Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pimping The Public: Literary Bliss Or A Shotgun Wedding?

Since all the world now knows that this country was led into a trillion dollar war through a hijacked foreign policy of fear, lies and deception, are we really that shocked to experience more of the same at a local level? Yes, does it really come as a surprise that we Metro Atlantans now find ourselves being pigeon marched into submission by a group of greedy myopic public officials, with Commissioner Rob Pitt's and Library Director John Szabo dragging us down the isle while holding a $275M library bond 'shotgun' to our heads?


And though of course, a new war will not come out of this, still, second only to pimping and prostitution, it's the oldest trick in the book...a shotgun wedding. It starts with a misappropriation of sperm (sexual recklessness) a compulsive, selfish deed that then leads to unwanted pregnancy and a forced wedding. But of course, in this case, it's not some individual's metaphorical seed or sperm bank, it's a real live bank (roll) of $275 million dollars. And it's not an imaginary wedding of some giddy knocked-up girl to some freckle-faced, hormonal young man, it's the current, brutal reality of the public being hog-tied to the special-interest-wet-dream of two grossly egocentric, public officials who have absolutely no problem with lying and deceiving us all the way to the chapel...or in this case, the poorhouse.

Sounds outrageous, but do I exaggerate?

Well, if you think this scenario sounds scandalous, over-the-top, vulgar and horrifically grotesque, you better think again, because that's exactly what it is. For this, the November 4th Library Bond Referendum, is nothing short of a crucible to the soul of greater Atlanta's literary and architectural future. Pitts and Szabo knew that. Which is why, Pitts and Szabo exploited that. And in the weeks that have passed since Fulton County's once perfect Library Master Plan got transformed into a $275M legal deception of a pet project nightmare that can only be described as a financial Frankenstein. I have come to discover that I am not alone in my conflicted feelings about whether or not to allow myself to be hijacked and forced to support the now radically amended version of the original Library Master Plan; a plan which was originally designed to equally distribute money throughout the county, that now instead uses 30% of said funding to go directly toward new construction of yet another downtown library.


Now spending so much money, $84M, toward the construction of a new Central Branch library would be a good thing if it were something needed and asked for. But here's the thing, it's not needed and it wasn't asked for. Because anyone who'd been downtown in the last decade knows that we already have two massive public libraries already standing in the downtown area, the Marcel Breuer designed Central Branch Library and the civil rights inspired Auburn Avenue Research Library. Thus for reasons other than political profiteering, we do NOT need another library built in that area. It makes absolutely no sense. But the public be damned, because Pitts and Szabo decided that this is what they wanted (for their own socio-political careers?) and that that's what they'd manipulate us to get. And sure enough, it's stuck in our craw like a taco going down sideways.

Though if that were not enough, guess what. That $84M that I just mentioned, it doesn't buy us a whole library. It just gets our foot in the door. As we'd need more than $150M additionally (including the cost of land) to actually complete such a massive project, not to mention the laundry list of lingering questions that would still swirl around this completely ridiculous idea.

So make no mistake, we are being pimped. Pie is not falling from the sky. Osama Bush-Bin Laden has neither been caught nor impeached. And we Atlantans will not be getting the library system we asked for. Because in this high-wire walk of financial philandering, the public is the prey. It's a win/lose situation no matter how you slice it. Pitts and Szabo made sure of that. And as far as I can tell, the only real way out of this conundrum is to reject the referendum and expose Pitts and Szabo as the hideous frauds that they are.

I'd prefer not to advocate doing this, but these men fit the perfect description of wolves in sheep's' clothing. They have the public trust in their hand, but they have their own self will in their hearts. They have hijacked the democratic process. They have subverted the will of the people, and in turn they have perverted the outcome of the vote. Hence, instead of a vetted process of literary bliss, we are now stuck with a $275M last-minute, shotgun wedding, which appears to stave off the wolves, but ultimately leaves us economically anemic and civically deprived.

It's like something straight out of Karl Rove's playbook, cynicism at it's worst. But to this proposition I say no.

Hell no.

And a final word of advice to Rob Pitts and John Szabo. Do what's asked of you and serve the public honestly or find new work. For whether federal or local, we the people are still in power.