Monday, December 29, 2008

"Open Season" Declared on Feral Municipalities

Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato has begun rounding up "feral municipalities" and has engaged state and federal help on thinning the regions burgeoning herd of public bodies. The move has sparked outrage among some who see the flocks of municipalities as part of the regional culture.

Workers in the County clean up nearly 400 tons of municipal droppings every day, and neighbors complain that the most municipalities are dirty, smelly, and a nuisance to the area.

"Just last week we had two of them right on my front yard," said Irma Fuocco, a resident of Ben Avon. "Ben Avon Heights was right up there with Emsworth, going through my garbage. I chased them away, but they were back within an hour."

Officials have counted over 130 municipalities, although the real count may be closer to 1000.

Mr. Onorato has said that the cull will be calm and humane. "Officials from the US Department of the Interior will put them carefully into cages, load them onto a truck and take them away to be euthanized humanely in Harrisburg." Reports indicate that the County has already trapped Wilmerding, Pennsbury Village, and Glen Osborne.

Researcher Dan Bowden from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Local Municipalities (SPCLM) say that even though the methods seem extreme, the cull is necessary for the health of the species.

"Well, you see, if you have too much of any species... deer, beaver, armadillo, what have you... you're going to have a competition for resources. So the more that they go unchecked without a natural predator, the more their numbers are going to increase. Eventually, the species won't be able to sustain itself and you're going to have, effectively, a mass starvation. That's something we don't want to have happen."

Still, members of the Save the Townships, Boroughs, Cities, Authorities, School Boards, and other Public Bodies Network (STBCASBOPBN) are protesting what they consider to be a government sanctioned kill.

"We were assured that non-lethal methods would be used: mergers, sterilizations, introduction of more old people," said STBASBOPBN President Rebecca Baechle, "and this method goes far beyond what anyone would consider 'humane.'"

Despite the protests, however, Mr. Onorato said that the cull will go on.

"Frankly, if we don't do something about this problem, we're going to be overwhelmed with dysfunctional, unnecessary municipalities that serve only a handful of people, while the resources of the region get diverted away from where they are really needed because of petty power politics. Let's hope that day never comes."


Sherry said...


mikegrape said...

Seriously, this is the best piece of writing I've read this year. Keep up the great work ADB! 2009 is your year to shine.