Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Scrunity & Temptation: While Avarice Has Its Way


"A lollipop can be oh so nice
Especially when covered with sugar and spice
Though when secretly filled with fish eyes and lice
Joy and delight turns to horror and fright"

(Scrutiny and Temptation, a limerick by Max Eternity)


Marcel Breuer's iconic Atlanta-Fulton Central Branch Library is at risk. And with yesterday's passage of Fulton County's Library Bond Referendum, the public has unwittingly been sold a civic investment package based on hollow rhetoric and gross manipulation that was supplied by an outright campaign of misinformation, courtesy of County Commissioner Robb Pitts, Library Director John Szabo and Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer David Bennett.

We all want better libraries. No doubt about that. But in a quest to inspire, ensure, upgrade and improve, whether individual or collective, it behooves us all to make sure that what we wish to pursue passes the almighty "smell test".

Here's a comparison. Just think of all the people who have recently lost their homes. It is an unfolding tragedy, mostly because the homeowners signed on the dotted lined, entering into a legally binding arrangement, without fully understanding what they had agreed to. These individuals were boondoggled by finely dressed, smooth-talking loan officers who promised all sorts of pie in the sky, but in the end, what they ended up with was a bloated budget, in the form of an unsustainable mortgage loan which proved itself to be more trouble than it's worth. We've all heard about this in the recent months and years. Some readers may even have a personal testimony? But if one is to learn from such a painful lesson, the question to be asked is, did things have to happen this way?

I don't think so.

And again, we've all heard about the federal governments $700 billion dollar bailout, taxpayer money that is being used to rescue private investment banks who's interconnected debts threatened to swallow us all. But did this have to happen?

I don't think so.

There are countless other examples that could be put forth...truly. Yet, self-evident accountability comes through transparency and sober analysis. I wrote about this in a 4 paged letter (found here). And further still, the bottom line is this. Haste makes waste. Just think of Iraq. And just like Iraq (war) Fulton's Library Bond seemed to make sense, at first glance.

But does it really?

We trust our leaders instinctively, sometimes to our own peril. I say this because, based on staggering list of soundly based facts, I felt compelled to craft said letter which was addressed to our local leaders and the local press. That letter was presented as a collection of common sense questions which one would expect to be standard issue. Nonetheless, these questions were never answered. Not by the press, not by the politicians.

Again, the letter that I speak of can be found here.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news and from the start, it has not been pleasing to go against the grain in order to speak truth to power. But worst than that, in my heart of hearts, I earnestly feel that knowing what I know about what has transpired, it would have been absolutely unconscionable to stand by idle while avarice has its way.