Chicago is the only major American city with an elevated train ringing its downtown — OK, one of two, if you consider Miami to be a major city and its free little Metromover a real elevated train.
So Chicagoans (and any stray Miamians finding themselves here) might have an easier time participating in a thought experiment I’d like to try today. Imagine if, along with an elevated train, we had an elevated sidewalk downtown. A private, members-only sidewalk, raised 20 feet in the air, with access granted to Chicagoans who pay a fee — say, $200 a week — to pass through the turnstiles, step into well-maintained elevators, or climb pristine stairways.
Let’s call it the Sky Sidewalk, an overhead array of curving pathways — glassed in, air-conditioned in summer, heated in winter — where the choice few could avoid the cracked, dirty, windswept, crowded Chicago sidewalks (OK, not so crowded lately; work with me here). Certainly cracked and blustery, sometimes crime-ridden.
Problems for the masses below to cope with best we can, stepping over potholes, hurrying past panhandlers. Frequently finding ourselves at street corners, shivering in the February cold, waiting for the light to change, trying not to cast an envious glance at the anointed above on the Sky Sidewalk, strolling easily across the street — no waiting on traffic for them.
Now imagine there’s an election — actually you don’t have to imagine; there’s one for mayor in a couple of weeks. Some candidates mention a plan to address perennial pedestrian concerns: the cracks, the crime, the cars turning right whether you are trying to cross or not. You’re all ears. What is this plan?
“So this is what we’re going to do,” says a candidate. “We’re going to take your tax dollars, and use them to buff the Sky Sidewalk. Maybe carpet part of it. Or put planters of fresh flowers. Some wind chimes perhaps. Because nice as it is, it could be even nicer. Where will the money come from? Tax dollars. Let’s give a break for people on the Sky Sidewalk. Really, why should those who don’t use the city sidewalks pay for their upkeep? They’re already paying $200 a week. Let’s give them a hand.”
How would that fly with you?
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Hi Neil. Doesn't Minneapolis have something very much like you describe? They have a second floor, enclosed walkway that winds its way through much of downtown. I believe its called the "Skyway" (https://www.minneapolis.org/map-transportation/minneapolis-skyway-guide/)ReplyDelete
Amen, amen, amen! This has driven me mad for years. Subsidizing the privileged at the expense of the least among us. Public education is one of the most wonderful achievements of democracy. Vouchers undermine this treasure and ensure that poor children get a second class education. Our society should be egalitarian. Vouchers ensure that it isn't. (Paul Vallas supports vouchers, a position that should disqualify him from consideration for mayor)ReplyDelete
Miami is not a major American city when compared to truly major cities like Chicago, New York, Boston, etc. It is a huge suburban area with massive traffic problems and a growing downtown area. The Metro Mover and its’s two-spoked Metrorail in no way compares with the public transportation of the above mentioned cities.ReplyDelete
Regarding the vouchers, charter schools, and home schooling (a.k.a. home indoctrination), each are steps in the wrong direction for providing quality education to the largest number of people.
When people ask why should I pay taxes for schools when I don’t have children I tell them that today’s youth will be the one’s leading and taking care of us as we get older. I want them to be well educated. Happy to pay.
Les, you are indeed a rare enlightened voter, one able to see a benefit that is not direct and obvious. However, I think that the proposal to decrease the cost of private schools will have a direct appeal to the Black middle class, who have the desire but perhaps not all the means to put their children on the fast tract to success.Delete
Most vouchers seem to go to religious schools that have a sketchy curriculum at best & they found one home schooling one that was promoting an actual Nazi agenda!ReplyDelete
Yes, sirree. ...a white supremacist couple in my adopted state organized the "Dissident Homeschool" in order to "secure the existence of our people...and a future for white children"... mostly because they were tired of seeing kids "exposed to the gay-loving, anti-family, Jew factory that is public school.” And so, yet another black eye for Beautiful O-Fucking-hio. Unfortunately, what they were doing is prefectly legal in this benighted state.Delete
Let's not forget the provenance of school "vouchers." They first started being widely used in the wake of the 1956 Brown decision declaring deliberate school segregation unconstitutional. The South promptly established whites-only "private academies" that parents could pay for with "vouchers" furnished by the state. In Virginia and other places, they went so far as to shut down the public schools entirely, rather than allow any white child to suffer contagion by the proximity of a Black one.ReplyDelete
When people say "I don't want to pay taxes to educate someone else's children," it's important IMO to keep in mind just who those someone elses are.