Letters to the Editor

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TRASH: Litter befouls Western Washington

Letter by Blaine C. Garver, Spanaway on July 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm with 41 Comments »
July 20, 2010 8:55 am

I just got back from my vacation – a 6,200-mile motorcycle ride from Spanaway to my mom’s in Ohio and back. I took as many back roads as possible.

I am ashamed to say that the streets and neighborhoods around Pierce County are by far the dirtiest, most trashy and in worse repair than any of the small towns in the Heartland. These are small farming towns that clearly don’t have the wherewithal and tax base of any of our well- off towns around here.

The grass along the roads was cut and just about free of litter. I didn’t encounter such litter and disrepair as seen here in Pierce County when going through some of the large cities like Kansas City, St Louis or Columbus, Ohio.

Western Washington, you are hopeless slobs. Get vehicle trash bags and use them. Go to the dump with your trash. This part of the state is disgusting.

Leave a comment Comments → 41
  1. Sumner401 says:

    Those small towns in the heartland don’t have the number of people using the roads we do either.
    Lets face the facts, if you want smooth well maintained roads you have to pay for them and the only way to do that is with taxes.
    Stop whining about taxes or stop whining about poor roads, your choice but you have to wake up to the fact that you have your cake and eat it too.

  2. pazzo242 says:

    There is no doubt that we have some seriously littered streets and highways but to compare Western Washington to the Heartland area of this country is truly a disservice to us. We have the uniqueness of having a huge population that extends from Bellingham to Everett. When you go south of Olympia and north of Everett I know that you see a big difference in the litter problem. When one travels across the Narrows Bridge you, once again see a beautiful highway with great scenes.

    Also if you head out to Eastern Washington, as well as Southwest Washington you see more beauty then one can even imagine.

    So I am glad you enjoyed your trip to the Heartland but you can enjoy a trip to this state as well–just do your best to ignore the Seattle/Tacoma area as the state is much more then that.

  3. JungleBoy says:

    Enough with the “more taxes.” The problem with liberals is that they think the government should do everything for them. Can’t a person even pick up a piece of trash without getting the government involved? These people who think the government should do everything are more than willing to spend other people’s money to do what they should be doing themselves. Thank God the country was not overly populated with liberals when this nation was born. If if had been, we’d still be singing Hail to the Queen.

  4. marshall98407 says:

    i need to start littering because my car fills up with recyclables quick..the trash i throw away when i fill up with gas and then im left with water bottles,cans, and paper

  5. It sounds like the writer drove through a lot of RED states before coming back to this one…

  6. denismenis says:

    Finally, someone calling it as they see it.

    First, this has nothing to do with smooth roads – an itchy trigger finger response who thinks that government spends too much and does too little without reading the letter.

    It has a lot to do with sloppy and careless people. Water bottles, paper, and trash don’t get there on its own… it comes out of windows of cars and blows out the backs of trucks… and yes, does have to do with the volume of vehicles (point noted, Pazzo).

    “Litter and it will hurt” will only mean something if a litterer has to pick it up – in lieu of a fine being the remedy.

  7. LuckyCharm says:

    “Can’t a person even pick up a piece of trash without getting the government involved?”

    Certainly they can — so why don’t they? Do we want safe, sanitary roadways to be proud of, or do we want to sit back and complain about how other people aren’t cleaning them up?

    But maybe your letter will motivate the civic-minded among us to get out there with a trash bag and a pair of rubber gloves and git ‘er done. How long do you want to give it till that happens? And how long do you want to live with littered highways before you’re willing to pay someone to clean them up?

  8. The “Heartland” has a more stable cross-generational population base.
    Western WA is the rebound bank-shot destination of California ‘refugees’, those wishing to escape seasonally violent weather and the illegal immigration (sanctuary city) underground railroad station.
    Been to a “colonia” apartment complex, lately? I can show you several in Federal Way for instance. Garbage everywhere.
    It is still a character issue. If a majority of others chose to litter, or jump off a bridge, my decision-making does not operate in unison with stupidity, and neither should anyone else’s.

    We all learned better in kindergarten…

  9. JungleBoy says:

    Personally, I do go out on the streets and pick up trash. The way I see it, the people who litter and live like pigs are people without any self-respect. What an irony that the places in Washington state that are clean (pazzo242) are the places where people are wealthier. Lazy people = litter; hard working people = clean streets.

  10. LuckyCharm says:

    Besides a racist rant, what solutions do you propose, lars?

    Besides a self-righteous pat-on-the-back, what is your proposal, JB?

  11. It is really interesting that so many of you think it is OK for Washingtonians to litter the road. I’ve adopted a school park which I police during the summer. Even though there are trash cans in the school yard the kids litter. Of course, the adults drink beer, wine and hard liquor on the school grounds. They also bend over and break the young trees. People have overflowing trash cans that spill onto the streets. People do not trim overhanging branches, weed and trim the grass between the sidewalk and the curb. God forbid if the majority of us acted like the litterpigs.

  12. Obviously there’s only so much trash a Prius can hold before having to dump it at the side of the road. Then stop to order a latte` and vote for some green initiative…

  13. It’s simple really everybody use a trash bag and most important use your ashtray. But that won’t happen because people are lazy and it is much easier to just toss it out the window let someone else deal with it.

  14. “larsman” has a good point. I’ve traveled all over this country. Unfortunately it IS a “different” culture here. Locals think I just rag on Washington, people who have shared my travels in their own way often have a knowing nod.

    This is one of the most self centered, narcissistic, corners of the country, and that unfortunate trend extends to dumping trash, “because they can” and because “they feel like it” , and because “if I don’t get caught its okay”.

    Pretty sad situation if you ask me.

  15. I remember once in a Midwestern State, I witnessed a soda can come out the back window of a car. The car suddenly pulled to the side, the father driving, walked around to the rear door, opened it, took his kid by the arm, and marched him back down the road, and made him pick up the can!

    In this circus of loonies out here, dad would probably have to go through “counseling” because he caused anguish to his kid!

  16. JungleBoy says:

    Luckycharm- I suggest the following for dealing with the litter problem:

    1. Print text-books which show polar bears choking on trash.

    2. Hire the Community Organizer in Chief to come to Washington state and organize trash-drives.

    3. Place “No Dumping Allowed” signs at all of the most pristine places in the state – and then have a few cops waiting in the bushes with tasers.

  17. How anyone could turn this into an anti-conservative “tax” discussion is beyond me, and this from the fella who thinks his opponents are whiners and complainers.

    And Lucky, it’s all well and good to do some clean-up (I always had my kids pick up trash when we went on walks, etc.) BUT come ON…how about a little personal responsibility?

    Loved the story dcr. If that kid lived up here he’d report his dad for abuse and sue his parents for divorce. And win!

  18. LuckyCharm says:

    sozo, you’re preaching to the choir. I make it a point to dispose of my trash properly — it’s not that hard to pull up to a gas station or a bus stop with a trash receptacle and toss something. But no matter how hard you try to get other people to act responsibly, many will simply give you the finger, like the guy I came upon sleeping in his car with the engine running on 5-Mile Drive. Apparently he didn’t mind emitting clouds of exhaust for runners, walkers, and bikers, as well as wildlife, to inhale, even after I tapped on his window and brought it to his attention. There are also dog-walkers who apparently think there’s some kind of poop patrol that’ll come along and police up their little baggies at the edges of the trails.

    So, the fact is, we’re dealing with a narcissistic, lazy populace, and the question is, do we want to do anything about it besides complain? When tourists visit Washington, what kind of “face” do we want to present? And is it worth it to dedicate resources toward that end, or do we hope to simply bully everybody into shaping up?

    Because of the persistent vandalism problems in the public restrooms at the boathouse, I’ve suggested putting a monitor in there at peak hours and charging a quarter or something to cover the cost. Many foreign countries use this system. What do visitors from there think when they go in and find toilets plugged or broken? How attractive does this make Tacoma as a tourist or business destination?

  19. murphtall says:

    jungleboy: dont forget the text books must disallow children from seeing polar bears swimming at the zoo and instead tell them polar bears drown in water. al gore says it, its gotta be true! afterall he invented the internet!

  20. tubbythetuba says:

    Some of the worst areas are around schools……I posit that Greener/Liberals are the worst offenders.

  21. tubbythetuba says:

    LuckyCharm….why is is racist to point out the obvious truth? Look no further than construction sites…The Union Workers have a neat clean site…the illegal worker’s sites are filled with trash, and don’t even look in their porta potties…..Sorry, LC, there are disgusting differences in values around the world.

  22. So tubby…..are you pro-union then?

    Ummmm……the illegal workers don’t control the cleaning schedule of the porta-potties. That would be management. “There are disgusting differences in values around the world.” Starting with American businessmen who hire illegals and cut corners on health and safety for their workers.

  23. LC- Not one reference to your “race-card” in my explanatory “rant” as you say.
    dcr, Jb and Sozo among others have very good points as well as parts of Bb.
    Consider expanding on the relationship between “owner” and “renter”.(LC-this is not your “racist charge” here, ok) . In housing, car rental or tourism there is the repeatable demonstration that generally, those that own are more apt to provide better maintenance and repair than those renting, it’s just human nature. Also those who have been within a neighborhood as an owner for a longer period of time generally provide better upkeep than those just passing through. The tendency is visibly repeatable anywhere…

  24. tubbythetuba says:

    bB, you know exactly what I’m talking about…Stop with the red herrings and strawmen…… Some cultures do not value a clean, litter free environment. Lately, more and more so-called Americans are emulating the slob cultures. I suspect it revolves around pride in ownership.

  25. murphtall says:

    tubby: isn’t calling third world countries “slob countries” denigrating to its citizens, let along to your own sense of morality and how americans are perceived as a whole??

  26. tubby – unfortunately I do know exactly what you are talking…..and it reveals a lot about you and your beliefs.

  27. tubbythetuba says:

    Murph: No

    bB: Nice deflection, Dude…. At least TRY to stick to the subject at hand.

  28. Sumner401 says:

    And to think, the right claims to not be racists.

  29. Illegal dumping in large or small scale has closer ties to poverty than anything else. The makeup of those in the poverty category constitutes a broad cross section of individuals.
    It is a national problem and a world wide problem. Try Brazil or India or Italy some day for example. Check out Kentucky or Chicago or Portland, ME.
    Why is it that some people need to find a particular segment of their local population to blame for a problem that is very wide spread?
    It borders on………….

  30. tubby – you were the one who brought up 3rd world countries as some sort of defense of the pigsty manners of Pierce County residents.

    From the 2006 Census: P.C.
    76% White
    6.8% Black
    5.5% Hispanic
    4.9% Asian

    So……just what are you saying? Seems to me that the vast majority of P.C. residents were born in America and have European ancestry- just where is that 3rd world thing coming from…….

    You have revealed yourself. I didn’t go there – you did.

  31. tubbythetuba says:

    bB, reading is important. Please notice that I also mentioned the area around Bethel Schools as very bad……. And, YES, I did go there……all that says about me is that I have been around the world and have seen how poor people live. Some are neat and clean and some are not…..You’re, per usual, blowing anything out of proportion that you can…. Like I said before, it’s not racist, or hateful, to point out the truth.

  32. LuckyCharm says:

    tubby, I’d venture to say that if you traveled to Haiti right now, you’d find conditions unsuitable to your standards. Same with Iraq. But they do the best they can.

    People are always more likely to dump their trash in poorer neighborhoods — they are less likely to have security cameras and other measures to catch lawbreakers. Is it poor peoples’ fault for being poor? Instead of criticizing them, why not get to know some of them and find out why their neighborhoods seem to be a trash magnet? You might be enlightened — if you want to be.

  33. tubby – your “truth” is based upon very selective bits of information that support your bias.. Pierce County is very large yet you have decided that all of the litter comes from communities like those surrounding one school.

    My perception on the litter problem – based upon my observations of many areas – is that the vast majority of litterers eat junk food and drink macrobrewed beer and/or soda.

  34. I love how you give yourself away at every turn LC. What we need are more security cameras. The sooner we can have Big Brother watching every square inch of every cul de sac, the sooner we will have order! I’m waiting for the law that places nanny cams in every home so we can stop domestic violence.

  35. I’m from Columbus, Ohio and there are many eyesores in and around the city, as is the case in any large city. The rural highways however are in better condition and much cleaner than we see around here. Could it be that they don’t have the Californians flooding the state as they are here? They seem to bring their trash and sick behaviors wherever they go.

  36. frosty blames Californians, tubby blames “third worlders”…..couldn’t it be that it might just be long-time Pierce County residents?

    Again – P.C. is a big and diverse county with many, many different socio-economic groups.

  37. LuckyCharm says:

    sozo, I’ve had a “nanny cam” on my property for years now, and am thinking of installing another one or two in view of the gang graffiti that seems to be creeping my way. No apologies from me. If you don’t want to find yourself on film (and maybe on YouTube if you’re real lucky!) don’t come poking around my house.

    If you recall — or if you were paying attention — the guy that kidnapped Zina Linnick was caught thanks to somebody’s security camera. I don’t know what you have against them, unless you’re doing something you don’t want recorded.

  38. I don’t know what you have against them, unless you’re doing something you don’t want recorded.

    Wow LC…..that sounds uncomfortably close to arguments against Fourth Amendment protections against unwarranted search and seizure. As well as the Court decisions that have seen a Right of Privacy stemming from the 14th Amendment.

  39. Private property protection is one thing…I was talking about the government using them to invade the privacy of the individual.

    You’re sort of a scary person LC. You sound reasonable, and you’re clearly educated by I think you actually BELIEVE in the sort of utopian visions held by extremists, and maybe you don’t even know it. I probably I find you scary because I think you’re a product of the stuff your generation’s been fed about life in general.

  40. LuckyCharm says:

    My original comment stated, “People are always more likely to dump their trash in poorer neighborhoods — they are less likely to have security cameras and other measures to catch lawbreakers.”

    sozo, ever-fearful of gov’t now that Obama’s in office, immediately interprets this as some kind of gov’t program, and bB apparently follows her lead. But, what I meant all along is that homes in more affluent neighborhoods are more likely to have motion sensor lights, security cameras, etc. If I were looking for a place to dump an old sofa, I would probably choose a poorer neighborhood because a person who can barely afford the rent isn’t likely to go spending money on a security system, whereas if I chose a wealthier neighborhood, it’s more likely that I’d be caught. And if my camera happened to catch someone dumping trash or spraying graffiti in my alleyway, you’d better believe I’d furnish that footage to the police, 4th & 14th Amendments or not. Nobody has the right of privacy in my alleyway, not even me, and especially not if they’re causing trouble.

  41. tubbythetuba says:

    LC has it right. One Anti-Gubment barb I’ll throw is this..They’ve made dumping fee so dang high, that poor people can’t afford to take stuff to the dump, or even have trash pickup.

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