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the meat of the matter

A friend asked me to sign a petition against a proposed slaughterhouse on the East Side. The neighborhood there isn’t residential but apparently some nearby businesses are arguing that the city should not license the operation. I kind of think it’s hypocritical to be against a slaughterhouse if I eat meat, which I do. So does the friend who asked me to sign the petition. Isn’t local food production a good thing? Plus, it’s a halal slaughterhouse, run by Muslims, and I wonder how much racism has to do with opposition to the business. What do you guys think?

—Give Me A Sign

The Wise Young Intern says: Before you sign anything you should do your due diligence. If you aren’t opposed to meat then it wouldn’t make much sense to sign a petition opposing a slaughterhouse. However, there may be other reasons to protest this business that you aren’t yet aware of. Look into the company, its mission statement, look for news articles that mention the company. Once you have gathered what you feel to be sufficient information regarding the company and its processes make your informed decision with confidence.

Whether or not your friend’s opposition to the company has to do with the ethnicity of the ownership is a question worth asking. It has happened that immigrant groups have used legitimately earned American money to fund military operations back home (i.e. the Fennians, Al Queda) but it is often not the case. If your friend or yourself have legitimate concerns about where the owners of this business are putting their money then do some investigating. If there is no reason to believe that these people are doing anything wrong then there should be no reason to petition a business that will bring jobs and money to an area of town that could use such things.

your friends & neighbors

The couple who own the rental house next to mine hire a plow driver to clear their driveway in the winter. Once week he digs a rut in the corner of my lawn, and now that it’s spring that corner of the yard looks awful. I can’t even mow it. One of the owners, a very nice lady, stopped by the other day to plant some flowers in front of her house, and I pointed out the damage to the lawn. I wasn’t mean about it, I said I knew how hard it was to get a plow driver to be careful, and that it was probably hard for him to guess where the driveway ended and the grass began under all that snow. (Which is not true, but I wanted to be nice.) I said maybe I’d plant a nice flowering shrub there that would serve as a sort of marker for the driver, so he’d know where the lawn began. She told me I couldn’t do that because that corner of the yard was actually part of her property. I looked at my survey that evening, and she’s right. But no one passing by is going to think that’s her lawn and not mine. It’s my front yard that looks like crap. What can I do?

—Just Trying to Help

The Wise Young Intern says: Your lawn is not irreparable. Neither is you relationship with your neighbor. I would suggest that you simply bring the subject up again the next time that you see her and make it clear that you are concerned about the condition of the lawn. Make a couple of suggestions about how the problem might be solved.

If she still refuses to cooperate then your next move is definitely sabotage. Start piling up all your grass clippings over the spot and take any garbage blowing around the street and stuff it in her hedges. If she still doesn’t get the message then its time to play hardball. For legal reasons I won’t make any more suggestions. Just use your imagination.

Pay Now or Pay Later says: If you want to start a war, here’s what you can do: Chances are that because the corner in question has long been in your lawn, it has, in fact, become yours. (The vagaries of property law, and so forth.) I would suggest that instead of planting a bush there, however, you contact your local Arbor Association, and plant a nice, big, rare variety of tree. Something endangered. Make sure the tree folks know it—get a plaque, if you need to. Then, when the plow knocks it down next winter, you can count on batches of outraged letters pouring into your local paper, demanding restitution on your and Mother Nature’s behalf. Your neighbor will hate you, but there’s nothing she’ll be able to do. Until, of course, she tells the plow driver to start liberally sprinkling salt on her driveway.

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