Litter an enormous problem

About two weeks ago, I received a call late one evening from a woman about what she perceived of our organization receiving $50,000 from King County. She seemed upset that this could not be in everyone's best interest. I explained to her that since we were a non-profit organization, we keep information on our activities that is available to the public, and that she was welcome to our annual report, budget, newsletters, etc., and we sent them to her.

I tried to explain the enormity of our program and how it benefited everyone, including wildlife and the future of the children she seemed worried about. Just because there are grant funds available for projects other than schools, that does not mean children are being neglected.

We utilize children in our program who are required to perform community service for school, or a traffic ticket, so next time her child, presuming she has any, is looking for a place to do community service, she'll see how few opportunities there are for children and adults alike on the Eastside.

Besides, we are making incredible strides keeping her neighborhood clean when no one else will step up to the plate.

And if she would look into what we do before being judgmental and come out on a cleanup, as I suggested, she would see how that $50,000 is leveraged in many ways to make sure the citizens of King County have a cleaner, better place to live by conducting cleanups that would otherwise never get done, or in the least, run into hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

These are complex cleanups, consisting of hundreds of tons of illegally dumped garbage, appliances and vehicles, almost always in hard-to-retrieve places. These cleanups are beyond what you could expect from the "volunteers back home" she referred to.

Not your typical walk around the park. Maybe she has a solution to the illegal dumping problem.

And as for "teaching kids right from wrong," I was misquoted in the original story, unfortunately. What I meant to say was, "As part of the ongoing educational program, we are considering adding seventh- and eighth-graders, not replacing what parents should be teaching their kids anyway."

Besides, litter studies show they aren't "catching on" in teen-age groups. And to top it off, we did several days of extensive cleanup a couple of years ago at the old Preston Mill site, which is going to become ball fields for kids!

Wade Holden


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