Monday, November 15


Bob Herbert:

As for the kids. Well, forget about them. They don't have any money. For 30 years, at least, they've gotten the back of the hand when it comes to playgrounds and athletic facilities. Nearly a fifth of the city's schools lack gymnasiums. Ninety-four percent have no athletic fields. More than half have no playgrounds.

The politicians will tell you we can't afford to do better than that for the kids in the public schools. But a billion-and-a-half-dollar playground for the rich and famous, hard by the Hudson River? No problem.

In the article about Mr. Johnson, The Times's Duff Wilson said:

"He is one of the biggest Republican fund-raisers in the nation, and his grateful allies - President Bush, Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg - make up a rare triple play of powerful support."

When you lavish money on politicians, you expect something in return.

Someday these pseudo-Bible-thumpers (not true Christians, but faux) will face Their Maker and have to answer the challenge: "Remember how I said what you did for the least of these my brethren, you did unto me? Well, please explain how building a bilion-dollar stadium with taxpayer money for a billionaire businessman was a more godly act than providing basic education facilities for our poorest children. And reflect on just what it was you thought you were doing 'for me', 'cause I just don't get it."

I don't get it either. Bush said he wanted to be the "education president" and during the debates referred to education as the panacea for all our economic ills, especially a lack of jobs. So how does funding a sports venue where individual tickets cost more than a month's worth of school lunches and a few dozen highly paid athletes and their owners reap enormous economic benefits advance the economy? Yeah, just tell me about the jobs that will be created -- peanut seller, beer vendor, etc. -- those are careers with a future a young person can really aspire to. And if the Ballpark at Arlington, American Airlines Center and Texas Stadium, the sports venues I'm most famliar with, are any example, I've yet to see any meaningful development or job creation in the surrounding areas, which in all cases was the primary selling point to the taxpaying public.


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