Small government is something many people in this country seek, especially as you move west. I am all for that, as long as it actually achieves the few things expected of it – police, fire, trash pick-up, decent schools. Here are some basics that are consistently not happening in my neighborhood:
1) The streets in my neighborhood are never plowed. Ever. I have even seen trucks drive down the street with their plows raised with a foot of snow crunching beneath their tires. If it doesn’t warm up quickly, the snow freezes and forms deep tracks down the street that are hard to get out of. The only time this proved helpful was last month when a police chase ended down the street with the perpetrator of a crime skidding across the ice and into a telephone pole. Great way to catch a thief. Maybe that’s the plan?
2) A coyote chased my kids down our street (no, we do not live in a rural area), but when I called, all wildlife-related agencies and rodent removal experts claimed coyotes were not in their purview. The coyotes have formed some sort of shelter just outside our neighbors’ yard, but they too cannot get someone to deal with them despite the fact that they have three young children.
3) Every spring, summer and fall, woodpeckers haunt our sleep. They jackhammer metal chimneys as soon as the sun peeks over the horizon. Of course, since they are endangered, no one is allowed to do anything about them either.
4) Every year, the neighborhood Christmas trees, left in the designated locations by the designated date, remain in a pile in our alley for months. Last year, several of us called our local government for fear that they were going to catch on fire because we had entered summer with its 80-90 degree temperatures.
5) A couch and chair left next to the dumpster in our alley have been sitting there for about two months. The snow covers them. The snow melts. The snow covers them again. We all know the garbage collectors drive by them every single week, because the trash is surprisingly getting picked up. Why can’t they just take the couch and chair?
6) Because I do not live on an alley, I have to walk my trash more than half a block to put the trash in dumpsters so it can be picked up. Where I grew up, you put your trashcan at the end of the driveway, and you were done.
7) The public schools in our state are ranked in the lower third of a country whose public schools are failing, and our city ranks pretty darn low within the state. Nice work spending our tax dollars to not teach our city’s children to read.
8) And the most important complaint right now in my neighborhood is that the police never showed up one night in November after multiple 911 calls when an inebriated man was trying to break down our neighbors’ door. Multiple households called multiple times. Again, multiple children in the house and in the houses moving up the block. Yes, that one made the local news. Just so you know, we’ve been advised to say there is a fire even if there is not. That apparently gets their attention although a home invasion does not.
Now, while we don’t pay the highest taxes in the country, we pay enough that the basics should be getting done. And if they’re not, don’t you have to wonder where all that money is going? And next time the city or state legislators want to raise taxes, shouldn’t they have to prove that they’ve used the funds they already got from us to actually do the job they said they would do? Get the trash, recycle the Christmas trees, teach the kids to read, plow the snow, respond – at least eventually — to a desperate 911 call?
As April 15 rolls around once again, you hate to feel like you’re paying all those taxes to live in a place where the coyotes and woodpeckers are getting more out of the government than we are!