Monday, October 04, 2004

Garbage Men Demand Equal Time

The willingness of Labor Unions to bend their principles in the service of filthy lucre has variously explained the non-emergence of a viable Socialist party in the US, white flight, the emergence of a manufacturing middle class, and why Republicans still get elected.

But walking past the Giant Inflatable Rat on Park Avenue South (the result, presumably, of a some squalid landlord's corner-cutting), brought home the problems with the myopic movement. To wit, and with all due fanfare, the problems we have with the Westside Stadium project (Huzzah! At last! Wessssssside in the house!).

There was something deeply distasteful about the construction workers bussed in from all corners to protest the Westside stadium. Actually, being union men, and judging from the general streetside chaos that usually accompanies a building side, they probably drove in. But summoned to the rally they most certainly were.

The plusses from the Westside project are:

1) No use of eminent domain.
2) The Wesssside is a bit of a wasteland.
3) Would be nice to have a NY team playing in NY.
4) The greedy scumbags of Cablevision oppose it.

The minusses are:

1) These big-ticket projects rarely improve neighborhoods
2) The traffic will probably be horrendous, which is why these things tend to be built out of town, accessible mostly to pickup trucks.
3) The ginormous subsidy they want.

The DDDB crew seem to take an admirably consistent view that both the Westside and Atlantic Yards stadiums proceed from the same flawed view of development. And they work off the assumption that there is little qualitative difference between grabbing people's homes and snaring their tax dollars in the pursuit of dubious private projects.

They've also noted that the two common arguments are that the stadiums are needed for a 2012 bid, as if these things take eight years to build (as if Bechtel didn't exist), and that they both use nasty-looking railyards. But the fact that the Dolans oppose it does not alter our feeling that these projects need to be self-supporting before they shoulld be approved and, for that matter financed. As for Nuremberg-style brickie gatherings, we have to see construction workers as the locusts of urban blight, with a taste for work akin to Mao Zedong's taste in girls - they require a constant stream of fresh meat, the health consequences be damned.

Weekend rock roundup coming up later...


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