Time to take out the trash

This is a piece of trash. Intimidating isn’t it. Well don’t worry. If the St. Louis Board of Alderman has it’s way you won’t have to see this stuff anymore. According to an article recently published in the South Side Journal (Business owners want trash bill canned), Alderman Steve Conway, D-8th Ward, has sponsored a bill requiring convenience stores and carryout restaurants to pick up all trash originating from their place of business within a 300 foot radius at least once a day.

I’ve always liked Steve Conway, but this is the worst idea I have ever heard. The most alarming part is that he isn’t alone. The paper makes it sound like the alderman are gung-ho about the bill and are all clambering over getting on as a cosponsor. These businesses come in and improve our neighborhoods despite an already oppressive atmosphere caused by the earnings tax and umpteen other ordinances. Our officials should be trying to help these business owners not hurt them.

Consider the logistics of cleaning up an area 300 feet around your place of business. I don’t care if it is only cleaning up the trash coming from your place of business, it is insane. That is the equivalent of an entire football field in each direction. Who is going to clean this area? Many of these businesses are barely staying alive and the extra manpower needed to to address this could bring them down. These aren’t corporate giants here, they are mom and pop shops and franchises. Times are tough and they shouldn’t be held responsible for litter violations of their patrons.

Perhaps there is a problem in our city. Maybe its the aldermanic system that needs to be cleaned up and not businesses. I encourage all readers to contact their local alderman and express their displeasure over this situation. If you don’t know who your alderman is you can search for your alderman on the City’s website.

So what do you all think of this proposed legislation?

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3 Responses to Time to take out the trash

  1. Bret June 5, 2008 at 8:19 am #

    Perhaps we could also apply this same measure to the inhabitants of city hall, because of all the assorted forms and paperwork citizens are required to fill out and take with them when they visit the place. We should require our elected officials to pick up the trash within a 300 foot radius. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

  2. Debbie June 5, 2008 at 10:47 am #

    I live by two of the so-called “mom and pop” stores, and if this is what it takes to get them to take some pride in their store and their surroundings, then more power to Conway. The reputable business owners already pick up around their establishments, so really, this is just targeted at the owners who prey on our low-income neighbors and are there to turn a quick buck — not better the neighborhood. I’m all for it.

  3. Matt Kastner June 5, 2008 at 12:52 pm #

    Sounds like a good idea to me Bret. Debbie, I agree that business owners should pick be responsible for themselves, but do you realize how large an area we are talking about? 300 feet in each direction is really far.

    One of the reputable business owners mentioned in the article is actually right across the street from where I live and work. The people over at the Shell gas station at Lemp and Arsenal are really aggressive about picking up trash. But they only pick up the trash on or right around their property.

    I sympathize with the goal, but the real issue here is lack of litter enforcement not irresponsible businesses (not to say they don’t exist). I’ve seen people litter right in front of a cop and they don’t say a word. That’s the real problem.

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