Out with a Bang

Ok, I may be leaving this provincial bucolic little town in a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean I’m going quietly. Official type people in this town feel obliged to send me citations about an innocuous pile of leaves in my front yard, informing me of “clean, safe, and sanitary conditions” which shall be maintained on the exterior property by the occupant.
What a load of crap. I like my pile of leaves. I’ve created a mini ecosystem in which my children revel in discovering different bugs and worms and generally being introduced to the micro world around them. Plus it’s composting. I’m doing the borough a service by not having to add my biodegradable matter into a landfill. Instead, I’m using it to benefit the environment by replenishing depleted nutrients into the parched land that is my front yard.
So I have 15 days to remedy my compost pile or face prosecution for the violation. Here’s where I complain: What business does this borough have telling me what’s “clean, safe, and sanitary” on private property? My environmentally friendly leaf mound is not spilling into anyone else’s yard or onto the sidewalk. It’s self-contained and inoffensive.
When it comes to publicly used property this borough is neither “clean, safe, or sanitary.” The playgrounds are completely unusable and a major tax-suck; between the barren swingset frames and the bumblebee infested tire swing and the rusty nails sticking up from broken and splintered wooden planks on the bouncy fire truck and car, I can’t even consider bringing my kids to play there. The sandbox has become a litter box to all the neighborhood stray cats; I’ve found used condoms and hypedermic needles just laying in the grass; there are cigarette butts everywhere and we’re lucky if the grass is mowed more than twice a month (and that’s too infrequent during mosquito season). Those are just the unclean, unsafe, and unsanitary conditions, to say nothing of the merely discomfort related conditions. There are no benches or shaded areas for parents; the water fountain hasn’t worked in more than 10 years; there are no bathrooms – not even a port-a-potty. How can you herd a gaggle of potty-training toddlers and yardapes to a park and not have to pee during the trip? Several times.
The complaint is this, people walk by my house all the time dropping their litter – all manner of fast-food containers, plastic bags, and squashed pop cans. Several times a week I have to clean all that up because it’s garbage and obviously not “clean, safe, and sanitary.” So I wonder, where are the litter police? Why aren’t the people actually creating the mess getting citations? Why doesn’t the borough clean up its own “backyard” before coming after me about my front yard?
I’m protesting this. It’s insulting to expect me to do away with something that’s hurting no one and likely helping – in some small way – everyone. It’s insulting for this borough official, the “Code Enforcement Officer,” to nit-pick my yard for a tiny, perceived offense when it’s my yard; I work there; I play there; I bother no one. Yet I can’t walk down the street with my kids to the playground because it’s a public health and safety hazard.
Oh! And don’t even get me started on the sidewalk between my house and the playground! You want to talk about unsafe! They have had to apply reflective paint to the juts between slabs of sidewalk to somehow guard against a misstep. But I’m sorry, two-year-olds just don’t get the concept of reflective paint, and so they fall. Is that safe? I don’t think so.

3 thoughts on “Out with a Bang

  1. I do believe you may be having more neighbor problems than township problems. Unless someone that works for Vandergrift Boro lives near you??? I have seen much worse on my street than a leaf pile and have never heard of anyone getting notices around there. Anyhoo……I wanted to know if you would be interested in Savannahs bike for Evelina. It’s like new and still has the training wheels on it. I think her helmet might still be around also. It is in my garage (in vandergrift) i can give you the code to open it and get it> If you dont want it i will just have it put in steve and glorias garage until i can do something with it let me know> i have something odd going on with my keyboard> going to reboot and see if it will fix it> talk to you later> kathy


  2. Don’t worry, I’ll be doing one better than that. I will send it to the Vandergrift news, but I’m also finding whatever official persons I can around here and sending them copies of my insurgent letter as well. Plus I will be sending one back to the Code Enforcement Officer.


  3. You really should send this one to the editor of the local paper. The people who need to read this is not likely to see your blog.


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