I believe a correlation exists between large-scale failures causing the water crises in the Charleston area harming more than 300,000 people and the small-scale failures of Philippi officials who refuse to enforce codes to the detriment of my sister and me.
I consider us all victims of self-serving politicians who ignore dangers to citizens while not holding accountable corporate or private perpetrators of malicious mischief. Where are communication, cooperation, and oversight among federal, state and local governments in the interests of all citizens?
In Philippi on Carter Avenue, at the edge of a creek and beside a double-wide mobile home with its porch sitting on public land, two storage buildings (one also partly on taxpayers' land) contain - what? Facts acknowledged by city officials are that the owner operates, parks, repairs and maintains his tractor-trailer truck using about 20 feet of city land in a residential zone.
In addition to truck equipment, the buildings may contain diesel fuel. The storage buildings may contain many huge truck tires. How many are too many? Is the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection powerless to check? If these tires were to burn, imagine the danger to his family and mobile home - as well as to all of his neighbors. Where is a fire marshal? Tires, also stacked against and beneath the buildings, may contain water-breeding mosquitoes and West Nile virus. Where is the Health Department?
Diesel fumes, identified by the Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization as carcinogenic, often permeate our homes (both parents died of cancer and my sister suffers a neurological disease). Could the years of this idling truck's spewing diesel fumes have contributed to their illnesses? In seeking help, we were ridiculed by the Philippi mayor and Council. They scoffed about horrendous noises of the air-impact wrench and other tools, then passed a motion allowing such noises seven days a week, benefitting the trucker.
Where is the U.S. Postal Service? In a letter denying curbside mail delivery service to my sister and me, higher level Postal officials, without specifying, stated "safety issues" at the end of Carter Avenue need to be addressed before the decision can be revisited.
They did not, however, send a letter to the city, even though only the city can address this matter by taking back just a small portion (about seven feet under one storage building) of the public land on which the trucker squats to include it in a much-needed cul-de-sac for public use within the actual 45-foot right-of-way.
Where are proactive rather than reactive laws? Are legislators purposely passing ambiguous, weak laws lacking consequences?
Even existing, specific laws are conveniently misinterpreted by politicians who direct enforcement when, if and on whom they choose, thereby compromising police and regulatory officials' ability to perform their duties without fear of losing their jobs.
Some judges and magistrates are woefully unqualified or decide cases not in accordance with law or equal application thereof but according to prejudicial opinions and friendships, or even as directed by a mayor.