“A long time ago in the old country, a young boy walked out of church and was hit by a carriage that smashed his leg and made him lame. Sometime later, he came to the priest and said: ‘Father, I pray to God to fix my leg, but he is not listening.’ The father looked at him and replied: ‘Your mother was in here and told me you are cleaning up your room. Work on that and keep praying.’ This would go on for a while with various other things like doing his homework, being nice to his sister and helping his dad in the shop. Every time it was the same: ‘Father, I pray to God to fix my leg, but he is not listening.’ Finally, one Sunday the pope is on his way to Rome when he passes the church as the boy and the priest come out. ‘Please stop and talk to this child,’ the priest said. And His Holiness got out and heard the story. Finally taking the boy by the hand and bringing him back to the priest, he says to the boy: ‘God heard you, but you have to accept that no is also an answer.’ ”
A constituent recently complained that the sidewalks on their street and adjacent streets of their single-family home neighborhood had irregular surfaces due mostly to tree roots’ lifting. The application of asphalt to ease the edging was not acceptable. Relaying it to the city manager and staff, they followed up with direct communication.
Sometimes as a courtesy, crews working on the street (who may not be city employees) would apply asphalt to remove the edges – which had happened sometime after their first complaint about a year ago.
The story is that according to land use laws, the sidewalks are the property of the homeowner with public access granted and the constituent did not respond to the explanation by the staff.
The city manager reached out to follow up and got no response. I sent a follow-up including the email from the city and, as always, offering to meet. What I got back was a very curt response that they did not want to deal with the staff and that it was my responsibility as the elected to get the job done that they demanded.
The concept that no is also an answer seemed to be lacking.
However, it should be noted that the complaint may be echoed to the homeowners in the neighborhood as the city regularly goes over each sidewalk district (there are four or five) and issues letters of notice that there is a problem with the owners’ sidewalks. This is done to make people aware of a potential liability. Thus, sometimes this is a matter of “No Know.”
This reflects the opinion and experience of Edi Birsan and not an official position of the city or any sidewalk construction company. And by the way, he has also repaired his own sidewalk.
Contact him at EdiBirsan@gmail.com.