Rat Tales

Posted on June 20, 2012


[The following letter was sent by me to the Lynn Item to follow up on their story Rat Problem Real to these Lynners. I was one of the Lynners interviewed for the story. I just read the Item Live. Let me know if you see my letter published in the print edition.]

“The truth hurts,” or so the saying goes. I didn’t mean to insult city councilor Darren Cyr when I said the city hasn’t been doing enough to combat the rat problem. But I understand why he felt insulted.

In a city that hasn’t been able solve a lot of its problems, Cyr puts in the effort, goes the extra mile, gets in the trenches. The bloggers and commenters have for the most part disdained his efforts, called him every name in the book, accused him of heavy-handedness. I like that Darren cares enough about his hometown to put up with all the noise and do what he thinks best, even it means enduring the insults of a frustrated homeowner like myself. If I worked as hard as Darren did for this city on this particular issue, I would feel insulted too.

As a tax-payer, I expect more from City Hall. I expect a coordinated effort from all departments–the DPW, the City Council, the Mayor, Inspectional Services. What I see is each department acting on it’s own. What I’d like to see is a strategic plan for dealing with the sanitation crisis in this city, a task force if you will, that includes not only ordinances, but enforcement of those ordinances, education, outreach, prevention, a budget, the political will to accomplish well-defined objectives and involvement from residents. Is that too much to ask?

LHAND’s pilot project is a good start. Norm Cole, please expect a call from me. I want to know more. Is there anything I can do to help? Let’s accelerate change. Our arts district is just getting off it’s feet thanks to efforts of private citizens working with public servants. Let’s see what we can do for the rest of the city.