Saturday, May 31, 2014

Salem, another waterfront city, has bigger problems than how to promote sprawl

One of the best parts of hearing the lapdog UnStatesmanlike Journal's tinny barking of "losers" at people who recognize the Salem River Crossing as a gigantic boondoggle is that the uSJ couldn't help themselves and so they wound up making clear that none of the reasons given as the official cover story for the thing actually have anything to do with it.  

Instead, as the uSJ makes clear, it's just about maintaining the fantasy that suburban pattern, auto-centric growth will continue and that, after a century of autosprawl, it's suddenly urgent to provide other counties with another auto connection to I-5 (one that bypasses Salem).

In other words, it's about land speculation and development, aka money. Members of the Chamber of the 1% smell money, and lots of it, if they can persuade Salem folks to tax and toll themselves to make land to the west more valuable. It has nothing to do with benefitting the people of Salem, that's for sure.

What do you expect from a corporate chain paper that's not even printed in the city that's on the masthead?  The Gannett chain is to journalism what Velveeta on Wonder Bread is to fine dining - a prefab corporate homogenized substitute that seeks only profit by selling a debased product at the same price as the real thing.

That's why you can have the once-unimaginable sight of an in-name-only Salem paper calling for Salem residents to help destroy the town to cater to the Sprawl Lobby.  

The corporate execs that Gannett whizzes through the outposts of its empire have no ties to the towns where they reside briefly while overseeing the process of getting the daily satellite download of "news" from the Gannett wire and putting a tiny few local stories -- many press release rewrites -- into the thing. They care nothing for Salem or for the people who will remain here while they resume their climb up the corporate ladder in the next burg. 

We should care though. Like Norfolk, we face serious challenges, and had best start preparing for them, not keeping our heads in the sand the way the Chamber and its tame pet paper do, as they promote grand real estate schemes and ignore the real challenges of adapting to a world where greed like theirs is fueling climate chaos.
In Norfolk, evidence of climate change is in the streets at high tide - The Washington Post