Monday, April 28, 2014

After It Hits The Fan: Mayor Reacts, I Respond

(This is crossposted at Dogtown 12901.)


As mentioned in a previous post  I documented over at my other blog, Dogtown 12901 that dogshit remained next to the Veterans Monument in Trinity Park for about two weeks.  I emailed Mayor Jim Calnon the link and below is his response and then my reply I have just sent also via email.

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Calnon, James  

Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 9:00 AM

To: "Luke T. Bush"


First of all, thank you for calling this to our attention. We get dozens of calls like this to various offices, including mine, each week. We are always grateful when one of our citizens alerts us to a pothole, garbage, uncleared sidewalk, dog/bird droppings, skunks, streetlights out, and a host of other unpleasant things.  While we do see many things in the course of a day, we do appreciate the notice, particularly when we haven't seen it yet.  We should have this monument area cleaned today.

Secondly, however, is the means that you chose to give us notice.  Had you drawn our attention to it and we failed to clean it in a reasonable amount of time, we should be hung out to dry.  But, rather than tell us first, you post it on the internet and then send us a notice that it was posted.  Some unthinking and uncaring dog owners allowed the beauty of our City and our honoring of veterans to be marred; posting your blog before notifying me that it was there,  or putting down the camera and picking up the offending mess yourself,  was unthinkingly and uncaringly spreading your version of dogshit on the internet.

Jim Calnon
Mayor, City of Plattsburgh
518 563-7701 office

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Mayor Calnon:

Thank you for your quick reply.

The dogshit issue like clearing snow from the sidewalks has been one of the major complaints from Plattsburgh citizens for decades.  The Press-Republican has run articles and letters about the problem. Ergo the city should be aware of the problem.

The problem has also been discussed in common council meetings.  I remember one PR article from years ago that included a statement from a councilor who said he was in New York City (Manhattan) over the weekend and it was cleaner than downtown Plattsburgh when it came to dogshit.

I find it surprising that no city employee, especially one employed by public works, noticed the mess at the Veterans Monument over a period of two weeks – not two days.

From what I understand there used to be a part-time city employee who specifically cleaned up the downtown area.  Is he still on the job?

It's time for the city to raise awareness about the dogshit problem, especially when someone can be fined for not picking up their pet's waste.  The threat of a fine for a property owner not clearing a snow from a sidewalk seemed to make a difference over the winter.

In your reply you said that I should have put down my camera and picked up the offending mess myself.  Really.  I didn't leave the mess.  I'm not a city employee.  Not my responsibility.  It is the responsibility of the owner to pick up after his pet.  Besides signs in Trinity Park telling dog-owners to scoop up, there is a waste bag dispenser standing in plain view in case a dog-owner forgot to bring a plastic bag. 

And if the owner leaves the fecal matter behind and is caught in the act it's then upon the city to enforce law and fine the owner.  If the scofflaw isn't caught then the city has the responsibility to clean up the mess.  So please don't put this problem on me when the blame lies elsewhere.  Also, I'm not being paid by the taxpayers and downtown businesses to pick up after human pigs.

You said in your reply it wasn't fair that I posted first and then contacted you, that I was "was unthinkingly and uncaringly spreading [my] version of dogshit on the internet."  No, it's not my "version."  The dogshit was there: objective fact.  I only made a photographic record of it.

The trouble with me reporting the problem, again and again, to the city directly without raising awareness through my blogging leaves the issue in the background, out of sight, out of mind.  Maybe other citizens will now say something instead of averting their eyes and walking on.

And since I consider your email response public I will be posting it at my blogs with this reply.

Luke T. Bush

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Mayor Calnon, It seems to me that the City needs no end of "notice" about so many issues and when notice is provided in the most official and more traditional ways, things still go ignored for decades. Mr. Bush is right about this one and about the sidewalks being cleared of snow. The "system" of complaints about snow clearing is ridiculous. If you are disabled and can't get out of your house or down the sidewalk in the snow, you're supposed to wait 3o days while the city contacts the offending homeowner and asks them nicely to clear the sidewalk. Then, if they don't clear the sidewalk, the theory is that the city will come in and do that. Meanwhile, for 30 days, anyone who wants to move about freely and peaceably in the city on the sidewalks regardless of ability or disability, can't do that. So, people end up walking in the roads during the most dangerous time of the year in the traffic. Somehow, the city seems to think that this "code" of conduct is acceptable at the same time that it limits the freedoms and safety of so many citizens.