Wednesday, July 05, 2006

So the fireworks sucked

Spending more doesn’t necessarily guarantee a quality product. Likewise, tens of thousands of people showing up for an event is no assurance that it was worth the time invested to watch it.

Such was the case at the Spa City’s fireworks in Congress Park Tuesday, which were more costly and attracted more people than in previous years. But ask anyone who spent the night packed in the sweltering humidity bowl of the park or the mosquito-ridden slopes behind Canfield Casino and they’ll probably tell you the fireworks sucked.

Granted, the low-level fireworks fired off at the park are often more appealing to a smaller, less-dense crowds. However, most of the display didn’t even clear the park’s treetops –and those segments that did were cloaked by the smoke-filled sky. One chagrined spectator insisted that her “grandmother could put on a better fireworks show” as she left the park with friends.

Although a simple solution would be to move the display out of the park, such a move would draw significant ire from the public, which is quite accustomed to the traditional park display. So instead of moving the display, perhaps city leaders could bolster them a bit by staging a round robin tournament of bare-knuckle boxing in the center of the park, pitting some of the Spa City’s classic political adversaries against one another.

For instance, who wouldn't swing by the park on Independence Day to see of Erin Dreyer duke it out with Ed Moore? Granted, the match up would’ve been much more timely last year, when there was fresh blood between the deputy public safety commissioner and the police chief. But judging by his lawsuit against the city, Moore obviously holds a bit of resentment for the blond bombshell’s buggering of his beat cops. Cuffing them together in the ring with smattering of agitation and a pair of Tasers would be better than hiring Grucci.

Any mention of fireworks must include the lake’s residential blowhard, David Bronner, who could battle it out with the Saratoga Peace Alliance, also known as the Saturday afternoon post office peaceniks. Despite being outnumbered greatly, the rabid former U.S. Army colonel would be a formidable opponent for the docile protesters, especially given his somewhat random vitriolic tantrums he aims at them from time to time.

If Bronner wins his bout against the peace activists, he could end up facing another person he takes great joy in bashing: Public Works Commisioner Tom McTygue. But to spar with the colonel, McTygue would need to first defeat Mayor Valerie Keehan, who arbitrarily snubbed his kid brother from the Planning Board after she took office this year.

Among political junkies, the Mayor’s move was thought to be reprisal against the democratic heavyweight for his support of former Deputy Mayor Hank Kuzynski during the primaries last year. Although neither side has claimed sour grapes, the framework is there for some good pyrotechnics, given a round of good political rhetoric traded between the parties.

More recently, it seems fence-sitting Finance Commissioner Matt McCabe might have a nice opponent in John Kraus, given the public barbs traded between the two over the last few years. As a “tax-rate watchdog,” Kraus wants the city to “hold the line” when it comes to spending. The elusive and enigmatic McCabe seems to think Kraus is off his rocker, which mixed with a liberal amount of caffine might be enough to touch off some fireworks at sundown.

And last but not least, a classic match from the yesteryear of Saratoga Springs: Bruce Levinsky versus the entire city. The pompous head of Merlin Development was once best known for doing pretty much anything he wanted around the city, until he got pimp-slapped by the preservation society several years ago. True, without giving the developer some serious armament, the bout would likely turn into a classic tar-and-feathering. But what a fabulous spectacle it would be.

Inflamed tension among public figures is what often slows down the grinding gears of government and political discourse to its standard glacial pace. So it would be nice if everyone on the sidelines had a show to watch in the mean time. If nothing else, staging the bouts on America's day of independence would give new metaphoric meaning to the fireworks on the Forth.


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