Saturday, August 30, 2014

Liberty, a little on the trashy side.


You may remember the song by Jerry Walker called Trashy Women. The 1989 country hit gets stuck in my head every time we take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood. Littering seems to be a popular past-time in my neighborhood. While there are many bottles and wrappers from private citizens, the Town itself seems to be contributing to the problem.

Here's how I became interested in it. About a month ago I threw out my daughter's old television. A standard 19" television from several decades ago. I stuck it out by the street, even checking the town website to be sure it would be picked up quickly. To quote their website:

It is, and has been, a practice for your Public Works Department to pickup residential rubbish that will not fit into your Blue container [sic] when it is placed at the curb on Tuesdays.  
Except that's not true. A few doors down from my property has sat two larger televisions on public domain (near the roadside) which have not been picked up in over six months. They sit here as of today. In fact, at one point there was three, till I took one home, replaced the capacitors, and gained a new flat-screen for my daughter.The two remaining CRT units sit broken, scavenged of their precious metals, like copper, by gleaners (something I respect). Our TV sat for several weeks before I found an alternative.

The truth is the entire trash system here in Liberty has become progressively more expensive and difficult for citizens. We used to have two pickups a week, and now we're down to one. I'm entirely a supportive of less waste, even though the effects of this change is resulting in more public littering.  In fact, I'm posting rather moderate pictures. I could show you a wooded area at the end of Fairview Street where appliances, mattresses, and tires have wrecked an entire eco-system. Go walking near the adjacent lake and you find used toilets, and other discarded large items.

I cannot understand the failure of the town in this matter. I understand there may be some opinion as to personal responsibility, but knowing Tragedy of the Commons (If you don't, read it.), I'm inclined to suggest that this system, our government, to which we pay and contract for these services, and which has failed to do so, is in violation of their contract (in layman's terms, they're not doing their job). Even if we hold the opinion, that our trash service does not include this sort of waste, the municipality's failure to educate, and then fine those who disregard public health is really confusing.

We're living in a world of Ebola, Malaria, and other diseases spread by warmer weather and bugs, who lay their larvae in these hoards of trash. The entire concept of sanitation, and modern health, is derived from better human health through sewer and trash (thank you Romans). If the Town of Liberty is unwilling to do the job it's appointed to do, then where are citizens supposed to turn? Do we simply accept things as we always have and live in squalor, or do we say something?

Perhaps they (town officials) didn't know? (Now you do!) Not to be too serious about the whole matter, but in the big boy and big girl world of litigation, if someone would die or become injured from such ignorance, we'd call that criminal negligence. Yes, the town could be sued, and officials go to jail for a long, long time. :(

 Look, in the end,  I want what most of Liberty wants... to pay my outrageous monthly fee for trash, and for it to mysteriously disappear, magically, and safely removed out of my sight. You do your job and I'll pay my bill, it's as simple as that. Unfortunately that's never happened, and now Liberty is a little on the trashy side.

Update: After this article had been posted, the TVs have been removed, and the town is better for it. Thank you!