"... America is a different country now.
We are culturally a different country.
We are more diverse.
We're more communitarian.
That is, we understand we have to
solve a lot of these problems together."
Former President Bill Clinton, 4/10/10"
This article about tattling came from one of our friends in Ohio, and it fits right into the part of the rewrite I'm working on! Thanks Con! Communitarian programs do often start out in such a way that many people will say, hey, not a bad idea if it fixes the problem. For example:
Just tonight I was talking to my neighbors about what it was like when they lived in the Phillippines. They told me a story about how a new mayor had cleaned up the terrible drug and related crime problem in their town. Everyone assumed the Mayor was in charge of the new assassination teams that systematically went out and killed all the drug dealers. But nobody ever knew for sure if the murders were government sanctioned, because the Mayor denied it.
It took me a second before I realized the woman thought that wasn't such a bad idea, not since it "got rid of the drug problem within one year." So, I politely asked how anyone could be sure it was only drug dealers that were targeted, and how would they know if there weren't a few political enemies included in that little war of assassination, and oh yeah! she said, one time over 50 people in one politician's entourage were assassinated on their way to the polls.
The Philippines makes the top 3 list of corrupt countries every year. No wonder so many Phillippinos work so hard in the canneries for years to help pay their family's way to Alaska. And there are many Agenda 21 planning efforts underway over there too, I used to get a lot of search engine hits at the ACL from the Philippines looking for things associated with sustainable development. I'm sure public-private partnerships in such corrupt places are beyond reproach.
So, now littering is an "environmental crime" that doesn't even warrant a slap on the wrist? I have to see one of these "guilt letters." And, I'm sure it has nooooo connection what-so-ever, but ... isn't it odd that the Task Force is run by the county landfill, and landfills are normally where government Death Squads in Third World countries like to dump the bodies? (See: Body of Former Bush Aid Found in Landfill) Can't you just imagine an Environmental Crimes Task Force promoting livability in El Salvador or Colombia?
What is environmental law? and does it include communitarian theories of justice?
"Supplementary Reading: Individual and Communitarian Theories of Justice" 21 U.C. DAVIS LAW REVIEW 549 (1988)." http://www.ejrc.cau.edu/lawsyll.htmlEnvironmental Crimes Task Force
Witnesses can report littering
Complaints often result in warning letter from agencyMonday, January 10, 2011 02:51 AM
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Joe Vargo and his wife were driving through Downtown when the driver of the pickup truck in front of them did something they couldn't stomach.
"He just chucked a beer can out the window," Vargo said. "My wife and I just kind of sat in the car and said, 'That's really not OK.' It's not just littering. It seemed to be drinking and driving, too."
Vargo said the case was egregious enough that he wrote down the license-plate number and reported the littering case to www.itsacrime.org, the website of the Environmental Crimes Task Force of Central Ohio.
Signs throughout Franklin County encourage people to report littering, but such reports as Vargo's typically result in a warning letter, not a fine.
Police can't fine someone based on a witness's report because they need to confront the person on the spot to confirm the identity of the driver, who might not own the vehicle.
But officials say the letters can be effective, too.
The Environmental Crimes Task Force, which is run by the county landfill, investigated 1,814 reports of littering or polluting last year and sent out 799 "guilt letters." In some cases in which no letter was sent, the complaint was looked into in person, or there wasn't enough information to contact the person involved.
The warning letters explain what would have happened if the police had caught the litterer, and why it's wrong to litter.
Some people reply to say they are sorry or thanks for letting them know because it was their teenager driving. Others write that they didn't know that throwing a cigarette butt out the window of a vehicle was illegal.
"For some reason, it just doesn't get across to people sometimes that this is a crime," said Terri Merriman, new manager of the task force. "But when people really think about it, they get it. Environmental crimes aren't just a crime that happens right now. They can have lasting effects."
As of Nov. 3, Columbus city crews had picked up 5,474 bags of trash from the roadside in 2010, said Steve Cordetti, spokesman for the Columbus public-service department. The city spent $207,810 on tipping fees for taking garbage to the landfill from street sweeping and litter collections. The cost of labor and materials is extra.
Most littering cases that make it to court involve dumping, not typical littering. But last year, 75 littering cases were filed in Franklin County Municipal Court. A conviction can result in 60 days in jail and a fine of $500. The number of cases is a up from 22 in 2002.
The task force has been doing more to reach out to communities in central Ohio to make them aware of the organization, said John Remy, spokesman for the landfill.
The task force also has been focusing more on the dumping of tires and the use of temporary surveillance cameras to catch people in the act, he said.
Sometimes, littering charges are added to more serious dumping cases when the heftier charges don't stick in court.
Most people know better than to drop their gum wrapper on the sidewalk, Remy said.
But when groups clean up cigarette butts from highway ramps, a few drivers still flick butts out their window while the crew is there.
Littering can be reported to the Environmental Crimes Task Force of Central Ohio through a hot line at 614-871-5322 or www.itsacrime.org.