“If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”
I try not to beat up on the powers that be around here if I can possibly avoid it. After all, it”s a rare, fine day that I go to one of my city councilmembers or commissioners and present them with a problem they don”t jump right up and make a concentrated effort to solve for me. Every so often, though, a situation makes me nervous and I can”t seem to let it go.
receiving a bright-yellow note on my front door last week, I find myself in one of those positions.
I came home during lunch last week to check the mail and feed the dog and discovered that the city intends to change my address. My new neighbor, who just purchased his home, was in his front yard and told me that he had received the same notice. Upon further research, I discovered that some 55 homes in a nine-square-block area had received the same note.
It read (and I”m paraphrasing here) “Because of errors in addressing the streets back when God was a boy, we have to renumber houses in your neighborhood. We”ll let you know what your new address is when we figure it out.”
I knew immediately it would become a colossal hassle in changing forwarding addresses, drivers” licenses and utility bills. I also knew that I”d better get in touch with the rest of the neighborhood in a hurry, because it would wind up falling to the residents to straighten out the mail until our letter carriers figured out the new numbering system. I don”t blame anyone for that, it”s just the way of the world.
What really irked me, though, is that when I called my city councilman to discuss the renumbering, he had no idea what I was talking about. Never mind the fact that he lives some six doors up the street and he is not being renumbered. What got under my skin is the fact that if the city is going to make a decision that will cause so much inconvenience for so many residents, the council should probably know about it.
I will give credit where credit is due. On Monday evening, I hashed the re-addressing over with Mayor Pro Tem Estrada, and he had the City Manager call me first thing on Tuesday morning. And I have to compliment Mr. Rodgers on his excellence in customer service, because he almost had me believing that my inconvenience was for the greater good. But when push comes right to shove, the fact of the matter is that renumbering the streets in my neighborhood simply doesn”t make sense to me.
For the record, I don”t live in a new addition. The house immediately north of me has been standing since the 1920s, as have most of the houses in the area. I know for a fact that my home has had the same street number since at least 1983.
However, Mr. Rodgers tells me that renumbering the streets will make things easier on emergency services. Apparently, realigning the 9-1-1 addresses will help the police, EMS and fire departments find people in the throes of an emergency.
I can almost buy that. Or at least I could almost buy that if I didn”t sit in my living room and listen to a scanner most every night, and if I didn”t know that emergency services have great response times in the neighborhood. Be it a noise complaint, a medical call or what have you, I”ve very rarely heard an emergency call to my street when emergency services didn”t make the scene before I could find a pair of shoes and get to the front yard.
So the question becomes, if it”s not actually broken, why try to fix it?
I ask myself that question often in listening to the business of the city. In some cases, I actually understand it. In this case, perhaps because it is a very personal issue to me, I don”t get it. But fixing things that aren”t broken seems to be a prevalent concept in some city departments.
And really, don”t we, as a community, have bigger things to worry about.
I”ll admit that I”m being a bit of a brat about this issue. But I don”t think I”m alone in thinking that one of the worst things about moving is having to forward the mail, change the addresses on the credit cards and renew the drivers” license. It”s doubly alarming to have to do all of that when you didn”t move. I was also reminded recently that I”d have to change the deeds of trust, wrangle with the mortgage company and try to make sure that the appraisal district has the information right. Worse still, the re-numbering has, in more than one case, yielded duplicate addresses no more than three doors down.
I get my neighbors” mail as a matter of course already, as they get mine. I guess I”m just counting the ways this can go wrong.
City Manager Rodgers mentioned to the council on Tuesday evening that city staff might rethink the entire idea. I hope they do. At the very least, I hope the city gives the residents that will be affected by this the chance to speak up about it.
What”s more, I hope the folks that have called, e-mailed or knocked on my door and said “Kathi, do something about this,” will tell the city that we”re happy with our addresses the way they are.
(By LPR Staff)