Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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20 Responses

  1. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    It’s Philly.

    You’re surprised?Report

  2. Avatar Miss Mary says:

    That’s just silly. There has to be more to it.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      My guess? It’s not the trash removal, but the improvements.

      Even then, it’s pretty whacked.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        I’d guess zoning. That lot is zoned for commercial use, not for use as a park.

        This is why executives have discretion to override their subordinates’ decisions; it is why they have pardon powers. If building a park out of a trash-strewn vacant lot is handled as a crime, then the Mayor or the Governor needs to step in and issue a pardon.

        (Also don’t discount the possibility that the owner of the coffee house was, shall we say, unpleasant in prior interactions with a city official, and the citation is a form of petty revenge.)Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          (Also don’t discount the possibility that the owner of the coffee house was, shall we say, unpleasant in prior interactions with a city official, and the citation is a form of petty revenge.)

          If this thing goes viral (and, let’s face it, if it gets to me? It’s gone viral), the city official will soon rue the day he thought to abuse his office that way.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

            I think Burt’s thesis is probably correct.

            (edited to add)

            I’d also be pardoning the hell out of that guy, if I was the Mayor (/edited)Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              I’m not sure they can, since he made material improvements to a city owned property. I guess that’s the point I was trying to make upthread: if he didn’t make those improvements, they’d be much more inclined to look the other way. In the end, Burt’s probably right that it’s a zoning issue, but even if the property was designated industrial rather than commercial removing the trash – it seems to me – wouldn’t have raised city administrators hackles.

              And there’s also the history of Ori’s being cited for littering in the past, so the two parties may have an adversarial relationship – and one that reflects unfavorably on Ori – we don’t know about.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    return the vacant lot to its previous condition

    Using the same garbage, or would a different 40 tons of garbage be good enough?Report

    • Avatar dexter says:

      If he used different garbage the city would sue him and require cleanup and restoration as part of the plea bargain.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I think Arlo already told this story:

        We got up there, we found all the garbage in there, and we decided it’d be
        a friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump. So
        we took the half a ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red VW
        microbus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed
        on toward the city dump.

        Well we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across across the
        dump saying, “Closed on Thanksgiving.” And we had never heard of a dump
        closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we drove off
        into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage.

        We didn’t find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the
        side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the
        cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile
        is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we
        decided to throw ours down.

        That’s what we did, and drove back to the church, had a thanksgiving
        dinner that couldn’t be beat, went to sleep and didn’t get up until the
        next morning, when we got a phone call from officer Obie. He said, “Kid,
        we found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a half a ton of
        garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any information about it.”

        And I said, “Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope
        under that garbage.”

  4. Avatar greginak says:

    Some people have no respect for property rights.Report

  5. Avatar Michelle says:

    He cleaned out a trash-filled vacant lot in Philly? They should be giving him a medal and wishing that there were a lot of other citizens would follow his example.Report

  6. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    Just two days ago, everyone was saying I was off my rocker. Why? For thinking that anyone could possibly object to private good deeds that the state might otherwise have done.

    I clearly should have made that post a couple of days later.Report

    • Avatar DRS says:

      Actually, I thought your post was about private charity replacing entitlements. You’re shifting the goal posts slightly here to claim a win. A myopic city employee overly focused on turf issues doesn’t strike me as an entitlement.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

        The point of the post was that a lot of what we care about with regard to entitlement programs is not actually that needy people get aid. It’s that we demonstrate a sort of collective social solidarity, by way of the government.

        Other things being equal, my thesis was that left-liberals would opt for the social solidarity, even if the outcome was otherwise basically the same. What I appear not to have considered was the strength of feeling for charity, and the deep-seated aversion to coming out against any form of charity at all. Even private.

        Nonetheless, many did find fault with my scenario, even if they were a minority. I was even invited to leave the country if I didn’t sufficiently share the fellow-feeling that belonging to the state is supposed to elicit from its subjects. Repeatedly invited, by different people on different sub-threads.

        I find this story just more of the same. The good deed wasn’t done through the state, which makes it a bad deed.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi says:

          *snort* Nah, what I like about government charity isn’t “social solidarity”
          (that’s community building, a net good in of itself and an entirely different topic).
          It’s the ultimate fairness — as best we can make it anyhow.

          Government’s gonna have ways that even your most jerk-ass person will get the same amount of help as the rest of you.Report

        • Avatar DRS says:

          I’m just sitting here shaking my head at this comment of yours. You’re trying to drag one butt-covering, turf-grabbing bureaucrat’s response to being upstaged by a private citizen and his agency looking bad to the public to claim – what precisely? That your original post is proved right somehow? Is that it?Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

      Jason, while I was indeedy thinking of your recent exchange when I posted this, I expect that this is mostly a case of one guy who likely comes across as a jerk, wanting to make an example, going up against some other guy who likely really wants to be a tinpot dictator.

      I doubt this is a case of anybody of political principle thinking that this is truly objectionable private behavior.Report

  7. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    On Amy Alkon’s site, Feibush has posted a comment claiming that there was a plan by the city to declare the whole neighborhood blighted and eminent-domain it over to one of the councilmember’s buddies, and that’s why they were so upset that he acted to clean up the lot. He also claims that he had tried to buy the lot (and some others) multiple times but got no response from the city.Report