City will set precedent with Gump bird decision

Johnson City Press • Feb 19, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Johnson City commissioners are set to decide on a plan Thursday to help Gump Addition residents who are being harassed by birds. One option would see the city paying as much as $7,000 for officers from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency to spend a week in the neighborhood blasting starlings with special pyrotechnics.Another option would be for homeowners to use propane cannons and air horns in an attempt to scare the troublesome birds away. City Commissioner David Tomita — a resident of the community — told the Press earlier this month he and his neighborhood might even hold a block party to sip a few libations while state officials are making a ruckus to force the birds to leave.Whatever city commissioners decide to do in this case, however, we hope they keep in mind they are setting a precedent for how they will respond when the next neighborhood comes to them with a critter problem.We’ve heard from a number of city residents who think $7,000 sounds like an awful lot of tax money to spend on scaring away birds. We agree. Other neighborhoods have handled similar situations by using fireworks. But, you say, fireworks are prohibited in Johnson City.That’s true, but it hasn’t stopped some city residents from setting off fireworks to celebrate New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July. In some neighborhoods, these pyrotechnic exhibitions go on until the last Roman candle, the last sparkler and the last firecracker are ignited. These celebrations can go on late into the night and even early into the morning of the next day. They result in lost sleep for neighbors, terrified dogs and cats, and the remains of bottle rockets littering front lawns and the roofs of houses.Unleash a few of these firework enthusiasts in the Gump Addition and we guarantee the birds will be gone. And the city won’t have to pay $7,000 to make them go away.

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