I Love Infrastructure
by Dino Corvino on July 3rd, 2012
I am not sure how many of you are from the Wausau Daily Herald forums from way way back. But, I want to preface this by paying homage to one of those characters. There was a dude (I am assuming a dude) with the screen name DBC. DBC and I went round and round about things like constitutionality of drug testing, probable cause, and work for welfare. I found DBC to be absolutely absurd, ill informed, and bordering on racist in a lot of things. DBC was probably none of these things, but, he and I disagreed and I was ill informed so I had little to fall back on, other than just name calling.
If you couple that with the end of Jim Rosenberg’s time on the City Council, you will see where I am going, I think. I used to not understand the Council at all — its timidity, slowness etc. But, Jim was a good guide, a patient person, and out of him talking to me, I got to see the character DBC in a new way.
And that brings me to today.
I love me some road construction. I love it when I see big trucks, diggers, guys in yellow vests and helmets tearing up roads, sidewalks, peoples yards, and the whole town. Tear it up, fix it up, make those improvements. Spend those tax dollars. I dig it.
Now mind you, I am also a bit of an absurdist in this one area. I get at least 1 email a week asking me why I do not write about the sad state of roads in this town. It is usually from a different email address, but it tends to all be focused on one neighborhood. So, I tend to think that it is the same person.
The absurdity comes into play this way. I get an email railing against the city for not fixing up Street X; I get the email over and over again. The email goes on and on about how the city does not want to spend money on infrastructure, only cares about downtown, and Mayor Tipple is a no good so and so. I get this email with real frequency. The person tends to disclaim any desire for this to be about THEIR street, instead they want to rail against the City for not doing anything.
Well, right now my drive to work is altered at three different points because of road construction that is in the city of Wausau, and is not in what I would consider downtown. There is a lot of work going on right now.
Today I got a repeat email from this person railing against the city for not fixing their street. So, finally the self interest came out, and I can stop and pay attention to the faux altruism from this person.
But, I do dig infrastructure. The fixing of roads, bridges, sewers, water pipes, etc…this is good stuff. You see guys out there working hard, getting paid for their labors. Jobs are created. Good jobs.
More than that, property is improved. Sure, it is a pain to drive down the alley to your house, but, at the end of this, you get a new road. Your road drains better, the snow trucks are more efficient, and its flatter.
You see this all over the place. Lots of city workers out there doing lots of city related business. Mowing lawns, trimming trees, doing lots of things. Would we do these things on our own? Would you trim trees in a city park? Would you volunteer to take care of a city park by driving a shift on a lawn mower? I wonder.
You see, I am sensitive to those people out there who complain incessantly about everything. They want to complain, because they want to feel like they are being heard, so maybe part of the intent is to talk often to increase your statistical probability of connection. That might work.
I think something better might to learn a lesson from people like DBC or Jim Rosenberg, a lesson that I struggle with every time I sit down to type anything. Maybe it is better to know something, than to just yell loudly.
Sure, I am not happy that it takes me 6 extra minutes to get to work everyday. That is 60 minutes a week. 240 minutes a month. I could probably do something better than drive around the long way with that 4 hours, but if I am being honest, I would probably just use that time to read a David Baldacci book, or look up survivalist knives on the internet.
I surely would not, not even close, consider going to city hall and asking to see the construction schedule or budget for the City of Wausau so that I could be an educated complainer.
But I should. The moment it turns negative, and you want to hold the City over the coals, I encourage you to know what you are talking about.
Because I think the idea of investing in our city creates huge rewards. Look at the Pools. People love the pools. So many comments of positive pool experiences. Then, the negative nancies come in, and say, we cannot spend the money, should not spend the money. I wonder if those nancies come to the 400 Block and enjoy themselves.
You see, investing in the City makes the city better for everyone. You do not drive on that street alone, nor do I. So, I love it when I see Road Closed sign. It is going to be open sooner or later, and when it is, it will be even better.
And it will be better for all of us.