Wednesday, June 03, 2009

And on the Question of Whether Metro Action Makes Salemtown a Trashy Place

MAC's Director bristled at my contention to CM Erica Gilmore that some MAC clients consistently used Salemtown as their own personal garbage can and urinal:
We believe it is not reasonable to expect us to clean the streets in our neighborhood because it is assumed that every deviant who urinates on a sidewalk or who throws trash from their cars is a customer of this agency or that the actions of every person who comes to our building is our responsibility. So yes it is correct that we believe the streets are to be cleaned by public works in the same way we believe that if it is suspected that one of these individuals vandalized a home that the police would be called and not us. We did agree that we would post signs in our buildings asking our customers to help keep our community clean by throwing trash in a trash receptacle and not on the street.
I was actually not assuming anything about "every deviant," but just the ones whom I witnessed parking on the street, dumping trash out of cars, and then walking up and standing in the line of MAC clients that often snakes out the door and down the sidewalk on 5th Avenue. And in a couple of cases where I watched "deviants" exposing themselves in public to urinate, they were passengers in cars of clients who went up to stand in line to get utility bill assistance.

I'll grant that in neither case did I stalk the MAC clients into the building to verify that they were actually standing in line to receive assistance. However, it seems reasonable to deduce that these particular deviants were MAC deviants, rather than drive-by litterers and urinators. The drive-by deviants usually use the alleys, anyway.

One Salemtown neighbor reinforced my perceptions in a reply to Director Croom:
I am aware that the occasional potato chip bag or candy wrapper that ends up on the street or in my yard are from patrons (mainly kids) of the store located at 7th and [Garfield]. However, any McDonalds, Subway, or KFC bags are from MAC customers, as these locations are too far away for walkers to bring them into the neighborhood just to dispose of them on 5th Avenue directly in front of MAC. It is not a coincidence that none of these fast food bags “appear” over a weekend when MAC is not open. This trash also includes diapers thrown from MAC customer cars, which is not something I enjoy cleaning up. The fact is, the majority of MAC customers do not respect the neighborhood.
Obviously, our neighborhood watch includes detailed attention to the brand of litter on 5th Avenue and Ms. Croom underestimates our ability to discern between garden-variety "deviants" and MAC "deviants."

The same neighbor also challenged Cynthia Croom to find any trash receptacles that her clients could actually use:
where are the trash receptacles that are also referred by Ms. Croom to address the issue? There are no trash receptacles on 5th Avenue at this time. None have been noted on the MAC property either outside of the main entrance or directly inside the building. And, how realistic is it that people who are too idle to get out of their car while waiting for their friends/family to receive services at MAC would actually use trash receptacles? Obtaining trash receptacles was actually supposed to be part of the grant, but were removed when the project became over budget and cuts had to be made. The addition of these trash receptacles was an attempt on the CAC’s part to try to address the trash from people walking in the neighborhood, in addition to the MAC customer trash situation, but, unfortunately, this will not be seen to fruition through the grant.
Indeed, MAC references to trash receptacles seems deceptive in the absence actual trash receptacles. And the last time I checked after Ms. Croom's letter went out, there were no MAC signs encouraging clients to use receptacles that don't exist.

I don't know whether we will be getting into these trashy issues in our meeting with MAC tonight but the record of MAC's impact on the quality of life in Salemtown needs to be set straight. MAC does not provide adequate litter disposal and restroom facilities to accommodate the high-client traffic, perhaps even forcing some who would not otherwise break the law to be deviant. They need to move to a facility large enough to provide these amenities to their clients.

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