Editoral Rant: someone's nasty underbelly is showing
Someone has been pulling sicko, nasty pranks, apparently targeting a particular Rossland family – or is it meant to target City employees in general? One incident involved booby-trapping the mail slot at City Hall with a bag of urine, so that whoever went to get the mail would set it off and get splashed, along with everything else in the area.
Then there was the bag of poop on a desk. And more recently, a windshield smeared with excrement. These are crappy ways of expressing resentment (or whatever) – crappy in more ways than one. These incidents have been aired on FaceBook, so quite a few people know about them already. We can safely say that overwhelming public sentiment condemns the nastiness and supports the people who have been targets of the nastiness.
Most people don’t know who has done these crappy things, and as the joke went about a coroner finding that a murder had been committed “by a person or persons unknown – and after they’d done a thing like that, who’d want to know them?”
Many Rosslanders are outraged by the crappy acts. We don’t like to think that anyone in our home town is so disturbed, or so hateful.
Got a beef with City Hall, or a City employee about how they do their job? Fine. Explain your problem in words. Civilized, written words. Then someone might be able to do something about your complaint. Or not, if your expectations are unrealistic. Yes, fill in a form – instead of going to City Hall and shouting at whoever happens to be working at the front desk. Your shouting may relieve your frustration for a few minutes, or not – maybe the shouting just reinforces your anger, but either way it’s not a very effective way of getting anyone to do anything. The form may be tiresome, but it means the City will have a record of your complaint and can act on it. As long as it’s something the City can act on, and has the resources to act on. City resources are a bit stretched these days.
The crap – both the bag on the desk and the stuff smeared on the windshield – did not convey a clear message about what the crap-perpetrator is upset about. Neither did the bag of urine. Is it a personal resentment? Employment-related? Is someone upset because the City fined them for their dog’s being at-large, or because the City failed to fine the multitude of Rossland dog-owners whose dogs’ crap was not picked up? Only the crap-smearer knows for sure.
After learning of the nastiness, I interviewed Bryan Teasdale, Rossland’s Chief Administrative Officer. Most of this editorial rant follows from our conversation. We discussed hostility against City Hall in general. He explained that City employees want to serve the public as well as they can. They do have an interest in Rossland being a good place to live. They’re limited by the City budget, which is limited by the amount of property tax residents are willing to pay. They’re also limited to acting on matters that are within the authority of the City; City Hall fields quite a few complaints that have nothing to do with the City.
For instance, the state of Highway 3-B is NOT within the City’s authority. Neither is enforcing speed limits in town or elsewhere. But snow-clearing in town is a City job, so let’s talk about that, as it seems to generate a lot of ill feeling.
You don’t like the snow-plow trucks leaving a berm of snow across your freshly cleared driveway? Everyone can sympathize with that, but we do live in a snowy town (when we’re lucky – we LIKE snow, remember?) and though the city workers would much prefer not to leave berms across driveways when they clear the streets, there’s just no cost-effective way to avoid those berms. Taxes would have to rise a LOT to manage that little feat. If you expect special treatment because you’re a Very Important Person, or you know somebody who is a VIP, that would be a good expectation to lose.
As for those driveway berms, yes, sometimes they’re very inconvenient. We all suffer from that at times. In general, please think of them as opportunities for a little extra upper-body exercise, and get out the shovel – again and again. If you need to be away during the winter, it’s a good idea to arrange for someone to clear your driveway before you get back. Maybe you could phone ahead when you have an ETA.
Stop with the abuse of the plow-truck drivers, too. Stop chucking stuff at their windows, or through them. It isn’t funny – it’s a form of assault and it creates a hazard. Stop throwing shovels or other objects at them. Stop directing the plume from your snow-blower at the plow truck. And, while we’re at it, stop with the blowing snow from your driveway out onto the roadway, or into your neighbour’s yards or onto your neighbour’s boulevard frontage. Those are all pretty crappy things to do, too.
Stop blaming the City for the results of your own choices. You have a steep driveway? You chose it. Maybe you really need four-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive, instead of parking on the road. Your garage is full of things that don’t leave room for your vehicle? Maybe you need to manage your stuff a bit better, or a lot better. Bring in the de-clutterers. Take a few loads to the dump; give things to the thrift shop, or have a sale, once the snow is gone. Or all of the above.
If you have too many vehicles and toys (trucks, cars, snowmobiles, personal watercraft, other watercraft, trailers, and so on) maybe it’s time to re-think just how much stuff you need. If you need it all, re-think where you can store it. If you can’t store it on your own property in the winter without taking up space that you need for snow storage, there are storage facilities for rent — not for the snow, but for your stuff. Yes, that costs money, but if you can afford all those toys, then you can afford a bit of extra money to store them properly – right? And remember that along most streets, with a few exceptions, you have no right to park on the boulevard in the winter, except for your driveway — sixteen feet wide unless you have a variance.
But most of all, try to be reasonable. Sometimes there’s good reason to complain about something a City employee has done; everyone makes mistakes; we’re none of us perfect, and who knows, there may even be a bad apple sometimes. It has happened. But it doesn’t help anything or anyone to go all vengeful and criminal in response.
To whoever did those things — leaving bags of bodily excretions for random people to find is not reasonable, nor is smearing crap on anyone’s car. They’re shameful things to do. Next time you feel an urge to do something like that, please phone a counsellor instead and book several sessions. Get help with anger management. Or see your doctor for a referral to a psychiatrist. What you tell them is confidential, and there’s no shame in getting help.