Transit planning. If the phrase gave you a cold shiver as it called up memories you’d rather repress, we should talk. It’s been a real horror show here in St Paul as a parade of officials and hired engineers have stood in front of citizen committees and neighborhood gatherings telling us whatever they thought we wanted to hear and never (never!) listening. The decisions were always made long ago by people more interested in chasing pots of money, appropriate or not.
The same shiver went up my spine when I heard that the West Side was holding a meeting on their own transit plans along Robert Street (or US52). I read up on the materials, talked with people, went to the meeting and … I have to tell you, I think this is gonna be allright. And when we get our plans going in the West End soon we have every reason to hope this will work out. Here’s why.
It’s Pledge Drive time at Minnesota Public Radio! That means one thing to me – I better get my own Pledge Drive in while I can. It’s been two years since I tried an in-blog pledge drive, and the results were mixed. But I have to try again.
Welcome to another Barataria in-blog Pledge Drive! There’s a survey at the end where you can tell me just what you think anonymously and easily, whether you give or not.
As the water from Hurricane Sandy receded, tens of thousands of homes remained without power for weeks. New York Governor Cuomo was livid – “The utility system we have was designed for a different time and for a different place,” Cuomo told a news conference. “It is a 1950s system.” The ConEd grid is, of course, managed entirely by private money, but it is a highly regulated utility. You can bet that the hammer will fall on them as they are forced to rebuild a completely new system in areas where the old one was more or less washed away.
Down the coast in Washington there is a different focus, one that highlights how a developed nation can have such a terrible problem with antiquated infrastructure. There, the talk is about how to avoid a “Fiscal Cliff”, a political problem focusing and complicating a very real problem with excessive deficits built not around long-term investment but merely keeping the government running.
The divide between the two is bigger than the 3 hours 25 minutes it takes the Amtrack Acela to cover the distance. It is the gap between the reality that infrastructure investment has an incredible immediate impact on the economy, pays for itself in the long term – but remains neglected as too expensive.
At the end of a sticky day in June the excitement will bubble over and fill the halls of Expo Elementary. It’s the last day of school and the kids are ready to burst through the concrete walls and into the summer. But first, there is a great ritual that has to take place – all the sixth graders line up and march in one long parade through the school, high-fiving and smiling through the shouts of those who will be back.
My son George, my youngest, is in that parade today. After 11 years of greeting my kids at the end of every day as I came to pick them up, my time as an Expo parent is coming to an end. I will miss the place because it taught me a lot, too.
Barataria has been too intense lately. That’s no good as we head into Full Blown Summer, the period of time defined by no school for kids. It’s time to have some fun.
I love to cook, but I don’t follow recipes. I work on a sense of balance between the five flavors, and yes there are five if you count umami. The techniques I use run between East Asian stir-fry, Indian masalas, French saucery, and just a touch of American excess. I work with whatever looks good at the market or is on sale. The ingredients I rely on include these “secrets”, my special thangs that round out the tastes and achieve a special balance.