Thursday, October 10, 2013

A True Volunteer: The Lawnmower Guy

The Lawnmower Guy
(Mod: There is this story that has taken the Internet news world by storm about a random fellow - we're all random fellows to the people who don't know us - who showed up on the National Mall in Washington DC with a lawnmower and just began mowing. Didn't ask anybody, he just started cutting the lawn. Apparently there is some kind of veterans march this weekend and Chris Cox - Lawnmower Guy's actual name - thought the place was starting to look untidy. And since the people who ordinarily take care of the place had all been furloughed, he decided to just do it himself. I don't know what would happen if he showed up here in Sierra Madre and attempted to perform such an act of service. Maybe he'd be fingerprinted? Anyway, there are a few stories about this guy available on the web right now, so I figured I'd string them together.)

SC Lawnmower Man Rides To D.C. Rescue (Fits News "Unfair, Unbalanced" link): Fear not, federal government … the Palmetto State is here to help!

Just when you thought the so-called government “shutdown” had incapacitated America – as only a 17 percent reduction in the most bloated bureaucracy in human history could do – riding to the rescue is some Grizzly Adams looking dude carrying a South Carolina state flag.

His contribution to the cause? Mowing the grass around the Lincoln Memorial. Talk about having a dream, people! This is just incredible on so many levels …

First, that someone would do something selfless in our society (imagine that). Second that this random act of agrarian independence wasn’t shut down in advance by National Security Agency snooping. And third that the administration hasn’t dropped a drone on this guy’s head yet.

 Say it with us, everybody: “Free cut grass! Free cut grass! Thank God Almighty we got free cut grass!”

UPDATE: S.C. Rep. Mark Sanford has issued a statement praising Chris Cox …

“Chris embodies what it means to be not just a South Carolinian, but an American,” Sanford said. “He saw a job that wasn’t getting done and decided to take care of it. We are not a nanny state, and when government in this case chooses not to do something it’s in keeping with the American tradition to ask, ‘What can I do to fix the problem?’ Chris’s example is one we could all learn from in Washington, and accordingly, I applaud him.”

(Mod: The local Washington DC version of CBS News picked up on the story. Sadly, at the end of this piece you will read the obvious conclusion to the story.)

One-Man Militia Cleaning Up National Mall For Vets With Park Service Furloughed (CBS News WDC link): You probably haven’t heard of the Memorial Militia. It’s likely the group’s only member hadn’t heard of it before nine days ago.

Now, armed with a chainsaw and lawnmower, Chris Cox is on a one-man mission to clean up the National Mall as the Park Service employees normally tasked with keeping the area tidy sit idle during the shutdown of the federal government.

Cox, who resides in South Carolina, says he isn’t motivated by political reasons but feels obligated to help as veterans prepare to descend on the nation’s capital for this weekend’s Million Vet March.

Regardless of how many former service members actually attend the rally, Cox says making them presentable is just the right thing to do.

“These are our memorials. Do they think that we’re just going to let them go to hell? No,” Cox exclusively told All-News 99.1 reporter John Domen. “If they shut down our memorials, we’re still going to take the trash out, we’re going to clean the windows, we’re going to cut the grass, we’re going to pull the weeds, we’re going to do the tree work.”

His tasks for Wednesday include clearing a large 12-inch thick branch that had fallen onto a tree-lined path near the reflecting pool and mowing the lawn around the Lincoln Memorial.

Cox does not have a ride-on mower. Instead, he is using a simple gasoline-powered variety that one could find in millions of homes across America. And he does so with a smile.

Cox, who carries with him the state flag of South Carolina, hopes his Memorial Militia will expand to include other volunteers before Sunday’s event. If not, he plans to keep working the area between the Lincoln and World War II memorials as best he can.

“There’s a lot of preparation to get ready for them and there’s nobody here representing the government,” he said.

Park Police do not condone Cox’s mission for liability reasons, but let him work undisturbed for a time. He believes he was given an unofficial green light because his heart was in the right place.

But the green light was rescinded and authorities asked Cox to disband the militia. He agreed and has stopped the cleanup for the time being with the work far from complete.

(Mod: As just noted, Chris Cox, the guy who has since become known as the Lawnmower Guy, proved too be too much of a good thing for the authorities and was asked to leave.)

Authorities Tell Memorial Mower: Get Lost (The Weekly Standard link): Earlier today, an unidentified bearded man took it upon himself to bring his lawnmower and a few tools to the Lincoln Memorial to provide free groundskeeping work to the closed federal monument.

It's unclear how much of the expansive lawn behind the memorial was mowed, but Park Police were alerted and three cruisers with multiple officers showed up.

THE WEEKLY STANDARD watched the officers observing the mystery mower from a distance, as he appeared to be packing it up for the day, carefully placing his blue South Carolina flag in a tube attached to his tool-toting dolly.

According to Park Police public information officer Sergeant Paul Brooks, there was no arrest made. "He was asked to leave, and he complied," said Brooks.

(Mod: I'd been thinking a little bit about what it means to be a volunteer, which is why this story appealed to me as much as it did. Rather than filling out applications, or getting fingerprinted as you apparently are required to do in our town right now, this guy saw a need, packed up his lawnmower, drove to Washington DC and started cutting the government's lawn. Which, as random as some might see this as being, was his personal act of volunteerism. He saw a job and just did it. So maybe that should be a standard of volunteering? You see a need and just do it? You don't do it for any awards, or recognition from the local authorities, or getting your picture in the paper, or even spend too much time worrying what people might think. You just do it. Why? Because it seems like the right thing to do.)

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45 comments:

  1. agreed, Mod. Chris Cox is a hero. One correction, however. he was not mowing the GOVERNMENT's lawn, he was mowing the PEOPLE'S lawn. The government is charged with being stewards of the citizens property and they do this only as long as "the consent of the governed" allows them to. so, thank you, Mr. Cox, for mowing "my" lawn.

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    1. Well then the government, which is supposedly ours, threw Lawnmower Guy off of our property. Seems complex. Maybe I'll go water the lawn on front of City Hall with gray water. The place is a mess.

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    2. You do that and they'll call out the helicopter.

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    3. Don't you mess with Nancy's water-saving landscape!

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    4. Yea, when is Nancy going to get out there and start replanting? Isn't October the prime month for putting in new plants? Tempus fugit, Nancy.

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    5. She's waiting for a grant from the COG.

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    6. Yes the COG is waiting for their engineered landscaping program to finalize. It it is designed: to improve the environment; improve traffic flow in the valley; restore the San Gabriel River; and allow elected officials to interact more efficiently with their communities. The program will be funded by Edison and administered by the Conway Group with assistance from the Messina Foundation.

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    7. I hope there will be a buffet and an award ceremony!

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    8. The mashed potatoes are sustainable.

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  2. I'm wondering how filling out forms and being fingerprinted will weed out questionable "volunteers" such as Bob Matheson... couldn't be disqualified because it would be discrimination without a felony conviction in the US...

    Mayor Mean is looking to put in place a complete dossier on all Sierra Madre residents complete with background checks, fingerprints, and financial information. When no more volunteers are willing to come forward she'll be justified in adding paid staff. She's not smart enough all by herself, the question is who's doing her thinking?

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    1. The Sierra Madre Bureau of Investigation? I hear if you agree to a DNA mouth swab they'll knock $15 off your water bill in the month of your choice.

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    2. Well --- Nancy did say she wanted to bring us into this century. What she didn't say was whether or not this would make things better or worse.

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    3. Now looky here, just who's dumb enough to claim to be Nancy's brain?

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    4. Is it true the SMPD is running license plates outside the local AA meeting places?

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    5. If Nancy's trying to make sure those Civic Club seniors can use the computer she better be careful - a side effect is that they'll read the Tattler and find out what the real Sierra Madre is saying about her!

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    6. I'm sure. What could be better than putting some heat on people who are trying to get their lives back together?

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    7. It is a form of public relations. If you fail in your most important responsibility, in this case catching home invasion robbers, you need to make the public aware of your presence in other ways. Ticketing housewives dropping their kids off at school and running plates on people visiting our parks being two tried and true methods.

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  3. Unauthorized volunteers. The creeping menace.

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    1. Free-thinking residents = Enemies of Nancy Walsh, Josh Moran and MPT* John Harabedian.

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    2. Free thinking leads to dangerous things like advocating for slow growth and opposing rate and tax increases. The people they answer to don't like those sorts of things.

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    3. Why would anyone volunteer for anything when the paid staff are paid and benefitted like superstars? Therefore volunteers are immediately suspect and should be shunned as a threat to staff. If they're volunteering for a committee or comission they'll only be advisory and Nancy is adamant that she doesn't need advice!

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    4. It puts volunteers into a subservient position. They are not people working for the good of the city, they are free labor to be used by the largely out of town staff. There is a difference. Volunteering should come with parity in decision making.

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    5. government employees don't like volunteers because the volunteer does a better job with no pay and no benefits, and no expensive equipment. Some one may notice that the gov guy is not really needed!

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    6. Remember back a few years with the City came up with a list of tasks for volunteers? It included weeding flower beds, emptying office trash containers, cleaning the restrooms and breakrooms? And they wonder why volunteerism has been declining.

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    7. I would never ever clean up after those people. That is horrible.

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    8. Ya see, 10:49 am, that's the problem isn't it? Can't trust the volunteers with just any task because they could be undercover Tattlers so you find those jobs the staff is least likely to want to perform. You'd think the citizens would be grateful that Nancy and the MPT* want to save consultant (janitorial) dollars by utilizing the volunteers. After all they get invited to a VERY expensive annual dinner at the Palace.

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    9. They have a Fort Apache mentality at city hall these days. It must be weird. Like an occupation government or something.

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  4. Really, there's not much difference between Ihrata and Dancin' Nancy when it comes to citizenry - none of them can be trusted to comply therefore they must be observed and punished.

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    1. Nancy works for the RPOs and other out of town interests. As do Josh Moran and John Harabedian. Resident volunteers put Sierra Madre's needs and interests first. That isn't what the Mayor wants to hear about.

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  5. Interrupting our regular broadcast. The reason we have no water this year is because no water was diverted to our spreading ponds last year. Is there any confirmation that they are going to make sure the water is going to the spreading ponds now that the rainy season is about to begin?

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  6. Speaking of volunteers, there is a very important meeting at 7:00 in the council chambers re: General Plan Update and the EIR. It will be great if those who support the GPU Committee to turn out.

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    1. Huh? What meeting? There's nothing on the city web site, or maybe I'm looking in the wrong place.

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    2. There is no plan to divert water to the spreading ponds not this rainy season not ever - except for the annual Huck Finn extravaganza.

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    3. 2:16 wrong again

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  7. From today's sierramadre.patch.com:

    Officials have cancelled the water and sewer rate community meeting that was scheduled for Oct. 10.

    The Thursday meeting was to conclude the series of informational sessions with a summary of what was already discussed in prior meetings.

    "The fee study was not prepared in time for the October 8th meeting, so a draft report is not ready for presentation at this time. A Water & Sewer Community Meeting will be scheduled after the City Council receives their draft report," according to the city website.

    The meeting will be rescheduled for a later date.

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    1. This from the interweb:

      Scoping Meeting: As a part of the NOP process, the City will conduct a public scoping meeting in order to present the proposed project and the EIR process and to receive public comments and suggestions regarding the scope and content of the EIR. The meeting will be held on October 15, 2013 at 6:30 at the Sierra Madre Council Chambers.

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    2. What is a scoping meeting? Is that where we invite in stakeholders to make sure they get their piece of Sierra Madre's flank? Should be a cattle call of developers and RPO flunkies.

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    3. I think we should have a NOPE process. That would be where we tell developers to scram.

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    4. Or a MOPE process. That's when we tell folks that want to build McMansions with no yard that they are misinformed.

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    5. The DOPE process. Where the city tries to make residents believe them.

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  8. It is official. Sierra Madre started pumping SGVMWD water into our homes late yesterday afternoon. Hide the fish and sick people.

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    1. The city is now working on a new definition for the word "temporary." Kind of like the way they changed the meaning of unit to suite.

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    2. Or "leak", to high priority main. Not a very impressive group.

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  9. I don't think the Lawnmower Guy understands the process.

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  10. SEATTLE -- A high-risk sex offender being sought in Canada was allowed to enter the United States after authorities determined that he was a U.S. citizen and not the subject of an extraditable arrest warrant, a U.S. law enforcement official said Friday.

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/11/5814678/sex-offender-allowed-into-us-after.html#storylink=cpy

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