Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's the Little Things that Count


A couple of nights ago, I was awakened to the sounds of machines outside my bedroom window accompanied by flashing lights. Oh, there it goes again! You see, I've become accustomed to nighttime disturbances these days.

It seems the City of Portland likes to perform its public maintenance during the night. I'm used to snow removal at midnight, street cleaning at 1 AM, street repairs at 3 AM, etc. The list goes on and on. Last night it was painting crosswalks (midnight). It's not like our intersection needs any more warnings. There are already 4 stop signs and a flashing red light. What's more, don't people know to stop at an intersection anyway?

In every city that I have lived, routine city maintenance occurs during the day. That seems reasonable, at least in residential areas, since why would you want to disturb the residents during the night. Sure traffic might be inconvenienced, but at least the neighborhood residents can sleep. Moreover, isn't it more economical to performed routine maintenance during the day? Maybe nighttime maintenance would be worth it in a busy downtown area, but not in a quiet neighborhood.

In any case, this was just another example of Maine inefficiency. I keep hearing how Maine needs to cut "wasteful" public spending and reduce "high" public employee pensions; however, one step in curbing excessive public spending would be to look at the little things that eat up public revenue. Something like nighttime maintenance is a small thing, but small things add up.

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