Cleaning up the litter problem

Published 10:21 pm Friday, February 23, 2018

Dear Editor,

I appreciate the emphasis that the Daily News has been placing on the litter and trash problem in the county. It’s certainly not the most grave problem we have, but it is one of the most visible and kind of like the “broken window” emphasis that New York City put on minor crimes a couple a couple of decades ago that let people know that all crimes were important and would be prosecuted, even a broken window.

I agree thaat we need to care enough to clean up our own property and applaud those that do, but that won’t solve the problem.

There is an answer. Several years ago, a county in Alabama instituted a law that fined a person $500 for the crime of writing a bad check. I’m familiar with a couple that wrote two “insufficient funds” checks to a business and had to pay $1,000 or go to jail. The number of bad checks written in the county diminished dramatically.

I am proposing an ordinance from the county commissioners that would place a fine of $500 for the first offense of littering with impoundment of the vehicle from which the trash emanated. The second offense and any thereafter would incur a fine of $1,000. The owner of the vehicle would also be subject to incarceration if the fine remained unpaid. Now, this is the part that will result in determining who the violators are. Videos of the act would be allowed as evidence and the person providing the video would be rewarded with half of the fine. The public would be encouraged to place cameras on their property to record sections of the roadway and other  areas on their property to record sections of the roadway.

This will call for strict enforcement and no reductions in the fine and no release of the vehicle until the fine is paid.

There will be howls of unfairness and gnashing of teeth from the first few prosecuted, but the problem of litter in the county will decrease substantially after a few well publicized prosecutions. There is no reason the taxpayers in the county should be spending money or time picking up other people’s garbage.

Wes Cleaveland