Note: This column appears in the 6/5 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 6/6 issue of the Peoria Times
Many neighbors are lazy idiots. This is a fact of life. You pay a lot of money for your home, and then you look across the street only to see that a plastic swimming pool with cartoon mermaids on it is growing out of the weeds on your neighbor’s front yard. Then you complain to your wife that “we paid a lot of money for this house and now it’s going to crap because our neighbors are lazy idiots!” This is a hypothetical situation, of course.
The other worst kind of neighbor is the neighbor that is no longer your neighbor because he or she has been kicked out of their house and now the house is in foreclosure. This is actually an ongoing problem now in Glendale and Peoria. (And everywhere, for that matter.) In fact, the Glendale Code Compliance Department -- sounds fun! -- has been flooded with complaints about the weeds growing in the yards of foreclosed homes.
Move over War in Iraq -- we have other problems now. There are too many weeds. The issue is that nobody claims responsibility for maintaining the yards of foreclosed homes. Amazingly, those who have been forced to evacuate their homes are neglecting to come back and perform gardening duties. The banks that now technically own these homes do not have hands. And the city has a limited budget to remedy the problem. In Peoria’s case, for example, the budget is zero.
It’s a simple formula: Bad real estate market + photosynthesis = complaints to the Code Compliance department. Many local Glendale and Peoria residents are simply fed up with the eyesores that are foreclosed yards and the city’s inability to help, and have taken it upon themselves to band together as neighbors and pull weeds that are not their own. I, personally, have not partaken in this endeavor, as I have a hard enough time pulling my own weeds. You see, my front and back yards consist of mostly rocks, and it is very difficult for me to finagle my hands in between the rocks and pull the weeds by the roots. As a result, it takes me an entire weekend to pull the weeds in just my front yard, and all of the rocks end up in the street, and the next day all the weeds are back, and I want to kill somebody.
Son of a...
But the larger question here is: What does the Code Compliance Department have to say about this? I logged onto the Glendale city website to find out. Here is what it said:
At this time of year, you should remember that keeping your block and neighborhood clean can go a long way in keeping your neighborhood safe and blight-free.
Not a very subtle suggestion that we are each responsible for maintaining our entire neighborhood. Thanks for nothing, Code Compliance Department! And I don’t know about your neighborhood, but mine is full of blight! There’s more:
Spring cleaning inside your home can lead to problems outside. Boxes and other materials can be invitations for arson.
This has nothing to do with weeds. But it does present yet another issue: the irresistible to urge to set fire to random boxes you spot in your neighbors yard.
So, with regards to the ongoing weed problem, the Glendale Code Compliance Department has recommended that we: a) take care of it ourselves, and b) bring boxes inside lest they be set on fire.
It obviously remains unclear how this pressing issue will be resolved. A good start, however, would be for people who still live in their homes to pull their own weeds. I mean, there’s enough blight as it is. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a compliant to file.
I nominate Brad to pull the weeds