Monday, July 26, 2010

Admission fee, yes or no?

A walking path in Bush Pasture Park in Salem, ORImage by Mr.Thomas via FlickrSure.

Provided that they drop the Salem Art Show name, and call it the Salem Outdoor Art Sale.
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Alas, human nature prefers heroic response to prevention

Good piece from Kurt Cobb, who notices that our habit is to ignore problems until they become unignorable conflagrations and then to fixate on the story of the Hero who steps up to respond -- and to go back to ignoring the next wave of problems as soon as the conflagration is tamed or burns itself out.

Salem is a great demonstration of this phenomenon. The powers that be are resolutely ignoring the mounting wave of evidence that we're in a new normal, that we're not going to go back to the endless growth illusion, and that we're going to have to make some pretty fundamental changes in how we use energy and materials. The PTB would much prefer to prepare for the return of Happy Days and the fossil fuel fiesta, and so they do, regardless of the fact that those days are highly unlikely to return and exceedingly unlikely to last very long if they do manage to make a brief curtain call. So we've got corporadoes proposing to tear down a historic residential facility that is perfectly suited to serving as a care home for persons needing high levels of care near medical facilities -- or to serving as a respite house for families and friends of people undergoing any of the usual range of terrors called health care -- or for any of a number of other better uses.

But no. Because, for the PTB, the highest possible use of a prime piece of downtown land in the very capital of the state is -- that's right, a parking lot.

Road funds wax fat while funds for human needs slashed

How gas tax changes as base changesImage via Wikipedia

Oregon's constitution is immoral. It privileges and protects a certain class of spending -- for "highway purposes" -- above all others. Meaning that we've got money for paving the streets we'll be tossing seniors into, the streets that kids who have no summer jobs will hang out near, the streets where the homeless vets will beg for spare change.

If we can't eliminate this immoral and unwise limitation, then we ought to at least have the sense to amend the constitution to force the roads to live within their means -- that is, if the gas tax can only be used for roads, then there can be no spending on roads but through the gas tax.
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