In Philadelphia, a city blighted by a plague of littering, one couple is refusing to pay the $150 fine the city handed them last month for a littering violation.
The reason — they’re not in Philadelphia, and haven’t been in months.
But the city says it has the evidence against them. In a pile of five overstuffed trash bags dumped at Fifth and Bainbridge Streets in Philadelphia’s Queen Village neighborhood, sanitation workers found a catalog from the discount mail order company Tuesday Morning, and it had their name on it.
"It's the most unbelievable thing I've heard in my life," said Jerry Cohen of Jenkintown, Penn., who is fighting the littering ticket and the $40 late fee the city assessed when he and his wife Barbara didn’t pay the first one. "They are closing down schools, and this is what they are spending their resources on?"
As of today, Oct. 3, Philadelphia has seen 189 homicide victims in 2013. The city had 331 homicides in 2012.
Between July 2012 and the end of June this year, Philadelphia issued 957 littering tickets. The city is in the midst of a “Keep Philadelphia Beautiful” campaign to stamp out a pervasive littering problem throughout Philly.
City sanitation workers receive training in how to identify the source of litter, said a spokesperson for Philadelphia’s Streets Department, June Cantor. One of the clues they are trained to spot is any address label on a magazine or other piece of discarded mail.
Cohen figures that someone must have lifted the catalog, for some reason, out of their Jenkintown recycling bin and then trashed it. Somehow, the refuse ended up at Fifth and Bainbridge.
"The city is in dire straits, but they sure aren't getting my money," the outraged Cohen said. But he added that he has learned something from this trashy affair. “Now we know to rip off the labels.”
SOURCES: Philly.com, UPI, Philly Police, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful