I have been alarmed by some of the front page stories and photos that have appeared in the Standard Democrat recently. If you've missed them, let me tell me what you're missing.
First, we have Sikeston's mayor laying down the law to those that litter in Sikeston. In a recent city council meeting our mayor called the attention of Sikeston DPS to the littering issue and instructed them "if you catch somebody littering, I want you to arrest them." All this after apparently seeing a motorist throw garbage out a window.
This is not the first time he has addressed the littering problem in Sikeston. I will give our mayor the benefit of the doubt in that littering is a problem, albeit a small one in my eyes. And, don't get me wrong, I love his enthusiasm. However, I would be a little happier if he used his enthusiasm to bring to light some real problems in Sikeston, like, the seemingly increasing violence in the city.
Hey, I would love to see a crackdown on littering as much as the next guy. I sure don't enjoy picking up litter that gets thrown into my yard. Anyone who has ever been inside my house knows that, but I would still rather leave the jail cells open to those who are doing the shooting in our city limits.
It may be me, but it seems like in the last sixth months to a year or so there has been all kinds of gun violence in Sikeston. Call me crazy, but I can live with a little bit of litter if it means somebody isn't getting shot. Here's a quick question though. If somebody shoots another person and in their escape throws a gun in the bushes or on the side of the road, are they charged with littering? Just a thought.
And while we're at it, go ahead and leave a cell open for those who are selling drugs within our city limits, too. Then, if there is any room left, throw in the litterbugs. And while DPS is at it, maybe they could throw in the idiots that smashed my mailbox.
Of course, that isn't all that has alarmed me. The other was a photo that ran on the front page last week of a Public Works employee removing asphalt on Center Street to get to the old brick road that is underneath. I know it is all part of the revitalization of downtown, but don't you usually fix roads instead of tear them up?
I have already written a column about how I loathe the brick roads downtown so I won't harp on the point too much. I just don't understand how making a road bumpier is going to attract more people downtown. You would think the nicer the roads, the more it would attract people. Of course, come to think of it, I don't know how the roads have any bearing at all on whether people visit stores downtown. Doesn't it make you wonder why they put asphalt on top of the brick to begin with?
Maybe I'm just bitter because for a short time I lived in Poplar Bluff, another town with brick roads. I didn't realize when I moved here that Sikeston was trying to become a "Poplar Bluff of the East." I always thought the two cities were more rivals than anything else. Trust me when I say we don't want to become like Poplar Bluff.
Of course I'm sure Public Works has nothing better to do than rip up city streets either. Maybe we could make that a job for those caught littering. Instead of going to jail, if you get caught littering, you have to go downtown with a pick ax and get to work. It may take a little longer, but it might serve everybody's interest.
But for all of my complaining about the stupid brick, I do like the effort the city is putting into revitalizing downtown Sikeston. I know it is a slow process, but hopefully it is one that eventually will put a breath of fresh air into downtown.
Of course, with that breath of fresh air come people, and with people comes litter and-- well, I can see I'm just going to have to stop reading the newspaper. There's nothing in it but people complaining anyway.