Anticipation

Returning to a shortened work week after the unofficial start of summer found announcements in the news. While the Indy 500 and the Coca Cola 600 were being consumed, “The CEO got a huge raise. You didn’t. Here’s why.” (Josh Boak – AP Economics Writer, 5-27-14) Back when B Rock first became president, and way before Occupy (but concurrent with the narrowly averted financial meltdown) CEO’s of company’s listed on the S&P 500 earned 181 times what their average workers made. Today, after the rise and fall of the Tea Party patriots, and Occupy finds itself among the disappeared (did someone just sneeze NSA? Gesundheit!), these CEO’s now take home 257 times what the average US worker makes. Analysis finds it notable that of the top 10 earning corporate CEO’s (with yearly salaries ranging from $31.4 million per year to $68.2 million) more than half are the heads of companies dedicated to keeping the masses entertained (and distracted). Boak gives 5 reasons for “WHY CEOs ARE GETTING HUGE RAISES” (an 8.8% pay increase in the past year). They include stocks (as part of the pay package), peer pressure (keeping up with the Jones’s), the superstar effect (duh, listen to John the Governator tout business CEO’s in our schools and government, kinda like watching Kimye wedding coverage), friends (on boards of directors) and stricter scrutiny (the golden parachute “you’re fired” incentive). “WHY MANY OF US AREN’T GETTING A RAISE”, the reasons are likewise banal – robots, high unemployment, globalization (kinda like some religious belief of a three in one almighty), weaker unions (gasp! Say it ain’t so), and low inflation (well, the statistics say it all still costs the same so no need to pay more).

The long awaited “projected” revitalization of downtown Newark was concurrently made news today (“Open-air market announced for downtown Newark”, 5-27-14, Kent Mallet for the Newark Advocate). Gib Reese’s lifetime wish for the Canal/Market street “parking” lot, has now been officially set in motion. Mr. “Reese, 89, lives in Florida and could not attend the event.” (Maybe John the Governator was right after all with regard to folks leaving Ohio for Florida…). The article touts this latest architect’s rendering as the crowning of newness and greatness for downtown Newark – J. McClain’s new “office building” (peer pressure keeping up with the Kardashians), the former Metropolitan Hotel changing names to Hilton Doubletree (more Kimye wedding moves) and the oxymoronic square circles (most rigorous and strictest scrutiny for the sake of accountability). Can the “many of us [that] aren’t getting a raise” be that easily distracted (entertained, and not cheaply for the city plans to enter into another of those public money dispensing public private partnerships, with the private parts calling the shots)? Like Boak, Analysis can give reasons for finding the emperor to be not dressed at all. “The area has been a gravel parking lot since the block-long, three-story, red-brick Holland-Upham building, also known as the Robison building, was demolished eight years ago.” Back then the ostensible (and broadcast) reason for demolition was the creation of what was eventually unveiled as a plan 8 years later. What’s new about that (other than the inordinate length of time)? Evidence of this can be found with the wall murals that were put up during this anticipated urban renewal (which never took place). Along with that, the city parking garage adjacent to this alley was saved from the wrecking ball as no one would use it, needed to use it. With the Canal Market Plaza, it would be vital (although studies at the time showed saving it was not financially prudent). And the Works developed the building on Second Street to provide more than just space for their own offices. Analysis asks: What will happen to the backsides of the businesses that front the south side of the square?” Will their garbage vanish mysteriously, along with the trucks that pick it up weekly? Who will be selling at the open air market (given the paucity of vendors at the current ad hoc farmers market just around the corner)? Who will be buying is an even more pertinent question (cash buyers are even more scarce at the current market with reliance on publicly funded vouchers filling the gap). As Boak’s article pointed out, the working folks of Newark aren’t exactly swimming in discretionary income (an average 1.3% raise with an average 1.6% inflation rate means there is continuously even less to spend). Those who are, don’t find downtown Newark to exactly be a Jeff Hall “destination place.” Analysis finds this all to be “putting the cart in front of the horse”. The history of urban renaissance lies with the working folks choosing to inhabit, “make vital”, and cultivate their surroundings organically, not by design. Locally this can be found in the history of German Village, Italian Village, the Short North, etc. Planned, designed and projected “destinations” have a poor track record with quality of life appeal. Examples such as in north Columbus The Continent, the still incomplete former brownfields of Dresser Industries on Fourth Street in Columbus and the debacle which is the west side Casino “revitalization” in Cols. attest to that. From parking lot to “destination place” just fills one with anticipation.

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