A few years ago this paper ran a story critical of the way the City of Cleveland was maintaining city property. Our main concern was unsightly weed riddled sidewalks and uncut grassy areas. To the city's credit they did eventually take care of the problem and now continue to keep the city looking respectful. As far as I am aware, no one lost their job and the city did not face repercussions of any kind due to neglecting their responsibility to the taxpayer. It was handled sensibly and with little fuss. Now, councilman Bill Estes wants to use institutionalized violence in a similar case, but this time against private citizens, and Councilman George Poe is promoting an even harsher penalty, but more on his idea later.
Estes is a tidy freak. He frets when he sees grass that needs cutting. He doesn't vomit at the sight of untidy vacant lots owned by property speculators but turns green (no pun intended) at the thought of private homeowners cultivating tall fescue to the height it naturally grows. He is pushing fellow council members to strengthen city ordinances to force homeowners to keep their properties in a manner he approves of.
What other control regulations does he have up his sleeve? And what about being green? I thought a radical liberal like Estes would be bashing the environmental drum for Eco-system and wildlife protection. Maybe being green is a part-time activity, with mother earth taking second place to Estes' stomach ailments. Not only is Estes a tidy freak, he is emerging as a control freak too.
According to Estes, it is okay for speculator owned property downtown and elsewhere to languish with broken windows and peeling paint, and just dandy if you are rich and famous and can be labeled eccentric, but woe betide the little homeowner who steps out of line. Estes has cut short of invoking the death penalty for yard slobs but said he would like to see teeth chewing violator's carcasses if he is threatened with projectile vomiting over an unsightly home. Estes would make allowances for city workers who neglect the grass but will be ruthless in punishing homeowners who actually pay to have public grass cut but are not paid by Estes to cut theirs. Estes may be spending far too much time intimidating students in a Lee University classroom to be in touch with government by the people for the people. Or maybe unfettered government control over its citizens fits right in with his political doctrine.
Seriously, the problem with giving authority to an arrogant and shortsighted fellow like Estes is that they are too often listened to and laws are enacted that ultimately prove to be more of a problem to comfortable city living than a few untidy lawns. It is human nature for some to be tidy freaks and some to be slobs but thankfully most people reside somewhere in the middle and accept human frailty as an unavoidable consequence of sharing a city with others. Someone like Estes will never get it because he thinks he is smarter and mentally superior to the other poor saps on his street. His answer to mankind's problems is stricter government control. Maybe we need a yard slob on the council to suggest laws against tidy freaks. The people who plant spring bulbs in neat lines make me sick but I don't want them tarred and feathered.
Now for Poe's personal insight.
During the same debate that Estes became nauseating to me, Poe also let slip his personal preferences regarding treatment of Cleveland citizens. He recommended arming code inspectors, now called enforcers, (how soviet), so they could bully residents into compliance with the threat of a bullet in the butt if they are perceived to be disrespectful. He seemed unaware that city employees are employed by, and for, the betterment of the community and apparently thinks it is okay for city employees to take pointers from the KGB manual. If Poe had his way we would likely see trash collectors shooting people for not sorting their recyclables.
I am sure Estes and Poe are at this moment whining that they had been misunderstood and were only thinking of the betterment of the community.
It is my understanding that some of the worst government atrocities in history found their seed with community minded officials like Estes and Poe.
That's what I think. What do you think?