Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stimulate This

Sometimes, I just can't help myself. Saturday's front page of the Boston Globe had two stories in juxtaposition that illustrate perfectly how screwed up we are. One article talked about a proposal to spend millions of our much-ballyhooed federal stimulus money for a footbridge across a highway to connect two parking lots operated by the multi-billionaire Kraft family, owners of the New England Patriots NFL football team and the new "Patriot Place," a collection of upscale shops,restaurants and entertainment establishments. The other article told how services for the homeless were being cut because of a budget crisis in the State House.

I fired off yet another letter to the Globe, but I needn't have bothered because it seems quite a few people were struck by the same irony and several letters were published today. Luckily, I know a blog that is very good about publishing my whinings. The "Tom" I mention is Tom Brady, star quarterback of the Patriots. The photos of the stadium and shopping areas were taken this morning as I biked by while doing my laundry delivery.

Here's the letter:

$9 Million for a Parking Lot?

On the same front page (Saturday, November 7, 2009) that presented a story about $9 million in federal stimulus money for elevators and a footbridge over Route 1 to an empty parking lot at Patriot Place in Foxboro (For the Krafts' Patriot Place, a golden gateway) was a headline about further cuts in beds and services for the most vulnerable among us (Budget trims lead homeless shelters across Mass. to cut services and beds). When will we have leaders with the vision and courage to take us into a brighter, more sensible future; a future where people and the environment matter and we stop worshiping personal automobiles? Patriot Place is a vast wasteland of asphalt and concrete. It's a billion-dollar shrine visited by those with the time and money to spend on idle entertainment, overeating and excess consumption. In no sense does Patriot Place contribute to a real community with real services like homes, schools and grocery shopping. It's not even close to any of those things. Virtually every visit to the mega-complex is made in a private car driven many miles.

It's time to spend our dwindling resources on living arrangements with a future. We are broke and running out of energy. It may not be fashionable to dismiss the work of Tom and the boys as anything but noble, and it may be difficult to admit that we don't need to buy more junk made in China, but do we really want to put our children and grandchildren into debt for the betterment of NFL Football and Christmas Tree Shops? We need to devote our efforts to building real communities where people can live, walk, bike and take public transportation to jobs that matter. We need to invest our shared resources in manufacturing, education, renewable energy, local food production and affordable housing. Let's build in a better world.


robin andrea said...

Great letter. Sadly, I think we could all write a similar letter to every newspaper in every state. It is tragic and disheartening. Loosening the grip the rich have on our politicians will be as easy as reversing climate change. I am pessimistic.

robin andrea said...

As I was saying:
I am pessimistic.