Earlier this week, ace TNT intern Stephanie Kim wrote about a controversial proposal from City Councilman Ryan Mello that aims to “get abandoned shopping carts under control” to help reduce neighborhood blight.
The measure would impose fines on large grocery stores and retailers that don’t take steps to prevent carts from being taken from their property. (Wayward carts are a real problem, some community proponents say, because they end up littering streets, parks and yards — sometimes miles away from the stores where they came from.)
But after some criticism from business reps and fellow council members who see the measure as unfairly penalizing the victims (stores) and not the offenders (cart thieves), Mello’s sample shopping cart ordinance has temporarily veered off course for more work.
The picture — a snapshot of one of the four-wheeled fugitives found abandoned squarely in the councilman’s municipal parking spot — perfectly epitomizes the issue, says Mello.
“So, if you don’t believe there’s a problem, just take a look at my parking place,” said Mello, tongue-firmly in cheek. “I mean, here it is: Exhibit A. There’s not a grocery store anywhere near City Hall.”
OK, for full disclosure’s sake, Mello concedes the stray cart “may” have had some help from one of his council colleagues in traversing the final few feet to his official city parking stall for the gag photo op.
“I have a sneaking suspicion it was Marty Campbell,” says Mello, who noted the cart “was removed before I showed up at City Hall that morning.”