Wednesday, June 07, 2006

All washed up

Seldom is there a more ludicrous bout of legal and political sparring than the one transpiring out on Saratoga Lake. As even the most introverted of introverts must know by now, city leaders and lake residents have clashed openly over a plan to tap city water from the lake for more than a decade now in a dialogue that has often boiled down to childish behavior unbecoming of a hyperactive two-year-old with tourette's.

But for those in the cheap seats, here’s an abridged break-down of the action thus far. First, the city decides it needs more water, fearing the geological demise of Loughberry Lake reservoir on Route 50. City Public Works officials decide the closest and most reasonable alternative is Saratoga Lake, a prospect that ruffles the feathers of those living on its shores, who fear the plan will imminently limit their aquatic recreation and lower their property values.

As an alternative, the county supervisors decide that it would be a good idea to tap the PCB-laden Hudson by the town of Moreau, nearly 17 miles away, as a more regional and sustainable water source. That brings us to the 21st century. And what has followed since offers a look at how unbelievable convoluted local partisan government can be.

Were it not for the rubber-stamping going on at City Hall, however, chances are pretty good the ironically named Saratoga Springs wouldn’t need water in the first place. With still under 30,000 people living year-round in the Spa City, the present population remains dwarfed by its historic predecessors, who managed to operate towering behemoths like the Grand Union and United States hotels without having to seek water alternatives. Still, the raging debate over the lake versus the river or the city plan versus the county plan – the Democrats versus the Republicans –wages on unabatted, inevitably consuming time, energy and money that could be spent on projects that actually benefit average working-class families.

As it stands now, the only people standing to gain from either water plan are the builders poised to layout sprawl as far as the eye can see, a fact The Saratogian in all its lengthy coverage of this train-wreck of a story, continues to neglect. And instead of informing readers of the real agenda behind the non-issue of this issue The Saratogian feels the need to muddy the water even more by quoting the prattling windbags and nefarious politicians who have anything but the public’s interest in mind.

Rather than scribbling down all the drivel that often shoots from David Bronner’s mouth, perhaps one of the neophyte reporters among The Saratogian’s revolving door of staffers could take a gander at the noticeable-to-the-eye pace of city development. Maybe some discerning light could be shed on how dire the city’s situation really is, if it were publicly revealed how much water is quite literally flushed down each superflush toilet in the recently erected high-rise condominiums on Railroad Street; the hotels on Excelsior; the monolithic structure being built on Division Street; et cetera.

But it’s a lot easier for The Saratogian to cover –barrowing a slogan often espoused by genius city editor Connie Jenkins –every “burp and fart” bandied about in City Hall and among the propaganda raised through partisan politics. In the end and as usual, it’s the working class that gets screwed, as the issue quite literally bleeds away tax dollars on every level and at every step of the way.

And why? Check almost any workable faucet in the city and chances are pretty good it’s still pumping out cool liquid refreshment chemically known as H2O. When the aforementioned faucet finally burps or farts dust, then perhaps water will be an issue worthy of tax dollars.


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