I WAS VERY SORRY TO read that Phil Carney was intimidated by his arrest for voluntarily painting neglected city property (“Beauty and the Bust,” The District Line, 2/3). I find his civic actions inspiring and hope others do too. A few other activities could be:
Put up homemade street signs where they are missing;
Plant trees in vacant tree boxes;
Plant flowers or vegetables on barren city property;
Water city trees—especially those planted within a year;
Fill potholes with dirt and plant tree seedlings in them (this really gets attention but doesn’t last long);
Trap rats and deliver them to the homes of slum landlords, city officials, or Capitol Hill with notes about where they were caught
Give compliments (without sarcasm) or make jokes to grumpy, snarly, or passive-aggressive bureaucrats, sales clerks, etc.
Let the other car go in front of you at stop signs
Let other people go ahead of you in lines.
There is no way to measure the effect of acts of random kindness—but I’m sure they have some. Most of the ideas listed above have been tried by me or people I know. Perhaps Carney could start an organization devoted to loony civic action. I’d be the first to contribute.