Friday, December 31, 2010

When "should" turns into "must".

With a couple days of above-freezing temperatures and a bit of gentle rain, I can see the lawn (and the street) for the first time in nearly three weeks.

We're scheduled for an unseasonably balmy New Year's Eve before returning to our regularly scheduled winter by Sunday.

That'll mean more opportunities for shoveling snow. Like many cities, Indy has sidewalk-clearing ordinances, although I’ve never heard of them being enforced. Fortunately, I don't have to deal with any petty frozen precipitation tyrants like the one Marko wrote about:
...a perfect example of what happens when a powerful bureaucracy gives a little man a badge, a ticket book, and legal authority to lord it over his fellow citizens. He doesn’t just do his job impartially; he relishes the power he holds, and he looks forward to using that power as often as he can.
I know I shovel our walk (and our neighbor’s) just for the smug sense of superiority it gives me to be one of the first people on the block to have a tidy, well-shoveled sidewalk. (I shovel the neighbor’s because it’s no big deal while I’ve got the shovel out. And she mows our front yard while she’s doing hers.) I can guarantee that if I had to deal with an Inspektor Tankle, my shoveling would be a lot more grudging, and I'd only do the minimum required to avoid the fine, mostly out of sheer cussedness.

This is a splendid example of the joys of government, which will always turn a “you should” into a “you must”.

13 comments:

Buzz said...

There was a story in yesterday's Lafayette paper about the shoveling enforcers.
It described them driving around, looking for residents to fine and warn. It boldly stated how many tickets had been issued and such.
My first thought was "I hope they're volunteers and we're not wasting taxpayer dollars for such nonsense."
It didn't take me long to accept that "nonsense" was part of the observation, therefore, the most likely government choice.
This type of nanny bullshit is why I live in the country and drive a Jeep.
If the snow gets bad enough for our 4x4s to struggle, we break out the tractors and clear each others' driveways.
(P.S. Tam, we shoot our guns freely, without causing alarm among the neighbors.)

og said...

A bit ironic that our "civil" officials are gradually removing the civility from our lives.

In my lifetime, people have gone from doing things because they're right, to doing just what we have to, to having to be forced to do what Big Brotha thinks is right for us. Makes me sick to my stomach, it does.

Nathan said...

The sidewalk ordinances were enforced during at least one snow in the Peterson years. They fined (or threatened to fine, can't recall which) a bunch of businesses up on 86th Street east of Michigan Road for not clearing the sidewalks the city snowplows had piled high with snow. It caused a bit of a ruckus as I recall.

I notice that the city rarely clears sidewalks that it's directly responsible for, unless they're around, say, the City-County Building.

Tango Juliet said...

Why you ornery little cuss!

WV: gamsta-- long legged hamster?

staghounds said...

Here's an idea- get the useless, won't hit a lick, deadbeat government employees and swap them with the eager, can't wait to get to work, busy beaver ones.

Or, better, repeal the ordinances you don't want enforced.

And the best way to get that done is rigorous enforcement.

You know, Rosa Parks.

Mad Saint Jack said...

So far I've gotten by just putting down salt (better living through chemistry).



Anybody else seen the Wovel???

http://www.wovel.com/

If it works I think it is a mind bogglingly cool idea.

Old NFO said...

It IS becoming a socialist society... do as you are told or pay the penalty... sigh...

Anonymous said...

Income generation for the city, much like parking tickets. I'm not sure why anyone needs to be told to shovel their sidewalk. It seems a Pavlovian response in our family.

As the transplanted aka damn Yankee with a plow for my tractor, I do plow all my neighbors driveways. I enjoy it and it's not any real work.

Gerry

SympDogge said...

I call it the "Barney Fife Syndrome". They get the one bullet and can't wait to shoot it at the the guy who incorrectly sorts his recycle pile.

Anonymous said...

it gets better in Boston, if you clear your sidewalk properly, and avoid the fine, and someone slips... guess who they sue? Its not the city!

So, you are compelled to maintain property that isn't even remotely yours, and get all of the liability to boot!

I'm thrilled that the street ends at my lawn, no sidewalk to deal with! I'm also thankful that the neighbors are nice.

Cybrludite said...

And here I was expecting the grudging shoveling to only be sufficient to hide the inspector until normal wear had changed the ballistic fingerprinting of the piece you used to deal with them...

Anonymous said...

What about canning the ticket writers and buying Farmalls with plows to plow those pesky sidewalks?
Might even save a bit of money that way.

Justthisguy said...

Cybr, I think you were too subtle in your language there, for the normals to catch yer drift.