September 15, 2005

To ban or not to ban

A commenter in a thread below raised the fact that Moline is now debating a ban on all leaf burning in the city.

A Dispatch editorial is 100% behind the idea and reports that Ald. Dick Potter is the person pushing for it.
The effort to ban leaf burning, which continues to puff along in Moline, will get harder before it gets easier. But once a permanent ban on choking smoke is in place, the folks in charge will wonder why they didn't do it before. It would be easy to scoff at an 8-0 vote by aldermen last week to formally consider banning leaf burning, but such consideration really does represent progress in the inevitable trek to a leaf-burning ban. As we and others have noted, the nice thing here is that Moline doesn't have to reinvent the wheel. Examples of communities which successfully undertook this good government effort abound. The key will be making it as easy on residents and as inexpensive for taxpayers as possible. As Ald. Bill Adams, 5th Ward, said last week, "The only way to do it is to bite the bullet ... and put your money where your mouth is." Indeed. So cheers to another step taken in abolishing what Ald. Dick Potter, who is driving this effort correctly termed a "barbaric practice
Barbaric? Well, barbaric or not, what are your views on the issue?

While it's an annoyance at times, I feel it would be a huge inconvenience for many to enact a total ban. But we must keep in mind that there are many who have respiratory problems which make leaf burning season hell for them.

Also, if the city does enact this ban, it had darn well better improve the woefull leaf vacuuming efforts which have proven to be sporadic and inefficient at best.

The trucks have to drive to a rural farm in Coal Valley every time they get full, unload, then drive back into town to resume where they left off. Needless to say, this makes it next to impossible to make much progress, costs a LOT in fuel costs, and the city has to pay workers high wages for spending most of their time not doing anything but riding in a truck. Efficient? Hardly.

According to my conversation with city workers on the truck, the farm is owned by some crony of city officials, and rather than paying the city for the tons of valuable mulch and compost material, the CITY pays the guy to dump the leaves on his property. The whole thing smacks of inefficiency and a huge waste of time and tax dollars. The idea of providing leaf vacuums is a sound one and provides a vital service as an alternative to burning, but the way it is currently being done could stand some expansion and rethinking.


At 9/15/2005 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why can't they put the issue on a ballot and let the voters decide whether or not to allow leaf burning? I, for one, don't mind it, and I DO mind ald. potter calling it a barbaric practice. For some reason those words just annoy me. I'm tired of him trying to shove this issue down our throats everytime we get a new member on the city council. Put it to vote and I will be happy with the outcome either way, let a select few decide and it will irritate me.

At 9/15/2005 4:25 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

My 8-year-old son suffers from fairly serious asthma. When the fall leaf-burning smoke fills the air, we are on high alert regarding his breathing. As much as I don't mind the smoke, and kind of like the smell, and grew up raking and burning leaves as a tradition, watching my son suffer has convinced me that we shouldn't be filling the Moline air with smoke on purpose.

At 9/15/2005 6:05 PM, Blogger Dave Barrett said...

I agree with Alderman Potter. It is a barbaric practice. There are people in our community who, because of breathing problems, have to stay indoors when people are burning leaves. In my neighborhood the vast majority of people are considerate of their neighbors and go to the extra effort to dispose of their leaves without burning them. I only see a few people, about one per block, who burn their leaves but those few are enough to polute the air for everyone. Given how few people I see burning their leaves I am always amazed how many people show up in discussions like this to proclaim their opposition to any ban and to pronounce their indifference to the suffering their burning causes others.

It does not make any sense to me. The vast majority of Americans consider themselves environmentalists and think it is reasonable to scuttle a major development project like a dam or something if it might endanger a threatened species like the snail-darter. But to propose that along with all the other clear-air measures we as a society have agreed to we should stop the open-air burning of leaves in the fall - a kind of burning that because it is inefficient produces a disproportionately large amount of air polution and you get people talking about how they object to things being shoved down their throats. Why is this something that is being shoved down their throats and the endangered species act and the clean air acts are just sensible public policy?

At 9/15/2005 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't realize the Moline city council was responsible for passing the endangered species and clean air acts.

At 9/15/2005 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ban or no ban - it's going to take a lot of money the City does not have to ban the burn and vaccuum the leaves which is the favorite way if we can't burn.

However, the 90 people who tilted the scales to get Welvert in as Mayor will soon see his whimpy ways when they don't have any money for what is needed.

Once he raises our taxes, bye bye welvert --- hello O'Brien!! O'Brien for mayor of Moline! Let's get back to common sense again in Moline.

At 9/15/2005 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

let us burn our leaves. i aint paying for trucks, with city employees working 2 months out of the year in the spring and fall to remove what nature gave us. its bad enough we cant smoke in a bar in illinois anymore (or at least thats the way things are heading, thanks young alderman carton), next i wont be able to use my fireplace in my house, this is PC run amok. tell me i cant burn my leaves? i talk to my neighbors, i even know my neighbors names, and when they arent home, i burn then, because they asked me. this isnt about an archaic practice, this is about common sense among neighbors. the little old lady who lives to my souht, puts her white sheets up on her clothes line, i wont burn, if they aren't up in the first place, i'll still check with her beforehand. not once has a neighbor said no, and i check the wind direction. i even have my neighbors ask me if they can burn too. its about neighborhoods, and neighbors communicating first not archaic practices being banned for overly pc alderman like mr. potter. hee haw

At 9/15/2005 9:50 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

This isn't about "PC run amok"; this is about children who have asthma who go into breathing distress -- mine does -- when there is smoke in the air. Don't lecture me about political correctness; my concern is my son who goes into breathing distress in the Fall. We need to find a better way to dispose of the leaves, and it's going to take some mayoral leadership, but don't lay out that garbage about political correctness running amok.

At 9/16/2005 3:56 AM, Blogger shamalamadingdong21 said...

You left wing liberal extremests, look at your agenda:

1) no leaf burning--everyone knows that we need to cut this problem off at the source--Cut down all of the trees and then we will solve the leaf problem, just like they are doing to the rainforest in South America and Southeast Asia

2) Global Warming--when we cut all the trees down, that alone has saved this country from the high cost of heating bills due to the increase in winter temperatures--we can use the trees to heat our homes with good, old-fashioned fireplaces.
3) Handguns to protect our homes and Assault rifles to kill deer--I for one lost a beautiful Plymouth Turismo hatchback to a big fat illinois deer who had absolutely NO right to cross that highway at 3 in the morning and if i can't keep a loaded handgun in my house without a trigger lock, how can I teach my 6 year old to be the MAN of the house, he is way to small to handle the 12 gauge shotgun by the door, plus his little fingers can't reload the shells, but he can easily pop another clip into my Glock.
4) Economic Growth--We can use the wood from the trees we cut down to help build the new slaughterhouse in East Moline AND with all of that Rock that will come out of the new Riverstone operation on Big Island we can fortify the flood protection for Barstow. This new floodwall will provide a perfect backdrop for a new gun range that I can take my son to so he can learn how to shoot his new Glock and maybe even try out that new Assault Rifle i am getting him for his birthday now that that damn unconstitutional ban has been lifted.
5) Pledge of Allegiance--now my kid may lose his right to say the pledge of allegiance in school--with all of his newly acquired skills, his anger over not being able to set fire to the leaves in my yard, or climb a tree, his lack of a job because we didn't build that slaughterhouse, he will be left with no choice but to join the national gaurd so that he can help restore wetlands in Iraq. Don't get me started on the be continued

At 9/16/2005 5:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if i cant lay out the garbage of pc, when i beleive it is true, then dont play the sympathy card with ashtma. i interact with kids all day, i dont want to see any kid suffer, but hell more kids are hurt when they fall into a 5 gallon bucket, then by leave burning, we banning 5 gallon buckets now? more kids get sick eating chicken, thru salmonella, you see us banning chicken? you know how many lbs of leaves there are to be cleaned up in any city? you want to have your taxes raised for that? and by the way, no plan whatsoever to pick up the leaves is out there that is workable. but thats par for the course; no planning, just say we need to do something, do it, and have no plan for its implentation.

At 9/16/2005 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon - see the new Moline Mayor about it - why is he silent? Because he has no clue what is going on in his own town!!!

At least some of the alderman have ideas or opinions.

At 9/16/2005 9:33 AM, Blogger Huntooner said...

As an individual who suffers from both Asthma and Emphysema, I do feel qualified to comment that the practice of leaf burning confines me to being indoors and usually causes at least one trip to the Doctor each year by both my wife and myself (she also suffers from Asthma). And I do honestly believe that the overall cost in dollars paid by society in increased health care costs due to leaf burning is far larger then the relatively minor cost of collecting and disposing of leaves.

I would agree with Inside Dope that there needs to be some investigation of practices where farmers are paid to accept leaves. Certainly I would think that an enterprising individual (or even governmental entity) could turn a leaf composting into a profit making business. So I would take exception personally with that aspect of Moline's current practice.

At 9/17/2005 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Huntooner - but right now the big issue is what exactly is going on with the issue at Moline CIty Hall? Do we burn or not burn??

We don't have plain talking Pat O'Brien sitting on the council to give us a clear statement anymore since that empty suit - Welvert got in as Mayor and put O'Brien on the bench. Darn - I miss the days when the average citizen could read O'Brien's quotes on the latest events and get a clear idea of the changes in Moline.

Now we have the confused drivel and lack of leadership in our sad. Anyone know what the last two meetings result is on the issue? I sure don't.

It's as clear as the mississippi mud.

At 9/17/2005 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poor children with asthma...... how about a ban on pregnant women smoking, or parents of small children smoking in their homes and cars.... No.... just blame everyone who tries to keep their yards looking nice in the fall.

At 9/18/2005 6:28 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

How small minded of you anon 16:18.

However, you fail to see the forest for the trees. The scenes you describe above are personal choices made in little tiny universes not the global one where the entire block is smokey and dense with leaves burning when you decide to "make your yard nice". There are plenty of ways to do that without burning. Want me to show you ditto head??

At 9/19/2005 9:34 AM, Blogger diehard said...

I think Alderman Potter is right to want to ban the burn.
However people tend to be anal about their yards and the burn ban will have a price tag on it.
That doesnt meen we shouldn't do it.
I will gladly pay more taxes for clean air!

At 9/19/2005 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybesomeday, The personal choices in tiny universes cause children to have asthma. Then the parents who have caused this want the world to change its ways to protect the problems they have caused.... and no, I do not care to see your ditto head.

annon 16:18

At 9/19/2005 7:37 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

anon 16:18 - you are going around in circles just like a dog chasing its tail here.

What exactly is your point? You say the people who smoke in their cars want to ban the leaf burning? How do you know that?? I do know that people can smoke in their homes and cars and no one can stop that. However, the leaf burn can be stopped if the City pays for another alternative to the burning.

Air pollution of our common spaces is something we all should be concerned about. I suppose you think it would be ok for a coal burning plant to move in next to you so that you can continue to turn on that light switch and make your house beautiful and lit up?

Think about your concept here - it does not hold water anon. You are a moron.

Better not think about it anon - may hurt your small little excuse for a brain.


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