, Gloucester, MA


January 30, 2009

My view: Is it time for a curbside revolt?

Here's hoping that America's new president and the people he's picked to work in his Administration will have some success turning things around. But it's foolish to think that the rest of us should just sit around and wait for this to happen.

We did that right after 9/11. That's when the previous occupant of the White House told us to "go shopping" and leave all the worrying to him. Eight years later, thanks in large part to the greed, arrogance and ineptness of those who direct the course U.S. policy at home and abroad, most citizens have found themselves so deep in the hole that the grocery store is about the only place they can afford to go shopping any more.

But it's not just Washington, Wall Street and the Corporate America crowd that are responsible for the mess the country finds itself in today. We're all to blame, because about the only thing most of us ever do is cast our vote whenever the polls are open, which takes about 5 minutes out of our lives every two to four years — and a lot of us don't take the trouble to do even that.

Lately, a number of letter writers to this newspaper have complained about public aparthy, one recent case in point having to do with the city's extremely unpopular new curbside trash pickup policy.

Not only are a large number of people unhappy with Gloucester's mandatory new bags, their cost and relative small and awkward size, they're also plainly sick and tired of being "nickle-and-dimed" by City Hall.

Who can blame them? Gloucester residents already have been stuck with among the highest water and sewer rates in the country. Then there's the formula used by the state to fund our city's public schools. The geniuses who came up with that clearly skewered aid-to-education formula make The Three Stooges look like a trio of nuclear scientists.

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