In this time of trouble and bitter ignorance, uncertainty and unnecessary death — as the known world is receding — public spirit and goodness pours forth. I often see, on a corner in New York City, a melancholy cellist playing for hours: his deep music rising to the roof gardens and sky. He is often joined by a soprano who, standing across the street from him, sings to his variations.
From time to time, a lone cyclist travels up and down the street playing Edith Piaf on his boom box, whisking people out of their gloom to Paris. And, nightly, the inchoate cacophony of people banging away on pots and pans applauds the selfless service and sacrifices of doctors, nurses and myriad others who work to save life and try to fill the needs left by the abyss of the federal government’s abdication of responsibility and servile defection to a despotic moron.
Much is going from lives, and the record being written will be read in an uncertain future. However, in the present sadness, it is wise to note those who always surface to seize any opportunities to profit from catastrophe. Hedge fund and real estate predators are grabbing all available properties from people hit hard (remember Steven Mnuchin in his former role as ruthless forecloser after 2008, and Dick Cheney enriching Halliburton by billions during Katrina’s agonies?). Or simply look at the immediate rate increases, awarded to corporations by themselves, on your insurance and cable bills. And, soon to come: your tax bills.
Often, politicos and the special interests they represent seize on confusion, distraction and destabilization to push through unwelcome change and curb freedoms. For every emergency declared, some basic right is weakened (Naomi Klein: “Disaster Capitalism”).
Locally, it is business as usual. Instead of, perhaps, ending the added 2 percent real estate transaction tax, known as the Community Preservation Fund, which has less and less to do with preservation and is being distorted beyond its original intent, and bastardized with commercial intrusion, this windfall marches on.
Knowing how burdened most people are now, hearings are rushed into Zoom sessions, which will effectively further discourage and burden concerned people. After an ill-advised Zoom work session on a pool (OKed for Red Creek but now eying Tuckahoe instead), we have, moving right along: Diana Weir (who is being paid how much? for doing exactly what?) and the town springing a series of Zoom forums to “hear everything from the public” on affordable housing.
Not so! They will effectively discourage a percentage of the harried, as well as cyber-averse, public with these Zoom-Bam-thank you-Ma’am sessions. The issues being Zoomed should put on hold until we regain our footing.
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One fine body…