Garbage In, Garbage Out
The last time the federal government was on the brink of shutting down, D.C. residents wanted to dump their trash on Republican House Speaker John Boehner's yard at his home in Capitol Hill. This time around, the idea to deliver the District's trash to Republicans on the Hill is already cliche. And besides, if the White House accepts Mayor Vince Gray's declaration that all city workers are essential, trash collection wouldn't even be delayed by a shutdown.
But longtime Shaw resident Ray Milefsky, who lived here for the '95 and '96 government shut downs, took to his community email list to propose a plan to neighbors: If the government closes, residents should stack their trash in the traffic island between Rhode Island Avenue, 9th Street NW, and Q Street NW. This sliver of grass in the busy intersection just so happens to be owned by the feds.
"As much as it would be nice to deliver the Republicans on the Hill our trash, the Capitol Pohleese will probably consider our trash bags terrorist weapons of mass destruction and arrest us all en masse," he wrote.
Milefsky says residents need to prepare for the worst.
"I've been through past shutdowns," he tells City Desk. "Shaw has always been overlooked [by the city] and I think we need to be precautionary in terms of the trash...I threw this stink bomb out [on the email list] to see how people would react."
So far, on the list anyway, the few responses he got weren't all that positive, though people recognized the rats the excess trash could bring and the health hazards it would pose.
"Please, neighbors, keep your own trash in your own bins at your own house and ignore incredibly stupid advice such as filling our parks with your trash in the event of a shutdown," one resident replied.
The idea to pile up trash in one visible and concentrated location, according to Milefsky, would be to draw attention to the mounting trash; it would be far enough from people's homes so it wouldn't be a health hazard.
"That's where we should be putting our trash, on federal land, not District land," he says.
Photo by NoHoDamon via Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0