It’s clobberin’ time
Random thoughts while pondering how a massive federal spending plan for make-work jobs can fix an economy stalled because not enough people are willing to work:
Talking trash — Abruptly canceling trash pickup to more than 100 county households and threatening to end service to three county towns has tossed Waste Connections’ reputation into the hopper of one of its driver- and parts-starved trucks.
Government is supposed to step in when private enterprise fails, but exactly what it would be stepping into in this case might be more cow pie than apple pie and the American flag. Unless the county plans to use trash to fill potholes, we doubt county crews — or, more likely, supervisors — have the right stuff to be in charge of picking up households’ ripe stuff.
Towns and townships uniting to create financially viable pickup routes that attract interest in long-term private service contracts seems the most prudent approach. Pickup services that larger municipalities offer might also come into play if the towns involved would cooperate to share equipment that isn’t needed every day and increase efficiency by staffing trash trucks conservatively rather than throwing manpower at them.
Industrial-strength woes — Marion’s industrial park has spent its first two decades trying to be something it isn’t. The land’s identity crisis has led to political crises as politicians attempt to find sometimes illegal shortcuts that allow them to do something — anything — with the land.
It’s time to face facts and redesignate the land as a commercial park, with appropriate zoning, and to let future development come in through the front door instead of the back door.
It’s also time to end a quarter-cent tax everyone in town pays to develop the space and replace it with a two-cent tax on sales made within the district to be developed. The original tax was dedicated to paying off a 20-year loan obtained 20 years ago. That time is up. Now it’s time to be self-sustaining. That would have the added benefit of ensuring that existing businesses won’t find their sales subject to a tax that builds infrastructure around competitors’ stores.
Shedding light on problems — Not only did city hall computers get infected with malicious software last week. Marion’s downtown Christmas lights have for almost the same amount of time looked like the smile of an overly imbibing hobo, missing a few prominent teeth — lights on the north side of the 300 and 400 blocks of E. Main St.
Whether city crews know the lights are off — and extra-bright lights underneath the carport-like roof of the Central Park stage are on — we don’t know. Now that most officials don’t have to live in town, maybe they don’t see problems like this.
In that case, consider this a friendly note in the suggestion box, urging a positive step to improve our town’s holiday festiveness.
While we’re at it, we might consider bringing back lighted decorations downtown. Nice as our street banners are, they’re invisible at night. And the multicolored globe lights on the downtown bridge seem to cry out to be extended to the similar globe lights in Central Park.
Minor suggestions, for what they’re worth.
Playing games with kids’ futures — We love sports. We root for the Packers (sorry, Chiefs fans), even when they have down decades like the ’70s and ’80s. We don’t root just for Jayhawk basketball teams but also for Jayhawk football teams, proving we’re loyal suckers for lost causes. We’re still getting reacquainted with area high school teams, but we’re eager to root for them, as well.
However, we notice something seriously missing since the Jurassic era when we last followed local high school sports in person. The best games always used to be rivalry games against other teams in the county. Nowadays, except for an occasional game like last week’s between Marion and Goessel, most games are against teams that require hours of travel time — time that could much better be spent on class work and homework — and tons of fuel, which empty district coffers while filling the air with pollutants.
Who cares if one school is slightly bigger or smaller than another. Life isn’t that sheltered against advantages, and it’s not always the advantage you might think it is. Goessel, for example, has much deeper benches in basketball than Marion does, despite the school being significantly smaller.
Is bigger really better? — In many things, especially community size, it may not be. But for highway signs, it definitely is.
Consider, please, one more suggestion for the positive suggestion box. Marion should take a page out of Hillsboro’s book — something it should consider doing in many areas — and switch away from using small promotional signs crammed with words and located underneath roadside streetlights that don’t illuminate them.
Driving to Marion at night, it’s impossible to see tiny, non-reflective Marion signs that are hard enough to comprehend at highway speeds in the daylight because they have too many words to be quickly and impactfully read.
It’s a lesson we preach regarding design of newspaper ads. And it’s a lesson that you, the reader, may occasionally need to remind us to practice as well as preach when you catch us trying to blah-ha our way through rambling editorials like this one.
As Spider-Man would note, at least before he became a holiday movie franchise, ’nuff said. For all the one-time comic book nerds out there, we’ll let this ol’ Thing of an editorial be a Marvel in its own right, at least as far as its title is concerned.
— ERIC MEYER