Monday, May 24, 2010

A Familiar Equation

Flint + summer + budget shortfalls = uncut grass.

10 comments:

  1. Just my two cents.. A community in the true meaning of community does not fully depend on the government to cut the grass.. Each street in each neighborhood in each ward has enough lawn mowers and man power to mow the lawn. Enough said. Lets just FORGET the government for a minute here. Everyone is so gosh dang dependent they cant even cut grass.. It's may not be there grass.. But it's the communities grass.. In other words.. If you live in the community, it is your grass too.. So organize and cut the damn grass!

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  2. Agreed Rob. This is one problem that seems easy to solve. There's no complex urban planning calculation involved.

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  3. Ah, but the liability issues...if party X is mowing City grass, their homeowner/renter insurance doesn't apply. If they're hurt, does the City's insurance pay? If party X hurts party Y, how about that?

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  4. Why do I always forget about the liability issues.

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  5. I recall one day in the early 80's Mike Brown went out and mowed about a 40 yard x 40 yard section of Haskell, and then called someone at the city to tell them they needed to do the rest. They actually came and did it.

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  6. It's funny how the folks who say everyone should start cutting the grass themselves don't even live in the city/county/state. If that's your opinion, then get your ass over here and start cutting the grass yourself. We'll all stand around and give you a nice, lovely slow-clap for your efforts.

    You're not wrong--a great many residents, community groups and non-profits ALREADY do this--but you're definitely not right either. If a fraction of the folks who sat around telling Flint and its residents what to do and how to do it actually came here (or back, in many cases) and bothered to make a difference, this city would be a very different place.

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  7. Aren't most of these homes in foreclosure? Why don't the banks cut the grass?

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  8. As far as playgrounds and parks though... gas isn't that cheap. Yes communities could organize and cut it, and we have in ours, but after awhile you're wondering why... and just what is the city doing that they can't do it, when residents can.

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  9. As usual, whenever I make a knee-jerk comment, the readers quickly show me the error of my ways. This seemingly simple issue really does point out how complicated it is to run a city, especially a city with costs that continue to climb while revenues decline.

    A few thoughts:

    1. As the Journal article points out, Flint has a lot of parkland. I can see how a few dedicated residents on a single block could organize to mow vacant lots on their street. But residents taking care of parks and boulevards would require the coordination of hundreds, if not thousands of people for a five-month stretch.

    2. Flint already has a system in place to mow these areas. Getting residents to do it would require a lot of time and effort to duplicate a system already in place. Far more efficient to find funding for the city to do its job.

    3. As JWilly points out, liability is a huge issue for cities. Lots of people with mowers on city property would translate into lots of lawsuits against the city.

    4. And Driftwood is also right. It's easy for me to think I'd be out there mowing on my day off if I lived in Flint, but would I really be willing to go out and mow a chunk of Bassett Park every weekend? It sometimes takes me three days to bring my garbage bins off the street in San Francisco. I'd probably be saying "I pay taxes for the city to do this!"

    Having said all that, this overgrown grass issue is a huge problem in terms of public perception. My girlfriend and I went to Flint a few years back during one of these non-mowing phases, and it really sends a message that things have broken down when you pull up to a light and there's two feet high grass in the boulevard. It seemed worse than the vacant houses. It really sends a powerful psychological message that there's no hope for this place. Not saying that's the case, but that's the message it sends.

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  10. Message received, loud and clear. Roger that. WILCO. Over and out. Nat'l Guard project? Too bad the Mayor doesn't have jurisdiction.

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