Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spirit of neighborliness

I requested a couple of signs for my street last week, and was told that there's a critical vacancy in the city's sign shop, and without a person in that position, even simple "No Trespassing" signs for the city's abandoned properties, are impossible to acquire.


I get the impression that various city agencies are running scared because of the economy, and the impending change of guard. But instead of stepping it up to prove individual and departmental usefulness, a lot of employees and departments are slacking off (in some cases, more than usual). I can see how such an approach will cause others in the city to wake up. But it's unlikely to make anyone say, "Oh wow, life is so much harder without that service; I'll be sure to respect that person/agency more!" We're going to say, "Screw 'em. Let's get some people in there who will do the job, especially when we need it most." By the way, I'm not totally unsympathetic to working conditions for city employees. I'm just tired of getting hosed.

My aggravation stems from my experience that there is very little neighborliness in Trenton; little spirit of community. Glen and I know we can't count on our neighbors for anything, unless we offer to pay them, and we won't do that, because neighbors don't pay each other to provide a bit of help here and there. An aside: I'd be willing to pay a neighborhood kid to shovel, or mow, but many of our neighborhood kids are selling drugs. The folks who do offer their seasonal services are usually well-intended, but addicted to crack, and I really don't want to support their habit.

Not too long ago, while I was pregnant with Matthew, Glen and I got a new bedroom set. Two people can usually manage well enough, but like I mentioned, I was pregnant; and since we lost Catherine at term, Glen did not want me even looking at the furniture before it was properly installed in the bedroom. Two of our neighbors (our "decent" neighbors!) were smoking cigarettes in front of their cars, which were parked near our truck with the furniture, and they didn't offer to help; they just watched Glen unload the furniture by himself, while I looked on. Yep, two able-bodied dudes just stood around, smoking. By the way, Miss Karen helped Glen bring some of the old stuff out of the house, and she didn't charge a dime. (Thanks again, Karen!)

The lack of good samaritan-ship runs rampant through the city, affecting residents and employees alike. It may be wrong of me, but I wish that city employees in the departments with the power to directly impact our quality of life would pitch in and just work a little bit harder for us right now. It is a lot to ask, I know. If more city employees were city residents, that would be incentive. Still, as I've mentioned, there are so few of us asking for signs, and inspectors, and police, and smoother roads — considering that the remainder of the population is largely disconnected and often criminal. So,  just wish the city would just throw us a bone. Come on.

The bone coming our way will likely be a different kind than I just requested. And because of that, and because I hope to foster a better sense of neighborliness, I offered to volunteer in the city's sign shop a few hours a week to help make the signs needed for my street, and elsewhere. I was told my request was forwarded to James Allen, Assistant Director of Public Works, earlier this week. Maybe I don't have the exact skills for the task, but I bet my background is pretty compatible, and my anger at our living conditions will provide inspirational thirst for learning.

So, I'm waiting to hear back from Mr. Allen, and I'll update my blog with any developments.


BStarkey said...

This place has become a pit because the people that have moved here are asshole scumbags who don't give a rats ass about anything. I grew up here and now
I can't get out!
This place has become hell and it will not change any time soon I can assure you!

Captain Har said...

A miracle happened today on Hobart Ave. The shade tree department showed up to cut down 2 very old and rotten trees on our street. Huge branches would come crashing down every time it is windy. I have been calling City Hall, Gino Malone and anyone else I can think of for the last 10 years.I recently found out they only have 4 guys left for the whole city.

Chrissy said...

Hey, BStarkey, I really am sorry you feel that way; it's really discouraging to me. At the same time, I appreciate that you stayed while everyone else stayed hoping for a better day, and it's gotta burn now, since we're still waiting, and losing hope. I really, really hope things change for the better.

Cap'n: good work! Out of curiosity, what kind of trees were they? Sycamore (a greenish trunk with a light gray, thin bark that peels off)? We have a lot of them lining
our street, and as much as I hate to call a big ol' tree "shit," sycamores are shitty trees for the very reason you say: the wind blows and big limbs come down on cars. Hopefully, if/when the city does a mass planting again, they'll pick sturdier trees.

Captain Har said...

Chrissey, they are maple trees, much of the wood was taken away last night by off duty cops.I must say the guys that showed up put in a good days work, especially in the heat.The tress are over 100 years old, but unfortunately the had hollow spots and continually rot away.There was a third tree, but it split in a storm around 10 years ago and destroyed my neighbors car and knocked out our power.My problem now is we have a vacant lot where the trees were and the sidewalks are all pushed up, well I guess I have another 10 year project on my hands lol,

Anonymous said...

Yet Doug found the money to name an intersection after his political mentor, Big Ed Vereen. nice priorities, bozo.