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Letters to the Editor

Unpaid labor

January 21, 2010

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To the editor:

It is exceedingly unfair for the city to demand that select homeowners work as unpaid city employees. To require some individuals to be responsible for physically difficult chores to maintain public access is inequitable and punitive.

The clear sidewalk ordinance was enacted without regard to the age, physical limitations or income of those it would affect. Many elders on fixed incomes have a very difficult time just meeting their own needs, especially during severe weather. If they are unable to perform the task or to pay someone else to do it in a timely manner, they are fined. That is wrong.

Bless the volunteers, but I tried several days in a row to get put on the list of seniors needing help and found the Senior Services office closed, due to inclement weather, and their mailbox was full.

Taxpayers should not be treated as indentured servants. The city commissioners might consider determining the cost of such work if performed by city workers and then give the homeowners a tax break for the public service they are required to provide.

Comments

George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

yoornotmee (Anonymous) says…

Careful, in order to satisfy the masses they may make you shovel across the street.

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yoornotmee 4 years, 2 months ago

I'm so glad there's not a sidewalk in front of my house :)

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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

What ticket?? I shovel my walk - always have. Sometimes my neighbors help and some times I help them.

consumer1 (Anonymous) says…

Thanks, but did it within the city rules - actually did it four times. I have a machine. It had trouble with the amount of snow but we got it done.

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Hydra 4 years, 2 months ago

I see the slavers are still out in force. Anything is okay so long as they get what they want. I expect any day now the city commision will want property owners to grab their umbrellas and make sure Eride and his ilk don't get wet while jogging.

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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

You just don't want to accept this. Like many people I had a surveyor stake the property lines. When it showed how far the city owned into what I though I owned I checked the platt - from the realator - and verified the stakes.

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gccs14r 4 years, 2 months ago

Really. You can tell that from the county's map? All I could see was a stick outline of the road. If the sidewalk next to/in front of your place is not on your property, then you could probably contest the ticket.

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Bob Kraxner 4 years, 2 months ago

  For Sale:

  Crying towels- $1.95
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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

An dmy platt clearly shows the sidewalk is not on my property.

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Healthcare_Moocher 4 years, 2 months ago

I am not going to shovel mine. I am going to sit in my front bay window and watch to see if Eride is standing in front of my house with her cell phone.

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consumer1 4 years, 2 months ago

Just noticed, Does your sidewalk need shovelling?

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jman785 4 years, 2 months ago

Why can't I drink beer on "my" sidewalk? Public property!

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gccs14r 4 years, 2 months ago

My legal description says I'm 63x101 feet. I'll have to measure to see where that ends up. I did poke around the property info on the Appraiser's site and it does look like official property extents stop at the curbline in Lawrence.

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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

rukus (Anonymous) says…

99% of them can afford snow removal; they choose not to make it a priority.

And just who are these 99%?? Everyone around here does their snow the best they can - and they do it themselves - and they help their neighbors.

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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

rukus (Anonymous) says…

The issue is not whether I can pay for it but your moral and legal right to demand that I do so

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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

Do you own property?? Mine does not even extend to the sidewalk. Perhaps some extend to the middle of the street though I doubt it.

Be careful. The city says things and does things to placate the masses that are not necessarily legal. It costs a lot of money to challenge them so they hope no one will take them there. That hardly makes what they are doing right!

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rukus 4 years, 2 months ago

99% of them can afford snow removal; they choose not to make it a priority.

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gccs14r 4 years, 2 months ago

"f the sidewalk is “mine” only when it requires maintenance, then I choose to remove the sidewalk completely and live maintenance free !"

That's not your choice. It's on your property (which typically extends to the middle of the street, but it's a City easement and subject to City regulations. It's the same set of rules that dictates whether you can plant anything along the curb line or put up a fence. For that matter, look up the rules regarding the kind of fencing you're allowed to install and its maximum height. Those rules extend to your back yard, too.

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poppygirl 4 years, 2 months ago

If the sidewalk is "mine" only when it requires maintenance, then I choose to remove the sidewalk completely and live maintenance free !

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Rex Russell 4 years, 2 months ago

Made some good money when I was a kid shoveling. Mom said I couldn't charge something specific. Just offer to shovel it and whatever they pay you is fine. A lot of older single ladies and old couples. They didn't have much. Once in a while you might make 10 bucks. They were thankful and I made a little candy and pop money when I was 10. Learned about hard work and did neighborly deeds too. Miss that begone era.

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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

rukus (Anonymous) says…

Get those old people. Your presumption is that homeowners are rich. Perhaps some are. Some are also cash poor with a low mortage. There biggest bill is the their property tax.

So, if I don't want to shovel off your peoperty I should move regardless of the market conditions, or many other factors?

You know the people I deal with have been almost unifomily civic minded and helpful as we try to be in return. I also remind you that the strict requirement by the city occured long after I bought my home.

I just can not help wondering how many of you that complain do similar physical services for the city. Or could you be representative of the many who do little, demand much and whine about it all the time!!

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boot2009 4 years, 2 months ago

It is only "my" sidewalk when it comes to shoveling snow or repairing damage...the rest of the time it is "everyone's" sidewalk.

I have no problem doing it and help others frequently...

But I think that the point is valid that the homeowner should be free to shovel or not shovel. My house, my sidewalk, my decision. I'm not required to make other people's lives easier by making mine more difficult.

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Kirk Larson 4 years, 2 months ago

I am happy to help my needful neighbors. The ones who aren't irritating curmudgeons. Hmm?

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rukus 4 years, 2 months ago

Just because one is old or disabled does not make them above the law. They need to arrange for their sidewalks to be cleared or move to a maintenance free living community. If they can afford a corner lot they can afford snow removal once or twice a year.

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Matt Needham 4 years, 2 months ago

If someone (of any age) falls and breaks a bone on the slab of ice created by un-shovelled sidewalks do they sue the property owner or the city?

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consumer1 4 years, 2 months ago

Moderate, I thought you were "harshing" on me. Sorry. so, yeah sounds like we practice what we preach!! Con1

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OonlyBonly 4 years, 2 months ago

Anti-shoveling trolls are alive and well at the LJ-W

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BigPrune 4 years, 2 months ago

Since Lawrence is shrinking in population why did our city fathers decide to enact this ordinance? Just wondering, why wasn't it required when Lawrence was bigger? Does it have something to do with the M-T Bus?

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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

Number_1_Grandma (Anonymous) says…

Absolutely.!!!

See my new blog

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Larry_The_Moocher 4 years, 2 months ago

I'm not going to shovel mine next year. I am going to sit in my easy chair looking out the front bay window and try to catch Eride narcing me out.

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Number_1_Grandma 4 years, 2 months ago

George just wants to whine more....

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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

GardenMomma (Anonymous) says…

No!!!!!

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GardenMomma 4 years, 2 months ago

Enough already with the whining about the snow shoveling ordinance!

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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

consumer1 (Anonymous) says…

And I am 67 in less than perfect shape. Do you shovel your own property or just help others as you should.

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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

consumer1 (Anonymous) says…

I commend you. My story is similar so why are we fighting?

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whatthehell 4 years, 2 months ago

Let us be clear on this. The ordinance was not enacted to punish the elderly or those unfortunate few that are disabled and have sidewalks (although for those that actually purchased a house with sidewalks when you were old or disabled-you made a BAD choice). I myself clear the sidewalk first, for the schoolchildren. THEN I clear the drive for my wife and kids. THEN I go across the street and down the street to help others like me clear snow from homes that have elderly residents (this year several of us tackeled the icebergs at the sidwalk/street intersection to allow passage of the children). This ordinance was passed to punish those too lazy to do the right thing...shovel the sidwalks so kids could walk to school, or those without a car could get to the store. I am absolutely certain that if you are too old, or are disabled, or made a legitmate attempt to clear your walks you will not have to pay this fine. For the rest of you... pi** off. Buy a shovel and get it done.

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horsegirl 4 years, 2 months ago

How about this... if the city needs to clear the side walks, then let's RAISE TAXES so we have enough money to do so! That way the taxpayers don't have to do it themselves. Good idea!!!!

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consumer1 4 years, 2 months ago

Oh, moderate I am also 58 years old, and my back hurts, but guess what I helped people in need. So, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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consumer1 4 years, 2 months ago

Moderate, were asking me what I do to be a good citizen? If so, here is your answer. During this period of inclement weather, I shoveled two of my elderly neighbors driveways and their side walks. Three times I shovelled away the 4 foot iceburgs so my neighbors could access the mail boxes. I stopped and helped three people get unstuck in their cars. I helped two women down the street from me dig out their driveways (Twice each). I help unstick four cars who were stuck on the hill leading from my house. I cleaned the snow off of two elderly women's car's so they could get out. And, I gave a ride to a guy whose car was stranded on 6th and montereyway, to his house, after spending twenty minutes trying to push him out of the embankment he was stuck in. Other than that, not much? How about you?

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gccs14r 4 years, 2 months ago

Maintain your property or don't, but if you don't, expect a visit from the City. Doesn't matter if it's the sidewalk, the lawn, or the roof. If you want to live in a blighted landscape without rules, move somewhere else.

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oneeye_wilbur 4 years, 2 months ago

the letter writer must have missed the story about retirees moving to Lawrence to volunteer for such tasks, wilbur is just ready for a 90 year old to shovel walks, will reward him/her with new Depends and some Ensure , come on folks, Lawrence is waiting for you, we have the best to offer at the most expense.

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Stuart Evans 4 years, 2 months ago

remember the oldern days when the neighborhood kids would go door to door and shovel your walk for $5 or $10. Of course now, most kids aren't allowed out of mommy's sight, because everybody thinks their neighbors are perverts. or the kids are just too busy playing Wii Snowshoveling, to actually go outside.

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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

consumer1 (Anonymous) says… And what wre you doing to be a good citicen??

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George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

grimpeur (Anonymous) says…

Help me here 150 tickets and more than 5 thousand properties. Can we ever get any better??

progccs14r (Anonymous) says…

So when I become limited in my physical strength you would throw me out of my home because you want me to shovel your property?? Morally bankrupt!

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jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

The problem is that they're not "our" sidewalks. They are in fact open to the public.

This creates wear and tear and other issues that would not exist if we could restrict access.

If they are public, then the city should clear them.

If they are private, then I can restrict access and cut down on wear and tear.

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consumer1 4 years, 2 months ago

I feel sooooo bad for all of you self entitled people out there who try your best to figure out how to not be a good citizen, the old "Let's blame the city" is getting even older. Screaming about your rights. What a laugh. Try being a good citizen for once. Shovel your durn sidewalks. If they are ice, it is because you let them go to ice.

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gccs14r 4 years, 2 months ago

If you are incapable of maintaining your property, whether for health or financial reasons, it may be time to consider moving into a place that has maintenance staff.

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grimpeur 4 years, 2 months ago

Yes, it's too bad that such ordinances are needed.

But it's clear that they are, indeed, needed.

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Kirk Larson 4 years, 2 months ago

Of course, you could always not mow your lawn and see what reaction that gets.

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Lynn731 4 years, 2 months ago

Topeka does not fine people who fail to clean their sidewalks, they simply leave a door hanger asking them to do it. Elderly people many times cannot clean their sidewalks, and certainly cannot afford someone to do it. So someone paid by the taxpayer to ride around looking for sidewalks that have not been cleaned is a waste of money and time. Government has become far to obtrusive in our lives already. I don't have a sidewalk, I live in the county, but I do not think this practice is fair to any citizen, especially elderly ones. Thank you, Lynn

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