Friday, January 23, 2009
Yesterday I drove to Greensboro, about an hour drive from our farm, via Highway 29, a four-lane divided highway. On the way, I passed the exits for Reidsville, a community with a population of about 15,000. At the first exit I noticed a new, rather large sign, announcing that Reidsville received the All-America City Award for 2008. At the next exit, I again saw the sign; same for the third and fourth exits. Returning home on the same highway, I saw identical signs at the northbound exit ramps for a total of eight signs. A number of years ago, my home of Tampa received the same award. I know this because somewhere in the city, probably on the first southbound exit of I-175, I saw a small discreet sign indicating the honor. Tampa is a large city with a population of almost 400,000. Now, I'm glad that Reidsville received the honor, but my first thought upon seeing the fourth sign was, "Who paid for this?" And my second thought was, "The local taxpayers." We are going through a world-wide deep depression; the state of California, the seventh largest economy in the world, is broke; and many other state and local governments are facing severe budget cuts. And this small community felt it necessary to waste taxpayer (probably) money for those signs. Wouldn't one small sign at the first exit in each direction have been sufficient? Did the government or civic leaders feel that erecting the signs would draw hoards of visitors to their community? What were they thinking? And if there is this kind of waste in small communities, I cannot begin to fathom what is occurring on the state and federal levels! Reminds me of a bumper sticker I once saw: Where am I going? And why am I in this hand basket?