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Leave my trash alone, thank you - Comments (2) View Comments
Carole McWilliams - 11/7/2008
Now that the election is over (praise be to any and all deities that our readers believe in), we can get down to commenting on more mundane things, like how you rural residents handle your trash.
On Nov. 12 at 10 a.m., the La Plata County Commissioners have scheduled a public hearing on a proposed ordinance governing just that – especially any trash that has stuff in it that attracts critters.
From what I’ve seen of life, most laws at any level are an attempt to control people’s greed, meanness, or stupidity. Some – like this one – fall into the category that has become known as nanny government.
We have all been told over and over that when bears get into people’s trash, it is a people problem, not a bear problem. The bears were here first. They like a free lunch as much as people do. But it’s likely to be fatal for the bear.
So we’ve been told not to leave out food garbage, pet food, hummingbird feeders, other bird feeders, and food-crusted barbecue grills that can attract and doom bears. Some people have trouble getting the message.
But this proposed ordinance goes way too far. It is way too intrusive of folks who have opted to live in the country.
It’s the sort of thing that might be included in subdivision covenants or approved by a subdivision homeowners’ association. HOAs sometimes seem to take on a nanny role, and people who buy lots in a subdivision may be buying into that.
But it’s not appropriate county wide, under the force of county government.
And it’s not just bears. It deals with other assorted wildlife, and “any unrestrained livestock or household pets” causing a “wildlife disturbance” that can be attributed to failure to follow the ordinance.
It requires use of a certified wildlife proof or wildlife resistant trash container, certified as bear-resistant for 90 minutes, individually identified with a serial number.
It justifies this on the basis of threats to public health, safety, and welfare. Critters scattering trash around can be annoying and unsightly, but it usually doesn’t measure up to a threat to health, safety, and welfare.
With bears, the threat is usually to their health, safety, and welfare.
The alternative offered by the ordinance is to keep trash in a closed garage or shed,; and for those with curbside trash pickup to put their trash outside only on the day of pick-up.
The ordinance would be enforced by sheriff’s deputies unless the county commissioners designate someone else. It would be prosecuted by the district attorney in county court.
It seems to me that deputies and prosecutors have more than enough to do already, like deal with drunk drivers and child molestors. County Court dockets are already clogged with DUIs and other traffic offenders.
Leave this to the nanny HOAs.
About that election…
I appreciated John McCain’s very gracious concession speech and his call for Americans to unite behind our next president. I appreciated Barack Obama’s also gracious victory speech and his promise to reach out to, and listen to, those who didn’t support him. That’s one of those changes that a majority of Americans voted for.
My thought is that 108 million Americans voted for “Country First.” A majority felt Obama is the best one to help us restore that worthy ideal.