Saturday, May 01, 2010

Same planet; different worlds

Read this story about a city park (link) in a city just across the state line from me, and then read my letter-to-the editor, which coincidentally came out on the same day in a different newspaper (my local one, which has no website), and notice the completely different mindsets at work. Only 10 miles or so separate us, but we exist in different worlds.
I'll reproduce my letter below, since it is probably impossible to read the scanned image:

I'm going to step up on my soap box for a minute to make a couple of
observations about the Farwell city park. If you don't use the park, then
I am not speaking to you. In your case, you already do more for the park
than you should since you have your property coercively confiscated to pay for
the park's maintenance. For this insult to your rights and property, I
sympathize. I am only speaking to those of us who use the

Well, not everyone who uses the park. I am also not talking to the
unrepentantly irresponsible individuals who smash glass bottles and drop their
waste wherever they happen to be. They wouldn't listen to me, even if they
read a newspaper.

I am speaking about all the trash that winds up on the ground in the
park. The trash cans scattered around the park are worse than useless when
they are full. I notice that they rarely get emptied, since I see
individually distinguishable items sit in the cans for months at a time.
If the can is full, and you stuff some items on top, you may as well toss your
trash on the ground. That is where it will soon end up, after all.
Of course, there is a convenient alternative: there are dumpsters along the
edges of the park that are emptied weekly. You might consider taking a few
extra steps and putting your trash in them. Or, if nothing else appeals to
you, take your trash home with you.

Parties at the park are great, but they produce more trash than the little
cans will hold. Your paper plates, cake boxes, dismembered pinata corpses,
and gift wrap overflow the cans and end up blowing all over the place.
Consider bringing a trash bag for this excess waste and then putting it all in
one of the dumpsters as you leave.

It is not "the city's responsibility". It is yours, as a park
user. Trying to make "the city" responsible just gives "the city" an
excuse to either "tax" you more to "fix it", or to pass silly ordinances that
will violate your liberty. The problems, and the only real solutions, lie
with each of us individually. Your choice is to either listen to me, or
discount me as a crank. It doesn't matter to me which you choose.
Either way, I wish you well.

I was reminded that I should have used the opportunity to advocate privatization, and I kick myself for overlooking that, since it is something that runs through my mind all the time. I wish I could always think of everything that needs to be said in every circumstance!