The Poop on Poo Free Parks – “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”

The other day I happened to take a look at those annoying advertisements that appear on the right side of my Face Book page. I uttered a little, “Oh my,” when I saw that Poo Free Parks had invaded my space, and I could not help but click on the ad. What I found–and what you will find if you follow the above link–was a really cute page with pictures and videos extolling the notion of parks without dog poop, and, too, an abundance of charming little doggie pictures designed, I’m sure, to capture the hearts and minds of all who might view the site. Who on earth could not “like” such a blatant display of dog love and green vistas?  The answer, of course, is not many can pass on the urge to giddily click their mouse on the little button, “like,” and therefore strike a kindly blow for God, Country, Apple Pie, doggies, poopless open spaces, and, indeed, for whomever created the wonderful page. Indeed, if you’re so inclined, the site provides an opportunity to sign a  petition in support of Poo Free Parks that suggests everyone in the known universe believes it to be a good idea with the exception of “…a couple of residents out there who would claim that they speak for you, and would rather watch all of us step in poo than see this eco-friendly program enter our parks. They are putting up quite a stink, and this PET-ition serves as a way to turn their bark into the whimper that it really is.” Ah, how cute is that: PET-ition; “…bark into a whimper.” I’m just charmed by it all. No, really I’m not. In fact, my response is a little teeth-gnashing Harrumph! along with my mind’s visage of a gentleman named of Bill Airy. (BTW the said petition is provided via an application supplied by Change.org, a site that champions causes that seek social justice through grassroots endeavors. The loftiness of Change.org’s causes–human justice, economic justice, womens’ rights, gay rights, etc.–are, of course, dwarfed by Airy’s Poo Free Parks cause celebre. And, again of course, Change.org’s reputation for achieving some little social justice via their petition application, is certainly not compromised by Airy’s use of it. No, not at all.)

Bill Airy is the principle behind Poo Free Parks. Bill Airy is an entrepreneur extraordinaire who first—almost as a fait accompli—presented the Poo Free Parks scenario to the City and County of Denver several years ago. The scenario? Here it is: Allow Bill to erect his green poles throughout Denver’s parks. The poles will have little boxes on them that contain eco-friendly bags for poop pick up. The poles will also have, at their apex, marquees that will feature ads from commercial entities who will pay Bill to place their particular little spiel on the marquees. Oh, and don’t forget, Bill will use a hybrid vehicle to service the little poles–replacing depleted bags, changing advertising, etc. All of this at no cost to the city. But, there was a snag. Not from the geniuses who ran Denver’s Parks and Recreation Department at the time, who bought Bill’s proposal hook, line and sinker. No, the snag came from neighborhood activists (decidedly more than a “couple”) who believed profoundly in the notion that Denver’s parks are not for sale, and the commercialization of those parks that would necessarily arise from Bill’s bright idea, was repugnant to the notion that Denver’s parks are of, by, and for the people of Denver, and not for the commercial sponsors ol’ Bill would recruit to pay him for his, um, services.

From a blog post of April, 2009, entitled, “The Selling of Denver’s Parks – The Promise of NO POOP,” the following paraphrased points are still relevant: “Mister Airy’s selling point that Denver’s Parks could become poop-free if his services were to be utilized, is about as logically sound, realistically achievable as the proverbial “peace in our time”. My point here is that Mister Airy’s suggestion that Denver’s parks will become poop-free is nonsense. Responsible dog owners do and will continue to pick-up after their pets, whether they use biodegradable sacks or newspaper wrappings. Irresponsible pet owners will continue NOT to pick up after their pets regardless of whether biodegradable bags are made available or not. Fact of life. Human nature.

“There is a fundamental question that I think we all need to consider: Do we want to sell Denver’s parks to the entrepreneurial machinations of those who wish to make a buck off the utilization of OUR PARKS for their own self-gain? That’s an easy one for me to answer. NO! (You do notice the exclamation point!)”

In fact, as unsightly as dog poop is in our parks, methinks the presence of for-profit advertising in our parks is just as unsightly, just as disturbing; it is something you can’t just wipe off your shoe (or out of your vision) in a quick minute once you return home from your stroll.

Also included in that post of April, 2009, is this: “By a vote of 18 to nothing, with five abstentions, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC) delegates are seeking a moratorium on a plan to put up advertising signs on animal waste bag dispensers in several city parks. INC is a city-wide association of many of Denver’s largest and most active registered neighborhood organizations.

“…A northwest Denver delegate, Bill Johnson, says the ‘integrity of our parks system’ is the real price. ‘The overriding issue is, and has been, private advertising in public parks,’ comments Johnson. ‘Are we going to be crossing the Rubicon (by allowing the signs)?’

“Several members of the INC Parks Committee and other critics contend the plan to allow advertising signs conflicts with Parks Department guidelines. Opponents also say the bag dispenser project could be contrary to the City Charter’s language which grants decision-making authority to Parks administration.”

Due to citizen outrage, Poo Free Parks never did establish a presence in Denver’s parks. Not that city functionaries at the time weren’t, as I’ve said, enamored of Airy and his scheme. They were. But those troublesome neighborhood activists–the People, by any other name–were not so gullible, and Denver’s parks were, therefore, spared the ignoble intrusion of commercial advertising atop poop bag poles within their boundaries. But, Airy got his, oh, pound of flesh maybe, from the city; a very expensive pound costing taxpayers $30,000.00. That story is here.

Now, back to Bill Airy. “Poo Free Parks” is the trade name for at least two entities registered with the Colorado Secretary of State. The “True Names” of those two entities are: OmnisPotential, and Environmental Media Group. The description of business to be transacted under the LLC filings are, with OmnisPotential, “…Advertising and Marketing Services;” and with Environmental Media Group, “Outdoor Advertising Services.”  Nope, nothing about environmental endeavors which–if that had been part of the description of business to be transacted–to my thinking, would indicate some altruistic intent, some notion that money is not the only object here. But, nope. Just advertising and marketing. That’s not to say Mister Airy’s efforts are devoid of altruism. Then again—I just checked the definition of “altruism”—maybe it does.

I suppose it’s also important to note that after a review of the Secretary of State’s on-line, open record documentation, Poo Free Parks LLC, has or had some connection with a company called, Dean Arrow and Associates LLC. Yup, you guessed it. Dean Arrow and Associates is a web integration service that concentrates on building one’s business, marketing, accounting. Nah, nothing about environmental endeavors.

Mister Airy has even expanded to California. (Actually, it appears from the website that Poo Free Parks has sidled up to a number of municipalities around the country.) Nothing wrong with that. Indeed, there’s nothing legally wrong with being an entrepreneur who can couch pursuits of the almighty dollar in happy-crappy terms and marketing expertise designed to capture dog-loving, park-loving human hearts and minds to the extent such emotions will provide a nice return on investment. Nope, nothing legally wrong with that at all.

It is instructive, however, to look at another enterprise that is the brainchild of Mister Airy. BoostMyScore.Net is best described by the verbiage on the site: a service that “…adds your name [persons with lousy or no credit] as an Authorized User (AU) on one of our high limit, low balance credit cards with a long and perfect payment history. An AU is someone that has the ability to use the account, but not make any changes to it or the responsibility to repay balances owed. The original intent of the AU position was to give cardholders the ability to add their children, spouses, or employees to their accounts so they could have access to the available credit line. A coincidental benefit occurs during this process whereby the account history for that credit card appears on the AU’s credit report and it looks like it has been there since the account was first opened, which gives them a FICO® credit score BOOST. While the AU does not receive the physical card or account number during this process, they will receive the amazing benefit of having that particular credit card’s entire credit payment history, limit, and balance ‘copied and pasted’ on to their credit report. This extreme increase in the limit to balance ratio on your report gives you the biggest possible BOOST to your credit in less than 60 days, guaranteed!” Mister Airy calls this service, “…credit renting.” Additionally, Mister Airy provides those with excellent credit the opportunity to become one of BoostMyCredit’s cardholders, or, in other words, the benefactor of their good credit standing to less fortunate lousy credit risks.

Okay. So, if I understand this correctly, if you’ve got lousy or no credit for any number of reasons, and you want to buy a car, or a house, or an airplane, or any damned thing you probably can’t afford, ol’ Bill will fix you up—for a fee—with someone who has bam-zoom-shoot-the-moon credit, and VOILA! in sixty days (or whatever) you’ve got the same credit rating, or at least a much better credit rating than you previously had when left to your own devices. Wow, I say. No toiling for years to establish good credit. No nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic needed. Hell, no need for any of that savings or frugality stuff. Just sign up with ol’ Bill and just watch the magic happen. Is this legal? Bill says it is. Is this ethical? Well, Bill answers that question also in the affirmative. Of course it’s ethical. (You can find Airy’s arguments as to the legality and ethicality of this service on the above linked site.) Additionally, according to the website, BoostMyCredit also offers credit counseling and credit repair.

Ahem…

In my post of April, 2009, I noted: “I’m reminded of the quote from George Washington Plunkett of New York’s Tammany Hall fame who, when asked about his success within the organization, noted: ‘I seen my opportunities and I took ‘em.’”

The title of this post provides a quote from Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2, where Polonius, as an aside, reflects on his conversation with Prince Hamlet whom he believes to be quite mad, but nevertheless quite conniving: “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” Or, as the quote has evolved: “There is method to this madness.”

Poo Free Parks along with BoostMyCredit are the creations of a man who has seen his opportunities, and has taken advantage of those opportunities with an entrepreneurial spirit that, I’m sure, harkens back to John Jacob Astor, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, Mitt Romney. And, again, there’s nothing wrong with that. Nope. Nothing at all.

Now, if we’re talking goose poop… Well, that’s another matter altogether.

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