It is two or three times a week at least that I clean up dog poop from my yard, or my driveway, or the sidewalk in front of my house.
And I don’t have a dog.
At the school near where I live, there are very often piles of poop left there. I don’t blame the dog. You can’t blame the dog. I blame the dog owners who, through whatever trick of mental justification, leave their dog’s poop there.
As my neighbor H. Atkisson wrote in a recent letter to the editor:
I find myself wondering what is going on in Alameda that so many people find it socially acceptable to allow their dogs to poop on a lawn and walk away. Do the dog owners think that nobody will notice? That it will somehow be absorbed into the ground?
Atkisson ended with this plea:
It is illegal to let your dog roam without a leash, and it is illegal to leave your dog poop on public or private property. Please respect your neighbors and the law. Clean up your poop.
You can read the whole letter (though you must scroll down) here.
If you’d like to join a group of Alamedans and Oaklanders planting daffodils on the Oakland side of the Fruitvale Bridge (because, as you likely know, that’s one heck of an untended area) they’ll be a group out there working this coming Saturday, November 15, from 9 a.m. to noon. They’ll be meeting between 880 and the Fruitvale Bridge, near East 7th Street. I’m sure they’ll be easy to spot. Participants are advised to bring garden gloves and tools if they have them, wear work clothes, and be ready to plant. The event is sponsored by the Fruitvale Bike Station, the City of Oakland and Keep Oakland Beautiful.
Michele Ellson of The Island has a post up about the Alameda Unified School District‘s pesticide use policy and what Laura DiDonato, a parent who serves on the committee that created the policy, says is the district’s violation of its own rules.
Apparently, in 2001 AUSD approved a pest management policy in order to accord with California law which called for the use of pesticides only in cases of emergency, but has recently stopped following it. According to DiDonato, California law requires school districts to have a registry of parents who wish to be notified when pesticides are going to be sprayed, to post warning signs before and after spraying, and also keep records of pesticide use for public inspection. But DiDonato told The Island that only the only rule that is being followed is the one that requires general notification about the possibility of pesticide use. Ellson wrote about that notification a while back.
I was glad to see Alameda Sun columnist Noelle Robbins had a piece this week on the negatives of leaf blowers. As I have said on the same topic, “It’s time for Alameda to explicitly ban the beasts. It’ll be better for our peaceful small town, better for our air and, not the least, better for the people who wield them, forced to endure the noise and breathe the particles all day long.” Robbins had these stats about much air pollution leaf blowers create:
According to the California EPA Air Quality Resources Board, each leaf-blower engine, although seemingly tiny, churns out the equivalent of the same smoggy pollution as 80 cars, each driven for 12,500 miles every year. In fact, all small-engine yard machines, including lawn mowers, weed trimmers and leaf-blowers, contribute five percent of all our air pollution annually. And with the lack of emission controls on these devices, that consists of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds, all the components of global warming chemicals.
And this on the noise they create:
Leaf-blowers are also responsible for noise pollution, a type of infringement on our senses that can have serious negative health impacts. A normal decibel level, considered acceptable in residential areas, is about 60 decibels (60dB). Every increase in decibels means noise that is 10 times louder. Leaf-blowers usually generate about 70-75 dB. According to the U.S. EPA this level of noise actually degrades quality of life by interfering with communication and sleep, leads to reduced accuracy of work and increased levels of aggravation, which can linger hours after exposure.
Maybe now with Alameda’s Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda in business we can get these things banned in Alameda. Some times goals converge: you can do right by the long-term health of the planet and your own immediate comfort in one fell swoop.
For those of you who ever happen to come on or off the Island by way of the Fruitvale Bridge, perhaps driving or walking or cycling from the BART station, you know that the particular stretch of road is one of the most homely anywhere: chain link fences, wind blown trash, run-down buildings, weeds in concrete. A few days back, my trusty research assistant noted a man on a bike watering a lone plant on the median strip right near the bridge on the Oakland side. And I myself have noted these petunias, set against a backdrop of concrete, being tended on the east side of Fruitvale Avenue, between the train tracks and the 880 underpass. Guerrilla gardening, the cultivation of neglected public spaces by energetic individuals, is not a new concept, but it’s nice to see a little sprig of color where none had been before. Is anyone aware of any on-Island guerilla gardens?
This week’s Life on the Island column is about the noise and particle pollution of leaf blowers. Read it in whole (or, in part, if you prefer) here. [Ed. note: The Alameda Journal blog is officially on vacation until August 20, but you can find the online Alameda Journal here—or read what other bloggers are saying at Alamedans.]
Past “Life on the Island” columns
July 29, 2008: Backyard wells and conserving water
July 22, 2008: Out and about on a home-town date
July 15, 2008: Changes in school leadership offers new opportunities
July 8, 2008: Getting an education in civics Continue Reading
I am delighted to report that the first California poppy of the season has blossomed in my yard—which I, for one, take as a clear sign that spring has arrived. While many of you in sunnier island spots have had poppies for weeks, yesterday’s was my first, and I am pleased: I quite like those bright-orange, drought-tolerant (drought-happy, even) flowers.
That said, many of y’all may want to attend Saturday’s volunteer rally and training (Longfellow, 10-1) sponsored by the Alameda Education Foundation and Keep Alameda Schools Excellent. You can learn more about an upcoming campaign to raise awareness of school funding issues (brought to Alameda pro bono by Wrecking Ball) and learn more facts and figures about the parcel tax.
Should you opt not to go the school event, there’s always Saturday’s city-sponsored Community Visioning Charrette brought to my attention by John over there at Stop, Drop and Roll. A charrette you might say, of course! But I, for one, had to google-dictionary that baby. Nonetheless, it sounds like it’s a meeting (Alameda Free Library, 9-1) to discuss a development plan for Park Street north of Lincoln, now that the sales-tax-generating car dealerships are going. As we all know—and as John points out—an ounce of planning is worth three pounds of second guessing/complaining.