Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

If the government isn’t trying to take something from you, it’s trying to push something on you. Or both.

Marion Smith is a 79-year-old widow living in Brooklyn. Ecologically pious bureaucrats are trying to stick her with a tree she doesn’t want. A friend, Nancy Cardozo, reports that they were even threatened with arrest for daring to object to the project.

Marion is disabled, and cannot rake leaves. Six years ago, a tree that had been in the same spot died, not long after her husband died. Years later, the city removed the stump, and a city worker assured Marion that no new tree would be planted there. So she paved the area.

The city worker who now came to plant a new tree proved inert to any appeals. “Sorry, I have the contract and I have a big payroll,” he told Marion and a neighbor trying to help her out. He had to put the tree there.

The city insists that it has a right to put the tree anywhere it wants on the sidewalk, since it owns the sidewalk. The city also says that if anybody slips on the leaves in front of Marion’s home, she as homeowner will be liable.

Maybe somebody could plant an idea about common sense and common decency in the minds of all concerned?

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. W McAdams says:

    There is neither common sense or common decency in a bureaucrat

  2. Chuck McCoy says:

    There is nothing stopping Mrs. Smith from hiring someone to rake leaves or for a friend or neighbor to rake them as a gesture of friendship! While I agree that the city is a bit heavy handed here your solution is not really “common sense” when there are reasonable alternative solutions.

  3. Bob Dohrman says:

    Don’t expect EITHER common sense OR common decency from “the govern-
    ment” either local or any level!

  4. voxoreason says:

    >>Maybe somebody could plant an idea about common sense and common decency in the minds of all concerned?

    Uh, I’ll put my money on the new tree growing to its full height before any government worker takes a sensible suggestion that doesn’t come from someone with the power to hire or fire the “worker.”

    Can the old lady handle a garden hose? That way, she could at least hose down anyone trying foist off an unwanted tree upon her.

    “Oops! Sorry, dear!” (A-hole!)

  5. Hank says:


    Sure is nice that you know so much about her finances. Did you note that her husband died? That indicates to me that there could have been a drastic change in her income. If I had died before my wife, she would have been quite wwell off, indeed, but not everyone plans to die and thus provides an adequate income for the survivor.

    Another thing-why should she provide gardeneing service for the city? And what is the rational for planting a tree after all this time? Six years is a long time to debate, even for an idiot who is in government non-service. Sounds to me a lot like the brother in law effect coming home once again.

  6. Lyle R. Rolfe says:

    I remember a book “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” but it was a bit different than this case. If it’s surrounded by so much asphalt and concrete, it may not live long anway. And, isn’t there something about nature putting snow or leaves on a sidewalk that could enter into a law suit? I would think that a decent judge (I know there are a few of them), would dismiss a suit under these circumstances–no tree for 6 years, she obected to it because she told officials she can not care for it, she does NOT own the property it’s on and has no control over where its leaves fall. Plus how many leaves can a sapling tree have during its first few years after being planted?

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