No harm, no foul

Over its long history, the Splott neighborhood of Cardiff, Wales, has been the home of TV personalities, pro athletes, and pop star Shirley Bassey, who recorded the theme songs for "Goldfinger" and other James Bond movies. It's also the address of Betty Davies, who achieved notoriety of another sort last week – just not in a way that makes the city proud. Not that she did anything bad. In fact, she'd probably still be anonymous if she hadn't swept the fallen autumn leaves off her porch and into the gutter in front of her house. Alas, a city employee happened to be working in the street at the time and decided that she needed to be dressed down for her simple act. He knocked on her door and, when she answered, said, "You could be fined for doing that." But then, turning magnanimous, he added, "I'm letting you off with a warning this time." No big deal, you say? Well, it was to Betty, who has lived there for 62 years. "I was lost for words," she told reporters. "This is the first time anything like that has happened." Word of the incident reached the City Council, which agreed, calling the employee "totally out of order." Knocking on Betty's door was "a no-no," a spokesman said, and she has been apologized to. Furthermore, he said, the council has more important matters to deal with than fining elderly residents for sweeping a few leaves into the street.

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