These are the times that try T-Towners’ souls. Election Day is fast approaching, with robocalls and canvassers running rampant through our daily lives. As we enter the home stretch of this year’s campaign season, however, we’ve decided to take a step back and look at the big picture.
We’ve spent the last few days ruminating on the big questions. What is the meaning of life, and what does Opal do with her time in between her circus-inducing runs for mayor? You know, the really important stuff.
We haven’t come up with any answers, but we think we’ve hit on some pretty illuminating questions. They shed some light on the broad themes in City Politics. Consider these two examples:
1. What’s up with the downtown bike share program?
Don’t get us wrong, we’re all into bikes as a form of transportation. Zero emissions, climate friendly, no fossil fuels, and keep you healthy, wealthy, and wise. Most major cities have some sort of bike share program, those identical bikes at stations placed strategically around town. For a small fee you get to ride from one station to another.
Now it’s coming to T-town, part of Mayor Wade’s plan to make the city more attractive to the young and hip. There will be over a dozen stations from the Art Museum through downtown and over to the Middlegrounds Metropark. Which leaves one remaining question: Who the heck is going to ride these things?
There are already pedicabs and golf cart taxis traversing the same byways for free. And the program is being kicked off just as the snow is about to fly. And we have yet to see the stations, let alone the bikes. And there are sponsors and city money involved, so why is there a fee?
A good idea poorly planned and conceived? Sounds like par for the course in City Politics.
2. How do these water crisis rumors get started?
Another summer season, another Lake Erie algal bloom. The City of Toledo dumps tons and tons of chemicals into the drinking water, leaving it safe to drink but tasting and smelling like the unnatural brew it has become.
The Great Water Crisis of 2014 was the result of a skunk spray match between Mayor Collins and the EPA over testing methodology. Yet it remains fresh in the minds of all who lived through it. Every bottle of water within a two hundred mile radius was snatched up, and the fear and uncertainty lingered long after the water was declared safe to drink again.
Perhaps that’s what explains the fact that rumors pop up every summer that the City is about to declare another crisis and the water will be deemed unsafe. You know, those odd weekends when the bottled water disappears and “people are saying” the water crisis will be declared at some date and time in the very near future.
It never happens, of course. But to the conspiracy buffs, that just proves it’s all being covered up.
Let’s set the record straight. First. If the water is tested and the test comes back at a certain level of toxins, the water is declared unsafe by the EPA. Right then and there. The City never has the option of declaring an emergency at some future point. Second. This testing is done regularly and strategically so such things don’t just sneak up on the City chemists. And last. Given the experience of 2014, and the knowledge of how to avoid it, it is very unlikely the City will be caught in a crisis situation ever again.
No matter what the stock boy at Kroger might tell you as they bring up the last pallet of bottled water.