Letters to the Editor

Shoveling repeal?

February 12, 2011

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To the editor:

Winter snows have come again, and we are still stuck with Lawrence’s onerous (for some) snow-shoveling ordinance. But the passage of a year does not make a bad law good.

Lawrence seems to be getting a reputation throughout the TV broadcasting area, and not a good one, from what I’m hearing.

Should citizens be compelled to labor by and for government, for whatever causes it deems good? That is the crux of the issue; friends of freedom will, I believe, say no.

Some may believe this is a trivial matter, that it does not warrant concern. Then should laws concern themselves with trivia? But I think the matter is not so trivial, though its supposed benefits probably are. It is for many an added burden, concern and annoyance, and it sets a bad precedent.

Also, in some cases, shoveling is likely to produce sidewalks that are more slick and dangerous to walk on, not less so. The law takes away from individuals the freedom of judgment as to local conditions. Its repeal should be an issue in the upcoming election.

Comments

appleaday 4 years, 1 month ago

"Should citizens be compelled to labor by and for government, for whatever causes it deems good?"

So, you'd rather pay more taxes to have the city clear the sidewalks? I believe a little rock salt solves the slipperiness issue. None of this is that difficult. Many other cities have shoveling ordinances, by the way.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 1 month ago

n some cases, shoveling is likely to produce sidewalks that are more slick and dangerous to walk on, not less so.

Bingo, the result is really just cosmetic. Especially when the temps drop to negs.

ignati5 4 years, 1 month ago

Once again, we have a Letter to the Editor which seems satirical, but may not have been so intended by its author. It tries to make a Libertarian issue out of shovelling one's sidewalk: "government" vs the property owner who can make his own decisions about the effect of a blizzard on public safety. The argument stands, however perverse its intent, until one considers the cost to "government" (ie the taxpayer) of paying workers to default for property owners. Are we also to maintain city staff to mow lawns in the summer, remove dead trees on private property, or fix rickety front steps that mailmen, deliverymen and repairmen will not risk? Absolutely baloney at face value.

ignati5 4 years, 1 month ago

There is a difference between drawing a "straw-man argument" and discussing the contradictions in an argument from a position that, indeed, seems to corrspond to the libertarian one in its permises. One can understand a position without subscribing to it, unless one is a hegelain in the Crocean tradition, in which a person must re-live an argument in order to understand. it. LIbertarianism is characterized by strict consistency of a logical position, which is to its credit: this letter does not display such rigours. .

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

It would seem to me that ignati5 showed a good understanding of libertarianism (and in no way disparaged it) and all you can respond with is to call them a fool?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

Yes, he said it "seems" to, and then proceeded to explain why it was erroneous.

Get a grip, LO.

ignati5 4 years, 1 month ago

"Seems to" indicates that this is my subjective opinion. Notice also that it is you, not myself, who teams up "ideology" with "libertarian" , a pairing which is, to my mind, an oxymoron and indicates your possible misunderstanding of a position which eschews "ideology" in all its forms. Also, nothing about "free market capitalism" in either the letter nor my response. This may be an element of the libertarian point of view, but it is irrelevant in the current exchange. Straw man indeed.

deec 4 years, 1 month ago

We know Ignati won this argument. You can always tell because LO starts calling names or turns snide when he's lost.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

We're all self-appointed referees here. That's kinda the whole point.

Plurilingual 4 years, 1 month ago

I agree with you. His position is that citizens should not be compelled to do work that is the responsibility of the "government". The libertarian position would be that it is not the responsibility of the "government", but rather of the property owner.

That argument still supports the elimination of the shoveling ordinances.

NOTE - I am not making this argument, just trying to bring some clarity.

conservative 4 years, 1 month ago

Sorry curran but i'm not buying the whole more dangerous to shovel argument. If its icy underneath then put out some sand and salt. Leaving it unshovelled leads to a much more slippery surface a day or two later after it has been packed down by people walking on it. The only bad thing about this ordinance is that it is neccessary to get people like you to do what most property owners do without the ordinance.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

The contention that shoveling sidewalks will make them slicker is just wrong, bordering on idiotic.

Sure, in the immediate aftermath of a snowstorm, a shoveled area may have some slick spots. But as the days wear on, any unshoveled walks are guaranteed to turn into a solid sheet of ice, while the sun and/or temperatures above freezing will cause any remaining ice or snow on shoveled areas to melt or sublimate.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 1 month ago

Really. Did you Bozo in Northern states road crews often do not plow to the surface for a reason. Traction. So you actually drive on snow which has been sanded. After a good treatment, sometimes you never see the pavement until Spring.

Wowzer Bozo, would you now say "me wrongi wrongi" please.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

I don't even need to consult a map to tell you that we don't live in a northern state where the snow starts falling in November and doesn't begin melting until March.

If we did, you'd have a point. But we don't, so you don't.

grimpeur 4 years, 1 month ago

Here's a question for you, Curran: why should anyone who walks to work pay taxes to have your street plowed?

walk to work every day. Yet my taxes are going to plow hundreds of miles of residential streets that have no military, commercial, or industrial importance. Do you drive a car? Then why don't you take responsibility for yourself and plow your own damn street and leave the government out of the driver welfare business? Why should I be forced to pay for your convenience? You can walk to the nearest plowed arterial and catch a ride in one of the hundred thousand or so empty seats in cars traveling in and out of our city each day and evening.

The fact is, you have no idea about what freedom means, let alone the responsibility that comes with it, so your use of these concepts to cry about it is pathetic. You sound like one of those tea-baggers--all blustery pout and no brains or ideas.

The law was made for people like you. Sad that it is needed. But, clearly, it is.

grimpeur 4 years, 1 month ago

It's only as silly an argument as any made to excuse anyone from shoveling. I thought this was the silly argument section of the paper. Thanks anyway for your numerous excellent non-silly (and obvious) examples.

(I normally don't reply in here, but wanted to check back in case this, in fact, is not the silly argument section. I'm pretty sure it is, though.)

BigPrune 4 years, 1 month ago

How many heart attacks shoveling the sidewalk? How many fell down breaking bones? How many back injuries shoveling sidewalks? If the City has the numbers on the decrease in heart attacks since the smoking ban, then surely they have the numbers on how many people have died or been injured shoveling the sidewalk.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 1 month ago

I think I read 30 admitted to ER for broken bones on the first night of ice. If 30 went, how many others were injured and not reported. Good line of thought Mr. Prune.

Just had a glass of PJ.

bad_dog 4 years, 1 month ago

The first night of ice? When was that?

How many of those broken bones you report were attributed to shoveling? Just a guess on my part, but I'd be inclined to believe fractures were primarily due to slip and fall incidents. If others were injured but did not report their injuries they likely were not too serious.

Really folks, if nothing more, shoveling is a courtesy for those who traverse your stretch of sidewalk. I believe it also significantly enhances their safety. While government shouldn't have to mandate it, in the absence of individual responsibility apparently someone has to compel the action. It's kind of like when your Mom says "Take out the trash, or else". The fine is the "or else". Mature, considerate folks don't have to hear the "or else". The rest apparently do.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 1 month ago

Very appropriate comment for a seeker of truth.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

"grimpeur (anonymous) says…

"Here's a question for you, Curran: why should anyone who walks to work pay taxes to have your street plowed?

walk to work every day. Yet my taxes are going to plow hundreds of miles of residential streets that have no military, commercial, or industrial importance. Do you drive a car? Then why don't you take responsibility for yourself and plow your own damn street and leave the government out of the driver welfare business? Why should I be forced to pay for your convenience? You can walk to the nearest plowed arterial and catch a ride in one of the hundred thousand or so empty seats in cars traveling in and out of our city each day and evening.

The fact is, you have no idea about what freedom means, let alone the responsibility that comes with it, so your use of these concepts to cry about it is pathetic. You sound like one of those tea-baggers--all blustery pout and no brains or ideas.

The law was made for people like you. Sad that it is needed. But, clearly, it is."

Hear hear!

Jimo 4 years, 1 month ago

'Let me have all the benefits of living in a civilized society, just don't try to force me to be civil!'

Sorry sir but don't fling your feces at your neighbors and call it an exercise in liberty.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

Sand is better than salt, as it won't damage the concrete.

Chuck Wehner 4 years, 1 month ago

To add an another I hope interesting observation I have made. I volunteered for the "Safe Sidewalks" program and have done so for the last couple of years. I have not had one client in those two years, that couldn't afford to have someone else shovel there walks or do it themselves. Its just plain laziness I think on the part of most homeowners, or the "poor me" attitude of I couldn't possible get out in the cold and actually do something physical.

Kris_H 4 years, 1 month ago

How do you know your clients could have afforded to have someone else shovel their sidewalks or could have done it themselves?

Arthritis, back problems, impaired circulation, heart disease, COPD, joint surgeries...I can come up with many reasons people shouldn't be out trying to shovel their own walks. None of those involve laziness.

I'm one who has to hire someone to shovel for me due to some of the above ailments. I certainly do wish I could still do it myself because this winter has been very costly for me. I know that I'm lucky to still be able to pay for it even though it's a squeeze on the budget. When I get a little older and am living on a reduced income, it's going to be really tough if we keep having winters this snowy.

I'm guessing you are still pretty young and don't suffer from anything that would keep you from picking up a snow shovel. May you have the same level of compassion shown to you as you go through life that you are now showing to others.

kernal 4 years, 1 month ago

The only stories I saw on the news about sidewalk snow ordinances were those towns that give their citizens less than forty-eight hours to clear their walks. One town was less than twenty-four hours. In comparison, our city code seems lenient. Unless you are physically handicapped or elderly, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to shovel your walk.

Quit your griping or move somewhere that has a homeowner's association that clears the sidewalks.

Avery Pearson 4 years, 1 month ago

True that. the slush footprints that turn to ice make for treacherous terrain. I bit it in my driveway because of that. (I shoveled the hell out of it, after that incident.)

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 1 month ago

"Should citizens be compelled to labor by and for government, for whatever causes it deems good?"

Good point. Repeal all taxes.

Of course, all government services will come to an end, but hey, you won't have to shovel your sidewalk any more!

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

You know guys/gals that all the arguments about social responsibility are right on until you realize that only 25% of Lawrence has this social responsibility. At least taxes would involve maybe 50%.

How can you justify demanding that 25% of the population perform services for the rest? Sounds like the tyranny of the majority. Thought our constitution protected us from that??

Daniel Dicks 4 years, 1 month ago

Since the government forced some unfortunates to purchase a house with a sidewalk to clear in winter. We should mandate sidewalks in front of every house to be fair. Or remove all sidewalks in the city? Or maybe the moderate answer is run private sidewalks with toll gates?

parrothead8 4 years, 1 month ago

So...you're claiming that only 25% of Lawrence residents are responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks? And that they are forced to perform work for the other 75%? The law says the property owner is responsible for clearing the snow. Who owns the property that the other 75% lives on?

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

I think his point is that only 25% of property owners have sidewalks.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

Are you arguing that snow removal is just A TAX levied on 25% of the population that happens to own property? A tax on top of one of the highest property tax rates (value and mil rate) in the state?

By the by, just what social responsibility does the 75% of the population that does not have walks assume? Actually, we should amend the ordinance to require that the resident as well as the owner is responsible for clearing the walks. That might get the burden to 50% of the population and maybe get the non-compliance rate down.

If government has the right to demand services from a few just what might they demand next. How about a bar tax to cover the costs of cleaning up after the weekend nights mayhem? Maybe a commuter tax for all the Johnson County students that use our facilities but live there - and pollute our air. How about a weekly responsibility to clean the sanitation trucks? I could go on but only an idiot would not understand the drift. It has nothing to do with snow and everything to do with the role of government.

And LO I would argue you do have a dog in this fight. I have never argued that I do not feel a responsibility to maintain my property. I do have a problem with government demanding selectively that I maintain theirs. In my case at least half the walks are not on my property at all.

Daniel Dicks 4 years, 1 month ago

No, you are. <"You know guys/gals that all the arguments about social responsibility are right on until you realize that only 25% of Lawrence has this social responsibility. At least taxes would involve maybe 50%. " I am wondering if you have a solution or just want to ramble on about everything but snow covered sidewalks. Don't go Glenn Beck on me man!

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

I offered several. Put caveats in the law to address illness, climate, acts of god, etc. Make residence responsible for shoveling in addition to owners. Tax the 75% that do not have walks to pay for the enforcement. Take the "rat line" out of the equation. Tax everybody and the city does it.

I still maintain that the city has no legal right to levy a physical requirement on 25% of the population. Yes, there are other places with similar (though mostly less restrictive or unenforced) ordinances. That said, there are few places like Lawrence when such a small portion of the population is affected. Be interesting to litigate.

Daniel Dicks 4 years, 1 month ago

Yes it would be interesting to litigate. But don't see that happening.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

Take them to court and see what happens.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

I just might. I believe they are vunerable under the American's with disabilities act. They might also be vunerable to an issue of endangerment given a lack of consideration for conditions. They might also have a constitutional issues with the "physical services" levied on a minority thing. We are kind of pushing the envelop on what was previously determined to be appropriate.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

Ok.

Let us know how that turns out.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

I believe if they're not on your property, you don't have to maintain them, but I'd check with a lawyer or the city to make sure.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 1 month ago

I like the idea of including all tennants. On the other hand, those who coose to invest in rental property should be responsible for their properties.

John Hamm 4 years, 1 month ago

Jus' quit your lazy griping and shovel the sill snow. What's so hard about that?

John Hamm 4 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, typos happen, should be "silly."

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

Because you do not have the authority to make me

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

Cities set various codes and ordinances.

If you don't want to deal with them, I suppose living in the country would have less of that, although counties also have some.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

JAFS

Our history is replete with overturned ordinances WITH HIGH RESTITUTIONal costs because somebody reached too far. Clearly removing snow is a good thing. Making slaves of a small segment of the population to accomplish that good is no more defendable than using slaves to clear the roads prior to the civil war. See above on challenges

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

Let us know how the case turns out.

I think your perspective is a bit odd - removing snow outside my house doesn't make me a "slave" - and, again, I only have to maintain the walks that are on my property, as you should (I believe).

Although I agree that the public nature of sidewalks and the requirement for private property owners to maintain them is strange.

Of course, the only other solution would be to raise taxes and have the city be responsible for them - would you prefer that?

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

Removing the snow bacause I want to is just fine. Removing it becasue you want me to is not - not when the burden falls on such a smmall number of citizens.

Maybe AFP will help psy the bill. City counts on the cost being too high for a small group to challenge. A morally reprehensible rule that impacts a small number forces hards choices and frequently just undermines respect for law becasue challenging it is too costly.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

How many of those demanding that others shovel walks have walks to shovel.. Always neat how many people are for making other people do something they do not have to do! Must be in that liberal blood.

gccs14r 4 years, 1 month ago

I don't currently have a sidewalk out front (I wish I did), but the last two places I was in did and I made sure they stayed clean throughout the year. Oh, and both of them were rentals, too. Lawn care was the responsibility of the resident per the lease, so that meant not only mowing the grass, but also trimming, edging, debris pickup, and snow removal.

Daniel Dicks 4 years, 1 month ago

Dude! You just told me we should raise taxes and make the city do it! Is that the conservative answer? And we should litigate over it. Another conservative answer? Are you okay? But I will play along.

Liberals are for passing ordinances to mow lawns! It is in our blood. Even if it isn't in the constitiution. Whatever LOL.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

To several of you. I clear my walk - always. I am even willing to tolerate the government nudging me.

I am not willing to have the city make seniors and the disabled clear the walks without consderation so other seniotrs and diaabled may use them sooner. I am not willing to be given an arbitrary time line when common sense suggests that a wind chill of -20 is a bad time to be shoveling. I am most unwilling to be made to do this when a hoard of you that do not do it screem that I must. You are inconsistent in your arguments and have completely avoided the disparate impact argument (25% only).

If governemnt can make me shovel snow as representative of 25% of the population what can they do to you? Ends do not justify the means - at least not in a society ruled by law.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

The disparate impact thing is odd.

If you own a house with a sidewalk, you are responsible for maintaining it - the city's not telling you to clean off everybody else's sidewalk.

The simple thing to do if you don't want to do that would be to buy a house without a sidewalk - problem solved.

Your other points may have some validity, but I haven't had any problems clearing our walks, even with the cold weather - my system is to do it numerous times before the snow gets too deep. That way each time is pretty easy and doesn't take very long.

If you find it inconvenient, you can always hire somebody younger to do it.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

What part of it is not my sidewalk do you not understand. It belongs to all of us. In my case it is not even on my property. Why do I get to slave for you?

Love the liberal mindset. We the government come along and place a government structure on your property without compensation. We then demand that you maintain it to include repairs for the common good even though few people have the joy of such a structure on their property. We base that demand that you have a social responsibility to do so. Just get your walk off my property and we can stop bickering!

I defy any of you to provide any hard data that I benefit from that sidewalk more thaN ANYBODY ELSE. i DO HAVE THE ADDED JOY of having to police my yARD to clean up after other people's dogs when their owners use the public walk that is on or near my property I do have the thrill of having to whip the walk when grass creeps on to it - lot easier to mow.

Sounds to me AS IF A GROUP OF YOU JUST WANTS THE POWER TO MAKE OTHERS DO WHAT YOU WANT For FREE. nICE PEOPLE you are.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

If it's not on your property, I don't believe you have the obligation to maintain it - but check with a lawyer.

And, again, given your insistence that sidewalks are rare, why not buy a house without one if you don't want to deal with it?

I guess you'd rather have the city raise taxes and maintain the sidewalks? Oh no, then you'd complain about high taxes.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 1 month ago

I do not have a sidewalk, but I shovel my driveway and the neighbor's so that the mailman and visitors can walk up to our houses. How many protestors are landlords who do not want the responsibility?

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

Scoop shovels work better than snow shovels..... for me. Scoop shovels might be easier for young people who embark on a money making expedition. Scoop shovels are a versatile piece of equipment.

When possible we are out cleaning off the snow in the snow with push brooms and as I said a scoop shovel. Can work up a sweat.

If shoveling alone is a bit much invite friends over for brew,pizza and shoveling snow.

Just think about those Lawrence residents who cannot drive that must walk to work or to a doctors app't. Senior citizens need a lot of help for their bodies are not as agile.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

merrill I am 68 and partially disabled. I will shovel my snow as long as I can. However, telling me I must because of other seniors and disabled people is ridiculous.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 1 month ago

Bingo bingo bingo none3, and I could add my father never shoveled snow, or at least since he came back from ww2 with shrapnel in his hip.

I slipped yesterday morning on what I thought was water. It wasn't.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 1 month ago

I am 66 and partially disabled. I really do not like healthy people speaking for me. A position on any topic should stand on its own merit.

I live in a very pedestrian neighborhood. We can do many errands by foot. We see our neighbors as we walk. The only thing that stops me is unshoveled walks after the snow packs. (Of course, if the ground is really icy, I don't go out.)

Carol Bowen 4 years, 1 month ago

I am 66 and partially disabled. I really do not like healthy people speaking for me. A position on any topic should stand on its own merit.

I live in a very pedestrian neighborhood. We can do many errands by foot. We see our neighbors as we walk. The only thing that stops me is unshoveled walks after the snow packs. (Of course, if the ground is really icy, I don't go out.)

mr_right_wing 4 years, 1 month ago

The ordnance works! I reported (online) a property owner 1 storm back, and after this last snowstorm that sidewalk was one of the first ones on the block shoveled! (I waited until it had been one week after the snow to report.)

Thank you to the City for providing us a remedy, and thank you to that property owner (near 6th and Schwartz) for catching on after the warning from the city.

Stuart Evans 4 years, 1 month ago

you should get a special badge or patch to wear around, which tells people what a great snitch you are.

mr_right_wing 4 years, 1 month ago

Like back when I was a hall monitor in elementary school?

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

Facinating. I point out that many of you are demanding that people do things that are dangerous to their health and well being. You respond with pay someone ignoring the fact that doing so constitutes a tax on 25% of the population most of whom are not fat cat rich people.

No one has ever responded to the notion taat shared civic responsibility means shared. What do the 75% of you do who do not have walks in compensation for the civic service performed by the 25% who do?

Just a bunch of very greedy people demanding that others solve an irritant to them. So much for our vaunted civic responsibility

bad_dog 4 years, 1 month ago

"What do the 75% of you do who do not have walks in compensation for the civic service performed by the 25% who do?"

While I do have a sidewalk, it is a fairly short stretch, but I've been known to shovel the drive of a couple of my neighbors and I clear the snow from in front of the storm drains to enhance melting and drainage. My walk/drive is always cleared as soon as possible after the snow ends to prevent it being walked on/driven over.

I'd really like to see some subtance for the basis of your 75/25 speculations. All but three of the homes in our development are owner occupied and pretty much everyone does what is expected. In fact, the occupants of one of the rentals have one of the best maintained and landscaped lawns in the neighborhood. Imagine that-responsibility, courtesy and accountability without property ownership...

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

Hi. statistics from the city. 43% of properties in lawrence are owner occupied. In many neighboorhoods (not all) sidewalks are on one side of the street meaning about haf the properties do not have them . HaLF OF A HALF YIELDS A QUARTER. You got better numbers??

bad_dog 4 years, 1 month ago

No, just asking, but many neighborhoods (not all) particularly in older areas have sidewalks on both sides. Seriously, if you have a problem with shoveling, PM me and I'll be happy to assist you with it. I'm not as old as you but I don't really consider this onerous. I do it because I think it is the responsible and proper thing to do. I don't mind helping others when possible.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

You are mixing your impressment of me to do your bididng with my personal sense of responsibility to do what I believe is appropriate - like help my neighbors and jeep properties mainhtained to;preserve everybodies property values.

It is not the snow it is you impressing me to do the snow.

Jeremy DeBoard 4 years, 1 month ago

I see a parallel with taxes on tobacco here. A small minority is required by the majority to pay a tax on tobacco. So if the non smoking majority can tell the smoking minority what taxes they must pay, not to mention where they're allowed to smoke, then I don't really see an issue with the majority telling the minority they have to shovel some snow.

And let me know also if you win your litigation. I could see such a win being used to repeal taxes for tobacco; even smoking bans for that matter.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

I think the tax on tobacco should be substantially increased. But I also think any proceeds above and beyond the amount that is charged as a sales tax on all other items should be used to cover the health costs of smoking, which are considerable. Sin taxes are fine, but use them to cover the costs of the sin, not to subsidize the funding of other state programs.

Jeremy DeBoard 4 years, 1 month ago

I agree with your use of the additional taxes. As for the increase, well, as a minority in the matter, I can't stop you.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

I do not see the parallel at all. No one has to buy tobacco. The walks are imposed. Yes, I could refuse to buy a property with a walk but I view it that I accept the cities imposition to have their walk on/near my property without accepting the cities demand that I maintain their property. Besides, when I bougth the rules were less onerous.

Jeremy DeBoard 4 years, 1 month ago

If you (smoke)(are a home owner with a sidewalk) and choose (to purchase cigarettes)(not to shovel the snow from your sidewalk) then you have to pay (taxes on your cigarettes)(a fine for noncompliance). These (taxes)(fines) are in favor of the majority of the population.

There's your parallel. And when I started smoking, the taxes on smoking were also less onerous. I guess our hindsight is about the same.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

I guess the ants would shovel and the grasshoppers would not. Do not recall the ants making the grasshoppers shovel?

bad_dog 4 years, 1 month ago

Think of it in terms of they're all insects rather than disparate groups...

If I were a landlord in Lawrence I'd incorporate it into the rental agreement. If I am fined because you, my tenant failed to clear the sidewalks within the time alloted, the fine is added to the monthly rental charge. Imagine that. Ants and grasshoppers sharing the same level playing field.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

There are two issues involved here. The primary one is whether shoveled sidewalks are a positive goal-- are we better off with walks cleared of snow and ice? That one is a real no-brainer. Obviously, we are.

The second issue is how we make that happen. All it takes is one quick drive around town a couple of days after a snowstorm to confirm that the threat of $73 in fine and court costs isn't getting it done. And I don't think simply raising the penalty is the solution.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

I don't know Bozo. Are we really better off with cleared walks as we currently define that function at the expense of violating peoples' rights and organizing a witch hunt for violators?

I would suggest there are other ways to make cleared walks happen and have listed them here.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

As I clearly said, they are two separate issues. Finding a solution that satisfies both of them is the problem. And you really don't offer any.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

JAFS,

Just where does the city get the right to put their property on other people’s property to begin with?. In my view the property owner suffers the impact of having a public facility on their property out of a sense of civic responsibility. Adding the additional requirement that the property owner has to maintain something forced upon him that he/she tolerates is ludicrous. The ordinance in force when I moved here was quite acceptable to me. The revised ordinance is punitive and poorly written. Just how do you get the right to change the rules after the game is played?

Now we are going nowhere fast because you and I (once again) come from very opposite concepts of the role of government. In a sense you are a Borg. You believe in the collective and the right of a collective to rule over the individual. I believe in the individual who can in certain instances seed authority to the collective. I do not under any stretch of the imagination accept that the collective can impose its authority on a minority unless that minority has agreed to that imposition or there are compelling and defensible reasons to accept that imposition. Snow removal is not compelling. If it were not removed we would all go on as usual with little consequence other than a few people might have to wait a few days to bike/run/what have you.

I could go on but I am not really interested in rehashing our current political situation where what I am complaining about in Lawrence plays out in so many other ways.

bad_dog 4 years, 1 month ago

Where does the city get the right? It's called a sidewalk easement. If you're irritated by the shoveling ordinance, wait until they decide to replace those sidewalks at your (the property owner's) expense.

Isn't the "collective" you refer to also known as a representative democracy? In that sense you have ceded authority to the government. Your elected representatives-whether you voted for them or not- have the authority to act on the citizen's behalf and not necessarily at your behest. If you don't accept the simple fact that the majority rules, then you can't have much respect for democracy, IMHO. If you don't like the ordinance your choices are simple. Challenge the legality (although I don't believe you'll have success utilizing the grounds you outlined above) or convince the city commissioners to repeal the ordinance.

In this instance you don't have to like it but if you reside in Lawrence you do have to live with it.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

Did they put the sidewalks on your property after you bought it?

And, is it on your property or not? You've said both things.

Thanks for the insult - you have no idea what I believe, and calling me a Borg is absurd.

Our system is one in which the majority regularly imposes itself on the minority - elections are an obvious example. If you don't like that system, then you'd better find another country with a different one.

You can argue with the city, and take them to court if you like. I'd be interested to know how that turns out if you do.

From your many posts, I have an observation to make:

You chose to retire in Lawrence - a liberal college town. You chose to buy a larger house with a sidewalk.

After making those choices, you complain quite a bit about liberals, "renters", costs of heating/cooling your house, and your responsibility to maintain the sidewalk.

Sounds to me like you're not making choices in your own best interests and then blaming somebody else for that. There are many other places to live - most of the rest of KS is more conservative than Lawrence, and there are many non-college towns as well. In Lawrence, if your own figures are correct, 75% of property owners don't have sidewalks to maintain.

Should we just raise taxes and require the city to maintain the sidewalks? I'm sure you'd complain about that too.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

Got your goat didn't I. Your response is a clear statement of the tyranny of the majority. The sidewalk easement gives the city no rights but to put it there. Never have had a real problem with that. The rest is government at its worst.

I reiterate, you are a Borg. The collective makes the minority conform to the demands of the collective. Thank god that in this country there are ways to limit that tyranny

bad_dog 4 years, 1 month ago

"Thank god that in this country there are ways to limit that tyranny"

Please then, by all means exercise them. Posting comments on this website certainly isn't one of the most viable methods to exact changes.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

bad_dog

I vote. Voted and now Lawrence (some of it) is unhappy with our state government. If you are unwilling to compromise with people you leave tham no choice but to vote fror the other guy - even if the other guy is not all we would wish him to be! What si the matter with Kansas. Simple. It does not want you imposing your version of the world on them.

bad_dog 4 years, 1 month ago

Mod:

As you know, there are other alternatives to voting if you don't like this ordinance. I vote too and am sometimes unhappy with the outcome. The lack of willingness to compromise is one of the biggest problems we as a society face today. There is altogether too much of the "my way or the highway" combined with "elections have consequences" and "I alone know what's best for you" mentalities out there. That applies equally to both sides of the aisle IMHO.

While I don't have a problem with the ordinance (and I'd shovel my snow anyway in its absence), I do understand your position and empathize with it. As I noted above, if you need assistance with shoveling PM me next time. It's the only alternative I can directly offer you. Anything else (alternative wise...) you'll have to do for yourself.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

bad dog

Thank you but as long as I am physically able I will shovel (run the snow blower). All I really want is a revision to the ordinace that 1. delays the due date if the chill fractor is below say 0. 2. assumes city responsibility to remove the snow if the homeowners is disabled or ill (doctors call).

To actually get the job done I would extend the responsibility to the resident and let them (;landlord and resident) sort the poblem. Lots of able body renters in this town. Of course I don't know whether such is leagally possible?

Lot of fuss over very little

John Hampton 4 years, 1 month ago

I don't like the ordinance. I would rather shovel my sidewalk and driveway because it's the right thing to do, not because someone told me to. But, you know what? It is the right thing to do and I have a large driveway in addition to a sidewalk so it is time consuming and I'm able to do it, so I do it.

If I weren't able to do it, physically, it would be nice if there were someone I could call that would remove the snow for a reasonable charge. If I were disabled or elderly it would be nice if this charge could be supplemented some how. Since there seems to be a lack of door to door teenagers looking to make some cash, maybe a link on the city webpage to a group of people willing to do just that.... it's a nice idea, no?

As to all the political and legal debate on the basis of the ordinance.... it's the right thing to do... cleaning your sidewalks. The fact is that many a walk went uncleared for a few winters and that was the impetus for the ordinance... something people should have been doing in the first place.

It's a good thing that some posters here don't live in cities like Boston where...omg, wait for it... they tell you what side of the street you can park on after a snow! And if you don't, you get a ticket or towed! It's true!

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

It is the right thing for me to do that. It is not the right thing for you to make medo it without due regard for my health and environmental conditions on a schedule that is at best arbitrary. As I suggested, make the renters shovel anbd I bet this wholr argument would change in an instance.

John Hampton 4 years, 1 month ago

I am assuming you are talking about "single-family" homes, not complexes. I would be ok with adjusting the ordinance to read that whomever resides in the home is responsible for cleaning the walk. With the actual owner being ultimately responsible.

To my knowledge complexes are taken care of by services paid for by owners.

So your arguement isn't about cleaning your own but someone else not pulling their weight, in your eyes?

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

BosyonJH Yes. I am not yet up for a draft since I am old enough to remember when we last had one.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

Well guys you see cows and I see horses (maybe ants and grasshoppers). The issue remains the authority of government to do anything. Our constitutions are replete with the notions of limitations on government powers. Many of those are to limit the use of the government by the majority to victimize the minority. Quaint but important concept.

If it is truly my property than I have the power to have the walk removed as no contract as to the easement actually exists. It was imposed not negotiated and I received no consideration for that imposition. In fact I challenge the cities right to impose it. Certainly there is no contract as to my responsibility to maintain that walk OR to REPAIR IT. That is a collective responsibility for a collective piece of property Mr. C's comments not withstanding.

I think if you go back in time you will find that the courts have allowed this whole process as an aspect of taxation. It was imposed on you as a tax and at least historically it was imposed on most citizens. Times have changed and your right to impose it on what have become minorities (as opposed to all of us) is potentially suspect.

There are basically two issues with your notions. Government's right to take private property without compensation (I believe there is an amendment on that) and government’s right to impose taxes selectively (taxation without representation). The minority has no ability under our system to stop your presumed majority from taxing them selectively and ultimately destroying them (except the courts)

I believe those are big time ISSUES between the two (three) parties. We are not going to resolve them here.

John Hampton 4 years, 1 month ago

You probably don't want drains to keep your neighborhood from flooding either. You live in a city. Cities have ordinances and taxes that they imposes on their citizens that choose to live within it's limits. If you don't cotton to it, there's a lot of undeveloped land outside the city limits, really pretty country too.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

Why would I be bothered by a drain. Serves everybody and I have no special responsibility for it. Actually there is an easement under my property for one. Bothers me not unless Mr. C, in his infinite wisdom, decides I should maintain it.

mr_right_wing 4 years, 1 month ago

Let's go ahead and repeal the ordinance, and replace it with a rise in property taxes so the city can clear your sidewalk. It would need to be sufficiently larger than the library tax increase. A majority of Lawrence voters had no problem with that.

I have no problem with that (as someone who doesn't own property.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

I think we should start using renters taxes as they seem to be the ones making the most noise about how property owners owe them. Could we have a big "Me" generation thing going???

Carol Bowen 4 years, 1 month ago

Sidewalks should be shoveled. Many people would shovel just because it needs to be done. Unfortunately, there is a significant number of people who would not shovel voluntarily.

We complain about "big government", and we could make the government smaller if all of us would be individually responsible. (A perfect world.) We create big government by not being personally responsible.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 1 month ago

Please do not trivialize my simple statements. A few snow flakes are certainly not a problem. Mounds of snow and chunks of ice are. So, you do not believe in personal responsibility?

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