Thursday, January 31, 2013

We need a City Gardener

Speech to Grants Pass City Council, 8/3/2011

            For the last 6 years, I have been bringing complaints to this Council regarding our City’s landscape management: spreading fine bark that kills soil; the disease and weed hazards appearing in the River Road Reserve; the City’s neglect of weeds on its in-town properties and non-enforcement of its nuisance code.  All of these problems come down to a single deficiency in City government: we don’t have a professional gardener on staff.
            We need one person in charge of keeping all of our properties up to our code: one who can supervise our various landscaping contractors; walking all city properties monthly, noting problems and telling our contractors what needs to be done and the most efficient way to do it.  We need one person whom people can call about problems and concerns with City properties and advice on keeping their own properties up to code.  We need someone on staff to teach our police about our nuisance code and how best to enforce it, making it a priority for them instead of a triviality to be ignored.  We need a gardener sitting in staff meetings and pointing out the cost of landscape maintenance, and speaking to the Budget Committee and Council on behalf of loving our neighbors and obeying our nuisance code when setting budget priorities.
            This person needs to be a professional gardener with at least 10 years of managing many other people’s properties alone or with little help, learning the most efficient ways to kill and prevent weeds.  We need a gardener who, by herself, has reclaimed many properties from weeds, fine bark, and landscape cloth, fixing the mistakes of homeowners and landscapers and learning from her own mistakes over the years.  We need a gardener in City government with a fire in her belly to clean up our town and return it to the neatness it showed in the 80’s and before.
            Naturally, as the person who sees the need and has that fire in her belly, I believe that I am the gardener that the City needs to hire.  I can put my customers’ properties up against any other gardener or landscaper in town.  Over the next few meetings, I will be giving speeches to the Council on the need for this position, and e-mailing work plans to our City manager, Council, and staff to clean up weedy properties; efficiently maintain flowers and shrubbery; mulch with free leaves, wood chips, and coarse bark; and for our police to efficiently enforce our nuisance code, all of which will be published for the edification of others on
Published at Yahoo Voices

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