I’ve been meaning (road to Hell, and all that) to get away from the dreariness of political commentary, dreary enough when the politicking was open and subject to scrutiny, still drearier now that it’s closed and subject only to speculation. I hoped, as I noted to the right, to pay more attention to the predominant issues of the day: Global Climate Change, which has been sneaking up on us at least since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution; and Poverty, which has been with us since the Beginning.
Now, two stories in my local paper redirect my focus, away from elections and toward those basic issues. The headlines alone tell the story — tell a story, rather — but I’ll include a few paragraphs from each article as well. [Note for outlanders: Saratoga and Schenectady are some twenty miles apart, in adjacent counties.]
A national-quality horse performance park in the county would bring in lots of new money-spending visitors, but would cost around $76 million to develop, according to a new consultant’s report.
The horse park would need around 350 acres, an indoor arena with seating for 4,000 to 6,000 people, stabling for up to 1,000 horses, an exhibition building, offices, outdoor arenas and RV camping areas for those attending multiday horse shows, according to consultant Rod Markin.
County officials have said a horse park should be a “state-of-the-art” facility….
“When you look at $76 million, sticker shock takes over. It shouldn’t,” said William Schwerd, executive director of the county extension office. “This is an important project that should have major impacts.”
Such a place for breed shows, dressage events, hunter/jumper competitions, western events and pulling competitions would draw people from throughout the Northeast, and potentially nationally, Markin’s report said.
Bell ringers to be crucial this season
The Salvation Army is seeing an increased demand for services, and bell ringers are desperately needed this holiday season to help raise money.
“We need to get as many bell ringers as possible due to dramatic increases in requests for assistance,” said Maj. James Guest, director of the Schenectady Salvation Army.
With the slowing economy, greater numbers of individuals and families have been coming to the Salvation Army asking for food, rent, utilities assistance, prescriptions and emergency housing.
Last year, the Salvation Army in Schenectady raised $125,000, exceeding its goal of $90,000. It helped about 425 families during the holidays and the number is expected to exceed 500 this year.
The increase in requests means the Salvation Army has to buy more food to sustain food pantry and daily feeding programs, according to Guest, who said that it’s trying to receive in-kind donations to supplement food requests.
It has already used food that was going to go into Christmas baskets.
Both stories were on the front page of my local paper. One was 27 inches, in the middle of the page. The other was 20 inches, at the bottom of the page. Guess which was which.
I have been arguing for years that unequal distribution of wealth is the basic problem in human society. Wealth, or its simulacrum, expands as society generates more and more trinkets to represent that wealth. But wealth, whether measured in potable water or energy or gold or ocean-front homes, is not infinite. It is impossible to have a class of the super-rich without a concomitant class — a much larger one — of the super-poor.
And the above paragraph is my first attempt in quite a while to spell out my idea. It needs to be re-thought and rewritten, and I’ll welcome any help you can provide in doing that.