Reader and commenter Bob Johnson asked an interesting question yesterday:
- Are you obliged to clear your sidewalks? Last place I lived with a sidewalk we would get a ticket if we didn't clear the snow fast enough.
I know the sort of ordinance Bob's talking about. Every city has one. What they're trying to accomplish is legislating civility. It's not possible. When I scoff at publications like Forbes endlessly talking about how swell urban hellholes are, it's mostly because they reiterate a laundry list of legislated civility that supposedly makes crummy places swell. Last time I checked, it is illegal to kidnap, rape, murder, and eat your neighbors. Didn't stop Jeff Dahmer from costing Milwaukee a few slots on Money Magazine's Glorious Places To Live, Unless They Don't Have A Subway So #$%@ Them.
People do the right thing around here, without being asked. The sidewalks are plowed, just like the street is, by the town. The town doesn't worry about how much salt I'm putting on my puttanesca, it puts it on the street after it plows it. It minds its own business. Its business is the safety and comfort of its citizens, not massaging the neuroses of martinets and the fools that elect them. The local government is not corrupt, and by extension, is not incompetent. It doesn't try to do too much, but what it does try, it succeeds at.
So no, no one tells the people who live here to remove the snow. But then again, anywhere that actually requires a sign telling people it's required by law that they wash their hands after crapping is sure to have feces in the food.