[Vision2020] Contractors

Craine Kit kcraine at verizon.net
Tue Jan 29 19:47:02 PST 2008

Imagine this alternative to Chasuk's loss-of-home scenario: The widow  
of a soldier killed in Iraq has two pre-school children. She is going  
to the university to earn a degree so she can get a job that will  
support her family (rather than remaining on welfare). She can't  
afford a car so she walks everywhere. While traversing a scofflaw's  
stretch of icy sidewalk, she slips, falls, strikes her head, and ends  
up in a permanent vegetative state. The scofflaw is sued. His  
homeowner's insurance pays the bill, then declines to renew his  
policy. Other companies refuse to touch him. Because his mortgage  
included a requirement that he have insurance, he violates his  
contract with the bank. The bank forecloses. He looses the house that  
was his lifetime goal.

Perhaps everyone would have been better off if the Scofflaw accepted  
his responsibility and made arrangements for someone to do his walk  
while he was gone. On my block, that is often a quid-quo-pro  
arrangement. For many of the on-fixed-income retirees I know, they  
find the money to pay someone--even if it means they need to give  
something up.

PCEI has a great program for those who truly need help. I thank  
everyone who is lending their back to this effort. That includes  
responsible property owners, all those who quietly clear their  
neighbors' walks, and those who volunteer for PCEI's Snow Patrol.  
Working as a community, we can make Moscow's sidewalks safe in winter.

For those who can do their sidewalks but don't (especially  
landlords), it is actually very simple: your property, your problem,  
you solve it.

Kit Craine

On Jan 29, 2008, at 2:47 PM, Chasuk wrote:

> Everyone talks about this as if it were such a simple issue.  First,
> there are many of us whom are not property owners, and probably never
> will be.  I belong to that demographic.  Am I responsible for
> shoveling snow outside my domicile, if it isn't specified in my lease
> or rental agreement?
> Now let's pretend that I do own the property.  Being a property owner
> doesn't automatically mean I'm rich, right?  Let's say I'm
> able-bodied, and not infirm, but I can't be there to shovel within the
> prescribed time for other, legitimate reasons.  Maybe I'm attending a
> wedding, or a funeral, or I work out of town for the majority of every
> month.  I'm gainfully employed, but I can't afford to pay someone to
> reliably keep my sidewalk snow-free during my absence.
> I return and, under J's regime, I might have $500 in fines.  I get
> behind on my mortgage.  I lose the house that has been a lifetime
> goal.
> Why do I lose my house?  Because one of my neighbors likes to traverse
> my stretch of sidewalk with Fido in tow, and I have denied her that
> pleasure.    Never mind that she has a treadmill and a big backyard
> where Fido actually prefers to romp.  She is incensed that I have been
> a scofflaw, and have interfered with the free exercise of her
> perambulatory zeal.
> Later, homeless, I push my shopping cart past her house, grateful that
> she has kept her sidewalk clear of snow, not knowing that it is this
> harridan who was responsible for my homelessness, but also for the
> amputation of three toes off my left foot due to frostbite.
> Yes, I painted a parodic, extremist picture, but I'm just trying to
> show that it isn't that simple, folks.
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