, Newburyport, MA


March 26, 2014

Not enough enforcement of laws

To the editor:

It has been a hard winter for pedestrians — you know, those folks who actually walk around their car, rather than walking through it. It seems that every year, but especially this year, the sidewalk plows do less and what they do, they don’t do as well. Personally I would rather not walk in the street, but neither do I want to walk on icy snow and minor mountaintops of snow. I find myself wondering how many citations were issued for failing to observe the ordinances requiring homeowners to clear snow from their sidewalks. I’ll bet that it is zero, both in Amesbury and in Newburyport.

I know, the Legislature passes ordinances without providing any funding for enforcing them. I’m not sure whether this is due to a lack of funds or an unwillingness to annoy the taxpayers or both.

There aren’t nearly enough police officers and police cars to enforce a fraction of the existing ordinances, at all, let alone sufficiently frequently to have any effect on the frequency of violations; and there is not enough revenue, nor probably any great desire, to increase the number. It’s the same with tailgating violations — the majority of vehicles do not leave a safe distance between vehicles at any speed. It’s the same with parking violations.

I know that people will tend to continue doing anything that they do that has only positive consequences. Without highly likely negative consequences, why bother to observe the laws?

Of course, some of us are just nutty in that respect and think that one should observe the ordinances because it is the right thing to do!

Ron Irving


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