Penny wise, pound foolish on Santa Fe plaza

This week, my New Mexico Independent column is less controversial than usual. At least I think it is. I’m suppose my adoring fan club over there will manage to find something in there proving that I’m a heartless bigot for wanting to keep the grass on Santa Fe plaza.

Comments 10

  1. Dan wrote:

    What I get from this column is that you want less government spending except on things *you* like, which basically makes you just like every other Republican. Also you failed to mention the cost of maintaining and watering the grass in question.

    Posted 05 May 2009 at 4:42 pm
  2. Brigette Russell wrote:

    It’s not about whether I personally like the grass. The grass is an investment. Tourism is vital to Santa Fe’s economy, and pinching pennies on things that could damage tourism and cost the city a lot MORE money in the long run simply isn’t smart.

    Posted 05 May 2009 at 4:57 pm
  3. Dan wrote:

    I’m pretty sure that nobody ever comes to Santa Fe in hopes of seeing bluegrass in the plaza. Are you under the impression that its presence causes a single extra tourist to come waste their money in SF, or that its absence would cause a single tourist to go elsewhere? If people want to see bluegrass, they’re going to go to Kentucky, not New Mexico.

    Where’s the line? Should the government also build and maintain golf courses and swimming pools to entice tourists? Perhaps a carnival? Maybe they should buy all the service employees new cars so that tourists won’t have their senses offended by the vehicles the lower class have to commute to Santa Fe to work in. Indeed, the poor should be given a 100K/year stipend so that they can look as good as possible for the tourists. We could still pay some to dress up in buckskins to sell fake indian jewelry in the plaza though, can’t have Ms Orange County go home without her turquoise earrings.

    Posted 05 May 2009 at 8:17 pm
  4. John wrote:

    No, Dan, you’re wrong! Get government out of urban planning! Let local businesses sponsor the plaza. If the free market wants bluegrass, lo, it shall sprout! I don’t want socialist Big Brother meddling in our landscaping!

    Posted 05 May 2009 at 9:57 pm
  5. John wrote:

    But seriously, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Santa Fe, and if you asked me if the plaza had grass on it, I wouldn’t even have noticed. It’s just priceless to read an argument for government expenditure on such an unimportant item from someone who equates taxation with theft. If you seriously think all taxation is theft, then you should be opposed to *all* government spending. No roads, no healthcare, no education, no military, and absolutely no turf on yo’ plaza.

    BTW, why is it that conservative “intellectuals” always seem to preach to the rest of us about real American values from true-blue places like Santa Fe, LA, and NYC? Why aren’t y’all living the dream in Oklahoma and Kansas where your neighbors would actually think like you?

    Posted 06 May 2009 at 12:19 am
  6. Pot War wrote:

    Brava! I most heartily agree that they ought to keep the grass on the plaza!

    Speaking of which, this just goes to show that some Republicans get it.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30587296/

    Posted 06 May 2009 at 7:05 pm
  7. John wrote:

    Hmm. Perhaps I’ve been churlish. Is this indeed an example of the bipartisan can-do attitude that the president has called for? An early heeding of calls for Republicans to stop being the “party of no”? Green shoots–blades of grass, if you will–of Republican humanity finally sprouting on the barren expanse of Bush-era cynicism? Finally, a rebirth of a newer, kinder conservative ideology! Hallelujah, and may the turf be laid!

    Posted 06 May 2009 at 10:00 pm
  8. Brigette Russell wrote:

    Brava! I most heartily agree that they ought to keep the grass on the plaza!

    Not that kind of grass, dude. Which reminds me of this high school kid I used to tutor in Spanish. He’d be doing these exercises where you had to put the verb in the blank, and when _________ el cesped came up, he would invariably put “fumar” instead of “cortar” in and think he was just soooooo funny.

    As to my being opposed to all gov’t spending all the time… Did I ever say I was a Libertarian? I’m a Republican, and I recognize that government does have a role in society, and that taxation is necessary to fund it. I’m not some starry-eyed idealist who thinks that everything can be done through voluntary contributions. I want a police dept, and a fire dept, and an army and a navy, and even if I don’t want to send my kids there, I think public education is necessary in a world where a lot of parents would not educate their kids if it didn’t come free, and that would be a bad, bad thing for our country. Taxes are a necessity, but the public purse is not infinitely deep, and we need to be careful and judicious about what we spend.

    The plaza is a money-maker for Santa Fe, and therefore it’s a good thing to spend a few taxpayer dollars on. Same thing with parking. I wrote a letter to the editor of the New Mexican a couple of years ago when the city or state (forget which now) govt was getting chintzy about spending money on a parking structure for some govt building. Having lived in LA, where one spends an appalling chunk of one’s time circling like a shark for a vacant parking space, I consider adequate parking an essential requirement for a decent quality of life, and it’s one thing I’m always in favor of the govt spending more of my money on when it’s truly necessary.

    Posted 06 May 2009 at 11:30 pm
  9. John wrote:

    Geez, you get it wrong even when you’re trying to be reasonable.

    Do you know how much of America is paved over? And your answer to urban transportation problems is …. more parking! That’s the kind of visionary thinking that the world needs right now! I’ve lived in LA, too, and if you asked me how to make it a more pleasant place, then more parking buildings would not have been top of my list. Different priorities, i guess….

    And your condescending attitude towards public education is frankly offensive–the idea that it is some kind of safety-net for lazy bottom-feeders who want a free ride. Hey, you’re welcome to cosset your children in your house, fill their heads with outlandish religious myths, and make sure they never come into contact with anyone who doesn’t look and think like them, but a large portion of us think that a *public* education is vital for building community and encouraging constructive citizenship. If you think advocates of public education are just cheap, then you just really don’t get it.

    Plus, I only mentioned the “taxation is theft” argument because I came across it somewhere on your own blog. You must have just been trying to be shocking.

    Posted 07 May 2009 at 8:52 am
  10. Dan wrote:

    But think of all the drug tourists that legalizing pot and growing it in the plaza would bring to Santa Fe! Santa Fe could be the American Amsterdam! The ends justify the means don’t you know?

    Posted 07 May 2009 at 3:12 pm

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