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Op-ed: Clean up the city (by Peter Children)

This news story was published on January 2, 2012.
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Pat Otto the neighborhood coordinator has only two guys on her staff, this means a lot falls through the cracks because there aren’t enough people to cover the city and consequently we all suffer.

I was talking to Tom Jolas our former mayor about this earlier today and he reminded me of an operation he implemented when he was the mayor. He worked with the police force to first identify all the abandoned cars sitting in driveways and in yards around town. Once he had that information he struck a deal with a local scrape dealer with a car crusher and the railroad.

He found  many of those with these cars were happy to have the automobiles hauled away, “Many cars sat there because they didn’t have the funds to move them,” Jolas said. Why couldn’t this be repeated today? We certainly have an abundance of inventory available, there are cadaver cars all over the place, the scrape dealers are here and so is the railroad….all that is missing is the initiative by our current administration.

Why should the neighborhood commission go wanting for funds to hire more personal? Why can’t we increase their budget to clean up the place we live? Now don’t get bent out of shape when I say this; we give the museum $265,000.00 a year and they are sitting on close to a million in their account. True some of that money came from bequeaths but that does not take away from the fact that it exists.

Clean up this town, get your priorities in order…this is were we live, am  the only one who sees this filth. Draft a law with teeth in it, one that will cause you to keep your property clean, and if it is not followed and the city comes in and does it, then apply the cost to the property as a lien, and if the lien isn’t paid in a specified amount of time, foreclose.  I would inspect the interior every home that requires a citation for outside clean up if there are young children living in that home.  That could be done by the health department along with building inspectors.

If this “new” council wants a place to start making a difference, what better place to begin than our own back yard.

Peter Children

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14 Responses to Op-ed: Clean up the city (by Peter Children)

  1. Avatar

    BIker Reply Report comment

    January 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    confused you missed the obvious then someone that works for the city buys the cleaned up property real real cheap isnt that how it works??? Im sure its happened ??

  2. Avatar

    Ralph Reply Report comment

    January 4, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Now this Blue Zone thing is in our face; I am not totally aware of just what it entails yet but it has a lot to do with health I am told. I am sure clutter and junk all over this city would be considered counter productive to health. Junk that sits undistrubed for prolong periods breeds rats and other such varmits that are not healthy

  3. Avatar

    Howie Reply Report comment

    January 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I am not sure what all this means, there are ordinances in place that address all this stuff. If the problem is enforcing the ordinance, then blame the council, staff tried to enforce the ordinance correctly on that guys apple tree and that got countermanded. In fact, that tree is still in violation of the ordinace, but in MC, selective application of ordinances ranks surpreme.

    • Avatar

      Peter Reply Report comment

      January 3, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      A poor apple tree is not the same as junk in a yard. Apples are life…natural…part of nature. There is no junk when it comes to nature. Man, on the other hand…

  4. Avatar

    Patriot Reply Report comment

    January 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Observer, yes I have pride in my town, but I will not tell others how to live.

    My concern for this community is such that I am against hauling trash into an unproven facility near two neighborhoods and a school. How clean will that be? Will this bring in the business your looking for?

    I don’t think many businessmen will drive all over town and say “oh look, an unkept yard, we don’t wan’t to build here!” I’m sure they are more interested in what they can buy property for, what tax breaks they can get and if this city suits there needs. Not the way the populace lives.

    As I’ve said before, there are already ordinances in place for this and we simply don’t need more. Soon you could be told what color your house can be and what type of grass you can grow. Common sense is dying in so many places and is proven each day.

    • Avatar

      Observer Reply Report comment

      January 4, 2012 at 12:48 am

      Go beyond that Patriot. Ever consider what a growing/thriving community looks like? Visit a few. Drive their back streets and see for yourself. Examine what they do and how.

      It is the natural desire of people who purchase homes to keep or increase the value of their investment. I watched it for years. I watched as communities acted against blight to maintain a certain standard. The result was a better community, and higher returns on investment.

      On the other hand, I watched as communities died. Lack of investment, lack of care, doomed them. As one Mayor said, “trash begets trash”. In other words, if left unchecked, problems grow like weeds in an empty lot.

      One can fight it all they want, but in reality, blight becomes a detriment to not just the neighborhood, but the whole community.

  5. Avatar

    Patriot Reply Report comment

    January 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Peter, you don’t know me, you don’t know where I live, so I’ll simply take your remarks as others have stated that you are the “ass”.

    I have pride in my home, have lived in the same neighborhood all my life an my family has done so for over 7 decades.

    It is not the place of the police department to go snooping around everyones property to see what they can see. There are already codes in place to inforce an more are not needed. Again if you people don’t like it here feel free to move.

    Yes, there are a few places that can use some cleaning up, if it bothers you so, by almeans stop by and offer to help someone clean up there yard.

    Oh, and peter, my taxes are paid in full also.

    I don’t know where you come up with the showering thing, do you do that in your yard? Stop wandering off the subject stay focused on one please.

  6. Avatar

    Peter Children Reply Report comment

    January 3, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Patriot;having money dos not make you clean, either you’re clean or you are not, money has nothing to do with it. Get your ass out of the lazy boy, put down the can of beer shut off the ball game and go outside and clean up your yard. Its not rocket science. Maybe you’d be more comfortable at the landfill.

  7. Avatar

    Peter Children Reply Report comment

    January 3, 2012 at 8:12 am


    I take a shower everday, sometime twice a day. Does that say anything to you. I also change clothes totally each day, and in summer often twice a day. I keep myself clean. I see filth, its not a mirage its crap and it is all over this city…maybe its you I am looking at and I don’t know it. You might want to live n a pig pen but I don’t and my propery taxes are paid in full, look it up. People like you make my ass ache, don’t you have any pride?

  8. Avatar

    Patriot Reply Report comment

    January 3, 2012 at 5:41 am

    So lets give government more authority to come in and do as they wan’t? They have more then enough now, they don’t need more.

    Not every neighborhood in this town wan’ts to be Asbury or Eastbrooke, if that is they type of neighborhood you wan’t to live in, move there. Otherwise mind your own business.

    There are not many slums left in this town, yes some folks have more stuff then others, has always been that way. The well to do have generally stayed in there part of town and left the midlle and lower class alone, now some of the middle class feel they wan’t to live like the rich and wan’t to impose there lifestyle on everyone else.

    Frankly, I’m a bit tired of my tax dollars paying for a police officer to go around snooping to see what I have in my yard, many more other important things for them to be doing then that.

    • Avatar

      Observer Reply Report comment

      January 3, 2012 at 11:52 am

      When one considers a community to expand a business, they look at a lot of things. One of those, is curb appeal. Their reputation in part, will reflect that of the community, and it’s attitude.

      In Mason City, our attitude is not quite what some are looking for. Here, it’s ok to mow your lawn into the street. It’s ok to accumulate refuse on your property. It’s ok to move the snow from your driveway into the street. It’s ok to park your cars on the lawn or parkway. It’s acceptable to let weeds overtake your sidewalks, drives, and overlap your curbs. For young people, it’s ok to toss your trash out the window – someone else will pick it up – maybe. For the drunks, it’s ok to urinate anywhere you feel, even if it is some one’s well kept garden. For the pet owner, it’s ok to walk your animal on someone else’s property and use as a toilet.

      All that amounts to an attitude of “I don’t care”. I don’t care about Mason City, my neighbors, or even myself.

      Such ideas of keeping a community clean is hardly elitist. Communities who succeed do it. Communities that are growing do it.

      We have two aircraft of people flying into Mason City right now. One, the usual commercial flight from Minneapolis, the other a private jet (a very nice one at that). What do you think their impression of Mason City will be? Do you care? Should you?

  9. Avatar

    Peter Children Reply Report comment

    January 2, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Confused: I did not study the city code, nor will I, but I will check further on it. I am speaking in generalities. I would expect if it came down to the city foreclosing on a property and assuming title, they would then sell it at a greatly redused price to keep it on the tax roll. Where does it say it must be torn down? If indeed it does mandate that then change it. Is it written in stone? Ths city is deplorable, wallowing in filth.

    • Avatar

      Patriot Reply Report comment

      January 3, 2012 at 5:59 am

      Peter, you are free to move no? If our city is so filthy, why don’t you move else where?

      Not everyone shares your opinion or how YOU think this town should look. Worry about your property and let others take care of their own. You’d make a great socialist or communist with your ideals of government control.

  10. Avatar

    confused Reply Report comment

    January 2, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    so if i understand it right, people don’t clean up their yard. the city comes and does it, right? and the property owner gets a bill, right? if the owner don’t pay its assessed against the property, right? then if after xx days/months/years, the city forcloses, right.
    now, lest say the city did forclose, takes the peoperty. now the “city” now owns a building that has to be removed, and i suppose if a property owner let it go that far, they would be more then happy to pay to have the building removed too, or to have the junk cleaned up.
    so, that puts the expense on the city if the property owner does not pay right?
    if the building is removed, that property according to the city code can not be built on, so now the city has a lot that can’t be used.
    sure, cleaning up the town would be a great idea, but spending more money the city don’t have, is not.