In a Jan. 13 commentary, alert reader Cathy Decker voiced concern that many people scavenge through garbage and recycle bins to collect recylables so they can be turned in for money.
Imagine poor people trying to collect enough garbage from the homes of the wealthy to survive. The horror.
Evidently, Mrs. Decker, the wife of city code enforcer Jim Decker, is concerned that "these low-income people" are earning "tax-free income" at the expense of helping Tracy meet its state-mandated recycling goal. She's especially concerned that they are rifling through the garbage she painstakingly separates and that they are stealing from the city's blue recycling bins. She even goes so far as to say that recycling centers should check IDs and try to weed out the freeloaders.
Nowhere, however, does Mrs. Decker's letter show any compassion for those whose only income comes from searching through the refuse of others. If I understand correctly, Mrs. Decker would rather ensure the sanctity of her garbage than help out needy people whose only source of income is to turn in recyblables for money.
Not only that, but her stance seems to miss the point that these folks are actually helping meet society's goal of recycling more cans and bottles. The city might not directly benefit from this recycling pattern, but the environment certainly does, which is the purpose of the state mandates in the first place!
There's no harm to me if someone decides to take some recyclables out of my garbage — or even out of the sacred blue bins. I don't generally condone lawlessness, but the right of people to survive is of higher moral value than my right to protect my garbage.