November 05, 2006

Money Ain't A Thing

In these days of quick fixes and immediate solutions, even money ain't enough. Camden has become synonymous with American urban blight, crime, poverty, drugs, and destitution. Industry left a long time ago. Leaving shells, squatters, and tenements. Camdenites call 'em homes.
Even cheating doesn't work. Camden schools have become nothing more than extended babysitting. Teachers want to get rid of their kids so badly, they'll rig their proficiency tests. By any means necessary, right? Once this kid gets out of MY school, he'll become YOUR problem. Ikea and Home Depot aren't just stores, they're college-alternatives.
Four years ago, the New Jersey legislature promised Camden 175 million dollars in resuscitation funds. During the interim since the legislation, the aquarium was improved, Rutgers began contruction of a new law school building, and a luxury apartment complex began construction. 121 million dollars spent + 44% poverty rate (highest in nation) + $18,007 median Camden family income. YOU do the math. Don't forget to account for the money that's been skimmed off the top.
Investment in a city, a community, is more than just a lump sum of money. Elliot Sclar, a professor of urban planning at Columbia put it much better: “The hope is that if you drop money, rich people will come and eat quiche there [Camden]....No one has been working on building the basis for good local government.”
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for the day. Teach a man to fish...? Why waste OUR time? We've ALREADY won the election.


Blogger Amadeo said...

Ah you gotta love election years. Lot's of talk with no issues covered. Lot's of action, but nothing happens.

10:53 AM  
Blogger vik said...

if only the energy expended could be guided....rather than ford's playboy parties and kerry's anti-troop statements....blah blah blah

11:40 AM  
Anonymous CB4 said...

"A plan for Ms. Navarro’s neighborhood, Bergen Square, is also being challenged in court because it proposes to demolish hundreds of homes to make way for a village of colorful town houses and condominiums, along with a tree-lined avenue and a new town square with jazz cafes."

Although Jazz Cafes have been a proven way to fight crime in the past, I have a feeling it won't do the trick this time.. lol.
The solution always seems to be "tear it all down and start over". The fact is this does nothing except just push out those who live there, and make them and their problems go elsewhere. It doesn't help to give them education, jobs, health care and deal with everything that leads to the crime problems.
I guess it's a hell of a lot easier to just build stuff than actually help people.
And then since the residents are fighting it, the money will just go to more luxury apartments, or a new mall or something useless like that.
It's too bad that so many people just "do their jobs" and really don't care about what they're doing... coincidentally this seems to happen more often when there's lots of money involved too.

Anyway, thanks for the read...

5:08 PM  
Blogger vik said...

cb4 - yeah....jazz cafes are the answer to disenfranchisement and systemic poverty.....


11:23 AM  

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