Bob Dunning

Bob Dunning: Finally, the carnage on our streets will end

By From page A2 | January 19, 2014

Despite our City Council’s determination to have us put our so-called “yard waste” into large plastic containers instead of piling it in the street, a number of folks aren’t convinced this is the right way to go.

As my friend Curt points out, when you’re pruning branches from your favorite tree, that sort of waste doesn’t pack very neatly in a plastic bin. The same for discarded Christmas trees, which may or may not qualify as yard waste, depending on whether you banished it to the backyard for a few days before hauling it out to the street.

Leaves and grass clippings will certainly fit comfortably into a can and pack down much like garbage, but branches and other sorts of yard waste simply won’t fit very well.

The bigger question, however, is if Davis residents will even be generating yard waste as they rip out lawns, trees, bushes, flower beds and vegetable gardens in favor of cactus and rocks and fake redwood bark in the face of a worsening drought and escalating water bills.

Last time I checked, rocks and cactus and wood chips don’t generate much yard waste. And by the way, the term “decorative rocks” is an oxymoron.
Paul on the National Monument Streets isn’t buying any of it.

“The alleged justifications for forcing everyone to put their yard waste in big plastic containers sure sound like a lot of hooey to me,” Paul writes.
Oddly, hooey is one of those items that fits easily into a yard waste container.

“A hazard to cyclists?” Paul asks. “Our family has been riding bikes around town for many years, have never been injured by yard waste, never witnessed anyone else get injured by yard waste and have never heard of a friend getting injured by yard waste. I’m not saying that it has never happened, but come on, how big a risk can that be? If I had my druthers, I’d sure rather run into a pile of yard waste than a large, hard plastic container.”
Especially if that container was packed full of hooey.

But Paul, the mayor of the Most Relevant City in America claims he himself ran into a pile of grass clippings while bicycling one evening, and I guess we’re lucky he didn’t have to hand over the reins of government to his able pro tem. The point is well taken, though. If the mayor is capable of running into a pile of grass clippings on a dark and stormy night, sounds like he’s an excellent candidate for running into a yard waste bin or a parked car as well.

“Clogs storm drains?” Paul goes on incredulously. “In my experience, when leaves get into the storm drain, it’s usually because people have not yet raked the leaves into piles. Forcing people to use containers will make it less convenient to gather up leaves, discourage leaf gathering and could very well result in more clogged drains, not fewer.”

Especially if they ban leaf-blowers and force folks to rake by hand, which is clearly next on the city’s carbon-neutral agenda.

“Compostable materials in the trash? Some people already compost. Other people put food waste in their garbage disposals. Some people put food waste in their plastic garbage bags.”

Some people have a dog.

“Peer pressure? What happened to making Davis a unique and special place? Funny, but I never hear the peer pressure argument when Davis is considering adopting an ordinance that hardly any other city has.”

Amen to that.

“How much will it cost for thousands of these large new hard plastic containers and the many specialized trucks needed to empty them? Will we just toss away the value of the trucks that are already specially equipped to pick up yard waste from the street? (Yes, the trucks are privately owned, but all of its city-imposed costs just get passed on to the residents.)”

Somewhere, the folks responsible for making yard waste bins and trucks capable of picking up yard waste bins are smiling broadly.

“Being able to place yard waste in the street is a great convenience and contributes to a well-kept city. Why should we throw away those benefits?”
Now you’re piling on.

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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