City Feud: "Survey Says…"

The Daily Gazette has a good article on the recent community survey in the article “Survey finds residents have dim view of Amsterdam”.

I daresay it’s a bit more than the view that is “dim”.

Before you think this unduly harsh, look at the underlying ideology that contributes to the blight, the inability to move forward, the stagnation in the city — the very things the survey respondents lament.

The fundamental ideology killing the city has at its heart the following principles :

  1. You fix blight by demolishing stuff even if you have to incur more and more debt to demolish stuff. Meanwhile, you incur zero debt to build anything that might yield a positive return in the future.
  2. You invest nothing, zero, on development or turnaround.
  3. You believe that the symptoms are the problem, namely, that blight, poverty, rundown housing are the problem, instead of what they really are– symptoms of a larger problem. The larger problem is lack of growth and lack of investment , both public and private.
  4. You actively turn away and reject outside investment — whether that investment is conceptual or financial. But more than anything, you reject any idea that represents something new or something different to the way things are.
  5. You preserve and protect the status quo no matter how completely dedicated that status quo serves for its own benefit versus the collective benefit.
  6. You oppose any initiative or view that embraces Amsterdam as a city, choosing instead to make it into anything but a viable city.

Honestly ask yourself if the principles above are any less prevalent than years past in the public and in the public office holders. I daresay prospects are getting dimmer , not brighter.

And the view remains grim when you look at it from a private investment and private stakeholders viewpoint — it literally does not exist. How the city can reinvent itself with no significant private investments and initiatives is simply not possible.

But let’s get to a key point in the Gazette piece:

Divisions, be they racial or political, were themselves identified by many as a problem facing the city.

Let’s be blunt: this city fuels itself on division so what the survey respondents don’t quite get is that division, divisiveness, and for good measure, vindictiveness, really gets to the true character of the city. In other words, division is not a bug in the system; it’s a feature.

Again, that might be harsh, but that’s what my survey says.

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