Does Lawton Need Pothole Vigilantes To Get Roads Fixed?
It was last week that we published our results from testing the City of Lawton 72-Hour Pothole Promise... They claimed that if you'd report your local potholes, they'd have them filled and fixed within 72 hours. It went just like everything at city hall goes... without answers.
While the city did manage to finally fill both potholes nearly four weeks later, someone sent me something interesting about other municipalities suffering from bureaucratic inadequacies.
This story of a couple of pothole vigilantes comes out of Oakland, California. A town that shares some city-government similarities with Lawton. Constantly rising service costs, inept and politically-impotent elected leaders, and a budget that continually spends money on pet projects rather than aiming for the most basic level of infrastructure maintenance.
If you feel that's a little harsh, odds are you're either an elected official or super-close to one. They were brave and stupid enough to accept the role of the public ire, I am Jack's rage.
The pothole vigilantes secretly go out at night and do the work the city refuses to do. They fill potholes in and around their city with basic cold-patch asphalt that's easily available at most home centers like Lowe's and Home Depot.
I've shared with you the once-a-year pothole filling I do with my father on their street, but it's a different type of story. Their neighborhood is out in the county and their road is "private." The city has no jurisdiction where he lives and the county can't/won't spend funds on fixing something that isn't theirs unless it's an election year. These Oakland boys are doing it on their own dime even though it's the city's responsibility.
It's admirable, to say the least, but there's also a question as to whether it's legal or not.
I did ask a representative down at the City of Lawton Streets Division about patching our own potholes in Lawton, and while he didn't say whether it was legal or illegal, I was told we can't do this. It's probably much of the same story in Oakland, hence the vigilante status of these heroes. Other pothole protest actions from across the globe may offer a better and more hilarious way to get things fixed though...
One of the modern-day pothole protest standards popular in countries like New Zealand, Australia, and England relies on a citizen's artistic skills.
Believe it or not, spray painting a twig and berries around potholes has been a super-productive way of getting road issues quickly fixed around the world. As it turns out, not only does it make headlines, most municipalities have to rush to cover up such blatant obscenity.
While I can't (legally) encourage you to take this type of approach to our rampant pothole and crumbling roads problem in Lawton, I can certainly share the idea with you in an objective way. Not only is it absolutely illegal, but I'm also sure the city council and mayor's office won't appreciate seeing their portraits being painted everywhere.
Another common pothole theme around the globe is the planting of flowers in potholes.
While this is harmless and hilarious, our summer temps are far too hot to support life in these locales.
So what is the answer? Well, you could be proactive in reporting potholes via the iHelp Portal that the city is already lagging behind on... or you can be a vigilante and fill, I mean paint, or maybe plant, constantly call for updates to your issue, just try to keep one thing in mind...
The people that answer the phone in these departments, as well as the workers that are tasked with doing the work, aren't the people that should receive any attitude over our road status. They are the ones literally working to correct these issues. It's our elected officials that have FUBAR'd the funds for it. You'll find their contact information here.