Dog lover points out they're really dirty, stinking animals

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Dan Haley

Odds and ends with some a bit odder than others:

Dog gone it anyway: It is not unusual to find Oak Parkers who move from issue to issue, from cause to cause. One day you're promoting the arts. The next you are opposing a new building. Serial activists.

Once in a while, though, I find a person who moves from serial activist to split-personality activist. This would seem to be the case with Patricia Spagat. A lovely woman, I would hasten to say. That perception comes from the visit she and a small group paid to our editorial board a few years back when she was deeply committed to the cause of better treatment for stray animals in Oak Park. She knew what she wanted. And that was a full-fledged, taxpayer-supported, no-kill animal shelter. A worthy cause, one this paper supported.

I know, too, of her passionate follow-through from having watched her appear meeting after meeting before the Oak Park village board to urge and upbraid them as they came closer or moved farther from her vision of what and where this shelter should be. She was also a regular on our letters pages making those same points.

So I was surprised, I admit, at her return to the letters page last week. This time around, Ms. Spagat is just as passionate as ever about our four-footed friends. Except now she is absolutely determined to block a park district notion of adding a dog run at Taylor Park. And, yes, she lives very near the park at Ridgeland and Division.

Housing values will plummet, she warns. Noise, traffic and congestion will increase, she reports. And then "there is the matter of sanitation. Remember you can pick up poop, but you cannot pick up urine. Do you want your children to play in a bathroom?" (!!!!!!)

OK. I added the exclamation points. I thought they were necessary to add the urgency critical to the challenge of picking up urine. Now dog park or no dog park, it is still legal to walk your dog in a public park. And I know from experience that dogs pee in the grass. Nothing to be done about it. And if 10 minutes later a two-year-old rolls down that pathetic little hill at Taylor Park, right over a dog's pee, I contend that that child will survive, maybe even be toughened up a little by the all-natural experience.

NIMBY-ism is very unattractive, Pat. It just is. Sounds to me, from reading your letter, that you just want Taylor Park for yourself and your immediate neighbors. The park, you complain, is "already overused-soccer, tennis, a tot lot, a picnic area with a grill and more. ... We don't want the park turned into a Disney World."

Take it from someone whose puny neighborhood park, Stevenson, is a gigantic raised water reservoir with dirt on top, Taylor is a lovely place. Enjoy it.

Finally, Pat you've fallen into the trap of others who complain they want more local involvement in the park planning process. The park district planning process has been totally open. Your input, even if it is wrong, is welcome. Join in.

Commerce update: The beauty of having your own column is that you get to voice the things others can only grumble over. Remember the big ads about "No More Late Fees" at Blockbuster? Naively, I translated that to mean no more late fees. So, on Sunday, I found in my car a trifle of a movie we rented several weeks ago. We watched it. We set it on top of the TV for a good long time. Then we got serious and moved it to the radiator right by the front door where someone was sure to return it. I'm the one who took it out to the car and slid it in next to a batch of CDs about, say, two weeks ago. But Sunday I got serious, took it back to Blockbuster, chose another movie and went to pay.

The very nice clerk explained to me that I now owned She's the Man. After 30 days, he said, Blockbuster sells you your late movie. I told him I didn't care to own She's the Man. He said sorry. I told him it sounded like a late fee to me. He started in on the company line about how it isn't a late fee and then kind of nodded his head and said, "Well, it is a kind of a late fee."

I left without the movie I wanted to rent, without the movie I now seemingly own, and with no intention to ever return.

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