Germain in for D2

In what is possibly the best news of my life (or at least my day), Mike Germain will be running for District 2 City Councilor.  He kicked off the campaign with the following:

“There is no question in my mind that the City Council and city of Worcester will be better off without Phil Palmieri.”  [in today’s Telegram]

Let’s hope that we have some more choice Germain quotes in the next couple of weeks, because the Germain haiku challenge is ON!

That’s right, the contest is to create a haiku using (or inspired by) Mike Germain quotes.  The best haiku will win the grand prize, which will likely be a book I pick up out of the free bin at the library.

For example:

If Mike Germain was
The man on the grassy knoll
I will eat my hat.

I’ve had more vices
than anyone
— regrets, I’ve
had more than a few.

This is going to be the best Council race ever.

Down the drain

This town’s in desperate need of a great public works blogger.  Unfortunately, you’ve got me instead.

Frequent readers know that — despite my frustration with street signs and dealings with the EPA — I am very much in love with Worcester DPW.  And that my children have this bizarre adoration of Jordan Levy.  So let’s combine all that into one post, shall we?

Jordan Levy posted the following on his blog:

Announcement that water and sewer rates are once again going up in Worcester should come as no surprise. The $30 dollar average increases, brings the average users cost to around $900 a year. The increase is necessary in order to comply with the EPA’s regulations and increased cost associated with an ageing water and sewer system. Still, this is an often forgotten issue when we get our tax bills. Before the establishment of the water and sewer enterprise accounts, water and sewer costs were part of the tax bill. Once proposition 2½ came in, cities and towns skillfully established water rates outside of the tax line. No matter how you cut it, when you get your tax bill, add another $900 or upward to the cost of living here.

The City of Worcester uses approximately 21.6 million gallons of water a day.  Divide that by 181,085 — a Worcester resident uses approximately 120 gallons of water every day.

Charging people for water and sewer — like charging them for trash bags — is one way to encourage conservation.  (Yes, I know that to a certain extent water and sewer costs are what they are and that water conservation only gets so far, but bear with me.)

I don’t water my lawn.  I take navy showers.  I live by the motto “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.”  Why shouldn’t I derive some sort of benefit (via my water/sewer bill) from those activities?  Why should I pay the same as someone who can’t be bothered to turn the faucet off while brushing his teeth?

Instead of complaining about a 3% increase in water and sewer, why not instead point folks to comparatively simple ways that will help offset that increase?

We cannot keep taking, we cannot keep consuming, we cannot keep wasting, and expect that there will be no consequences.  We are entitled to have a reasonable amount of water to bathe, to drink, to cook with, etc.; we’re entitled to have wastewater treatment. 

We are not entitled to have glowing green lawns in the middle of August.

The water and sewer rate is a relatively small way to encourage people to conserve water.  We need to be doing more to encourage conservation of natural resources (including landfill space) in general.  If a 3% increase makes someone rethink something small — shower heads, rain barrels, toilet flushing — that should be something to be applauded, not criticized.

Worcester Responsible Pit Bull Owners

Friend of the blog Pam has created a Facebook group for Responsible Pit Bull (and other bullied breed) Owners (and supporters) to network. 

From Pam:

I hope that together we can work together to:

  • encourage responsible ownership
  • rehabilitate the image of pit bulls, at the least in the city
  • sway our City Council that BSL is not effective

It is my hope that once the weather is nice we can all have an actual face-to-face meet up for all to network, City Council invited as well (though I doubt they would care).

(Hey, it’s an election year — they might care!)

Anyway — I encourage folks to join the group and pass on the message.  We need to stop looking to “quick fixes” that do nothing — and start making Worcester a model community for how to encourage responsible pet ownership.