|Thomas J. Mazur - District 8
APRIL 8, 2008
CLEAN UP THROUGH NEIGHBORS ACTING, NOT MORE GOVERNMENT
This is my annual spring harp. Winter's finally left us and I'm noticing trash, debris and droppings all over the place. While out taking an evening stroll with my wife she had this to say one day, "Do you realize that the people who live in this house have to walk by all this garbage strewn about in order to get to their door."
Now, don't think of me as some sort of neat freak. But I learned long ago while in the Army, that one must police their area daily. During my morning walks I must fill two to three plastic bags of litter that I pick up along the way. I think my dogs get annoyed at me after a while because I'm stopping, bending and picking up so often. And what amazes me, is the fact that I don't get days where I can't fill those bags. The big culprits are coffee cups, fast food restaurant bags, water bottles, juice boxes, candy wrappers and cigarette packs.
I would assume that the vast majority of litter comes from the same few individuals on a day to day basis. It's just a stinky little habit that makes neighborhoods look bad. Our town inspectors grind it out daily to enforce our rules on garbage, litter and disrepair, but it almost seems like it's a losing battle. And it will be a losing battle if all we do is rely on government to take care of the problem. I've noticed that the best solution to most neighborhood ills is for the neighbors to organize.
Right now, our nation is clamoring for change. Our county executive rode the crest of this clamor in his landslide victory last election. Now, the buzzword change has gone national. I'm all for change, but usually it must be change on my terms. Change it some place else first, and then bring it to me, once you've determined it works over there. But lately I've realized this great country of ours is in serious need of change. We've spent too much time, money and effort across the oceans when it's our own back yard that is in dire need of tidying up. This nation needs one huge police call. Now I'm not implying that we need a police state or more government programs – because we already spend billions on police and programs.
What we need here is neighbors talking to neighbors and creating neighborhoods and communities. Maybe the high gas prices are a blessing in disguise. Instead of zooming past our neighbors and waving to them from our cars, we can walk down the street and chit chat a bit with them before we get to the corner of nowhere. Maybe the fresh air will give us some new ideas. It would be neat if we could resurrect that old adage "neatness counts" and applied it to our neighborhoods.
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