Wednesday, May 25, 2005

O Fair City

I'm not loving my city right now.

First of all, the school board lost two of three requests in a referendum for more money today. I know this is not unusual in most places, but here there is a history of people approving this sort of thing. My tax bill would have gone up over a hundred dollars if they were all approved, and I still voted yes. I actually heard one opponent on television complain that Madison was one of the highest spenders per student in the state (not THE highest, but up there), and he said, "isn't that enough?". Do you not understand that we have excellent schools because we spend money on them? Class sizes are about to go up, fewer staff members will be in each school valuable and popular music and enrichment classes are going to be cut. What the hell is the point of approving the maintenance budget request if you don't seem to care what happens inside those buildings? (Don't worry, Anna, the schools are still going to be way better than where you are).

The other thing that annoyed the hell out of me is the city waste management enforcement. When we moved into our house, there were suspended acoustical tile ceilings throughout the entire first floor, and large fluorescent light fixtures in the living room. I felt like I was waiting in the doctor's office when I sat on my couch. It seriously looked like this (Why did the sellers do this to a perfectly nice plaster ceiling? The husband used to work for a company that installed suspended ceilings. I have no explanation for the lighting). We finally got around to pulling it all down and painting several months ago, but hadn't gotten around to disposing of the construction detritus. Our fine city will pick up, for free, waste from "minor home improvement projects", according to its website, and even recycle the metal. So we put out the metal framework and the two light fixtures (minus the bulbs-I am aware we have to pay to recycle those) for pickup Friday after I went over the website to make sure they would take the stuff. Apparently I missed something. The light fixtures were listed under "appliances" along with refrigerators and air conditioners (why ever did I not think to look for them there?), as items that we needed to pay to have removed. I found this out first because the trash collectors left a copy of the regulations, with the specific area highlighted in blue marker, and the business card of the code enforcement officer, in my door. Then, they came back that afternoon and labeled the fixtures with big black marker with our address, just to make sure we didn't try and pull a fast one. Finally, today I got a letter in the mail from the city, informing me in no uncertain terms that they most certainly will NOT pick up these fixtures unless we pay the fee and get the sticker to put on them, and if they are still out there next week we'll be facing a whole world of hurt (we picked them back up Friday night). You'd think we had a yard full of smoldering old tires and junk cars by reading this letter. I feel like I should be wearing a scarlet letter V for Violator of Ordinance.

Have you ever seen hippie fascists? Welcome to Madison.

And believe me, I am perfectly aware of what time it is and would LOVE to be asleep. Perhaps someone could explain to Peanut why this is so important, as she isn't listening to me. At this rate, she won't have her allowance until she's 42.


Carlos said...

Damn Madison hippies. We should send them all to Vietnam! Then they can eat water buffalo pho and make sandals from tires and defuse landmines and stuff.

(Why yes, the NyQuil does do odd things to my mental equilibrium. How the hell did I get this bad a cough in late May in New York City?)

Carlos in Brooklyn

Carrie's Mom (and damn proud of it) said...

Oh,quit whining - last Friday, they left some cardboard that hadn't been folded to the exact right specifications. In the Fox River Valley, where you grew up, they were (are) light years ahead of Madison in the recycling department. I can't believe that I have to stack magazines/catalogs (no higher than 6") and tie them with twine - can't just put them in a paper bag or box. Does Madison use recycling trucks with itty bitty openings or are the workers just very small and weak?
We've always felt for the poor guys on student moving weeks - someone in this family even left beer and soda for them when we lived in the Vilas neighborhood... but do they have to make up for it all the rest of the year?
Don't worry Anna, it's STILL a wonderful city!
And Carlos - get that cough checked out! You're the son of a doctor, for heaven's sake!

La Lucuma said...

Oh man. I am as bummed as you are about the referendum thing. And I still can't believe that Madison won't recycle batteries. BATTERIES. You have to MAIL them to Milwaukee and, of course, pay for the postage to mail them. Minneapolis is more enlightened than this.