To the Editor:

As a long time, in-town resident and almost daily walker of the fountain and Ballard Green circuit, a few observations:

The naming of a “dog-do czar,” the creation of a dog-dust committee or the installation of receptacles on (of all places) the rail trail seem — quite apart from the commendable motivation of the participants — utterly ineffective.

Why? Because you cannot mandate responsibility!

As exhibits A and B, I suggest the receptacles already in front of a well-known sweet shop in town. Clients are either “bad shots” or don't care, but doesn't the establishment bear some responsibility for the streetscape we claim as our municipal identity and the pigsty that now confronts us most mornings.

To be fair, I have asked this question of the staffs of other Main Street eateries but get mostly shoulder shrugs. I guess if your al fresco clientele accept some CO with their creme brûlée, you have bigger fish to fry!

Clearly, the majority is offended by those few who litter, leave their sacks o’ [expletive] for others to side step or, yes, leave their cars idling while they pick up their mail or dry cleaning.

We cannot mandate responsibility, but we can educate. The town can articulate more forcefully it’s position on these issues for visitors, proprietors and the citizenry. And if you see some behavior inconsistent with all this, politely point it out.

After all, it is our town.

Tom Elliott