The newest twist on the legendary saying seems to go something like this:
He robs asphalt from the city and fills in the poor holes that plague the streets.
And while a “Pothole Robin Hood” he may very well be to his supporters, Ron Chane won’t be getting spiritual advice from Friar Tuck anytime soon…and Jackson, Miss., most definitely isn’t Sherwood Forest.
Because Chane—who’s made a name for himself lately by taking what he says is asphalt from the city of Jackson so he and his girlfriend can fill its potholes—is under police investigation for his actions.
“Once we saw that people were appreciating what we did, we went out again and made a goal of fixing 100 potholes. We’ve actually filled 101 potholes, so our mission has been completed,” Chane said. “We’re sending a message that as citizens you have to sometimes take matters in your hands, in a creative and constructive way.”
“We thought what the heck. It’s kind of like Robin Hood for potholes,” Chane told WAPT-TV. “You go steal some asphalt from the city and you put it in the holes and when you get finished with it, you get spray paint and you put a big circle around it with a big shiny arrow right there to help the city see the potholes.”
Chane adds the message “citizen fixed” to his spray-paint signature, he told ABC News.
While Chane indeed used the words “steal some asphalt from the city” with WAPT-TV to describe part of what he does, he told ABC News that “we’re not trying to be thieves or steal from the city. We’re just trying to put the asphalt to use.”
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumbaba responded with this statement to WAPT-TV: “We do not accept any use of the city’s resources without going through the proper legal channels.”
WAPT-TV reported that Jackson “has followed up on [Chane's] work, fully patching some of” the potholes, the mayor’s office did not return repeated requests for comment from ABC News.
Lumbaba, elected mayor July 1, campaigned with the promise of repairing and developing Jackson’s streets. “Hopefully our new mayor and his administration will be aggressive in addressing this problem,” Chane said to ABC News. “He’s got a tough road ahead.”
Apparently potholes are a disruptive and dangerous problem in Jackson. “People joke that Jackson is a Six Flags because the roads are so bumpy,” Zachary Boozer, a Jackson resident, told ABC News. “The potholes are pretty widespread in all areas of the city. They make cracks in the streets, which are already crumbling.”
“And it’s not just potholes,” Boozer continued. “We’ve also got sinkholes. People have been falling in them. A car fell in one too.”
And while ABC News reports that Jackson has a pothole hotline residents can call to report damaged roads, Boozer contends that “they don’t respond immediately. After you call, they put you on a wait list. The city is too backed up with requests to fix potholes. This is definitely raising tensions.”
“I was approached by the Mississippi Department of Transportation,” Chane told ABC News. “They said that while they do not condone or endorse what we did, they were indeed on the understanding side.
“They said the asphalt is the people’s asphalt.”
But a spokesman for the Department of Transportation says no one has spoken to Chane in any official capacity.
“We have never met with him,” said Jarrod Ravencraft. “This situation is strictly an issue for Jackson. We have no jurisdiction over the city.”
Here’s a report from WAPT-TV: