Friday, April 18, 2008

Think Globally, Act Locally? Orig Published c. 1994

(note: The following was written in January 1994 for a small weekly publication.The topic was local, but in hindsight the public sector has exceeded my misgivings)

What I am sure of: I am me.

After that it can get confusing. My wife and I are we; you and I together are we; We the people are we as well. I guess anybody can be we unless being refered to by them, then we are us, only they call us, them. Can I alone be we? Can I be one of them and still remain one of us? Where are they when we need them? Who are they? Who are we? Waxing philosophical can be confusing to us... or me... or... well, it can just get confusing.

Small comfort; that whoever they is, it can be just as confusing to them.

Let's assume that you are one of us. Unless of course
you are one of them, then you may want to explain what you
are doing here with us. See what I mean? If you don't then
maybe you are not who I think you are and, quite possibly
not who you think you are either. You might want to check,
just to make sure.

I'll wait....

This convoluted thought train was inspired by the Village
Council's consideration of the parking situation for the new
library. The concept of the library "buying'', from the
village, the municipal parking lot across the street, is logic that
escapes me. In the abstract sense, the library, as part of
the village, already "owns" that lot. If they can buy it from
themselves then the possibilities are astounding. The Village
could be sitting on a mine. Whether a gold or land mine would
remain to be seen.

If the library can own property shouldn't they also
own the property on which they intend to build the new
library? Shouldn't the Community Center own their little
piece? The Fire Department? Police? Water? Streets? Forestry?

The village hall could be converted into Condos! A Realtor's
mouth waters, but it just gives me the willies.

"Psst, Hey Pal, wanna buy a sewerage treatment plant"?
Revenue enhancement for the deranged?

Where would these branches get the money to pay? From the taxpayers. Where would the money go? To the Village? So that the various departments would then receive the funds to own and operate their owned little piece. But wait a minute, maybe we could
start a bidding war for the choice properties. The historical society could outbid the fire department and exile the firefighters, who would then be forced to outbid another
department. This would continue until all of the village's assets belonged to the rightful (or richest) owners. If we open it up to commercial entities the profits could go
through the roof.

"Wouldn't that playground be a perfect place for, say... a Walmart or a fast food franchise.

Feasable? Not really, just a warped extension of a warped proposal.

Shared resources are vital to life in a land-locked
village. While the Park district and schools are separate
from the village -as public entities- the library is not. The former
have taxing and bonding powers, the latter does not. Monies
for the library come through the Village cofers just as the
Police, Fire, Building, Street and Water departments. Maybe
the library should seek autonomy, but that shouldn't be
necessary. The combined assets of the village are its
strength. Cooperation between the various entities, while not
a requirement, goes a long way towards a peaceful and
mutually beneficial existence.

A library is books; books are knowledge; knowledge is
power. A parking space is a parking space. We can envy other
places with enough open area to pave. We can wish that we
had that luxury, but we can't let being tight on space
compromise the quality of our resources. Especially when
there are parking spaces already existing that could serve.

The village assets are held for the benefit of all and should
be cross-utilized as much as possible. Restricting resonable
access by all branches defeats the purpose of having combined
assets. It's called sharing and should not be viewed as a
radical concept in government.


dalys said...

you say your piece was published in a small community newspaper?
do you live in an 'elite' community?
i'll bet the Letters to the Editor the following week were a screech.(heehee)

welcome, rehctaw. nice piece, glad you saved it.
and thanks for the morning chuckle after our early morning earthquake.

Rehctaw said...

Parts of my community are elite, or to be more precise, believe themselves to be so. (Having been in proximity, their shit does stink, so...)

You live in a far more elite area of town than I. How's that working out for you?

Oddly, this was a column that generated ONE response in writing.
Most times reactions were visited upon me in the checkout line at the local grocer, hardware store, library or in the drop-off queue at school. Then there were the critiques in the local watering holes. (we have 30 something bars).

You're bound to chuckle again as I uncork some more moldy oldies. But I assure other readers that I'll spare them the truly local and topical oldies.

unless I get desperate...

dalys said...

well, i'm currently writing a Letter to the Editor - 'expanding' on the paper's very conflicted editorial re: local folks'very conflicted behavior toward message boards/blogs.

perhaps futile, but i would be the last to disparage any attempt to 'up' the thinking and dialogue in this small town.

Content said...

Good post.