- Posted September 20, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The Cornfield OOPs! File - September 20th
Sometimes we all say or do things we wish we could take back or do over. But life, especially in these days of Twitter, smartphones, 24-hour news, the blog-o-sphere and social media, captures almost any and all flubs, slips of the tongue, missteps, hijinks and bad behavior.
It's not just politics that we find those "OOPs!" moments and actions. Sometimes it's government, lawyers, police, churches, schools and from across the societal spectrum. That is the case with this edition of the OOPs! File.
Imagine you live or have a business next door to an eyesore. Imagine that you have even been ticketed in the past for the trash and garbage that litters that lot next to your property even though the city or a city agency actually owns the property. Imagine you offer to clean up the trash and garbage the agency turns you down.
What would you do?
Today's entry comes from the "Shaking My Head in Disbelief" department. It's about a business owner who took it upon himself to not just clean up the eyesore, but also improve the property for the betterment of the community. Now he is facing legal action by the city and the city agency if he does not restore the poperty to the unhealthy and unseemingly sight it once was including all the trash and garbage.
Here's the story from Yahoo News:
A business developer in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Point Breeze is facing legal action after voluntarily cleaning up more than 40 tons of trash from a vacant lot neighboring his local business.
As the old adage goes, no good deed goes unpunished. Ori Feibush says he visited the local offices of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority four times, sent in seven written requests and made 24 phone calls to the agency asking them to take care of a major eyesore: an empty lot next to his coffee shop was home to more than 40 tons of debris.
Not only did the agency fail to act but it also denied Feibush's offer to clean up the mess himself.
But the Daily News reports that Feibush went ahead with his plans anyway, reportedly spending more than $20,000 of his own money not only to remove the trash but also to level the soil; add cherry trees, fencing and park benches; and repave the sidewalk.
"This was a lot of garbage," local resident Elaine McGrath told the paper. "Now it's gorgeous. I'm excited."
However, the city agency was less excited, demanding that Feibush return the vacant lot to its previous condition and saying it is considering legal action against him.
"Like any property owner, [the authority] does not permit unauthorized access to or alteration of its property," Paul D. Chrystie, director of communications at the Office of Housing and Community Development told the paper. "This is both on principle (no property owner knowingly allows trespassing) and to limit taxpayer liability."
And the situation is not without irony. Feibush says he received a citation in August 2011 from the city for litter on the same lot that the city now points out is not his property.
Nonetheless, the city's request puts Feibush in an unusual position. In theory, he committed a good deed, investing his own time and money to improve the condition of his neighborhood when city authorities refused to step up to the plate. But he also knowingly did so after the city refused his request to intervene.
The situation is almost like a reverse case of eminent domain, in which a private owner is attempting to revitalize a piece of public property.
For his part, Feibush thinks the city agency is jealous.
"For a private developer to create a garden, it's a question of who gets credit. To do it without their blessing, you're basically insulting them," he said. "I'm not looking for a thank-you, but I'm not looking for a big F.U."
This is so idiotic. Just another example of a government bureaucracy gone amok.
From the Cornfield, may the gaffes, the flubs, the misspeak and stupid actions roll on...otherwise I will have nothing to write about.