The Lot That Ate Manchester: Chelsa Wagner, the Trib and the PG weigh in

This is great.  I put forth great energy to make phone calls, take pictures, share information and draw as much attention as possible to the whole PennDOT situation.  The end result?  PennDOT's Jim Struzzi promises Wagner's people that he will send out inspectors to investigate the piles of gravel and sand as well as have them removed. 

In other words, it worked.  The downside is that PennDOT has reinforced the notion that being a very squeaky wheel gets you some grease.  This time, I used photos, a blog, email lists and communiques with two journalists.  Wagner's people picked up the thread from an email list and took action (Kudos for that leadership).

What's next?  Videotape and soil samples? 

I tried the direct route of calling Mr. Struzzi's office myself and it was his staff that send me on the wild goose chase of talking with 8 other people at PennDOT.  It was the women who answers his phone and some man in the background whom was not identified that told me to call 911. 

Now, Struzzi's camp is trying to paint me as being hysterical over two small piles.  That's a typical response from bureacrats — the community folks are overreacting, they are being unreasonable, see how quickly we responded when someone important calls us?  It is a page right out of the book of how to govern patriarchically — treat your subjects/taxpayers like poor, misguided 1950's housewives and be sure to keep them in line.  Hmmm.

Struzzi did tell Wagner's office that PennDOT does not have a maintenance schedule for the property; they cut on an as needed basis.  Apparently, “need” is not affiliated with the City regulations.  And, as we discussed yesterday, BBI is not going too enforce those regulations so we are basically at the mercy of whatever PennDOT staffer is responsible for measuring the grass height. 

Do you think they have a big stick some intern drives around to measure the various properties?  Or is that a union job? Does it require two people to determine the grass needs cut?  Do they have to audition by practicing on the Governor's lawn?  Does it involve one of those little yard gnomes?  In a hard hat and orange safety vest?  Cause that would be one cool job. 

I have property in West Mifflin and if I let the grass grow one quarter inch too long, the Borough sends me a certified letter with about 72 hours to fix the problem before the fines pile up on me.  I don't even leave it to the tenants, but pay a trusted lawn guy to take care of things so I don't have any risks.  It would be great to have an “as needed” policy, but that would make me very unpopular neighbor.  One might say a thoughtless, even a bad, neighbor.

Hmmm.