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Published: Wednesday, 1/7/2004

The price of vandalism

The $80,000 vandalism of Bedford Township s $3 million library expansion project, while it is expected to cause only a week s delay, is bewildering and frustrating. Are there any adults left in the adult world?

It s hard to imagine that the project, if it didn t have a night watchman, wasn t a location that township police visited frequently. Huge trusses are not taken down by a single pair of hands in 10 minutes.

Also, given the hard feelings among presumed grown-ups in the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, who picketed the site because the contractor used non-union subcontractors, why didn t the contractor have someone and/or surveillance cameras on site, even though the union and the contractor appeared to have worked out their grievances.

The union s business agent said his members weren t responsible for the vandalism. Hopefully he is correct.

In any event, what a township detective has characterized as “a deliberate act, a malicious destruction of property,” has turned into an added financial burden for all township residents, including the local carpenters who had once objected that the construction money was leaving town. Voters approved a 0.75-mill property levy nearly 18 months ago to expand the library, the busiest in Monroe County s public library system.

Homeland security begins at home. It makes no sense that public projects can be invaded and disassembled by peevish people with no civic conscience. What happened in Bedford Township could happen anywhere. Public officials who oversee capital projects must build security into them. Taxpayers shouldn t be subject to the added cost, but experience shows it is necessary and time-saving insurance.

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