September 16, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 217

Time to help neighbor, not take from him

To the Editor:

We can do better than this. On Monday, Sept. 9, our representatives here in Ironwood decided to spend 53,000 of our dollars to confiscate and destroy the residence and workplace of a neighbor and fellow citizen of ours — a person who in spite of great difficulties, not only works hard to provide for his own needs, but consistently spends much of his own time, money and effort to positively help others, and who is a harm to no one.

How would you feel if a person forcibly took your own residence and workshop, most of your possessions, much of your income — all of which you had worked hard for — left you homeless, and disabled you from doing most of what you do to be a productive, contributing member of this community: simply because they don’t like your style of life, don’t like to look at your things, and therefore feel justified in totally disrespecting you? What would you call that person?

You need to do something with the full force of your ability to help correct this wrong. Safety and aesthetic concerns have been raised about John Hartloo’s residence, which he has addressed with much effort, even while lacking necessary funds. Every day, much of our public money goes to subsidize housing, business improvements, low interest loans — all personally benefiting someone to the exclusion of others, because it in is the public interest. This should be no different.

An estimated $10,000-$15,000 and some good, neighborly, elbow grease would remedy the main difficulties — a small fraction of the destructively allocated $53,000.

Each of us, including you, has a responsibility to not only supposedly treat others with “respect” and “concern” from a distance. Rather than grumbling for an imaginary right to have our neighbor’s yard and house and car look like we want, we need to get real, and step up and do what it takes to treat people rightly, even going beyond what might be “fair” to just be a help, as we appreciate others doing.

I challenge you — yes, you personally — to get to know John, and rather than being an added burden on him, see what you can do to be a benefit to him as a good neighbor. And also do the same for your other neighbors. It is in the public interest to do right.

Paul Porter

Ironwood