Bureaucracy: Winter Housecleaning

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the city's urban-renewal agency, has a commendable if uncontrollable passion for keeping Philadelphia tidy. When a Licenses and Inspection Department worker recently spied some trash in the backyard of one of the agency's properties, a cleanup order was promptly issued by the authority.

The litter was in the backyard of a dilapidated ten-room house that three college students rent from the authority for $75 a month. The sanitation crew assigned to the rubbish removal somehow got their instructions mixed up and, in a burst of zeal, cleaned out the inside of the house instead of the grounds....

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