Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Good Job, Statesman-Journal

The only consolation to this, which stems from THIS:
24-247:SALEM AREA MASS TRANS DIST L.O.T.$0.49 PER $1,000
YES . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15,639 47.42
NO . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17,338 52.58

YES . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11,342 54.83
NO . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,343 45.17

is knowing that the Statesman-Journal's attitude in opposing the transit levy (24-247) --- the belief that you can have something for nothing --- is the same attitude that will doom the Statesman-Journal in the end, as Craigslist devours its classifieds revenue and readers find an ever-thinner paper with ever-less content increasingly optional.

When people stop caring enough about their community to allow a vital service to be gradually destroyed, they certainly see no need to support institutions like newspapers, the benefits of which are much more subtle and difficult to appreciate.

And (unlike with transit) there's a host of great alternatives to the Statesman-Journal, many of which are free, fast, and full of fantastically diverse perspectives and insights (unlike the Statesman-Journal).

So, Statesman-Journal, Pyrrhic victory is yours. You win this round, but have only hastened your own demise.

Pools, libraries on the chopping block, and a sword hangs over Cherriots

Another story about the city campaign to defund the local public pools, which follows the recent round of budget cuts at the library, which killed the Bookmobile and slashed computer lab hours.

Meanwhile, we will learn tonight whether Salem's bus system, Cherriots, will be able to continue offering Saturday service and continue all its current routes. If the Cherriots operating levy fails, we will lose all Saturday service (just as Sunday service was lost a few years ago) and some routes will be discontinued, and the headway on most runs (the time between buses) will increase. Losing scheduled service means an end to the handicapped service at those times as well.

In other words, we'll see Salem continue to decline in basic services and amenities that serve everyone, including those without a lot of money.

Meanwhile, Salem continues to lavish money on the richest demographic group of all, seniors, replacing a perfectly serviceable Senior Center in NE Salem with a palatial new "50+ Center" located further out in autosprawl hell.

It's probably fitting that the 50+ website says that the center is "located about half of a mile northeast of Salem's city center" and offers no information about how to use Cherriots to get to the center (#3, Capitola) --- the city government mindset in Salem being "of the automobile, by the automobile, and for the automobile." Indeed, any senior who wants to take in an evening program at the 50+ Center had better be prepared to be stuck downtown, because if you take the last bus from the 50+ Center after 9:00 when it closes, you likely won't be able to find a bus to take you home from the Transit Center. And good luck getting to the 50+ Center on Saturday with no Cherriots.

(By the way, Mapquest.com gives the distance to 50+ from Church and Marion -- the place where the center of the city is marked -- as 1.99 miles. Even as the crow flies, it's clearly a mile and a half or more to 50+ from downtown -- too far to walk for most seniors, in other words.)