I have a pet theory that some of the worst damage done to our cities is inflicted by local school boards. Recently, NYC Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña tossed my pet theory a large tasty bone.
Clashes between evangelical Christians and the gay community are hardly news. Because I think people’s private lives should be private, nine times out of ten, I take the side of the gay community.
On September 28, the Seattle City Council embarrassed themselves by voting unanimously to search citizens’ garbage and fine them for food scrap violations. On October 6, they embarrassed the entire country.
There’s a lot not to love about a compost bin: The smell. The fruit flies. The general ick factor. The Seattle City Council has a response to your concerns: Get used to it or else. A little background: In 2009, Seattle passed an ordinance that said every resident, whether a single-family homeowner or apartment dweller, must practice mandatory composting or pay fines. The city delivered 13-gallon composting carts to every homeowner, and currently force them to pay a $5.15 a month pickup charge. They also offer a 96-gallon bin for $9.90/month.
Transit Oriented Development is an innocent-sounding term that gets some critics of local government all wee-wee’d up. In a nutshell, it’s based on the belief that your Subaru is killing the planet, so we should all ride our bikes in the rain to a train that drops us at a station just a second soggy bike ride to the office. The city and county planners and regional agencies who dream up T.O.D. schemes exercise a twisted logic that says, build a light rail or streetcar line between Point A and Point B, and soon, “vibrant communities” will sprout up around the train stations and streetcar stops.
We have 5 1/2 years to go, but here’s the one to beat: At a city council meeting, a 20-something community task force member was asked when her group would pave a sidewalk near a school.
Her answer? “Oh, we don’t do anything. We’re just a Task Force.”
So your city council is going to pass a resolution honoring the 71st birthday of the United Nations, but is too busy to fix a pothole that broke three axles last month.
A thriving redwood tree is one of nature’s most majestic creations. It can grow over 300 feet tall, with a trunk that can be more than 15 feet in diameter. One tree inspires awe by itself, and when gathered in groves, they create a deeply shaded cathedral that touches even non-believers like me.
The redwood in this story possesses none of those qualities.