I’m all for progress, and am willing to put up with the construction necessary to make the Haymarket Arena happen, but when you come across incompetence of this nature, it’s too good to keep to yourself.

A few weeks ago, the dumptruck convoy mounted up and began the process of removing the contaminated dirt from the old railyard site. I would estimate one every minute or two turns left onto S street in front of my restaurant on their way to who-knows-where with their soiled soil. Trucks we can deal with. Granted, they are a little noisy at times, but we are used to big vehicles coming in and out of the post office. All a part of urban landscape. I get it.

What I don’t get is this guy, a so called street sweeper. I don’t understand his role. He made several passes on Saturday, creating such a cloud of dust, you could not see the building across the street.
  Frustrated to the point of action, I walked out in the middle of the street and stopped Pig Pen from doing his “work.” I asked the driver if this is normal, and in his brilliance replied, “I don’t know, I didn’t build the rig.”

I could tell I had a winner on my hands, but foolishly continued to pound on the thick skull with more questions. Similar answers. The only progress made was creating a headache from beating my head against his too many times.

But his last statement to me was so befuddling, I just walked away in disbelief. His words were:

“We’re not supposed to worry about the dust. We’re just supposed to keep the dirt from the trucks off the road for the EPA”

Somewhere, small children are having this conversation:

“What does your daddy do?”

“He’s a streetsweeper.  He drives around in a big truck and makes a huge mess where ever he goes.”
Now I’m no scientist, just a chef, but it would appear to me that the EPA is creating a new problem with its solution. Just keep the dirt, the contaminated dirt, from the trucks off the street, nevermind if you kick it up in the air. Its’ more important to keep in compliance than it is to see how compliance is not working. Its much easier to consult a policy than a person. That way PigPen can get off at five and go drink beer without interuption.

I feel sorry for this driver when he or she gets back to this mess.

Pig Pen reminded me that common sense easily takes a back seat to beaurocracy. I would hope that any driver, upon seeing smoke coming from the tires or the engine of his truck, would think to stop and take a gander at what might be going wrong and get it taken care of. If a streetsweeper creates more mess than it remedies, then shouldn’t someone stop and at least ask a simple question?

I don’t know where to begin my appeal, but on a Sunday morning, venting through the written word makes me feel a little better. Thanks to our faithful customers who are willing to put up with this inconvenience. I hope we can find a solution ASAP

The Peter Principle

11 thoughts on “The Peter Principle

  • July 10, 2011 at 3:31 pm
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    Sorry to see what's happening. Perhaps, the best thing to do is contact Dan Marvin, the JPA's project manager. I could not easily find a contact number or email for Mr. Marvin. However, one can contact HaymarketNOW! or the West Haymarket Redevelopment Project via: http://www.haymarketnow.com/contact

    Perhaps a call to the mayor's office could yield contact information for Mr. Marvin.

    Good luck!

  • July 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm
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    Usually, large scale sweepers like that one have a watering system for dust suppression. It's hard to imagine that this one wouldn't have such a system, or that the operator would be totally unfamiliar with it. I wonder if in the chain of subcontractors there is some entity doing a job that it has never done before.

  • July 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm
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    Thanks for the advice. Will try to make contact there.

  • July 10, 2011 at 4:24 pm
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    What else do you really expect? It's going to be dusty and full of dirt? Do you expect it to be clean or something?

  • July 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm
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    Hopefully, Pigpen stops at your place for a beer. No need for a clean glass, it will just be dirty again in a few minutes. It is a shame that so much narrow vision pervades the workplaces of our world. People need to see how what they do fits into the needs of others, and be responsive. Most of that will be lost on a project with many separate contractors protecting their specific tasks. craigkite

  • July 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm
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    I am frequently befuddled by the way that you use this blog to publicly berate individuals. Some time ago, it was to describe how stupid a vegetarian customer of yours was who dared to ask that you leave the meat off of her pasta and than complained that it was under salted.

    Then it was people who were asking for a bit more to their meal in comments on other sites, somehow implying that this is akin to "eating off a platter."

    Now this, a guy who is doing his job as he was told.

    Although I can understand your frustration with the situations, you might consider the following:
    1. The vegetarian read that post, told her friends how B&C feels about accommodating vegetarians. It is also possible that you do not salt your food properly – however "chef-ly" you might envision yourself.

    2. The folks complaining about portion size might have actually had a less than desirable experience at your restaurant where they did not feel that they had enough to eat. It is also possible that these are not the Applebee's crowd, but people that have in fact more fine dining industry experience than you. Perhaps they would be willing to pay a bit more for a larger portion size (as I would- $20 for a portion that fills me is more desirable than a $15 one where I must purchase accouterments ).

    3. This guy might be the brother, uncle, son, or father of one of your customers. Shame.

    My point is that Lincoln is a small town. If you choose to put on your blinders to that fact and use this public blog as a place to pick on folks like a grade-schooler or to belittle all of those who dare to express legitimate criticism about an experience had in your establishment, don't be surprised when the buzz about your restaurant turns. At least in my circle, it already has- partly as a result of the above mentioned posts.

  • July 11, 2011 at 12:44 am
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    I was there for lunch on Saturday and sat outside as befuddled as you were, Kevin. It won't keep me away from the restaurant, but it was disconcerting. I agree that a call to the Mayor's office is in order. I'm happy to support your request for reasonableness (as in the street being swept once an hour, twice a day . . . )if it needs to be swept.

  • July 11, 2011 at 7:37 pm
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    This is not berating "any" individual. This streetsweeper business is clearly maddening. Did you see the pictures? It's a gorilla on some heavy machinery!

    No one with "fine" dining experience will complain about portion sizes at B&C. (That information goes out the window if you think jtk or Dish is fine dining…coz it ain't!)

  • July 11, 2011 at 8:30 pm
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    The problem has been reported to both Dan Marvin and the City of Lincoln Public Works Department. If you have any questions, or need other contact info, please let us know at news@lincoln.ne.gov or use the City's ACTION Center.

  • July 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm
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    Hmm. I've never tried B&C but now I'm leaning against it completely. Berating is never pretty.

  • July 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm
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    I work in the field and no, the operators comments about the EPA are wrong. As a matter of fact, it is easier to get a response to air borne sediment than it is for track out or sediment in the public right-of-way. The City has personnel to enforce on both. Call the Health Department any time the project gets too dusty. Call Watershed Management for mud in the street. This was a terrible situation to deal with. I would have been angry also

Comments are closed.