Local Government: A Call to the Bullpen

I've lived in the city of Revere for nearly seven years now. We picked this location because the neighborhood is nice, the school system is good and the house was perfect for us. We are not ones to poke our noses into our neighbors business nor into the inner workings of the city, especially a city like Revere that has a rap for being lead by corrupt politicians and a seedy underworld.

Over the past few years, I've gotten to know my neighrbors to the point where it's more than just a hello and goodbye. We've been invited for BBQs, pool parties, neighborhood meetings, etc. One such neighbor I've gotten to know is George Rotondo, counselor at large.

Now, George is known as a pot stirrer in the city as he's always challenging the policies and moves being made by the mayor (who, as far as I can tell, isn't well liked in this town, according to the folks that have lived here longer than me, but keeps getting elected for some reason). I like politicians like George; the ones that like to stir it up but have their constituents best interests in mind. I've dealt with politicians enough in my day as a reporter working at the state house for the Globe and in my PR profession that they are a strange breed.

This brings me to the point of this post - yard waste and a call to the bullpen for help.

For two weeks, I've had about ten brown bags full of yard compost as well as a 8 bundles of wrapped up tree limbs. I put all the stuff in the trash for pick up last week and the truck came and went, without taking the yard waste. I immediately checked the Revere website only to find that the yard waste was picked up every other week. So, with that in mind, I put all the stuff pack out in the trash this morning. About an hour later, the trash trucks come, empy my barrels, but leave the yard waste.

I was pissed.

I immediately emailed George:

George,

I have had yard waste in my trash for a couple of weeks now. Per the city's we site, pick up is every other week. Since it wasn't picked up last week, I figured it was this week. However, I watched the trash guys come and they looked at the bags I had stacked and the brush and they walked right by it. Now, maybe I am off a week, but for this to happen two weeks in a row when it's supposed to be picked up every other week is not a coincidence. Either I am off schedule or the trash guys are being lazy. I'm tired of having to lug everything in and out of my garage. Of course, today it rained and all the bags are soaked.

As you can tell, I'm quite pissed off about it. Now, if I have my dates wrong then shame on me. If not, then I have a legit complaint.

What should I do?

Within the hour of my email, George cc's me in an email to the mayor and I'm guessing the guy that handles the public works, asking:

When are they suppose to pick up the yard waste? Is the website wrong or did something go awry?

I replied to all with:

Thanks for the quick reply George. According to the website:

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
YARD WASTE: Leaves, grass and other easily raked material will be picked up every other week on your regular trash day. Brush can be no longer than 3 inches in diameter and 4 feet long. All materials must be in brown paper leaf bags or open barrels.
Collection Weeks in 2008 will begin the week of April 14, 2008 and will be every other week after that until the 2nd week of December.

Today is my regular trash day. I put out my yard waste last week and none of it got picked up. I put it out today and got the same result. I had about 8 or so bags out there and about four bundles of branches. Maybe it was the quantity, but I didn't read anything on the website about that.

Not trying to rock the boat here, just trying to follow directions as best as I can. Thanks for the help guys. Enjoy your weekend.

Within the hour of that email exchange, low and behold, the yellow trucks pulls up in front of my house and bingo...no more yard waste.

So, thanks George for listening. Thanks city officials for addressing my needs in a prompt manner.

Lessoned learned: Get to know your local rep. You'll never know when you'll have to call them in from the pull pen.