A clean city is a happier city. A trash free city is a more beautiful city. An uncluttered street is a pleasure to drive on. An attractive downtown encourages commerce and prosperity. So whose job is it to clean your neighborhood?
The government? We pay taxes and taxes are supposed to pay someone to keep our streets and cities clean. But as budget cuts and increased operating costs have tightened the purse strings of almost all government agencies keeping our towns and cities in good shape seems to have fallen down on the list of priorities.
If your city has a well-established cleaning system you are very lucky. When I visit Berkeley, the city crews on the streets always impress me. These workers pick up litter, empty trashcans, wash down the sidewalks and water the flowers and trees. It is one reason Berkeley is such a great town.
Many cities and beaches have designated cleanup days and usually there is a great turn out. But what about the other 363 days of the year?
In Tucson, Arizona they have started a program where homeless men and women are hired to pick up trash and do landscaping and maintenance for minimum wage. Bravo Tucson!
Some parts of LA are gorgeous. But driving through some areas one is appalled at the amount of trash. Los Angeles is one of the richest cities on the planet and much of it is a mess. Shame on LA.
Programs like the one in Tucson could be implemented around the country. A win for the cities and a win for the homeless. But until that happens people just need to pick it up.
These are our streets, our neighborhoods. Where our kids go to school and we walk the dog. If our streets are a mess we can’t wait for a paid state employee to get on the job. We just need to bend over, pick up that newspaper, put it in the trash and dust off our hands. We just made our city a lot lovelier and a little richer. And we should feel good about that.