Monday, December 29, 2008

Being for Infrastructure II

States and cities are seen as government entities that are on the front line. Governors and mayors are those who feel the pain of their states intimately. When President-elect Obama announced the stimulus which would concentrate on infrastructure I was for it. I paid particular attention to its necessity after the water main break last week in Maryland. I remain for such re-building and building, but I am also leery about states and cities receiving stimulus money and in return not doing much to help their citizens.

Coleman Young, the sometimes infamous former mayor of Detroit, was legendarily known for receiving millions of dollars from the federal government during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. (Love and Kudos should be given to Mayor Young for his years of service as a Tuskegee Airman, his appearance before the House of Un-American Activities Committee, and his initial good as mayor. Perhaps he stayed a bit too long.) According to Forbes, states are now requesting billions of the stimulus package:

1. Miami, FL: $3.4 billion
2. Sacramento, CA: $2.8 billion
3. Philadelphia, PA: $2.6 billion
4. Los Angeles, CA : $2.4 billion
5. Albuquerque, NM: $2.3 billion

It is still uncertain where much of this money has gone and it is arguable that the people did not greatly benefit. The People Mover that circles downtown would be laughable if it were not so sad. Some have said that it was the start of a massive rail system that would traverse the various suburbs. It remains like the trolley in the land of Make-Believe on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, save the People Mover does not circle any neighborhoods.

The millions were meant to rebuild the city; the People Mover which moves very few people and is often not even operable has done little to rebuild the city. (Perhaps it served a good purpose during the Super Bowl.) Many years later much of the city remains in shambles. Considering this, who will hold states and cities accountable for federal funds received to build infrastructure? Many states and cities are seeking stimulus money. But we must not give funds to any entity without oversight and accountability. Otherwise, there are too many avenues for corruption.


dave wheeler said...

Judith...excellent post! I saw a similar article on unemployment funds in 18 states being spent on other projects and now the states lack the funds to pay those laid off due to the recent economic crisis.

Clearly a new and knowledgeable leader needs to emerge in Detroit and every other city to begin the process of getting citizens re-involved and re-engaged in governing their communities. Were I a Detroit resident, I know of one person who would have my vote!

judith ellis said...

Thank you, Dave, for the vote of confidence and for your story. It is a sad one indeed. Leadership is indeed sorely lacking in a great many areas in local, national and international governments.

While leadership is so very important, it is the people who will make the difference. We must not sit around waiting for leadership to emerge. We must as a community arise to the challenge and make something happen in our very own communities.