Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Wherever You Go . . .

There’s an old saying: Wherever you Go, There You Are.

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Seattle is a very civic minded city, a very wealthy city with a good base of commerce – a mixed base, a healthy mix of industrial manufacturing, services, information technologies. It’s a creative city, innovative, consistently moving forward. Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Google . . . it’s a stimulating and exciting place to be.

And throughout Seattle and environs last night were massive electrical outages. Unlike Kuwait, where the air conditioning required to survive the heat cause the rolling outages, most of the outages in Seattle are caused by trees falling on the electrical wires, wiping out coverage in entire areas.

The Public Utilities people have become very good at dealing with the outages and getting people back “online” in a short time. But why would a city with such a foward looking posture not bury the electrical lines?

Seattle has a high quality of life across the board, but it drives me crazy that they don’t bury the lines. My sister says the taxpayers don’t want to expend the additional funds. There seems to be a similar problem supporting the public schools; Seattle has the second largest number in the United States of children attending private schools rather than public schools (heard that on the cable televised Green Seattle meeting last night). In a city that is 80% white, 60% of the children in the public schools are children of color. Something is not right.

The electrical lines issue would be small potatoes if it were simply aesthetics – those lines are really ugly when you are trying to get a good photo. But when you stack up all the overtime hours the electrical workers have to work, all the overtime pay, I would think burying the lines would pay off within a matter of a couple years. Seattle is a city that votes democrat; where is the democracy in not supporting the public schools?

It really bugs me when short-sighted public policies hurt the citizens. Some things are just basic infrastructure – roads, clean water, an honest police force, an honest judiciary, reliable electricity, good schools, trash collection, public transportation, a trustworthy accessible health system, systematic elections – these things should be a no-brainer when it comes to public support. It’s an investment, not a luxury. Without an orderly infrastructure, the system descends into chaos.

January 7, 2007 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Random Musings, Social Issues | 4 Comments