Cleanup discussion gets heated and personal

Mayor promises to enforce ordinances


Comments from residents of Burdin Boulevard turned personal as a number of people addressed the Grand Coulee City Council April 17.

Mel Toulou Sr., took issue with Becky Billups, who had attended two previous council meetings to tell members that her area on Burdin looked like a “ghetto.”

Toulou told Billups, “I am not a ghetto rat.”

Billups replied, “I didn’t say you were a ghetto rat, I said that the area looked like a ghetto.”

The discussions almost got out of hand and Mayor Chris Christopherson stepped in and warned parties who were there “not to get personal.”

Billups later said that some of the property that was “junky” had been cleaned up the previous day.

“It is a lot better, but there’s a lot left to do,” Billups said.

She had appeared twice before asking why the city didn’t do something about enforcing its ordinances.

Jerry Beierman, who lives across town on Roosevelt Drive, asked why the city didn’t have an enforcement officer for its nuisance ordinance as called for in the ordinance. The mayor said that the city only has “so many employees, and they could only do so much.”

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Al Jordan, who lives on Center Street, took up the cause and asked why the city couldn’t add $50 to a person’s water bill until his place was cleaned up.

Toulou asked the council to look into a parking lot that borders his property. Toulou said that the parking lot used to have a trailer on it, but the owner of the property turned it into a parking lot.

“They kick up dust and my air conditioner draws it into my home,” he said. “They back up into my fence and it’s a mess for me.”

He wondered what the city was going to do about that.

Billups told the council that she didn’t feel safe in her neighborhood anymore.

“I don’t trust any of my neighbors,” she told the council, adding, “I can’t move away, no one is going to buy my place.”

Gary Carriere, who lives on “A” Street stated, “My wife and Becky had a few words over the ghetto statement. This is a low-income housing area. We have firemen and tribal police officers who live nearby, so there isn’t any reason to feel unsafe.”

Beierman said, “I hate to see any neighborhood not get along. A code officer is needed.”

When someone asked if he wanted the job, Beierman said, “No, I don’t want a job where no one likes you.”

The mayor had heard enough.

“We are going to enforce our ordinances,” he said. “I may not be very popular, but I will be fair.”


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