This opinion piece appeared in the Townsman, February 26 edition
If there is one good thing to come out of this whole RUPCO controversy it is the reminder of how dreadful and awful children are.
RUPCO, of course, is now the acronym for the proposed 53 units of affordable housing which are to be airlifted, say some, from the slums of Mumbai, and deposited on a pristine, 19 acre wetland in Woodstock, hitherto domicile to seven bog turtles and fifty-eight thousand single-use plastic baggies, many of them feral.
For the last five years the Woodstock planning board, cattle-prodded by the community, has given the 19-acre wetland attention amounting to more than all the world’s focus on the Brazilian rainforest. Their investigation has established that the 53 units will be constructed across seven acres not located in the 19-acre wetland, and in fact there will be a minimum 100-foot buffer between the 19-acre wetland and the nearest shack. There should be no disturbance to the seven bog turtles or the wild fifty-eight thousand single-use baggies.
Under guidance from the same cattle prod the planning board has applied equal diligence to issues relating to water and air quality, traffic, lighting, spotted owls and snail darters. Investigation so far has disclosed no serious impact on these elements.
Some people thought the planning board should cower from the ghastly specter of tree slaughter, for indeed it is predicted a good number of third-growth trees will be removed to make room for the slums to be airlifted from Mumbai. But the embarrassment that came with the realization that in the last ten years the planning board had approved the construction in areas all over the town no less than seventy-five dwellings with seventy-five clearings, and seventy-five driveways, and seventy-five wells, and seventy-five septic fields and seventy-five yards, plus ten or fifteen swimming pools, which must have caused the destruction of no less than one hundred and seventy-five thousand trees, has given the planning board the fortitude, some will say the shamelessness to face this new arboreal massacre.
So for those opposed to airlifting slums of Mumbai to Woodstock, there appeared to be less and less recourse for denial of the RUPCO application.
Until someone fussed about the revelation that the 53 units could domicile up to 36 children!
Children, of course, have always been the bane of humanity. Not only has the arrival of children in many instances signaled the departure of romance, but even in those relationships that endure the imposition of children’s mewling, sniffling and whining there is the additional aggravation of feeding, clothing, housing and educating the little buggers. Our society, which some call ‘advanced,’ has actually become the most primitive tyranny, with laws that force parents or guardians to feed, clothe and house their children, and if not done adequately sends off the offending parents and guardians to be fed, clothed and housed in a jail.
Our society extends its tyranny by forcing even those who had the forethought to never have children to nonetheless help finance the education of children born to those sociopathic parents who demonstrated far less consideration for the community. Yes, it’s called ‘school tax.’
Studies have shown that people with more years of education tend to have less number of children. Yet despite the trillions of dollars spent over the millennia to educate the young we still have children around. So obviously, educating children is a dead-ender.
Woodstock was well on its way to eradicating children, recently even electing to the town board an eighty-two year old man who crusades against cars idling and people having children. What a breath of fresh air he is! With any luck the town-sponsored youth athletic leagues will dry up, the Woodstock youth center will fold, the Woodstock elementary school will shutter its windows, and we can revel in the Apollonian beauty and grace of Jay Wenk.
Once Woodstock gets the dead-beat kids out of here, then we then can work on the old timers who are responsible for the taxes that pay for Medicare and Medicaid and social security. Except Jay, of course, who will be our hero for throwing the last kid from Woodstock over the town line to Saugerties.
We have a new rallying cry to prevent the slums of Mumbai from landing on a pristine wetland in Woodstock; Kids Suck. Should this cogent argument, if not spawned at least given nurture and credence recently in the pages of a local paper, not stop the RUPCO proposal in its tracks, well then by golly we might as well all throw in the towel and prepare ourselves for a grim future shared with children. Can any prospect be more loathsome?
I won’t pretend total agreement, but I do feel honest sympathy for the concerns, environmental or otherwise, of those opposed to the RUPCO proposal. I just hope they don’t pick up this bummer of an argument and run with it.
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A ‘Let There Be Light’ moment: I can’t remember if it was one month or two months before the 2005 Democratic caucus when councilwoman Liz Simonson announced her bold endeavor to “green” the Town’s buildings and vehicles. We broke our necks getting her elected to her third term so she could “green” the Town. Progress has been slow, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. A year ago she persuaded the town board to spring for some software that was going to help “green” the Town. Unfortunately, like most software it needed data to work with, and there began the long, long chore of data entry. Progress has been slow, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. At last, in January of this year Simonson figured out the electric bills for various Town buildings. The sewage treatment plant used $28,000 in electricity last year (2008)! She was so shocked by this figure that she has repeated it numerous times (I guess finally somebody will get sick of hearing about it and do something). I just happened recently to be glancing at the Town budget. Since it keeps a record of previous years expenditures I saw that in 2007 the sewer plant used $27,742.96 in electricity. This is $257.04 less than the 2008 expenditure Liz “discovered.” I’m left wondering if for only $257.04 Liz really had to go though all that time and trouble to add up electric bills that the Town’s bookkeeper had already tabulated. Well, so now we know why Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Unsolicited advice: Reed beds, anyone?