Political Trash Needs to Go

Bob Kochtitzky, formerly head of Mississippi 2020, is set to bring a new initiative before City Council. Kochtitzky, an environmental activist who galvanized Jackson's recycling effort, says that when Sheriff Malcolm McMillin heard Kochtitzky was retiring, he urged him to become a reserve deputy managing work teams from the county jail.

It wasn't long, however, before Kochtitzky realized that simply removing trash from neighborhoods was a losing battle. "One day it dawned on me that all that did was make it look nicer for about three days," Kochtitzky said.

As a consequence, Kochtitzky hopes to get the city to adopt a more robust program. One part of the program would reach out to neighborhoods that have just been cleaned, asking residents to note the positive difference and maintain it. Kochtitzky would also send letters to those who violate the city's posting laws, which prohibit signs on utility polls and within six feet of the street. The police chief or a representative of the city's legal office would sign the letter, which would simply note the violation in order to educate citizens on the law.

Kochtitzky said that politicians left a great deal of litter in Jackson's neighborhoods after this election. "I would guess only 60 percent of (candidates) came back and cleaned up their signs. The rest of them just left them," he said.

Some violators, however, have an all-year problem. "(Councilman Kenneth) Stokes puts up signs all over, and they'll just say 'Happy Mother's Day.' I thought about doing a citizen's arrest on him, but that might not be smart," Kochtitzky said.

Thus far, Kochtitzky has had little response from the Melton administration. When he told Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon about his proposal, however, she urged him to come before City Council, so that he might enlist their help.


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