Since Tony-Soprano-Style Trash Collection Was Such A Success…

Around November 1 of every year, ever since I’ve lived in my house in the early ’90s, the guy who somehow inherited the job of “block captain” on our block drops an envelope in everyone’s door with a flyer asking for $20 to cover snow plowing.

It’s the biggest bargain – one of the few bargains left – in Saint Paul; he gives it to a plow driver. The driver lives on the block – so he literally needs to plow our driveway to get to work anyway.

So anytime there’s more than a dusting of snow, our alley is plowed to a fine sheen. And since side streets in my neighborhood are only plowed by the sun in April, the fact that our guy blasts out the street on the east side of the block to get to Minnehaha (a city snow emergency route) is almost literally a lifesaver.

Of course, it’s something that works – which, in a one-party kleptocracy like Saint Paul, means someone’s gotta try to appropriate it.

The same Merriam Park harpies that jammed down the smoking ban (years before the rest of the state) and, most recently, Tony-Soprano-style trash hauling, have been nattering away about socializing alley plowing for the past fifteen years.

It’s flying about as well as…well, the trash system:

Consultants from the University of Minnesota found little public appetite for the level of services the city likely would be able to offer.
Most residents who contract private alley plowers said they were unwilling to pay more than $15 per season for the city to complete the same service, and they expressed concern that the city might actually provide less snow removal and only plow after snow emergencies.
“Respondents will expect the city to plow the alleys after each snowfall or after a 2-inch snowfall, alleys to be plowed at the same time as main streets or at the same time as residential streets,” states a study summary. “Residents will be willing to pay an amount that would not be more than the amount they are currently paying, or less than $15 per season.”

Of course, the fact that real people who live in Saint Paul don’t want it is no defense; the little pack of “woke” Merriam Park biddies who burned countless hours of their worthless labor banning smoking in bars they never went to, and jamming down a trash collection system nobody wants – have sent their little hive minds on it.

For St. Paul to remove alley snow, consultants estimated $3.1 million in one-time start-up costs, such as new plow trucks, and $4.8 million in ongoing annual costs for labor, maintenance, training and recruitment.
That’s a total cost of $7.9 million in year one alone — or more than $100 for each of the city’s 74,000 households. Adding in business storefronts would reduce the cost.

Except to the businesses. Those few that are left, anyway. And that cost will be passed on to consumers – again, the few that are left.

But it’ll happen. Mark my words.

8 thoughts on “Since Tony-Soprano-Style Trash Collection Was Such A Success…

  1. But I thought the St. Paul City Council didn’t want us to use cars anyway? Letting the snow pile up is a feature, not a bug, for them.

    Oh, wait – this is for the bicyclists, isn’t it? Or are the Holiday and Speedway stations complaining that city road repair crews aren’t hanging around in their parking lots drinking enough coffee and more City payroll drivers are needed?

  2. Decades ago, I attended City Council meetings in a suburban city. If the streets weren’t plowed and sanded by 6:00 a.m., people came to the council meetings to bitch. We Need To Get To Work. The Council would look at the Public Works staff and say “What’s the problem? Why can’t you get your work done? Do we need to hire part-time drivers? Let a contract with a private plowing company?” Stammering and vague promises didn’t cut any mustard.

    Small town hicks. Obviously, they know nothing about life in the Big City.

  3. I personally wonder at times why neighborhoods aren’t allowed to get their own snowplowing done on their own dime. I remember doing exactly that with my road after the blizzard of 1978 or 1979–all of us got together with lawn tractors, shovels, and implements of destruction and then got together in my basement for a feast of Mom’s chili. Good times.

    I’m guessing the answer to my question is “it would show government services for what they are”, and the government answer would be something about legal liability.

  4. I have had the unfortunate honor of being the block captain for my block for 20+ years. I think the annual amount is now $23 for our block. It would be less, but 2 of the houses on the end, their garages face the street, not the alley and we don’t collect for them.

    Flip side is, our snow is plowed by 8:00 am for evening/night snows, usually by 6:00am, and if it snows in the morning, alley is plowed in the afternnoon. In heavy snows, not unusual for the plowing to happen twice in the same day.

    The city, on the other hand, waits so long to plow, that it is packed down.

  5. bikebubba, I think you are correct about the why but no government can admit to that perspective.

    What they will say (along with those Merriam Park biddies) is that your neighborhood’s ability to keep things straight, neat, under control, and timely is discriminatory. What about those other neighborhoods that can’t perform this or that service? What about that single mother of seven? Or the guy who needs to get to his three jobs? Or, or, or… And if one neighborhood can’t enjoy the same things as the others, the government must step in an provide equal and lousy service to all. At an inflated price.

  6. “block captain” on our block drops an envelope in everyone’s door with a flyer asking for $20 to cover snow plowing.

    There it is, the very definition of “white privilege”.

    It is what happens when you have trust in reliable neighbors. That don’t happen on a block full of crack houses and Section 8 layabouts.

    Who knows though, maybe there are black, brown, yellow and every shade in-between people on Mitch’s block, who all kick in $20 a year, so it ain’t necessarily “white” privilege – but just the privilege of living in a place that contains a decent amount of social capital.

    But it is what the Strib, NYT and Wapo label as “white” just so that people of color don’t think it is something that they may want too – so therefore, the government (read DFL) has to provide it.

  7. Greg, I had written something like what you wrote but was not happy with the results. Yours is better. Nice job. True and funny. Perhaps Snopes could do a fact-check of your comment.

  8. Thanks JDM, I’ll be looking forward to a “fact-check”. I love satire sites like Snopes.

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