Berry S. Hurley, the mayor of Greenfield, is a professional politician, rumored in town to have ambitions for higher places. Therefore, he is beset by problems common to politicians everywhere. Crises that someone else considers to be immediate, he must consider immediate. For example, on a Saturday morning there were a lot of long-haired, restless youths standing around the corridors of the Greenfield City Hall. Some were locals, dragsters and noisemakers, violators of the town's curfew. Others were foreign, hippy types who had been hitchhiking through Greenfield. All had been busted the previous night by Mayor Hurley's men and were being tried in municipal court for their unapproved acts. "There should be a law that every boy has to have a haircut every three weeks," the mayor said, glaring out of his office door at the occupants of the city hall corridor. "That long hair is a gesture of contempt toward law and order. That is the only reason they let it grow."
Ordinarily, pollution is not, as Dick Wilson said, regarded as immediate a crisis as is law and order in most constituencies. Therefore, for most mayors it is just in the nature of a dull, continuing. sub- Excedrin administrative headache. However, now and then it will flare up when, for example, typhoid or garbage men strike or when a smart-aleck, young boy reporter sells a picture of your dirty river to a wire service.
"So far as I am concerned there was no reason for putting up that sign. There is some pollution, but under my administration we have done something about the problem," said the mayor about the Old Swimmin'-Hole crisis. "I suppose maybe Dick Wilson took a reading on a real hot day. I could take that sign down, it's on city property, but I make a real effort to cooperate with other officials. Naturally I'm not surprised the Reporter should jump on it.
"The paper and the old line establishment of this town have fought my administration from the beginning. But I don't lose any sleep over the sniping. I was elected by a bigger majority in the second campaign than the first so I guess the people are with me. Here is a clipping," said the mayor, handing over a tear sheet from the Daily Reporter, "about the last election. You can take it along.
"Now take the situation in regard to the Brandywine. The city is doing its part. We put in a modern sewage system, as you know. We talked Arvin into reducing the acid waste flow. Two years ago I tried to clear up all that junk around the so-called Old Swimmin'-Hole, dredge the silt out of the creek. You know who stopped me?"
"The U.S. Government. A federal marshal came into this office and said I'd better get our equipment out of the creek, that we might change the water level downstream in the county. I'll tell you this, the real pollution in that stream comes from the county. The county says they haven't got the money to do anything about it. Right now I've got a chemist making tests. When I get my evidence I'm going to present it to the Indiana State Health Department and see if they can get the county to move. If you want to know about the pollution, talk to the county people."
Conveniently, the Hancock County Planning Board was meeting that same morning in the courthouse, directly across from City Hall. Among others at the meeting was Fred Bullman, a big, weathered farmer, who is a member of the planning board, a Hancock County commissioner and a longtime rural resident of the area.
"I know what the mayor says," said Bullman, "but I also know, and he does too, that Greenfield is still putting sewage in the Brandywine, despite that million-dollar plant. A while back we were trying to clean up the creek, but the city council wouldn't put up $5,000 to pay for the work in the city.
"We don't have a whole lot of resources but we are making an effort in the county. Years ago nearly everybody had an outhouse. Now we've got good regulations regarding septic tanks, trash, dumping.