Monday, April 28, 2008

Laughter of the (Green) Gods

You have got to love the split-personality San Francisco. The liberal bastion of the west is not only forcing people to be environmentally conscious, but forcing them to be humble about it as well.

In order to promote environmental protection, San Francisco is starting to enforce regulations that require landlords to recycle. Not a terrible idea, considering the state of our environment. Toss those empty cans into the blue bin instead of the black one, and they can be made into new cans, or into anything else that aluminum is part of, instead of just wasting away in a dump somewhere. Not a terrible idea, in my humble opinion, to "encourage" this kind of environmental consciousness. Call it paternalism, call it liberal overreaching, call it whatever you want. I call it a good idea.

I should note at this point that my family has had and used a recycle bin for as long as I can remember.

But now, not only are residents forced to recycle, but to hide the bins as well? It now has come out that San Francisco is handing out $100 fines to residents who do not put empty recycling bins out of sight. On the side of the house is no longer good enough. Now these giant bins have to be put completely away in a garage or otherwise out of sight.

Again, I should note that the bins are always placed in my family's garage so that we have easy access to them.

Is San Francisco that hard up for cash that it has to fine both the recyclers and the non-recyclers? I do not care how deep the treasury's debt is. This is ridiculous. The government can take a loss for a good purpose, and supporting recycling certainly meets this requirement. I can understand requiring a resident to pull the bins off the curb, but the side of the house seems like a perfectly reasonable place to store them.

As for eyesores, the giant contractor's truck that is always parked on my street, or the white, windowless van that always blocks the fire hydrant, seem more like sight pollution than a few recycling bins will ever be.