Clean neighborhoods start with each of us

February 17, 2002 11:00 pm

Clean neighborhoods start with each of us

The western attitude is live and let live. But sometimes we can learn some lessons from our less easygoing Eastern cities, even big ones like Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has started an umbrella organization called Pittsburgh Clean Neighborhoods, which has about 20 groups or organizations that have combined their efforts to make the city a clean and safe place to live. Pittsburgh is doing such things to combat the collapse of community as cracking down on abandoned cars, profanity on buses, graffiti, littering, trash-strewn yards, barking dogs and jaywalking.

Such efforts do more than just make a city a better place to live. The efforts contribute to making a clean and beautiful city to attract people, businesses and tourists.

Some cities have established livability courts to deal with neighborhood

irritations. Some cities have adopted litter ordinances. Some cities are ticketing jaywalkers. Northeast Oregon cities could follow suit, but will probably need to settle for self-policing and asking residents to volunteer to do their part.

Critics say such voluntary efforts often do little to reduce such things as litterbugs and jaywalking, and that we have more important problems to deal with than working to curb small, bad habits.

This may be true. The point is that each of us can make positive contributions to society, and what better place to start than in our own neighborhood. By being good examples and not jaywalking, littering or doing other things to irritate our neighbors, we can grow a better community.

Stepped over the line

The First Amendments freedom of the press gives newspapers and other media a fairly broad playing field in which they they can print or

broadcast their messages.

The freedom to publish, however, must be balanced by a sense of social responsibility and some good common sense.

Editorial cartoonist Mike Marland stepped over the line when he drew a plane labeled Bush Budget and showed it crashing into two towers called Social Security. Marlands idea was to show the potential calamity of the presidents proposal to tap into the Social Security surplus. His cartoon was published in the Feb. 8 edition of his newspaper, the Concord (N.H) Monitor.

Marland issued an apology last week for the insensitivity he showed to the people still suffering from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center. It was not my intention to desecrate the memory of those who died that day, nor to add to the anguish and sorrow of their loved ones or the city of New York, Marland wrote on the papers opinion page.

Editorials and cartoons about Bushs budget, of course, are fair game and even welcome. An exchange of opinion on this and other important public policy matters is vital to the democratic system. But Marland could have found a less jarring image to get his point across.