Opinion: Better quality of life comes down to being considerate

4/20/2017 | G. Michael Dobbs

Category: April

I’m sitting in my home office on Easter Sunday writing this column – yes, I work on holidays – and it’s blissfully quiet.

It’s too quiet, as they would say in B-Westerns from 70 years ago.

I’m sure it won’t be for long.

I’ve already taken steps to address the behaviors of certain neighbors with the police officers of the Ordinance Squad, but it leads me to a question: why do people act as if they are the only people on the planet?

On Central Street in Springfield there are a bunch of nice new single-family homes, which, for the most part, have been purchased. People are living there. I’m assuming these folks can read, write and generally understand acceptable behaviors, but then again perhaps I’m wrong.

In the last snowstorm, while most of us were digging out sidewalks and driveways, the new folks scarcely made an effort, despite the fact many people walk along Central Street, including school children.

What didn’t they understand?

Now one of them has begun parking a car on his or her front lawn, which I’ve always been told is not allowed.

Another new neighbor put out his or her recycling bin full of garbage. The trash folks attached stickers to the bin explaining exactly what is acceptable for recycling. The neighbor has decided to keep the bin on the sidewalks, perhaps until the next recycling day.


The church on Florence Street has a large parking lot, but many of parishioners park on both sides of the street, creating one traffic lane and encouraging the usual game of chicken between motorists coming in opposite directions.

Parking on my little street is allowed on one side but that doesn’t stop people from parking on both or parking on a sidewalk. I’ve seen a garbage truck back out because it wasn’t wide enough to proceed down the street. A neighbor guided a school bus past her own vehicle that was illegally parked.

“Can you get by it?” she shouted to the school bus driver. I wanted to shout, “Park your $#@!% car in your driveway, you freaking moron!”

I didn’t. It wouldn’t have been prudent.

As usual there is an issue with the playing of music so loud one can’t hear ones own television.

Have you noticed what I’m not mentioning? We don’t hear gunshots. We don’t see gang activity. Sometimes there are suspicious cars lingering about, but drug sales seem to be at a minimum. There aren’t many break-ins or assaults as far as we can tell from our 27 years in the neighborhood. Many people greet you with a “Good Morning” or comment with a smile on the shirt Lucky the Wonder Bichon is wearing on his walk.

If you take away the stupid inconsiderate behavior, this would be a damn near perfect urban neighborhood: interesting housing stock, on a bus route, a new K-5 neighborhood school and a mile from the amenities of downtown.

My wife and I don’t see all of the activities of which my hometown of Springfield is readily and frequently accused. To be clear I’m not blaming the police or Code Enforcement. They have much to do and can not be aware of everything that might be happening.

I do wish the mayor and City Council as a whole would make these kind of behaviors an issue to be discussed. I’ve recently spoken with several councilors who have expressed frustration with these kinds of issues that can damage the quality of life and the reputation of the city.

What is it like in your neighborhood? Drop me a line at news@thereminder.com. As always, neither the advertisers or the publishers had anything to do with this column.

Share this: