Sunday, July 24, 2005

New cleanup commission is just more smoke and mirrors. Getting to the roots is a dream mission.

A new creation - Murphy to announce cleanup commission

Mayor Tom Murphy plans to announce the creation of the Clean Pittsburgh Commission at a news conference Monday morning.

The city-controlled commission would work with the Pennsylvania Resources Council, a nonprofit, volunteer-driven environmental protection group, to find low-cost ways to clean up streets and sidewalks.

Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shields, of Squirrel Hill, said the new commission would require $10,000 to $20,000 of the city's recycling and street beautification money to match local and state anti-litter and recycling grants. Shields said the commission would consolidate cleanup efforts from several city departments and various environmental groups to make Pittsburgh more attractive to environmental protection grant providers.

Another great, progressive idea surfaces from Mayor Murphy -- only 12 years late.

What has become of the shade tree commission? Perhaps that group could have its scope slightly expanded. Or, perhaps that group should be put to rest and folded into the new commission.

Getting intra-city cooperation is a huge problem. The departments don't often communicate in effective ways, if at all. One of the worst ways to make this occur is to form a new entity where the cooperation needs to reside. It is like passing the buck. Here comes another excuse to not talk now. Cooperation among the departments needs to occur on an hour-by-hour basis.

The stated motivator -- to make Pittsburgh more attractive to the grant providers. That's spin. That's perception. That's handout envy.

One does not need to "consolidate" cleanup efforts. Rather, I'd want to see a spark for energizing all cleanup efforts among all departments.

In the past months, I ranted about this from another position. As the city budget was being put into place, many noted with disgust that the city would not have ANY money in a capital budget. The city's captial budget is ZERO. That's bad. But what's worse is what happens next.

When you don't have any money to get new things -- you have to spend all your energy and time to take care of what old things you've got now. Care matters most. Cleanup is right in that theme. It costs little or nothing to pick-up what is around and on the roads. And, the bill for the litter clean-up can be paid by those who do litter if enforcement is put on notice.

We have many existing environmental protection measures and laws that are already on the books. In the South Side you can't have an open dumpster for example. The lids need to be closed. You can't walk with an open beer container on the streets. The drinking needs to be done in the drinking establishments, not on the sidewalks or in front of the homes.

Enforcement is nill.

Everyone needs to be more aware of what's to happen. What happens when things get soiled. And, how to prevent that from ongoing acts.

We don't need a new commission on clean-up. We need all throughout the city staff to have a new mission and dedication to cleanup.

No comments: