File Under “Don’t Take Me So Literally!”

Posted on September 27, 2012


Last week, I saw Uncle Joe, an owner of the commercial property next to mine, sitting in his truck and decided I would ask him about the upside-down couch sitting in his back lot, up against the fence between our properties. The couch was potential harborage for rats, I told him. “Can you move it?”

He said he would get someone to do it.

Two days later, the couch is on top of the roof of the garbage storage shed behind Pizza Lovers.

Well, at least it’s not providing harborage for rats anymore.

Let me tell you about this couch.

About 2 months ago, it was in the middle of the lot along with a slew of other debris. Sometimes, children would play amongst the rubbish. A little boy, who I’m guessing was a relative of the Pizza Lovers owner, with nothing better to do, hammered at some concrete footings, breaking them up, and pursuing such other little boy’s mischief as slinging things over the fence. I told the boy to stop. He ignored me, resulting in me notifying his chaperones. I never see this little boy out back anymore.

I digress. Anyway, you get the picture. Two months ago, my ward councilor called and said that he and some officials from Inspectional Services were going to surprise the owner of Pizza Lovers the next morning by paying a visit and reading him the riot act about the condition of the back lot. This they did, but the night before, I observed the owner of Pizza Lovers frantically cleaning the back lot. Did a fairly good job too, except that he moved the couch from the middle of the lot and put it in a corner up against the fence.

Why did the owner of Pizza Lovers suddenly get religion, on the eve of a planned enforcement action? Shouldn’t it be the landlord’s responsibility to clean the back lot? Apparently, someone from City Hall is a pizza aficionado and the restaurant’s lease is written in such a way that it is responsible for maintenance of the back in exchange for a break on rent.

So this couch is emblematic to me, a symbol if you will, of half-assed jobs, vague expectations and general sloppiness. And there it is now, out in the open, daring me to do something about it.

To me, this couch is also an emblem of all that is wrong with the city’s enforcement of its own vague, sometimes misguided ordinances. More on that later.

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Posted in: Litter