Question of the Month Mayor Martin O'Malley recently...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

February 09, 2002

Question of the Month

Mayor Martin O'Malley recently announced plans for the city to take over about 5,000 of the tens of thousands of vacant properties that blight many Baltimore neighborhoods.

What do you think the city should do with its abandoned properties?

We are looking for 250 words or less; the deadline is Feb. 18. Letters become the property of The Sun, which reserves the right to edit them. By submitting a letter, the author grants The Sun an irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use and republish the letter, in whole or in part, in all media and to authorize others to reprint it.

Letters should include your name and address, along with a day and evening telephone number. E-mail us: letters@baltsun.com; write us: Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278-0001; fax us: 410-332-6977.

New policies irk city's recyclers

We appreciate the efforts of city government to improve city services and be cost effective. We are disappointed and very concerned, however, about the directive requiring residents to place recyclables on the street in front of their residences ("Recycling schedule changes stir outcry," Jan. 31).

Neighborhoods with functioning, well-maintained alley systems behind their homes should continue to have recycling materials picked up in the alley.

To require residents to put their recycling materials on the street will create an eyesore that tends to denigrate the appearance of the neighborhood. Worse yet, it will encourage the accumulation of unsightly materials on front lawns.

Missed collections will mean the recycling material stays on the street for several weeks. The bags will be vulnerable to animals, breakage and other problems.

We urge the city to reconsider this shortsighted policy change, which is likely to cause environmental and aesthetic deterioration to so many city neighborhoods.

Frank Gorman

Pat Gorman

Baltimore

Instead of putting our recycling out in the alleys behind our houses, we are now being told to place recycling in front of our houses. I don't know where Joseph A. Kolodziejski [chief of solid waste for Baltimore's Department of Public Works] lives, but in my neighborhood that's just asking for trouble.

I have lived in the city for eight years and am an avid recycler. On Wednesday nights, I put my recycling out in the back, and Thursday mornings it was picked up - no problem. But if I were to follow this routine with the new policy, I am certain the recycling people would have nothing to pick up.

If glass is lying around on the streets of our neighborhood, it will be smashed. I do not intend to increase my risk of a flat tire or vandalism by providing the materials.

As for paper recycling, the park across the street would be just littered with paper. Having already picked it up from around my house, I have no intention of gathering it a second time because Mr. Kolodziejski thought front-curb recycling was a good idea.

As far as I am concerned, this change goes against everything Mayor Martin O'Malley has worked for to create a cleaner city.

Carol Hallinan

Baltimore

Someone with absolutely nothing else to do might be able to remember to put the plastic out front on Monday, the regular trash in back on Tuesday, the paper in front on Thursday and the regular trash in back on Friday, and remember which months have five Mondays or five Thursdays.

Most people will give up trying to recycle, and just put everything in the regular trash.

Having been unsuccessful in the attempt to eliminate plastic collection last June, the apparent goal of the Department of Public Works now is to make it so hard for people to recycle that they won't.

The DPW then can note that very little is collected, and use that as a justification for stopping recycling entirely.

Bernard J. Hayes

Baltimore

Since the start of the city recycling program I have participated. Now, however, I will no longer do so. I do not object to the change in dates for pickup; I do object to placing the items in front of the house in which I live.

It has been my habit from time to time to patrol the block on which I live, picking up papers, wrappers, bottles and other trash to keep my neighborhood a clean and decent place to live.

Now the city is asking me and my neighbors to litter the front of our houses.

If the intent of the new regulations is to end the recycling program, as far as I am concerned it has succeeded.

Martin Puritz

Baltimore

Saving some money (in this case an estimated $900,000 a year) and using it to combat other sanitation problems can begin to justify some of the [recycling] adjustments ("Recycling plan saves city funds," letters, Feb. 2).

But in my neighborhood, the change from back-alley to front-street collection threatens one of the few remaining civilities of urban living.

One of the reasons we live here is that utilitarian functions are primarily restricted to the rear alleys, which allows the front streetscape to retain some of its original charm.

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