Our View: Dumpsters out front


Sneak preview: On this page Wednesday columnist Elise Patkotak will have fun with Alaska magazine's decision to fire columnist Mr. Whitekeys, an Alaska musician, entertainer and proud purveyor of sleaze who put the miracle in Spenard's Miracle Mile long before the genteel likes of Sugarspoon and Middle Way.

As Patkotak points out, Whitekeys made a living and a legend out of sending up our foibles and follies. And like many an Alaska troubadour before him, he hasn't had to make anything up.

Enter the city's current Planning and Zoning Commission, apparently intent on giving Mr. Whitekeys fresh material.

Dumpsters, as you were. And are. And forever will be. Memo to Mr. Whitekeys: What rhymes with Dumpster? Never mind.

P&Z has come down on the side of developers and property owners who want no new restrictions on the city's trash bins. Too expensive and onerous and difficult. Could cost $3,500 to screen one of those green beauties, you know. That's according to one commissioner who spoke with Daily News columnist Julia O'Malley.

Thirty-five hundred? Bet you could give $1,000 to any middle-school carpentry class and they'd build you a Dumpster screen to make you proud. And give you change to boot.

We invite you to look at the Dumpster photos by Marc Lester at adn.com/photos and argue with a straight face that there is nothing we can do to clean this up.

The Sullivan administration has recommended restrictions with an allowance for variances and time for property owners to comply. That's reasonable. Moving Dumpsters out of sight whenever practical is just common sense in making a cleaner, more attractive city.

The idea that it's just too hard to do anything about Dumpsters anywhere in a city approaching a population of 300,000 makes no sense.

If the members of P&Z can't bring themselves to agree to any P&Z for Dumpsters, then we'd suggest another look at the photo gallery. We could at least blend trash bins in with their backgrounds. P&Z's folly is an opportunity for street art -- and a healthy serving of whale fat for Mr. Whitekeys.