Friday, October 12, 2012

Why I'm Voting to Keep the Claw

Measure T on the Sacramento ballot will ask Sacramentans to give up their right to "the Claw", the on-the-street garden waste pickup that voters here decided to keep, by ballot initiative, in the '70s.  Sacramentans would still have on-the-street pickup during the heavy leaf months--November, December and January.

Now there are some good reasons to get rid of the Claw.  The piles of leaves take up parking, which isn't a problem in my suburban neighborhood, but is in Midtown and parts of East Sacramento.  If it's windy, the leaves blow all over the street, which wouldn't happen if they were confined to a green waste bin.  And some of our neighbors, particularly those with dogs and fast food wrappers, believe that the leaf piles are middens, and decorate the leaves with dog poo and empty cups.

Those who want to keep the Claw have some good arguments too.  The first is that some yards have so many trees that they couldn't get all the leaves into the green bin, or into several green bins.  And some yards are so small that a green bin would take up most of the sitting area.  Worse, some of the small yards are graced with several trees.  And because we have a looong fall, our leaves fall from the end of August through February. I hope every year for a good October storm, so that the oak leaves will all come down at once, rather than the dribbling fall from August until January.

But here's the real problem.  Having the Claw prevents conflict between neighbors.  Now a lot of neighbors are perfectly normal and decent people.  When the wind blows leaves from our across-the-street neighbor's tree into our yard, we sweep them up and put them into our green bin.  And at least some of our neighbors do the same.  But then there are the pill people.  And we have the misfortune to live next door to one.  He believes that the leaves from our oak tree are ours to get rid of.  And while the immediate problem was dealt with, I can see conflict growing and developing all over the city, as people try to dump leaves on the yard, driveway, sidewalk of the alleged tree guardian.

Given that there's nothing worse than neighbor conflict, I'm voting for the Claw to help prevent it.  It's easier than trying to make the pill people behave.

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