Xmas trees on the boulevard: now you see ’em, now you don’t

Lansing Hardware Lansing Hardware Clay Oglesbee

(Left photo): On Wednesday morning, Lansing Hardware had many of its Christmas trees stacked along both sides of the sidewalk in front of the store and parking lot along Division St. Today, all the trees had been moved off the boulevard (center photo).

I took the photo (right) of blogger and occasional minister Clay Oglesbee passing by in his car. Clay’s the kind of guy who’s pretty much supportive of the idea of Christmas and its related traditions like Christmas trees. I’m not sure about him but I bet most citizens are relieved to have this particular merchant finally in full compliance of the city’s municipal code. If one allows xmas trees to encroach, then pretty soon you’ll have For Sale By Owner signs encroaching, too. 😉 Click all photo thumbnails to enlarge.

28 thoughts on “Xmas trees on the boulevard: now you see ’em, now you don’t”

  1. I asked the Mayor about this, and he said the”city” had come by and said that he had to move them …. ordinance violation or some such nonsense.
    Looks like “make the Mayor’s life as miserable as possible” to me; spoken by the biggest Christmas Grinch of all!

    There are other places in town, within a few blocks actually, where Christmas Trees are in/on the boulevard grass strip.

    If all this “crap” (Tracy Davis’s oft used comment) is going to intrude even into the Winter Holidays, then I say I hope Santa leaves them each exactly 1 piece of coal in their stockings. Isn’t that the Grimms Fairy Tales remedy for the bad children? “They” are Grimm, and they are acting like bad children on a playground.

  2. Friends, if you look more closely at the photo, I think you will see that
    the “blogger and occasional minister” in question is not concerned about Christmas trees on the boulevard, but smiling in anticipation of running down some stray paparazzi-guy crossing Division Street near the fine Lansings’ Hardware. For the record, I do generally speak out in favor of Jesus and of Christmas trees wherever he or they are to be found.

  3. What sound is this? Tim, listen … Carolers in the street?

    Do you hear what I hear?

    “Deck the halls with may-or-al harassment… fa la la la… la la, la la!”

    Au contraire Ms Kiffi – this is not child’s play. Just ask the children who might have seen Santa being shackled for wearing a disguise … and enticing them to sit on his lap in his little house on Bridge Square.

    Grim indeed …

    This is serious “shit” (using Griff’s recently preferred blog term) …. City officials and others (frankly I’m not sure if “officials” includes both elected and staff) so in this case I must be specific –

    Some staff, behind the veil of their position … are going to pull on Lansing’s shirt tail as oft as they can – Trees On The Boulevard, is a case in fact. And those Elected will … and do, do it, from the veil of their seat on the Council.

    That’s politics, any season.

    Unfortunately ( from my point of view) allowing the “alleged violation” to play itself out per the stipulations of the Ordinance, i.e. 30 days to correct, whatever …. and using 30 days of press comment and the blogs to makes a case – hopefully resulting in a public outcry in defense of the time honored tradition of selling Christmas trees … Fa La LA Dah! – – – causing the reverse of the “official” position, would have been better … far better.

    I love a fight… A Time Honored, New England, Scandinavian Italian Tradition … ‘specially at Chrtistmas time! Did you hear the one about the food fight at the StO Leadership Dinner… flying lutefisk and KugKamKoogle mit schlagg. Griff’s got pix.

    So here’s a question. if there’s an ordinance prohibiting a DT merchant from using the boulevard to display his seasonal merchandise …
    (under the “ban the clutter concept”) surely then there’s a more likely ban on horse shit in the streets … even, if it’s a result of the festivities of the Winter Walk … i.e “deposits” from sweet lil Norwegian ponies, horse drawn carts, hay rides, all with red bows and silver bells etc.

    So, WILL those officials who guard against the “pine needle” violations of the boulevard … be on hand to see to the pick up of the poop? Or maybe, they’ll spray paint the occasional road apple and call it Christmas decor.

    Actually this is a classic Christmas Story .. there’s always a victim – a short stocky Santa guy.. seen closing his shoppe to give trees to the needy, and goodies to the children …

    Theres’ winter winds wiping sleet and snow across dim lit empty streets, tattered wreaths swinging from flickering light posts and a tall thin angry man with a smeck of snaggry beard… swaggering down the street in hard heeled hunter’s boots kicking the children aside, planting “NO FUN ALLOWED” signs in deepening snow drifts.

    fa la la la… la la, la la!”

    vs

  4. I was so irritated by the foolishness of this that I put a call in, this AM, to John Brookins. He was out doing inspections, but politely returned my call in the afternoon.

    I asked John how this whole thing came about and he explained that he had gotten two calls from drivers who said they could not see to turn into the street because of the trees. I felt this was totally bogus and told John that ; I thought since it had not been a problem for the last twelve years that I’ve lived here, didn’t he think it was possible that was just more negative politics/harassment?

    He said that he had to investigate since he got two complaints and he took Dan Olson (planner) with him, and when they got back to City hall and spoke to their “superiors” there, they were told to issue the citation. I said that was too bad because it will reflect badly on him, as a personal choice, and can’t we even have a little Christmas spirit?

    He reiterated that it was not his choice, he had “to follow orders” and his “superiors” had told him to issue the citation. I believe his immediate “superior” would be Brian O’Connell, the next up the chain would be Joel Walinski, and of course the “Father Superior” would be the City Administrator.

    I f you’d like to see the Nuisance violation section of the city code, go to the city website; it is section 46.4 of the city code.

    I have occasionally felt that the rush of Christmas shopping can be a “Nuisance” ; I’ve never felt that about a Christmas Tree.

  5. I can see how the trees may have obscured the turn onto the street. But if it makes the season a little merrier, by all means let’s see it as part of some sinister plot.

  6. “Let’s violate the law for Christmas…”

    I think this whole thread is completely ridiculous.

    First you have a post that in itself is suspicious in nature, due to the fact that the poster has a before and after picture, as well as the post. I find it hard to believe that the poster just randomly had that shot available before this all broke loose. I would beg to ask, just why did Griff post this, and could Griff be one that called it in? If it was just an after picture, and the post, I could probably see it at news, but the before picture truly strikes me as odd, as if this was set up in some fashion. Is there a conspiracy theory among the triumvirates (?) or just another way to generate hit count? Griff probably has the best of intentions, but it just seems quite odd. Not many people that I know takes random pictures of Christmas tree stands just for the fun of it.

    Secondly, if you look at picture #2, it clearly was a violation. It is not the first time this business has placed items in the boulevard that I have noticed in the several years that I have been in town. This business does it all season long. On many occasions, there has been power equipment and other items placed in front of the building. I have no problem with it, but there is a big difference in visibility between tall Christmas trees and a few lawnmowers during the summer.

    Here is the ordinance:

    Sec. 46-4. Obstruction of public way.
    No person shall encumber the city streets, sidewalks, alleys, lanes or public grounds with carriages, carts, wagons, sleighs or other vehicles or with boxes, lumber, firewood, posts, awnings, paper, ashes, refuse, offal, dirt, garbage, stones or other material or obstruction of any kind.
    (Code 1986, § 1005:25)

    Reading the ordinance, it seems pretty cut and dry to me. A violation is a violation. Just because someone has been violating the law for 12 years does not make it right.

    I think all this screaming about harassment is nothing but noise. If you don’t like the ordinance, contact your council members, and get the ordinance changed

    The ordinances are there for a reason. They are there for the public good. I agree that all of the ordinances should be applied fairly.

    Victor, can you tell me where you got the “30 days” from? I don’t see that reference stipulated in the ordinance. I do however see where the City Administrator has to power to remove the nuisance within 24 hours.

    What also very much scares me is the fact that Kiffi describes that Mr. John Brookins had to make a “personal choice” about issuing the citation. As a city employee, it should be his duty to bring to the attention of his higher any violation and cite it appropriately, regardless of who it is. For him to look the other way, would be a disservice to the community. However, in this situation, I do not fault him at all for checking with his management, as I would have done the same thing in the same situation. I am glad to see that the violation was cited instead of everyone looking the other way.

    I do not think it is fair for Kiffi to tell someone that doing their job is “bogus”, and that they need to look the other way because it is Christmas. It is nice to have the chain of command explained to us, but, why is that needed, other than to attempt to make folks that are trying hard to do their job look bad.

    There is no sinister plot here. Just good enforcement in my opinion.

    Next time you see Mr. Brookins, Mr. Olsen, Mr. O’Connell, or Mr. Walinski, thank them for doing their jobs, especially in these trying times. It is up to them to keep up the high standards, and ensure uniform enforcement of the rules for all.

    I will be right beside you Kiffi and Victor, if you can in fact show selective enforcement.

    Victor and Griff, can we try to clean up the langauage a bit as well? After all, it is a kinder, gentler time of year, and there are so many better words in the dictionary that one can use to express themselves and thier views.

    (I will now don my protective vest and helmet, crouch down into my virtual foxhole, and prepare for incoming return fire.)

  7. John: According to Griff’s rules, you need to speak to someone who is in the conversation as if they are in the room.

    I also believe in applying the law fairly, and I do not think it was done in this case. Two blocks away there are piles of Christmas trees in the boulevard, and yes, they are not as high but if you read 46.4, quoted by you above, it says nothing about obstructing the view ,it says ” No one shall encumber … ” etc. Encumber means “weigh down, burden; to hinder, impede; clutter with unnecessary articles” etc. I could find no definition, in four different dictionaries, that had anything to do with blocking vision. It’s all about weight and refuse.

    Now, I will admit that this whole thing is ridiculous; except for the original post, which IMHO is a statement of how far things have gone in this crazy political atmosphere. John: re-read what you said … you don’t think I should have an opinion of whether a complaint is “bogus”, but you virtually accused Griff of creating, or faking the picture sequence, i.e. “suspicious in nature” were your exact words.

    I may not be the only person here who is taking things too seriously.

  8. John, as you’ve shown in your figuring out my “where is this?” challenges, you sniffed me out on this one… tho’ it’s not really sinister.

    I got a tip at my office in the James Gang HideAway on Thurs morning that Lansing’s had gotten a letter from the city about the trees. So I took a photo as I left town. This morning I checked and shore nuff, they’d been moved, so I blogged both photos.

    As you know, I blogged recently about the Great Clips banner… and that actually was on the boulevard, too, tho no one mentioned that in the discussion. So this issue of the trees was of interest to me anyway, just like I’ve blogged about newspaper boxes on the sidewalks.

    We’ve also been discussing the city’s ‘business friendliness’ in the College City Beverage thread and this Xmas tree issue has some relevance to that.

    And the war between Mayor Lee Lansing and some city staff has boiled over at City Hall in recent months, so this incident is just one more skirmish.

    As to the swearing here, alas, I’m afraid it’ll continue (as least on my part), holidays or not. We do mention this on our About Page.

  9. I will make sure I have the tone correctly in my posts, and write as though the person or group is standing next to me. Thanks for the correction.

    And now that I think about it, I just thought of where you are talking about. The particular place is one of my favorite places to shop, and their trees are in fact lying in the boulevard. Good point. I wonder if they got contacted as well. Something to ask about on my next visit.

    If this is the case, then are not most of the downtown businesses in violation of this ordinance on any given summer day? I mean, there is one “antique” store downtown that puts a ton of items on the sidewalk obstructing passage. Wouldn’t any special dispensation to allow this downtown have to be an ordinance or some how noted in a public record?

    Hypothetically, you could apply this to so many things downtown. I know that the police department has also been trying to use this against the growing blight of real estate and garage sale signs. This ordinance seems like it could be used for a great number of things. I

    Kiffi, do you have any idea, or can provide what the impact of the citation is? Is there a fine or other penalty, or is it more of a “fix it/remove it” notice? It did not quickly run across it in the city code, and thought you may already be aware. I am just curious to know.

    I also think that the City staff is in a really tough spot while there is a conflict in leadership.

    I also guess a clarification request for “bogus” is in order. Do you feel that the two complaints were bogus, or the cities enforcement of the complaints once submitted? I was going toward the fact that I thought you stated the city officials following up on the complaints was bogus.

    As a LGN reader, I am many times confused as to where Griff is coming from… and why something is relevant to be blogged. I did not as of yet call it bogus, I am just suspicious of the posting.

    Griff, can you explain how come there is a before and after photo on this piece? It seems odd to me that you have both on hand. Most times with news, it is reported after the fact. It is almost as if you knew this was going to happen somehow, and took the before picture to have when it all came to a head. I just think you must have really good sources or something. Can you clarify? It may not be that an explanation is required, as it is your blog. Did you get a tip that complaints were submitted? Its almost like Radar O’Rieley knowing that the choppers were coming well before everyone else.

  10. John, you ask where the 30 days comes from… if you’re charged with a petty violation, you’ve got a reasonable time to make things right. In this case it seems 24 hours – that is if you believe the ordinance applies.

    While visual obstruction does occur to some extent with anything between the driver exiting the parking lot and oncoming traffic… it ALSO occurs every time there’s a legally parked car in the spot just north of the exit. A complaint that a drivers vision was obstructed in that case would have no citation attached to it… as a car in the parking space is legal.

    As to the trees… while they are taller, they do not block the driver’s view to see oncoming cars to the extent that a parked car does. That’s a matter of geometry: Pie are square, Trees are tall, the sum of the square of the two sides equals the square of the longer side … and so forth.

    Now, the trees might block a view of santa arriving in his sleigh overhead… and then there’s the reindeer poop problem … and here we go again with the scatalogic musing … but that wouldn’t occur anyway, until late Christmas Eve Night… and Lansing’s will be closed that time of night – so the driver exiting the parking lot in that case would be trespassing… Holy Holly Balls … an all together different violation!

    Now that part about harassing the Mayor, I admit, while a bit on the melodramatic side – “hard heeled hunter’s boots kicking little children out the way, and all … holds up I feel – at least as as well as stories of the Red Sea opening and bushes burning and people being turned into pillars of salt, along with a lot of other silly tales. Maybe metaphor?

    But back to the Ordinance itself … my read is, its prohibition is use, or misuse of the sidewalk or the street. Doesn’t really mention the boulevard. and the common practice for DT merchants (you said it yourself) is to use space adjacent to their property for product display and supportive signage.

    Sorry JT – your wrong on all accounts … including language, so I guess that means you don’t want to hear Grandmama Naze’s moral short story: Shit in one hand and pray in the other and see which fills first…

    But mostly, you’re wrong on harassment!

    All accounts? Yes even your pitiful shot a Griff and his possible staging the incident himself. Casting stones and all… I mean Man, that’s not very nice, John. I am… surprised.

    FULL DISCLOSURE: aware of the breaking issue, and as I commented in my first (numero #3) – wanted it aired in the blogosphere, I am the one what leaked that unredacted information to LG, and knowing the trees were ordered moved… suggested LG run right down and take a pic… thus setting up the opportunity for the before and after.

    LG is merely protecting its source.

    So now John, I hope you’ll apologize to Griff and all his readers … and this being the season for kinder, whatever… ( actually, I thought it was all about money) ask for forgiveness from whom ever it is that makes such absolutions available to you.

    I’ll have to go it alone … just me and my lucky penny .. and oh yes, there’s spousie.

    vs

  11. Griff,

    I just saw your post. Thanks for the clarification. That makes perfect sense.

    You know, if I would get down to your “office” more often for coffee, and get more opportunities to visit with you, maybe I would understand you better. 😎

    Nothing like IRL (In Real Life) interaction right?

    Anyway, all of this just causes me to walk around shaking my head. So many things going on that are such distractions to things that are so much more important in this city.

    I, for one, cannot wait for this to all be over with, so we can move on. The city government has been paralyzed for far too long. Its time for them to lead, follow, or get out of the way. This goes both for the elected officials, as well as the City Administrator. Get it handled folks, the citizens are tired of paying taxes to support this wasteful drama.

    To speak to the boulevard ordinance violations, I would bet you coffee that if you started at 7:30 tomorrow morning, you could find and photograph 20 before that coffee got cold.

    Griff, keep up the good work and keeping the discussions open.

  12. John T: I told Mr Brookins that I felt the Complaint was totally “bogus” because you can’t see into the street until you get past any CAR that might be parked there, and that’s way past where the trees were….

  13. John T: Sorry, forgot to reply to the question of “personal choice” which you raised… The reason I thought that Mr. Brookins HAD a personal choice was the issue I stated above, the fact that if there is a car parked there, just to the north of the driveway, you cannot see what’s coming ’til you get almost into the traffic lane.
    And that’s why I thought he might have a degree of personal choice as to how he evaluated the “complaint”.
    The complaint doesn’t seem valid to me considering the way parked cars often make it impossible to see what’s coming; for example, from the north, if you are trying to head east, across Division, at Sixth street.

  14. A couple of years ago, our dog escaped and ended up in the back yard of a house in the next block. Instead of looking at the phone number on the dog’s tag and calling us, the people called the police. This involved a citation and a warning that, if it happens a couple more times, I would end up in court. Most neighbors just call me when the idiot puppy escapes, but these folks involved the police. I wasn’t even the Mayor of Northfield at the time. Some people are just like that. Could we all just chill, please?

  15. I agree Rob. Chill is best.

    VIctor,
    I have no reason to apologize. It looked odd, and I called him on it. Heck for all I know, it could have been faux news.

    Kiffi and Victor,
    All of this, even though you think some other issues are involved, is still simply a violation of the ordinance. Selective enforcement in the community is another issue, and I will give you that. But, rules are rules, and without them, comes anarchy.

    I also strongly feel that the Mayor should lead his business by example. I have a great deal of respect for Mayor Lansing. Do I support him in everything? No, but I think he has a difficult job as mayor, and is doing his best. I know that I don’t want his job.

    But, if the mayor (and his family business) does not set the example by obeying the ordinances, who can we hold accountable? It is a classic case, where I think they should lead by example.

    What would happen if this were another business, someone reported this, nothing was done and someone pulled out and got hit. Then everyone would be screaming at the City Administrator, the Mayor, the Council, City Staff, and everyone would be filing lawsuits, etc. etc. etc.

    Anyway, enough already. I think our bolevards are too cluttered, there is way to much urban garbage and signage on our streets, etc.

    Maybe the fresh snow will make it all look better.

    I am going to go spend time with the family today, and get into the holiday spirit. It is much more important than all of this. The trees are moved, problem solved, time to move on.

    VIctor,
    I appreciate the response. I am trying to learn from your experiences. You and Kiffi have been near the city and its activities for a long time. It is nice to have some things explained sometimes. I am sorry that you feel I am “wrong”, but you know what, your entitled to that opinion, just as I am entitled to mine. Demanding that I apologize is like me asking you to apologize. Not going to happen, and shouldn’t need to happen. Everyone here, is entited to thier opinions, right, wrong, or indifferent of everyone else’s opinion.

    Through civilized discussion, comes education. I will try to dull the point on some of my sharp sticks.

    It is nice to discuss issues with everyone. I will try to lower my tone to respectable, conversational levels.

    Make it a great day today. I’m going to go play in the snow with my kid. Its more important.

  16. See what you started with your Faux News, Griff?

    We’re all so ready to believe anything, considering the bizarreness of the local climate …and I’m not talking SNOW … but I may be talking “snow jobs” !

    If you’ve been out today, there’s no choice but to “chill”… Happy chilling to all from an immigrant to the state of MN.

  17. Full disclosure. I still believe my interpretation of the ordinance excludes the boulevard, as it speaks to the sidewalks and the streets. And my geometry lesson proves the sight lines are not really effected b y the trees… thus takes away that owness… but the true disclosure is, I goofed.

    Crossed my G’s and T’s

    I apologize to you John Thomas – as I was venting my angst toward another John, last name George.

    I sincerely feel the ordinance was inappropriately given… and is harassment… but the level of my discourse… demanding and apology etc. was my error. So I’ll take one (or two) and say “sorry” to both the Johns… T and G

    And my thanx to Griff who caught the error and made just a few adjustments, knowing the response should have been addressed to J Thomas… he changed the initials.

    So now I owe him. “Dang” as he says. And I was just about to comment on the quality of the last pod cast – too much happy talk. And oh… I really hate the Faux News.

    I may just take a timeout…

    But first: Don’t dull your sticks… do not lower your tone.. and enjoy the snow

    vs

  18. Victor,

    If an ordinance is open to interpretation, doesn’t that in itself make it counterproductive, and get us in this situation?

    Sec. 46-4. Obstruction of public way.
    No person shall encumber the city streets, sidewalks, alleys, lanes or public grounds with carriages, carts, wagons, sleighs or other vehicles or with boxes, lumber, firewood, posts, awnings, paper, ashes, refuse, offal, dirt, garbage, stones or other material or obstruction of any kind.
    (Code 1986, § 1005:25)

    I see the intent of the ordinance, but where do you think the grass strip boulevard falls?

    It is logical to assume that everything from the inside sidewalk edge to the street curb is the city right of way, the only thing that I would interpret to apply would therefore be “public ground?” There may be several right answers to this question.

    Difficult at best.

    I did do some fact finding at a different location that Kiffi had mentioned last night. Speaking to someone who would know if they were cited or contacted, such action has not occurred. If that is the case, then your statement of selected enforcement does begin to become a greater issue than the infraction itself. It is one that needs to be looked at.

    Do you have any plans to address this to the council at their next meeting?

    As to the confusion between Mr. George and myself, I guess that can happen. I went and looked at his previous posts in other threads, and I believe his writings to be much more structured than mine. I do not believe that I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. John George in real life, but hope to do so, as it is always interesting to meet others.

    A good post Mr. Summa, and a noble act sir. Salute.

  19. In many communities there are minor ordinances that aren’t enforced regularly, but only when a complaint is made. Many pet ordinances and minor property ordinance come to mind. There simply aren’t the resources or public will to have monitoring and universal enforcement.
    I agree with John T. that the issue with the Christmas trees was forced on the staff by phone calls they could not ignore without risking city liability in case of an accident. I also agree with John than the mayor, above all, should be proud and happy to set the best example possible without threat of a citation.
    Finally, I don’t believe the idea of government by the people means that we should be on the phone criticizing individual employees for trying to do their jobs. What if I want the ordinance enforced and someone else wants them to turn a blind eye? Which “public” matters? Staff shouldn’t have to deal with such considerations.
    They got a complaint and did their job. If you have a problem with that, a brief letter or e-mail going on record with the concern seems appropriate. Calling individual employees seems to be micromanagement.

  20. John T wrote “If an ordinance is open to interpretation, doesn’t that in itself make it counterproductive, and get us in this situation?”

    The top two answers: Well yes and no.

    Aren’t all civil case the result of some one’s interpretation of the law and or the contract, etc. Disallowing those discussions, at the very least, might put attorney’s out of business. (I’ll move right along, avoiding the obvious smug retort there…)

    Additionally, writing Laws/ordinances, etc. is a real challenge.

    Look at the arcane verbiage used in the ordinance language you cited.

    “Carriages, carts, sleighs, and wagons”…

    Does this mean that every mother should be cited when she leaves her baby’s carriage on the DT sidewalks while getting get a cup of coffee at G’by Blue? When was the last time any of us took our sleigh to the hardware store… and had we… likely we would have had to get out to pick-up poops. (Odd how that subject keeps popping-up in my posts.)

    Then, there’s “Hey you! … remove that can of offal!”

    So, My comment: Interpretation… it’s hard work. That’s what they get the big bucks for.

    You also wrote:

    … “but where do you think the grass strip boulevard falls?”

    And your logic is just that, irrefutable.

    …. “everything from the inside sidewalk edge to the street curb is the city right of way, the only thing that I would interpret to apply would therefore be “public ground?”

    My (victor’s) problem is enforcing the black letter of that ordinance, when the convention for DT retailer’s use of those public areas, is different .

    I get lost in E hell when I try to search the E codes. I’m operating on MY logic and MY understanding of what has been the convention and what vagaries there are (and allowances there might be) in the difficult to be all inclusive ordinances.

    That, and what I presume to be the de facto efforts to get in Lee Lansing’s face … by some who write on LG (decorum prohibits that list to be posted here) and staff. How convenient it is for staff to cite the citizen complaint.

    Frankly, all law enforcement officers should be regularly monitoring for like situations and take action without a complaint being levied. Are you aware of the ordinance requiring garbage containers to be removed from the boulevards or sidewalks after pick up, by 5 PM? Did you know you can not cite someone for firing a arrow from a bow in the DT

    And then there’s that awful pile of offal. ( I can use that one more time, right?)

    You said it: “Difficult at best.”

    Do I have any plans to address this to the council at their next meeting?

    Oh no … I’m foolhardy, but not to that extent. (wishful sigh) Now, I’d like to don my silver battle armor and ride my white stallion across the dais… clipity clop clopping across the oak… swinging my sword through the air… stopping only to wax profound on a lot of issues… but I confess, I grow weary. I guess the public comment here will have to be enough. Lansing’s has removed the trees – and the issue is dead.

    That’s the bureaucracies strongest tool, death, and weariness of the vox pox.

    And not to ignore Anne Bretts.. Anne writes:

    “In many communities there are minor ordinances that aren’t enforced ..etc. (down to ) … the mayor, above all, should be proud and happy to set the best example possible” …

    Again the irony there is (ask the NAG) when it comes to “good examples and Christmas trees” Hardware man Lee, has done that … year after year. Is he perfect? Naw… short, like Ross Currier.

    Kiffi can, and I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t, speak for herself. But let me briefly chime in first. She’s been shoveling snow.

    You criticize phoning individual staff to question the process. And rhetorically ask:

    ” What if I want the ordinance enforced and someone else wants them to turn a blind eye? Which “public” matters? Staff shouldn’t have to deal with such considerations.”

    That may be the sensitive part of what staff has to deal with… public opinion. Whether from the open mic, public hearings, letters, e mail, or phone calls.

    Anne, you mention micro managing… tell me, how is the phone-in complaint on which staff took action any different from the follow- up call to question their action?

  21. We just bought a lovely frasier fir formerly known as a boulevard tree. I’m told the trees are on parole and will have to make a boulevard appearance in Jan. for a meeting with Waste Management.

    I noticed they have some lovely 15′ balsams that would look quite lovely in the Summa household. And the mayor looks quite nice in his red sweater.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, or Happy Festivus if you prefer.

  22. Anne: once before, I believe you said that we (you and I) should not respond to each other as we will always disagree. On that,I agree with you 100%.

    Griff: Please do not take anything I may say now, or in the future as a Response to Anne; I will simply be speaking to the subject material.

    Besides, I’m way too tired from re-shoveling my front walk, after the snowplows plowed it in once again, because they always drive too fast on St. Olaf, and they throw the street snow, heavy with chemicals, over the newly shoveled walk. Gimme a break folks; I’m 71 and 1/2 years old, and feeling every minute of it.

    Now I’d like to speak to the subject of micro-management: In the 70’s, when all our kids were in those jr.high and highschool years, we lived in , and I worked for the city of Lake Forest, IL. An enlightened place, IMHO. I was first a library clerk, and then the head of circulation at the Lake Forest Library.
    When the job was offered to me, and I accepted, I was surprised to hear there was then a two-day waiting period for me to consider the nature of the job: SERVICE to the community. Everyone the city hired was given a lecture and a two-day waiting period to consider what that meant. The lecture went like this: “It would be better for you not to accept this job offer if you do not wish to hold a position which is based, first, on service to the community. That does not mean anyone should treat you in a demeaning way; it DOES mean that your FIRST responsibility is to provide complete, thorough, informed and pleasant SERVICE to the residents of this community. There is no reason for a city to exist, or have a staff except to provide for the needs of its citizens; our jobs only exist because of them. ”

    I loved that job, and I loved working for the city of Lake Forest … and I believe they had the right idea about how to run a city, and it made it very pleasant to live there.

  23. I was in Just Foods this evening, and the trees were removed from the boulevard. Apparently they were contacted this morning.

  24. It appears that Lansing’s new endeavor into the “Garden Center” business at the old Tires Plus location is not only encroaching on the boulevard, but it blocks the sidewalk as well.

    It is a big tent structure, and its placement clearly cannot be correct.

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