To the Editor,
Malcolm Gladwell claims there are no more than six degrees of separation among any individuals on earth. Pick any person, and one can trace a connection to that person through six distinct relationships — someone who knows someone, who knows someone, etc. For every member of city council minus one, I have one degree or less of separation. I have had one or more interactions through the years.
Most people who read the letters to the editor would not know me if they fell over me, but they know my name. And, that is fine with me. I don’t write to win a popularity contest — that should be obvious by what I write. I write for the same reason every member of council as well as the mayor ran for office — to make this place we live in better. God has blessed me with the talent to write, so that is the best way I know how to contribute.
I have been writing for 25 years –the first letter was a rebuttal to the ACLU’s objection to the Nativity set at the community center. The city erected a three-story inflatable Santa Claus adjacent to the Nativity to pacify the ACLU. It’s preposterous. Placing the Santa 100 feet adjacent would not detract and would give each its due. Together, it looks ridiculous.
I wrote numerous letters about the accelerated degradation of the Pennsylvania Avenue street improvement project until it was finally repaved. I wrote about the downside to cultural gambling, ad nausea. I wrote a letter critical of the former school board president at election time after the board refused to cede the pathway from Bellaire to the pool to the city that had been using it for 50 years. It made no sense to me, and it wasn’t right.
Since my retirement, I spend a lot of time puttering around my house and its environs, especially when the weather is good. Therefore, I have gotten to know many of the men who pick up our refuse. I have seen them limping with a knee brace or a nagging shoulder ailment. I have seen them with colds and coughs and sick on their feet. And yet, they have no sick days. They have no holidays. They have no vacation. They have no pension.
Mother Teresa said you know a culture by how you treat the least among us. i don’t think the garbage men are the least among us, I think they are the best. I think the city views them as the least of their workers, because they fire them at will and they refuse to treat them anywhere close to the rest of the city workers. And that makes no sense to me. I can’t imagine having the character to get up every day and do the job they do and not be treated fairly and humanely. It is incomprehensible to me and incomprehensible the mayor and City Council will not fix it.