Meme Watch 12010

Wish I was a kid again when Saturday mornings were fun — cartoons and sleeping late. As a non-young guy, now I have to suffer with a blog , on Amsterdam. Can’t be all bad though: I’m sure this will inspire some child to pursue their dream and someday too, they can be a host of a blog on Amsterdam. I’m overwhelmed by my own awesomeness and fate with  this realization.

Let me move on…

Meme #1: Marketing Sucks aka marketing is vile and taboo for any aspect of the city. We have nothing to market; how can we market when we have rundown buildings? And ‘those people’? Meanwhile, some AHS students pitch marketing ideas to the owner of the Mohawks. As smart kids, they’ll realize that they should market their talent elsewhere,  where concepts such as strategy and marketing are vital. Meanwhile we can find comfort in dismissing marketing as wholly irrelevant and wondering why we can’t get any development or growth here.

Meme #2: It’s all in the report. If you were critical of the C&D landfill, the advocates would counter: “It’s all in the report. It’s a no-brainer. It’s a slam dunk. It’s in the report!” Of course, if you actually read the report — which most advocates did not –, you would realize that it failed to address a slew of key issues and in no way, addressed the business case nor did it address key outstanding issues on impacts. So as a critic, you were deemed brain-dead for opposing such a sure thing. Apparently the courts are equally brain dead by ruling that ‘it’s in the report’  in fact belies the fact that it is not in the report. But the C&D will live on as the last great hope of the city; that’s how this meme goes.

Meme #3: Chalmers. I could dedicate a blog just to Chalmers memes but the prevalent one of late manifests itself in how the designation for the National Register of Historic Places took place. I love this one because it perfectly illustrates how local radio perpetuates misinformation and no source has propagated more misinformation on Chalmers than local radio. You see, this meme states that Kaufmann had no right or authority to place Chalmers on the NRHP. Of course, as I pointed out several posts ago, anyone can propose a building for the NRHP:

Nominations can be submitted to your SHPO from property owners, historical societies, preservation organizations, governmental agencies, and other individuals or groups. Official National Register Nomination Forms are downloadable or from your State Historic Preservation Office. National Register Bulletins can also provide guidance on how to document and evaluate certain types of properties. Sample Nominations provide additional useful information.

And like all good propaganda, if you challenge it, it only gets louder.

Meme #4: Objectivity. According to Mr. Isabel, this is the standard for local radio programming:

“I can only compare it with the other talk show that we have, and the other talk show that we have is more objective and more positive, and they let people make opinions and drive the show where ‘The Show With No Name was very opinionated,'” said Isabel. “In order to listen to that show you had to go along with their opinions that that’s not the purpose of a talk show.”

Apparently when a host actively advocates for demolition of Chalmers and advocates on a whole slew of other issues that by definition is now ‘objective’. Interesting how objectivity works and its attendant epistemic closure. You betcha!

Meme #5: Consolidate, consolidate. Maybe it’s just me but the educational budget trajectory is not sustainable: you cannot reconcile double digit increases in health care costs and retiree costs with cuts in state aid and tax caps. Either you radically transform the underlying educational system — mandates, contracts, salary structures– or you watch the huge implosion in educational quality once academic programs get gutted via elimination of programs or through swollen class sizes. What I see unfolding is the classic lose-lose: failure to address the core issues on costs while driving academic performance lower.

And what is the incentive for consolidation? You get the state to build you a new centralized school building in exchange for consolidation. So like most education funding, the incentives are wholly misplaced. Instead of rewarding performance and innovation, you reward chasing the proverbial carrot of ‘economies of scale’ as if education lends itself to economies of scale solely through constructing ever larger buildings and districts.

Maybe just maybe, we could consider innovating on delivery models for education and innovating on technology to tackle costs while maximizing educational achievement. But let’s shuttle kids to-and-fro farther and farther so we can keep kids on the bus longer; how else will we sharpen their texting and DS skills? Or maximize transportation costs?

Locally, none of this will matter as the core issue will be sports programming; if sports are retained, the level of discourse on the budget will be minimal. If cuts effect anything else, a collective yawn will ensue and life will proceed merrily along. Here’s an outside-the-box idea:

We have a $57 million school budget. Why not lure Kobe Bryant away for $30 million or so and similar profile players in football, baseball, et al  to build a fantastic sports program? With that roster of players, we could easily entice other districts to consolidate with us. As the state is providing incentives to consolidate, we could collectively build a stadium from the state funds–for free!. Then we sell TV rights and ipso facto our litany of problems on budgets disappear. No taxes with national league sports! Cha-Ching! It does not get better than that. Let the pointy headed elitists harp about academics, art and music somewhere else.

Meme #6: No local politician reads dirty, dirty local blogs. That just goes without saying. (Shhh, don’t tell our local politicians that blog hosts can prove otherwise)

Meme #7: Fight the Power! Notice to whom the sharpest criticism is directed — the Citizens Review Board– perhaps the public entity with the least authority to enact policy on a local level. Meanwhile, not a peep to the vested interests and powers who actually influence and wield authority. To challenge that would be, well, how to say it, very Un-Amsterdamian. We can have none of that from our Esteemed leaders.

I miss Bugs Bunny.

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