I’m going to reveal something about myself that may or may not be popular.
Did you ever throw a late night beer bust with outdoor loud speakers still going strong at 02:00am when the cops showed up to close it down? Have you ever wondered WHO called the cops to cruise by and shut it down? That was me!
Got a junker of car with flat tires that’s been parked on the street for months and was finally red tagged for towing? Yep, me.
Ever decide that during a dry, drought plagued, “High Fire Danger” summer season the best way to get rid of the six foot tall weeds in the back yard across from my house is to intentionally set them on fire only to have the fire department show up to douse the blaze and issue you a fine? Me again!
(All this stuff really DID really happen…)
Inconsiderate people don’t get consideration from me. But occasionally, I’ll stick my nose in where it just might do someone else some good.
As I was coming back from an appointment Monday of this week, I passed the parking lot of Country Club elementary school where I had my first subbing assignment last year. I noticed something peculiar about a car parked in the nearly empty lot. The car was sitting on the ground with all four wheels missing.
My thought was that this must have been stolen and the fancy rims stripped. It’s summer, the school is not in session and this school isn’t on a particularly busy street. It could be a while before this gets reported. If it was my car, I’d like to get it back ASAP.
I live in the 10th largest city in the nation according to today’s newspaper, but I don’t think that some of the city services have kept pace.
I called 311, the non-emergency number, to report the possibly stolen car.
I’m on automated “hold” for twenty minutes while “All other operators are busy. Please hold…” before I give up and try again.
The non-emergency menu selection indicates an alternative number for the “city directory assistance operator”. I try that and get a very helpful person who sympathizes with my long attempts to contact the police. She suggests the office of “code enforcement” might help and directs my call.
I give CEG (Code Enforcement Guy) all the relevant information. The school name, the car license plate number, etc.
CEG: I need the complete name and mailing address of the school.
ME: Whaaa? I don’t have the EXACT address, but how many schools might there BE at the corner of
CEG: I can’t help you unless I have the exact address.
ME: Ok. Fine! I’ll look up the address from my school district maps
CEG: Great, we’ll send a letter out to the property owner right away.
ME: You mean you aren’t going to send a cop car out to take a look?
CEG: No, we have to send the property owner a letter and wait two weeks for them to respond before we can move it. (He means he’s going to send the SCHOOL a letter about the car!)
ME: Since the “property” is a public school, doesn’t that mean YOU, the city, own the property? You’re going to send yourself a letter? (I’m trying not to get TOO sarcastic at this point)
CEG: Well, that’s how it’s done.
ME: OOOOHHH KKKAAA…Bye now.
I called 311 again and waited for the “real police” to answer. It took another twenty minutes on automated hold for them to pick up. Four minutes later I completed the report to which they responded that they’d send someone out to check on it.
Over an hour of my time spent but the car was gone the next day.
CEG called me back today to tell me that they couldn’t send the code compliance letter because their department handles only private school properties.