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 practiceBarbaric? 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.