Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bellingham WA or anywhere: Violations in Public Spaces - Dog Owners Aren't the only Guilty Parties

Boulevard Park

The City ordinance for the prohibition of smoking in public places cited on the NO SMOKING sign above is BMC 8.16. From my attempt to search for it, I am not sure the citation for the #Bellingham Municipal Code cited above for pet waste is the correct number nowadays. From my walks along the #SouthBayTrail I don't notice any other signs installed that are meant to discourage smoking, or to notify the public regarding the fines that could be imposed on violators. There should be more signs about such violations disturbing the public order along the trail, #BoulevardPark and all over town.

The #Dutch have invented a drone system for identifying #dog waste and #robots are dispatched to clean it up. I thought that was an extremely interesting news item although I consider drones to be #litter in many respects.

People who leave pet waste bagged along the trail should change this habit. Leaving pet waste whether bagged or unbagged is incredibly #rude and illegal. Dog owners could easily attach a receptacle on their dog's leash or in their own backpack to contain it in the same way as there are receptacles on leashes to hold new bags.

Just this month I noticed two ladies walking their three dogs at Boulevard Park without picking up the poo. I also informed a transient along #SouthBayTrail that smoking is not permitted anywhere along the trail 24/7 (and that tresspassers are not allowed on the #BNSF private land). With an increasing amount of new residents, tourists, and transients rapidly arriving from other places there is a great need to inform and educate.

The City of Bellingham has widely promoted removal of pet waste as an important priority for many years, and more notices (including updated BMC citation?) should be distributed, but pet waste is not the only common #violation that needs rectifying. People who smoke on sidewalks contrary to the 25-foot distance they need to be from buildings need to be prevented from doing so or held accountable. Sidewalk smoking is a significant problem for many other pedestrians trying to walk along without feeling ill from the smoke. Humans who urinate and defecate in public places or as they tresspass on other people's private property also need to be held accountable. There are a host of disturbances where #violators seem not to be contacted by law enforcement, but they definitely should be. From my experience, not everyone in the police department even knows that cigarette littering is illegal. People who spit on sidewalks should be fined. #Spitting has historically caused the spread of #tuberculosis. Any litter is a violation and fines should be imposed. According to the Clean Water Act, the only legal thing that should enter a storm drain is rain. The fine for dropping #cigarettes is steep and the strict #Washington State laws prohibiting the dropping of lit smoking materials should be posted all over with mention of the monetary penalties that could and should be enforced. It is not an unachievable habit for #smokers to carry their own portable #ashtrays just as they are able to carry their #tobacco products and lighters or matches.

There are many regulations for the common good that people violate all the time and which #law #enforcement should address. More efforts should be put into the correction of people setting off fireworks; removing or deliberately harming wildlife at Boulevard Park and other such sites; pouring tons of #pesticides and #herbicides and placing bait boxes on their properties; creating horrific #noise disturbances; #abandoning #pets; #dumping trash; and conducting frequent casual car sales.

I guess they are called "quality of life" ordinances, tragedy of the commons, or other terms to that effect. Millions of people violating public order prohibitions have historically and will continue to violate nature and the public health of human communities unless everyone else raises the issues and insists upon action.