John Celentano: A public service announcement on new Northampton policy

Last modified: Friday, May 02, 2014
To the editor:

It used to be that if your mailbox was damaged due to Northampton’s snow-plowing operation, you went to City Hall, filled out a form and received a voucher to fix or replace the mailbox. Not anymore.

The new process is: You must go to City Hall within 30 days of the damage, with a letter or some form of documentation and also pictures of the damages. The letter gets stamped, filed and sent to the city’s insurance carrier. Next, you wait two months until you get notified by a claims technician for the insurance company that your claim is denied. The reason: The city’s snow plow did not damage your mailbox; the snow that the plow pushed into it did, so they are not responsible.

Isn’t that like saying a person who throws a rock that hits someone else in the head is not responsible if they did not mean for it to happen — it’s the rock’s fault? While the damage by the plows may not (usually) be intentional, the speed they drive and how close they get to, or past, the edge of the road is. This is yet another example of the city avoiding responsibility and passing the costs on to the residents. I’ll remember this and also remind the taxpayers of it the next time a Proposition 2½ override is on the ballot.

John Celentano