Thursday, December 04, 2008

A King Kong Economy stalks the Neighborhood

Every time I sit down to write for The Red Electric, I think I should be writing about — THE ECONOMY. The 2,000-pound gorilla in the room.

It certainly was at last night’s Hillsdale Neighborhood Association meeting at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church (don’t ask which side of the gay clergy schism the congregation falls on. We just use the meeting room — and don’t ask. Or tell for that matter).

As 30 of us slogged through a varied and overly long agenda, the bestial economy intruded like King Kong bursting from its cage. beating its chest and howling.

A hairy foot slammed us here; a massive elbow jabbed us there.

Want to fund safe routes to schools for our kids? Not now. The city’s transportation budget is being cut.

Want to reduce bus fares now that the price of gas is less? Sorry, it’s not possible if you want to maintain service.

Want to put in traffic-calming speed bumps along busy Capitol Hill Road? You, dear residents, will have to pay half the estimated cost of $33,000. Hardly spare change in normal times, it's a financial fantasy now. And the City's half of the cost isn’t in the whittled-down City budget (see above).

Want to avoid vacant storefronts in Hillsdale? Spend your Scrooge-like holiday budget locally, or invite commercial desolation in the neighborhood.

No, we need to clear our agendas for one topic: The Economy. Once we get a leash around the gorilla's neck, perhaps we can figure out how to train it so that it doesn’t take over everything else we want to do.

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