My morning commute was interrupted by a swastika.
I was riding to work when I dropped down the bike path along A Street and turned west on the Chester Creek Trail, then there it was—the most vile symbol in human history—painted under the words "We're Back" on a concrete wall. Someone armed with a can of spray paint and a shred of decency had attempted to cover it with the red circle and slash forming the international “banned” symbol.
I stopped to snap a photo with my phone, so that I could email it to the municipal maintenance department. I thought maybe they would make it a priority to paint over that mess before the end of the day.
When I got to C Street, I saw a city maintenance truck and flagged it down so I could report the graffiti to the driver. But he already knew about it. “That’s where I’m headed,” he said.
I looked at my watch. It was 7:52 a.m. on Thursday morning. The sun was barely coming up, and most businesses weren’t open for the day, but that guy was already there with a bucket of paint. Many morning bike commuters would never have to see the vandalism done by some asshole.
Everybody seems to be talking these days about deficits, taxes, budget reductions and service cuts. Not just at the national level, but here in Anchorage, too. Mayor Dan Sullivan hates taxes like the rest of us hate saddle sores, and he’s happy to slash payroll and municipal services to avoid asking people to pay a few more bucks for them.
The question is, where does this stop? We have fewer firemen and fewer cops than we used to, and those of us who use parks and public spaces have spent years watching the results of “deferred maintenance.” (That’s a fancy name for all those wheel-eating pavement cracks on bike paths all over town.)
I’m not sure what the answer is, but I’ll tell you one thing. I was happy to have a municipal employee out there covering that swastika so quickly, and so early.
If that costs me a couple of extra bucks a year, I’ll gladly pay it.