Monday, August 28, 2006


From the "Ostensibly Surprising" Files, we learn from A.P. that with the National Parks Service set to celebrate its centennnial in 2016, "President Bush directed the National Park Service on Friday to set 'performance' goals for itself for the next 10 years [so as] to have as many bragging rights as possible when the park service turns a century old."

President Bush, pro-park? Could this be? Does he mean let's bore for oil in Yellowstone, or is he playing it straight-up? Let's take a look, shall we?

According to the piece, Bush gave the Park Service until next May to supply him with a list of "signature projects and programs," a list likely to include efforts to:

* Restore about 30 old, decaying buildings in Ellis Island's South Side Hospital Complex, where nearly 12 million immigrants entered the United States from 1882 until 1954.

A nice gesture, I suppose, but what the hell does it have to do with park space? And the bigger question remains, of course, whether these buildings are slated for park use, or for . . . well, you know.

* Construct a $100 million light rail system to cut traffic around the heavily visited South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, plus "greenways" with biking and walking trails.
See, here's where the cynicism always seeps in when the Adminstration gets behind any spending measure. A light rail around the Grand Canyon? Do we really need this? A reported cost of $100 M. What's it really gonna cost? Also, notice that "the plan" seems to call for a primary focus on the light rail system? While the "greenways" for biking & walking -- you know, that crazy "park stuff" -- is an afterthought.

I'll be the first to come out straight and say it: people don't drastically change their stripes after 5 1/2 years (or 60, depending on what we're defining). Leaders who've never given two shits about the environment (whether in nature, in public places, in towns, in parks, overseas) don't wake up one day and decide it's the new priority.

I Don't Trust This.

I'd love to see Congress -- which controls the purse strings according to the Constitution -- block this crap. But that'll never happen. And I plan to do my part in November to demonstrate to them the consequences of their failure to do that job.


Blogger Weaseldog said...

Nature doesn't need improvements.

Doing things to nature, is always the opposite of helping.

With light rail, there will be more litter, more trash.

10:51 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

and don't forget the whole "national park" system was nothing but a thinly veiled land grab from the indians.

12:22 PM  
Blogger DED said...

Thanks, Mike.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Your welcome.

(Even though I'm not sure for what I'm being thanked.)

Was I writing checks while drunk again this weekend?

2:25 PM  
Blogger Thrillhous said...

Actually, this sounds like a W classic. Overreach, commit to spending lots of money, but set the due date so far in the future nobody will care until it's too late.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

And this is one of those projects where it's lose-lose. I mean, seriously, what's worse here: spend brazillions to build nothing, or spend em to get a freakin light rail system at the Grand Canyon?


10:23 PM  
Blogger DED said...

Or it will be like NASA or No Child Left Behind. He'll order them to accomplish fantastic goals but provide no funding to achieve them. And if they don't do it, he'll withold future funds, shrinking your budget further. It's all an excuse to reduce the deficit by cutting spending on everything except the only thing he cares about: his personal crusade to spread freedom and democracy throughout the Middle East. $1.5 billion for Iraq each and every week.

11:19 AM  
Blogger DED said...

Spend brazilians? Oh we've got plenty of them up this way. What do you need built?

11:20 AM  

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