The Scuttlebutt is Out

Joseph Barkoff, Photo Editor

The scuttlebutt is out. We know. The adage that the squeaky wheel gets the grease is truer than ever. Unfortunately it is just for show.

Walking across Elliot Street after your last class, on your way to enjoy a cigarette and a little nicotine influx due to your meter showing low, thinking to yourself how lucky you are to be going to school in such a beautiful and glorious place in the world as Sonoma County, the wine country, yet the streets are littered with to-go wrappers, empty liquid vessels and ass as far as the eye can see. I’m not talking about “Hey-it’s summer-hooray-skimpy-outfits” ass, I’m talking butts. Cigarette butts.

I will admit, I am a smoker, though a conscientious one, if that’s not an oxymoronical statement.

It is true you can receive a ticket for smoking on campus, though the confirmed rumor is that continued motion, like walking, negates the infraction due to a loophole in the policy.

When SRJC first made the change to a non-smoking campus with the intent of penalizing smokers both on campus and across the streets on SRJC’s owned properties, I found the prospect amusing. Amusing in an ironic, Band-Aid-over-a-hemorrhage, having no real solution for the problem at hand, kind-of-way.

The problem as I see it, as a smoker, is that smokers are often the most self-absorbed, ignorant, disrespectful bunch of folks you might see.

So there is a ticket for smoking on campus, yet the people who enforce it advise the transgressor that if they continue to walk, they won’t get a ticket. I don’t need a bachelor’s of psychology to know what enabling is.

Ultimately, people flock to the surrounding neighborhoods to smoke. Congregated, just as some of us can remember from high school, across the street. Out of sight, out of mind, seems to be the SRJC enforcement policy.

Until the neighbors start complaining, the smokers, huddled in front of their houses, are littering like the self-absorbed lazy children they are. Ultimately, this gives the SRJC police recruits some much-needed practice with talking to the public. Forbes noted a study that people are more comfortable being caught cheating on their taxes than smoking.

Except we are still left with an unsolved issue, just swept to the other side of the street that now includes a little dog and pony parade show of force. As if to point and say, “We are trying.”

Not good enough. Our neighbors, and they are our neighbors here, have resorted to placing signs in their yards pleading, asking, politely requesting to both not smoke and not to leave litter. Depressingly, it seems college students cannot read anything they are not going to be graded on.