was a very real crisis and this was the right thing to do, business be damned. I was personally offended at the audacity of people who would use water to wash cars when there was a real threat that vital water systems (fire, sewage, etc) would be suspended. The city acted correctly to put the public good ahead of a business whose only claim was that it was willing to keep paying for water.

  3. Did anyone say "water rationing was irresponsible"? I don’t recall anyone saying that. Look, if you can’t even establish (or understand) the parameters of a debate, what’s the point?

  4. I quote from Waldo’s submission, "citing equal protection claims and irrationality of the water rationing." This is where I got this from, but if I am misreading this please let me know because it looks quite plain: The owner of the carwash thought the water rationing was irrational, while I think it was the right thing to do.

  5. Waldo’s story: "Weinschenk’s Express Car Wash was prohibited from using water during the 2002 drought".

    Where you prohibited from using water? Was Burger King or Arby’s? How about the Metropolitan or Boar’s Head Country Club? What about foot massage parlors or Sports Bars?

    This small business man was obviously subjectively singled out so that city officials could claim they were doing something about the situation. They provided no real argument other than subjective fugaboos to divert attention from THEIR failure to address proper planning issues.

    This is supposed to be America, allegedly a land where everyone is equal to the law. The officials overstepped their authority by singling his business out without even a hint of objective assessment. I personally don’t think foot baths or washing booze glasses are any more worthy activities during a drought than washing cars.

    Now if the city had come up with some system that at least attempted to be fair, maybe such as restricting water supply per gross sales, or even better, asking everyone to cut last year consumption of same period by 30% (excluding emergency organizations). I don’t know. There sure was a better way than just asking everyone else to be careful, but him, he needed to just shut his livelihood down completely [for the sake of appeasing some half-twits at city hall].

    Hey, it is known Irish folk require more liquids on a daily basis than say, Asians. Maybe all Irish people should have been forcefully restricted whilst Asians could just do as they liked?

    You need to actually read the subject matter before spouting out an opinion.

  6. ragnar is representative, I think, of the populations’ opinion at large. That is: why is there so much fuss about car washes being shut down during a drought? Hey, doesn’t that make sense for the public good?

    Now ask yourselves this: would you have accepted that some city employee arbitrarily decide to take away your paycheck for 3 months? If that had happened to many people, there would have been an uproar and the city employees responsible for that would have no-doubt eventually metaphorically beheaded.

    The debate here is not about car washes: it’s about the sanctity of a person’s right to earn a living on legal activities. The drought was indeed a situation that required due diligence to get through. But Weinschenk was claiming his business and ALL other city car washes used only 0.7% of total water consumption. That sounds like a really good argument for further investigation of why the hell he was shut down when no one else was.

    This was my point: America has entered the dark ages, similar to the Inquisition or the famous witch hunts. Don’t just laugh off peoples’ claims of injustices because you might as well be writing off the very principles for which America originally stood for: freedom and justice for all. Having a decrepit old judge dismiss your case, because no one cares, is a terrible and very scary thing to happen to any American.

  7. Actually, Express Car Wash also sells gas, so they weren’t asked to shut down completely. In fact, when I heard the news that the car washes were being told to stop using water, I decided that I’d get my car vacuumed at the one near KMart, and start getting gas at Express.

    Before I could, though, Henry started spouting off a bunch of selfish, unpatriotic crap, so I changed my mind. It’s unlikely I’ll ever go there again.

    The interesting thing was that after he got fined for using water, he "discovered" a waterless car wash. If he really cared enough about the hospital to worry about it running out of water, he would have pushed that on his own.

    That’s why we need laws. People like Henry act antisocially without them.

  8. Limits are necessary. Henry’s in the washing-cars business. It is not essential to the functioning of the city, and uses a lot of water. Many people (including our elected representatives and the federal courts) believed that his business should thus be sacrificed, such that we could preserve our water supply.

    What if we had a water park in Charlottesville that used, say, 50% of all of the water, just for playing in? That’d be pretty ridiculous to permit to continue operating when we had, say, a week’s supply of water left.

    If I may invent a really ridiculous example, what if we had a company in the business of allow people to pay a dollar to spray hundreds of gallons of brightly-colored water up into the hot, dry air just to watch it evaporate? ("Whee!") With hundreds of people paying $1 a shot each day, we’ll pretend that this business uses 95% of the city’s water each day. Now that’s cool when water is plentiful, but if we’re down to, say, our last day’s supply of water, wouldn’t we want to shut that place down to stretch our water out for another 19 days?

    My point is obvious: there are a pair of thresholds, that of the amount of water used by a business and the necessity of that business in the scheme of things. As agreed upon by a federal court, the city and county decided that the need to wash cars was overshadowed by the need to survive, and I’m inclined to agree.

  9. What if we had a water park in Charlottesville that used, say, 50% of all of the water, just for playing in? That’d be pretty ridiculous to permit to continue operating when we had, say, a week’s supply of water left.

    Weinschenk claims all of Charlottesville’s car washes use a combined 0.7% of regular water consumption.

    But okay, I’ve got another what-if for you: what if Weinschenk all by his loner was purposefully sucking down 99.9% of all water resources? Wouldn’t we want him out of town? You bet ya! So, by that token of imperturbable logic, let’s just nix the bastard! And I mean NOW! Who cares about him? You and I are certainly never going to give a shit. I mean 0.7% or 50%, what the f**k? I don’t need a stupid car wash anyways. No one said small business car wash owners have rights just like the Walmarts or the KFCs! If they did, I mean, wouldn’t the judge have agreed? And, just as the other bozo lower says, he does sell gasoline at his station. So what the !#&;@ is he complaining about? Besides, he said unpatriotic things, so he deserves absolutely nothing and he has no rights.

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