Dear Mr. Weaver
From your recent editorial and blog post, I see that you do not fully grasp the fundamental differences between you — a Faux Amsterdamian — and the rest of us — the True Amsterdamians. Please allow me to explain.
First, I heard you described as the ‘book man’ on local radio the other day with a bit of derision in the tone directed at you and your vocation. And rightly so. Typically a book store or book shop is held with some esteem within a community but as this is Amsterdam, it should be greeted with derision, much like you and your vocation. To surround yourself with books and to entice the general public with ideas and thoughts outside the 12010 zip code clearly demonstrates your unsuitability to claim any aspect of being a true Amsterdamian. We have zip code boundaries for a reason and they are not strictly to deliver mail and parcel but to screen and filter outsiders — both ideas and people.
Second, a True Amsterdamian frowns upon anything that violates the “Amsterdam Way”. As I’m sure you don’t grasp the concept or framework of the “Amsterdam Way”, let me phrase it in a way so that you and your dirty hippie friends will understand: the “Tao of Amsterdam”. And much of what you write and think grossly violates “The Way”. Let me highlight the folly of Your Way in your own words with my counterpoint in bold:
Mr. Weaver states: I don’t want City Hall to relocate for the same reason I don’t want the United States Congress to move to the Mall of America or President Obama to move the president’s home out of the White House to a condo in Miami Beach. The former Sanford Mansion, built by carpet magnate Stephen Sanford in 1869, extensively remodeled in 1917, and donated to the city for use as a city hall in 1932 is a historical and architectural treasure. It is to Amsterdam what the U.S. Capitol or the White House is to the nation.
Flippin Here: It’s exactly this crazy thinking that a True Amsterdamian instinctively rejects– architecture and history! The only architecture and history that a True Amsterdamian cares about is at the end of a wrecking ball. Good grief, a “treasure”?! We should be so lucky as to have City Hall in the Mall; for that is indeed a treasure. Plus, do you realize the traffic flow along Route 67 where City Hall resides? It’s just perfect for a Cumberland Farms or if we should be so lucky, another Stewart’s.
Mr Weaver states: If Amsterdam’s city government relocates, what will happen to the former Sanford Mansion with its beautiful rooms, mahogany staircase, nine fireplaces, eleven bathrooms and the voices of Amsterdam’s past whispering in every corner?
Flippin Here: Who cares as long as a True Amsterdamian redevelops it and profits handsomely from the salvage? Of course, no True Amsterdamian would buy the staircases or woodwork as that is utterly impractical: just go to Home Depot and you see perfectly utilitarian staircases and woodwork perfectly suited for a community such as ours. Give me a break Mr Weaver.
Mr. Weaver states: However, many of our wounds have been self-inflicted. Like the biblical Esau, our city fathers, beginning in the middle 1960s, sold its heritage for a bowl of stew. They bulldozed most of the downtown, replaced irreplaceable mansions on Market Street with gas stations and drug stores and turned Victorian homes on Guy Park Avenue into apartment houses in violation of the spirit of the historical district overlay they resided in.
Flippin Here: There goes Mr. Bookman citing historical context and meaning to evaluating and analyzing our current predicament. Mr. Weaver, let me remind you that a True Amsterdamian does not view bulldozing as the problem at all; the problem is that we have huge swaths of the city just ripe for bulldozing and razing and we are merely too gutless to hasten to the task. As a True Amsterdamian, I can assure you that we can never raze enough of the neighborhoods and architecture quickly enough for our suburban revival. Of course most small cities tout urbanization and adaptive reuse and other slogans no doubt induced by their pot induced stupors. But we know instinctively in Amsterdam that we cannot aim for anything better than our own hastened demise and hence rebirth. Again, to put it in hippie speak so you can understand, it’s like reincarnation: we must save our city by killing it first; that is the Amsterdam Way. Plus, are you suggesting that we plant flowers or spend hundreds of dollars to preserve any legacy of architecture or history? You are truly mad, sir!
Third, if you are a True Amsterdamian, you don’t read books, or your filthy blog for that matter, nor do you consume broader media: you solely and exclusively listen to local radio. As I always say, that is righteous and proper and sacrosanct. Where else would you turn to learn who is a True or a Faux Amsterdamian? Of course, most of the local pundits and naysayers do not live in the city of Amsterdam either, but again, you simply fail to comprehend the distinction between True and Faux no doubt due to the ill-effects of your book learning that make gleaning hypocrisy and misinformation exceedingly simple; how dare you! I encourage you to purchase an AM radio to listen to the True Amsterdamians who will make it more than clear who is True and who is Faux. In that spirit, let me ask you a simple question: “What the hell are you doing here!”. Don’t you know that seniors have raised many questions on exactly what books you are selling; they are scared and frightened, Mr. Weaver. Explain yourself.
And finally, and most importantly, you raise the issue of conflict of interests in the committee and decision making process. If you were a True Amsterdamian and a follower of The Way, you would realize that no such thing as a conflict of interest ever exists in public policy decisions. For a True Amsterdamian by nature and nurture can never face a conflict of interest because a True Amsterdamian can rid themselves of conflicts of interest through the following statements uttered in no particular order: “looking out for tax payers”, “protecting senior citizens” and “lowering taxes”. By their very utterance, the conflict of interest is eliminated and hence your questions or concerns on conflicts of interest are rendered moot. What you may perceive as issues — conflict of interest, cronyism, privatization of public property and a fair process — to a True Amsterdamian are the manifestation of The Way. Please sir, you only worsen your chances for becoming a True Amsterdamian with these questions. Never question, accept and follow The Way instead. That is the essence of the Amsterdam Way.
I realize this letter may seem overly harsh and critical but my hope is to show you The Way so you may, although I doubt it, at some point become a True Amsterdamian.
I hope with the new year upon us, you will embrace The Way,