Friday, December 14, 2012

Alderman wants to stop Chicago from becoming set to a sequel of “The Birds”

What is it about the idea of living creatures other than human beings in urban areas that gets our City Council all worked up?

I always thought the most outrageous fight was the one of many years ago when an alderman seriously tried to push through an ordinance that would have required horses in the city to wear diapers.

HE WAS REFERRING to all those horses that pull those quaint buggies around the Near North Side and Streeterville streets as a tourist attraction (and romantic evening out for couples). Because the horses were dumping their feces in their paths.

Because these are city streets, it means they occasionally get covered in the manure.

And as one who has had accidental moments stepping in the horse poop (from a mounted police officer’s horse, to be specific), I realize how disgusting it can be to deal with.

But the idea of diapers was overkill. It would have looked ridiculous. It definitely reeked of someone who had way too much free time on his hands to even contemplate this measure.

WHICH IS THE same feeling I’m having about 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman – who this week said he wants a new ordinance that would make it a municipal violation for people to feed pigeons.

Anybody who does so could get hit with a significant fine, and up to six months in the Cook County Jail if they’re really persistent.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Cappleman said he has residents in his ward (which includes the Uptown neighborhood) who like to bring several pounds of bread with them to feed the fowl.

Cappleman said the end result is that the pigeons now think that Uptown welcomes them, and they’re coming back in greater numbers. And their feces is cluttering up the streets of Uptown even more than the horses dump on North Michigan Avenue.

YES, IT’S DISGUSTING. Yes, it’s stupid. Yes, I think anybody who goes out of their way to encourage pigeons is probably a little bit “off,” to put it politely.

But the idea that police who already struggle to patrol the streets are now going to have to start cracking down on people with nothing better to do than feeding the little birdies (which is probably how they view their actions)?

That’s even more “off.”

This is a measure that can only end in disaster. Here’s hoping the rest of the City Council manages to find a way to make this proposal go away.

THIS WOULD BE one time when the best thing that could happen in the interest of the people is to let this proposed ordinance get stuck in the mechanizations of the political process to the point where it gets lost and becomes forgotten!

By Cappleman’s own admission, he tells the newspaper that he suspects many of the people who are feeding pigeons in his neighborhood are not mentally stable. Just envision the potential for an arrest to blow up into a full-blown confrontation – particularly if police feel threatened enough to use force.

A public relations disaster for the city.

Plus the fact that there are so many other issues of much more significance than the fact that some people are worked up over pigeon poop.

I’D THINK THOSE city officials who have always pushed for stricter gun control measures would want to be focusing on what the city needs to do now that a federal appeals court panel in Chicago has given Illinois state government six months to craft a measure that will allow people to carry pistols in public.

That’s going to be an ugly political brawl, and it’s very likely that the city (for a time, at least) could get a policy it despises imposed upon it.

If that happens, the idea of pigeon poop on the streets up Uptown will seem so petty by comparison.


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