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Gilroy
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April 13, 2021

Red phone: City surveys sidewalks in advance of plan

I live in the downtown area of Wren (Avenue) and Third (Street)
and I was calling because I want to know what’s going on with all
the orange paint on the sidewalks. Hopefully you can enlighten us
if the city’s going to be repairing the sidewalks (or) if they’ve
just marked them to highlight cracks. Just checking to see what’s
going on in the neighborhood. Thanks.
Orange marks throughout town are part of sidewalk survey

“I live in the downtown area of Wren (Avenue) and Third (Street) and I was calling because I want to know what’s going on with all the orange paint on the sidewalks. Hopefully you can enlighten us if the city’s going to be repairing the sidewalks (or) if they’ve just marked them to highlight cracks. Just checking to see what’s going on in the neighborhood. Thanks.”

Dear Wants to Know,

The city is preparing a survey of all the sidewalks in town, and that orange paint is part of that. Under a temporary program the city council approved in June, the city will cover 80 percent of total repair costs. That will last at least until September, when city engineers expect to create a triage of the worst sidewalks. As part of that survey – the third since 2002 – a city intern spray-painted the cracked sidewalks. The temporary plan also covers 100 percent of repair costs for sidewalks considered by the city to be in a state of abysmal disrepair. But figuring out exactly who qualifies and exactly how much it will cost to fix them all depends on the survey and council’s direction.

So good caller, stay tuned. A sidewalk repair plan should be in the works this fall.

‘Do what you gotta do’

“I was reading ‘Scavengers stealing recycling.’ I read everything and there were good answers. But then, at the end of the column, I read, ‘So good caller, do what you gotta do next time you see scavengers going through your recycling.’ What does that mean? That he can go ahead and pick up a gun and shoot the scavengers? Or go and pick a fight with them and get stabbed? What does that mean? Instead of ending and saying to call the proper authorities and let them handle it, you’re giving this guy the get-go to do whatever he wants. And don’t you think ‘scavengers’ is pretty harsh for people who are trying to make ends meet or something? I understand that recycling belongs to the county, but scavengers, c’mon. And next time I see my neighbor beating up a homeless man because he’s going through the recycling bin, it’ll be all right because you said do what you gotta do. Please.”

Dear, Didn’t Get it,

You completely misunderstood what Red Phone was trying to say. “So good caller, do what you gotta do next time you see scavengers going through your recycling,” was not permission to shoot or beat up those going through recycling. It was saying that the caller could call police, or ignore the “scavenger” – and yes they are scavengers; what else would you call someone going through garbage? Plain and simple.

Red Phone does not advocate calling the police for such minor infractions, but if residents want officers spending valuable time arresting the scavengers, then by all means, call the police. That’s what Red Phone meant. Anyway, good caller, thanks for the call and letting Red Phone explain.

Life is not smoothly paved

“At what point does the public realize life isn’t paved with perfectly smooth sidewalks. This idea that WE, the taxpayers, are somehow responsible for sidewalks with cracks in them is bordering on insane. Perhaps we should have publicly funded remedial walking classes too? At some point people need to accept responsibility for themselves and leave me the taxpayer alone. I smell just another money grab from someone that feels it’s everyone else’s fault that she can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Dear Leave the Taxpayers Alone,

First of all, the woman who fell has said she’s not suing. Second, Red Phone is conflicted. Society definitely needs more individual responsibility, not blaming what goes wrong in life on someone else. But in this case, the city planted the trees that uprooted the sidewalks, leaving homeowners at least partially liable if someone falls in front of their home. Thus that individual responsibility falls on the shoulders of the city. Once and for all, it’s time to fix the sidewalks.

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