To: Craig Stahl, ex officio mayor
CC: Matt Kline, city manager
Sometimes you have to just admit you screwed up and move on, you know?
John Hamilton was arrested and charged -- with disorderly conduct and obstructing official business, for not following the instructions of a police officer, everyone knows that -- and the city did the right thing in dropping the charges, grudgingly though that was expressed.
Everyone wishes, we're sure, the city had taken the route Dave Waddington reportedly said he would have taken: Take Hamilton across the street to Cameo, buy him one of whatever he's drinking and explain how to adopt a park. We suspect Hamilton knows how to do that now, judging by his participation in Saturday's Central Park cleanup.
Well, file all that information under "for future use," because we imagine folks are going to want to take things into their own hands more and more. It'd be helpful if there was a way to encourage it constructively.
Strangely enough, Hamilton's case may do just that; nothing motivates people more to protect something -- such as the right to look after one's own surroundings -- than the thought they might lose it.
Hopefully events such as Saturday's cleanup of Central Park will become commonplace, and might not always need organized groups and the city's seal of approval. Maybe more people will take it upon themselves to do the simple things, such as move a piece of litter from the sidewalk to the nearest convenient trash can -- or put their litter in the trash in the first place.
That's the payoff, Mr. Kline, that's the silver lining: maybe the lawnmower story will encourage visitors, but we think -- we hope, actually -- that this sorry debacle will encourage more people to care about the place in which they live.