ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Monday, April 30, 2012

How come I don't give a damn anymore?

A guy (who’s name escapes me now) from this P.T.C.C. outfit appeared on The Sue Henry Show today and made bucketfuls of sense.

PENNSYLVANIA TAXPAYERS CYBER COALITION:Dedicated To Equitable Tax Funding Of Pennsylvania Schools

They are advocating the abolition of property taxes in Pennsylvania, and replacing the revenue by hiking the state’s sales tax by a measly 1%.

As he put it, the tax burden would be spread out more fairly, and even to folks who visit and spend in our state.

On Thursday, April 5 (2012), HB 1776 was officially introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by Representative Jim Cox with 60 co-sponsors that include 43 Republicans and 17 Democrats. On Friday, April 13, SB 1400 was introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate by Seantor David Argall with 13 co-sponsors that include 8 Republicans and 5 Democrats. This demonstrates strong bipartisan acceptance of the plan - a very good indication of broad support - and something that we’ve never before seen for this legislation. The list of co-sponsors is listed on this page below my signature and will be updated as more co-sponsors join.

Sounds like a plan.

While working in Wilkes-Barre’s Heights section earlier today, I got to eyeballing both mine and Wifey’s former stomping grounds. She grew up on the next street over---Fulton Street. I spent the majority of my teen years in Interfaith Heights, some 100 yards away from my job site. Wifey’s best friend resided in the house next to where I was toiling away today. Up the block a ways is the former Felt’s store.

Being that my mother once made me traipse back and forth to the old Louden Hill on Market Street for staples seemingly every other day, I once knew every inch of not only the street where I was working, but all of the parallel streets. And with only a few exceptions, these streets were once lined on both sides by modest but well-kept, well-maintained and well-manicured properties.

Today, not so much. Today, the broken-window theory was in full view for me to see in every which direction, despite a lack of broken window panes. And I have to admit, it’s kind of heartbreaking when one considers what once was versus what now is.

And I’m not talking about obvious code violations or anything the City Hall folks could come and tamp down. It’s not any big things that clearly suggest reverse-gentrification has arrived in force. Rather, it’s just a bunch of little things that suggest that nobody cares about the neighborhood anymore. Not the shell-shocked, hunkered-down longtime residents, not the out-of-town landlords, not the slumlords and not the renters themselves.

The weeds popping out of the curb line. The overgrown tree lawns. The towels displayed where curtains ought to be. The dogs running loose. The missing or fallen downspouts. The recycling and garbage cans in front of the homes, or on the front porches. A van with three flat tires. A smashed beer bottle on the sidewalk. A downed tree limb. The abundance of litter. The matted leaves. Cumulatively, it speaks to us by telling us that nobody on that street gives a damn. Oddly enough, while I do give a damn, I do not reside on that street or in that neighborhood.

So what can be done about it?

Should we cuss Hizzoner behind his back? Should we attend a city council meeting and make a scene for the WBRE cameras? Should we outright demand tougher ordinances and resulting fines for the lazy, the slovenly, the apathetic and the landlords who long ago hit the out-migration highway?

Personally, I think we need to implement some sort of program inviting residents to adopt and keep clean their own streets. Call it the “Clean Streets” initiative. Not a yearly, highly-publicized cleanup campaign. I’m talking about an ongoing effort completely supported by the city by way of limited manpower, limited equipment, supplies and ultimately, rewards for the volunteers.

The way I see it, it doesn’t take a busload of folks to keep a single street looking neat and clean year-round. A few motivated people could make a noticeable difference. One question for me is, why isn’t something of this nature already in place? And another would be, why do we even need incentive-laced programs to make people take pride in their own homes, rented or otherwise? And lastly, how come nobody gives a damn anymore?

Rather than haranguing our elected and appointed officials about the sagging conditions in our neighborhoods, perhaps we should be doing a bit more soul-searching coupled with some overdue introspection.

Such as, what am I doing to improve the appearance of my street? Or, how come I don't give a damn anymore?

Just thinking out loud.


1 comment:

Aggie95 said...

I live in the Heights ...* SHRUG * ....after awhile you get tired of picking up other people's trash. You pick it up the next day its all back. You holler on some kid for throwing crap around the neighborhood and the 14 YO tells you to get Fu..... Sec 8 residents don't give a rats ass they trash the place and move on to the next and I have never ever not once ever seen one cut grass or pull weeds and usually given the choice between buying WB city trash bags or throwing it in the basement where do ya think it winds up