This is not what a creek next to a Community Garden should look like! In fact, it's not what a creek anywhere in the USA should look like! Photo showing eight of twelve tires dumped in the creek at 4022 Naaman School Road, December 31, 2013, mid-afternoon in full sight of five witnesses.
Yesterday (New Year's Eve) was an eye-opener for me. Several of us were at the site for the Garland Community Garden (4022 Naaman School Road) selling Texas native pecans. Between two and three PM a large gray truck illegally pulled on to the city property entering down by the bridge where there is no road.
There were two men in the truck and a load of old tires in the back. It was obvious to us they were heading for the creek to dump the tires. One of the five citizen witnesses to this crime dialed 911 to report a crime in progress before the truck was even half way to its destination. Another citizen took his truck and blocked the pathway so the criminals could not leave until the police arrived. Both he and another citizen witnessed the men tossing the tires into the creek and told the police they would be willing to testify. As the men were tossing the tires in the creek, on of the citizens commented that it was illegal to which the criminal replied: "It's OK, the will float down to my house."
After the men finished dumping the tires and realized they were blocked in, they threatened to ram the truck of the Garland citizen. He moved his truck.
The criminals exited the site via the only legal entrance. They drove past no less than five witnesses who saw them and took pictures.
When the police arrived, an officer told us that it was a Class C Misdemeanor and their "hands were tied" because they had not witnessed the crime. He said they had to actually see the men tossing the tires into the creek. I don't know about that part, but I do know the crime committed here was not a "Class C Misdemeanor". According to the penalties under the Texas Litter Abatement Act, Class C Misdemeanors are those which involve five pounds or less of litter. Twelve tires weigh a great deal more than five pounds. At the least, these men committed a "Class B Misdemeanor."
These two men may in fact have been committing a "Class A Misdemeanor". To quality for a Class A Misdemeanor, these men would need to have been acting on the behalf of a commercial entity. If a person has been previously convicted of violating the Texas Litter Abatement Act, that person's punishment will be upgraded to the next highest category for any subsequent violation. For example, if a person has a prior conviction of a Class A Misdemeanor, that person's punishment will be bumped up to a third degree felony the next time he/she is convicted. That's how the law is supposed to work.
What is the Solution?
I don't know, but I do know this much: The solution is not to ignore what happened yesterday and hope that it does not happen again.
I do know that I plan to attend the next city council meeting and present a formal report to the mayor and the council on this incident. I already sent them an email on this topic today.
It is not OK with me for people to dump trash in our waterways and get away with it. A friend of mine called my attention this morning to the fact that it is not OK with Homeland Security either so perhaps they should be notified as well.