The state, country, and city are all cutting services, and if Initiative 1033 passes, we citizens may be driving our own Metro buses. But the City of Seattle already has a history of outsourcing some of its services to us unpaid voters (see: darkened streetlamp spotting). Now it's applying the same cost-cutting ethos to storm drains and sewers, at precisely the same time they become leaf-clogged and prone to flooding during our typically damp autumn weather.
According to Seattle Public Utilities, "Urban residents can play a key role in preventing flooding by adopting a street drain." If we don't help, disaster will ensue! But, like Iron Eyes Cody shedding that single tear in the iconic "keep America beautiful" TV ad of the early '70s, the city is laying on more guilt...In exchange for backbreaking labor and constant vigilance, the city will provide "rakes, bags, gloves, shovels, brooms and dustpans--helping keep the city's more than 80,000 storm drains clear." Wait, 80,000 storm drains? And all that is on us? (Where were those shovels during Snowpocalypse, when we really needed them?)
To demonstrate the city's new "Take Winter by Storm" initiative, we learn, fifth-graders from Seattle's Leschi Elementary School have taken shovels in hand to "reduce the risk of urban flooding by adopting a local street drain."
You see? Small, innocent fifth-graders are doing more to protect life and property than the rest of us selfish adults. They've adopted a storm drain, getting blisters on their tiny fingers, standing outside in the pouring rain where they might catch pneumonia. That leaves, oh, 79,999 more such volunteer opportunities. What are you waiting for? Call the "Adopt-A-Drain" hotline now!
Is there a Web site? Of course there's a Web site: takewinterbystorm.org.
The city also admonishes us not to "put grass clippings, leaves or other debris into drains, ditches, creeks, culverts, gutters or ravines (it's against the law)." This is where rakes and shovels aren't enough. Clearly, guns and deputy's badges should be handed out, too, to allow the citizenry to protect itself against this annual leaf scourge. Let frontier justice prevail against errant yard waste.
And here's our favorite municipal caution: "Stay out of the way of flood waters." (Interestingly enough, the same logic applies to mud slides, lava flows, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and wild packs of marauding urban coyotes. Who would've guessed?)
So won't you please adopt a drain? City operators are standing by at 684-7647 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Look in your heart, if you have one. One of those 79,999 orphans could be yours. See that adorable grate, surrounded by dangerous leaves? It's waiting for you...