Do Billionaires Have Visions Of Doing Peter Griffin’s “Can’t Touch This”?
Steve Dibert, MFI-Miami
On Saturday, I posted a piece about how a group of Michigan billionaires who made their fortunes from being recipients of corporate welfare want to buy an island park on the Detroit River from the City of Detroit and turn it into a Ayn Rand inspired tax haven for tax cheats and money launderers.
As investigative journalists across Detroit like Jeff Wattrick from Deadline Detroit and Steve Neavling from Motor City Muckraker began writing about it, I realized that Rodney Lockwood didn’t get the idea from memorizing pages from Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead. He may have instead lifted the idea from an episode of the TV show, Family Guy. Yes, Family Guy, the low brow hit by Seth MacFarland, that rich people won’t admit to watching in public.
In the episode,E Peterus Unum, that originally aired on July 12, 2000, the show’s central figure Peter Griffin decides he wants he wants to build a swimming pool in his backyard. As he begins to dig the hole for the swimming pool, he finds out he’s being audited by the IRS. After skirting his way around an IRS audit, Peter pursues his goal of building a swimming pool but hits another setback when he learns he needs to apply for a zoning variance. While at the Mayor’s office, he discovers his property is not part of the City of Quahog, Rhode Island or as Quahog’s mayor, Adam West puts it, “Not even part of these United States”
Peter then declares his house to be the new independent nation of “Petoria” to avoid paying taxes or getting a zoning variance. He soon declares Petoria an oligarchy.
This sounds eerily similar to what the supporters of the “Belle Isle Commonwealth” are pushing but the only question is will Belle Islanders like Rodney Lockwood and other leaders of this oversized country club demand and flaunt diplomatic immunity when they come into Detroit like Peter Griffin?