Trash issue is a serious concern

Published 12:08 pm Friday, October 9, 2015

It’s a given at any Bogalusa City Council meeting discussion will eventually lead into trash and efforts — or lack thereof — to clean up the area.

I’ve covered more than a few city council meetings in my time. Most were rather uneventful and decorum was properly followed. However, it seems decorum and respect for other opinions have gone by the wayside in recent meetings of the Bogalusa City Council.

No matter the subject at hand, the bickering always seems to get back to ever-present trash around the city and efforts to clean it up.

Tuesday’s city council meeting was the worst I’ve witnessed, in regard to respecting others. The meeting included finger pointing and name-calling. Neither of those elements is necessary in a civilized society with laws.

Frustration with what some citizens perceive as little to nothing being done regarding trash pick up has caused some folks to simply wring their hands and roll their eyes. Others, like Fate and Rebecca Ferrell, take the city head on and don’t mind saying what’s on their mind at council meetings. I’m sure they’re not the favorite people of city council members simply because they say what others won’t: the city needs help concerning trash pick up.

Some people might say the Ferrells go about it the wrong way. Their in-your-face attacks rub some folks the wrong way. But one thing is certain — they get your attention.

A gripe of the Ferrells is the city’s code enforcement. They believe the office is a white elephant with little or no authority to really enforce property owners to take care of their property.

It appears Code Enforcement Officer Rodney McGehee’s authority ends at the door of dilapidated houses with junked cars in the yard. He hung an order on the front door to clean up the property at a particular house on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in May. The junked car is gone, but the house still needs to be bulldozed.

If the city doesn’t have the legal authority to quickly tear down dilapidated houses that are eyesores and force property owners to clean up, then perhaps laws in the city need to be changed. Instead, it seems like it takes a lengthy process for anything to get done.

During the just-completed Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival, a local inquired as to how I liked living in Bogalusa. I remarked that the city has the friendliest people you’d ever want to meet. I also said I wished something could be done about the city’s overall look, regarding dilapidated houses and city litter.

His answer to that was kind of what I expected. He said that he lived in a part of the city where he really didn’t see all the decayed houses and trash. He said he doesn’t notice it when just driving through the messier areas.

It seems more than a few Bogalusa residents have that same attitude.

Randy Hammons is a staff writer with The Daily News. He can be reached by calling 985-732-2565 or by emailing