News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2007


Make councilmen account for blight in their districts

To The Daily: Regarding your June 19 article about enforcing existing ordinances or passing new ones: The simple solution to the neighborhood blight is to hold the councilman who represents that particular district responsible to see his neighborhood is cleaned up.

There is more to being a city councilman than just sitting behind a desk and doing nothing for a monthly salary. Since he or she is being paid a monthly salary, on Sunday afternoon once a month, he should drive through the district he represents and see what needs attention, write down the address and either contact the people or turn the information over to the proper inspector and let him follow up on it. It doesn’t take that long to drive through the area he represents. They didn’t mind going through the neighborhoods while they were running for office. Now let them do more than just collect paychecks.

A person has to work to get paid, and sitting behind a desk and discussing when to raise taxes and where to squander money is not work. If the job is too tough to handle, resign and let some responsible person do the job you are not doing take care of the blight. The councilmen can be either responsible or irresponsible. It’s their choice.

Aaron Potts

Weed, junk and litter ordinance unfair to poor

To The Daily: I was on the phone with a friend in Arlington, Va., the other day and read to her about the first person I know of being put in jail for the “weed, junk and litter ordinance.”

She immediately asked me, “When did Decatur become a communist city?”

I considered her words. Neighbor against neighbor, phone calls being made to “turn someone in,” and the “Gestapo” ordained team of ordinance regulators driving the city streets to look for ordinance violators and take pictures and post violation signs in yards. I am beginning to wonder the same thing.

Decatur has adopted an ordinance against the low- to median-income homeowners and renters. This ordinance improves the lives and property values of the upper class, but how does it improve the lives of those targeted by the Gestapo Ordinance Regulators?

They do not bother with the higher echelons of the city, but they certainly take their cues from them. Has Decatur decided to establish a citywide homeowners association program under the guise of the weed, junk, and litter ordinance?

Ultimately, this ordinance will eliminate the neighborly kindnesses of communities. If you happen to dislike the neighbor’s idea of yard decorations or flowers and bushes, you make a call to the hotline. If someone new buys a home in your neighborhood or moves into a rental home in your neighborhood, forget the casserole. March straight over to them, and let them know you are watching their yard for weed, junk and litter, and you’re armed with a phone.

This will be the legacy of Decatur. Instead of worrying about what Union Gen. William T. Sherman would think if he meandered down his namesake street, let’s be proud of what Hitler would think if he visited Decatur instead.

Brenda Freeman

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