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Fighting city hall with humor and a dash of snark

Nov 01, 2019 02:12PM

What would you do if the potholes on your street were getting so large the postal truck was getting stuck in them?

You might start by going to the city offices to find out who is in charge of street repairs. No one is? OK, your next step might be to talk with city council members personally about it. No answers there? Maybe you’d try and get the mayor’s help.

But what if two years later the potholes were still multiplying like Tribbles on the the Starship Enterprise? In today’s ugly political climate that might be about the time insults started to fly on the various social media platforms. But one neighborhood in Elk Ridge took their complaints to social media with humor and style.

In 2016 neighbors living along Shuler Lane created the Chuck Pothole page on Facebook to vent their frustrations that they weren’t able to get the city to fix their road. They began with a few snarky memes figuring it would maybe last a few months, a year tops. Three years later, Chuck has really taken on a life of his own. The intro on Chuck Pothole’s Facebook page says, “The Lord said multiply and replenish, so I’m a pothole on a mission, rocking the roads of Elk Ridge.”

According to his profile, Chuck works as an Executive Bumper Demolition Expert and his relationship status is “complicated”. For a pothole, Chuck is a fairly happening fellow. He follows the BYU/U of U rivalry, loves Broadway tunes, loves Rocky Road ice cream, and is a huge fan of Shark Week.

And the memes keep coming, with new meme ideas being sent to Chuck from fans all over the area and even out of state.  Neighbors wanted to have their concerns heard, but didn’t want it to turn into an ugly confrontation with their city’s elected officials.

Knowing the city officials are also their neighbors, they’ve kept names out of the discourse and have made a point not to attack anyone in social media.

“Elk Ridge is a wonderful community. We love our mayor and city council members,” said one Shuler Lane neighbor. “We appreciate all they do for our community. But we also know the squeaky wheel gets the oil. So, Chuck is just going to keep squeaking till the road gets replaced.”

The only option the city has given neighbors was to widen the road significantly, taking several feet of property from neighbors on both sides of the road to accommodate future growth.

With the Payson City Golf Course at the top of the lane, agricultural properties and the amount of available lots left in the area, neighbors expressed concerns that the upgrades the city suggested are costly prohibitive and unnecessary.

“We all pay our taxes,” said another Shuler Lane Neighbor. “We just want our road to be safe and easy to travel on like everyone else in town does. A lot of roads that aren’t near as bad as ours have been repaved a couple of times while ours is still like Swiss Cheese.”

With fall upon us, neighbors aren’t looking forward to dealing with Chuck for another season of tire damage, dented bumpers and loose fillings. But instead of getting angry, they plan to keep applying their own humorous brand of political pressure. (Serve Daily submission.)