Town Square

'Gum' on the sidewalks

Original post made by dolores ciardelli, editor of Danville Express, on Jul 15, 2010

Have you ever stepped on someone's discarded gum on the sidewalk? Pretty yucky, ain't it, especially on a hot day.

Adhesive tapes have the same effect on sidewalks as gum -- just ask the Danville maintenance personnel who were charged with removing tape residue after the Fourth of July parade. Now that the infamous chair policy is enforced -- meaning no chairs can be left out until 6 p.m. July 3 -- some folks mark their spots with tape. Which might be fine except whereas they usually remove their chairs, they just leave the tape in place for others to deal with. And apparently it doesn't come off the sidewalks as easily as it went on. Verrrry unfair to our cleanup crews.

Speaking of cleanup, was anyone else disturbed by the tons of garbage left by parade-goers? People bring or buy food and drinks to enjoy the parade with family and friends, which is great. There are also lots of giveaways. But apparently they forget to bring along a bag to gather their litter to bring home for disposal.

Remember the old movie theater rules? The modus operandi was to eat and drop, and to let theater personnel clean up after you. At least that leaves a mess in the dark. The post-parade mess was in the bright July sunlight for all to see and be appalled by. I don't see any yards in the San Ramon Valley with trash in them, so what's with dropping garbage on our public streets? Aren't they an extension of our back yards?

It didn't take long for the street cleaners to hit Hartz Avenue after the parade. No sooner had the old fellows in red shirts shot off their rifles to formally end the festivities than the volunteers were telling people to move on, and the big street sweepers came a-sweeping the debris into their vacuum. Not quite conducive to sticking around to enjoy downtown, perhaps, but given the vast amount of garbage, perhaps it was best.

Another thing about garbage: How does all of that litter get to the sides of the freeway? Are people really such slobs? I love the program that has companies adopting stretches of highway to keep clean and it's nice to see the bulging orange bags on I-680 waiting to be picked up. If it's ever done by a retail outlet I make it a point to patronize them. (Except I think I'll skip the tattoo parlor.) But before cleanups it's not so nice - with plastic bags and other ugly stuff dotting the lovely landscaping. What's with these individuals?

I might be inclined to think that roadside litter is left by people from other parts of the Bay Area and beyond, who are just passing through. But given the mess left in Danville after the Fourth of July parade, I know that local folks can litter with the best/worst of them.

The fine for littering in California can be $100 to $1,000 for a first-time offender plus a possible eight hours of litter removal. Love it! Cleaning up roadside trash for eight hours would certainly raise one's consciousness about the problem if you're too out of it to normally be offended by the sight of litter. Although I rarely see anyone throw litter from their car and, I'm sure, no one does so without checking for law enforcement. Contra Costa County said that from January 2009 to June 30, 2010, only three reports have been made on litterers. I knew they'd be hard to catch!

But back to the parade. Thousands of volunteer hours go into making this Kiwanis event a success. The best way to show our gratitude is to not get antsy about where we're going to sit -- and to clean up after ourselves when the parade ends. And if you don't: May you step in someone's discarded gum on a hot day in July.


Like this comment
Posted by Bainter the Painter
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I think the gum harvested by the Danville maintenance personnel could be recycled and be a useful revenue source for the city.

Like this comment
Posted by huh?
a resident of Danville
on Jul 16, 2010 at 4:39 am

why in the world do we need your lecture? "Appalled", "Disturbed"? Your time would be better used campaigning against BP - do you read the rest of the paper after posting printed representation of your own drivel on the refrigerator?
what qualifies you as the Mother Goose of Danville?
Get a REAL job.

Like this comment
Posted by DWC5
a resident of Danville
on Jul 16, 2010 at 9:48 am

I too see litter as a problem that is best addressed at the source, but obviously that does not always work. I walk my dog daily and usually end up with a full grocery bag of litter from my neighborhood streets. Since I'm out walking with bag for my dog, I might as well pick up litter too. If more people would do the same, it would go along way towards reducing the amount of litter on our streets. Just an idea...

Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 16, 2010 at 10:23 am

Delores, keep up the good job. As you can see the Huh comment is most likely one of those slobs. It's this generation that couldn't care less about others.

And Bainter the just another tree huger and dreamer...recycle gum, what a lack of intelligent comment. I hope he or she was just trying to be cute.

Hey Delores, wish were back...the Danville Express is boring. There is so much going on in Danville that needs to be exposed...but the Danville Express just likes to talk about mothers day and apple pie's. A good indicator of the lack of interest is to check the number of comments posted per subject matter.

Thanks, Julia from Alamo

Like this comment
Posted by psmacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Jul 16, 2010 at 10:46 am

I, also, have been wondering about how the "freeway garbage" gets there?
In all my years, I've NEVER seen anyone throw trash out of their window, EXCEPT for cigarettes. (And, of course, cigarettes is one of the worst things a person could ever throw out of a window--for its fire danger!)

Couple of days ago, though, I did see some paper fly out of the back of a pickup truck on the freeway.....and I thought about it. Whoops! That was accidental, right.....or is it!?!
I actually wondered whether it was a paper that would be missed by its owner. Or was it essentially trash that the owner had purposely discarded (or carelessly left) in the back of the open pickup truck, thinking that it wouldn't fly out....or not caring if it did.

I, myself, have had a paper--that I cared about (not trash) that was laying on the front passenger seat beside me--get sucked out of an open window by accident. It was my DMV registration paper, while I was on the way to get a smog exam. I went back and tried to recover it, but couldn't find it. It was gone that fast. And it was a hassle to replace. (I've learned to watch out for my loose papers. Tip: Keep a large metal clip in the car.)
So that's one way that things get out on the freeway: they get sucked out the window.

What this trash issue really boils down to is CARE and CHARACTER, followed by a certain amount of EFFORT and LEARNING (of tricks and tips to prevent the "accidental" trashings).

You either have love and concern for the environment around you, the EARTH we live on, the God who grants you existence, for yourself, and for others....or you don't. You either have enough good character to desire to try to make things better for everyone in this world.....or you don't. You're either well-centered....or your selfishly-centered.

This care/concern/love/character is the underlying foundation for WHY people pick up trash. Without becomes possible to not care and "leave it for others to do."

And how about that (false) EQUATION/rationale that flashes through the minds of some folks when they fumble some coins and drop a penny to the ground--my time is so valuable and I'm so important that it is not worth my time and effort to go back and pick up that penny. It's NOT "how much the penny is worth"--and "trash" is worth even less than the penny--it's how much you care about the world we live in and want to make it nice for all of us!

Ever little bit of cleanup effort, helps!
Ever little bit of trashing, hurts!
Which side of the ledger are you on!?!

Like this comment
Posted by Barry
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 16, 2010 at 11:03 am

Interesting idea, Mr. Bainter, although I do not find the idea of chewing recycled gum very appealing. It would be just as interesting to compost Julia's rants, but I don't think that they're up to the same quality standards as most horse sh-t. Also, will someone please get Julia a dictionary? What the heck is a "huger?"

Like this comment
Posted by Bainter the Painter
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 16, 2010 at 11:26 pm

It was just an idea about the gum. Why are some people so mean. I guess no one cares what the painter thinks. That's ok.

Like this comment
Posted by Non-Whiners Welcome
a resident of Danville
on Jul 17, 2010 at 7:30 am

Bainter, I would much rather read your imaginative ideas than Julia's incessant whining that's driving readers from this forum. My advice...ignore.... Better yet, post more!

Like this comment
Posted by Donna
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 17, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Litter left behind is just another manifestation of the sense of entitlement that runs so deep in this valley. What are these people teaching their children? Have you looked around any school campus lately?