Recently, at my own expense, I purchased street-grade “Slow: Children Playing” signs and posted them on my street to remind drivers to look out for those who cannot look out for themselves. Imagine my surprise when I observed city employees removing the signs. Only after pleading with them was I able to retain the signs, as they intended to take them to “headquarters,” where I could claim them.
I was told I would need to make a request to the city to install similar signs on my street. My request would be reviewed, and if it was approved and the budget allowed for it, a work order would be placed for new signs to be purchased and installed at some uncertain time in the future.
I reflected on the circumstances: I, a responsible, reasonable, generally agreeable, law-abiding, taxpaying citizen of Columbia, took it upon myself to improve my community, at my own expense, in a manner that did not obstruct the views of motorists, was aesthetically consistent with the existing street signage and did not affect pedestrians in any way.
I tried to explain the situation to my 7- and 5-year-olds, but I couldn’t quite get them to understand the city requiring my participation in an unnecessary bureaucratic exercise that would require taxpayer money and take days, if not weeks or months (if it ever happened), to address a situation that was already being addressed for free.
I probably was just explaining it wrong.
Jonathan P. Lee