Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - By Ben Berkowitz - 2 comments
A few years ago I reported graffiti on an underpass in Hamden, CT along a bike trail. Aside from the fact that paint did not add any cultural value to the wall it included the words "nigger" and "homo". See SCF issue: http://blogspot.seeclickfix.com/issues/1270 After two years that issue is still open.
Hamden, like many cities, is having trouble keeping up with the number of things that need to be fixed in tough budget times. As reported here Mayor Scott Jackson decided to take matters into his own hands and repair some long unaddressed graffiti himself with money from his own pocket.
I personally feel that its this kind of leadership that not only gets you reelected but also encourages citizens to take the action of governance into their own hands. To provide for yourself, not just because you can not be provided for, but because it feels good to be part of the improvement that you see around you. Imagine if every citizen felt that buying paint to cover up graffiti in their hood was their civic duty as equally as being concerned about it. We'd have stronger communities that were less expensive to operate and much stronger communities.
Until reading this story I had never seen any real obstacles to the Mayor's actions except for a perception of who's responsibility the fixing was.
I was wrong. There is a Union Grievance being filed against the Mayor.
A town employee, who told the Register he did not want his name published, said he was “devastated to hear that officials were painting over graffiti because it’s against the union contract.”
I think this incident raises questions about whether the distribution of provision of services to citizens will be blocked by those looking to keep paid work for themselves. Is it right that we employ people with tax dollars to do services that we can not afford with tax dollars but can afford with our own hands?
Its my understanding that volunteers providing city services is fine, but what if a city employee wants to lead by volunteering?
IMHO: If unions want to continue to contribute to strong communities they are going to have to give a little
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