Let's give the Ike Cap money to New Orleans

Opinion

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Jack Crowe

Here is my suggestion for how Oak Parkers can best help the good people of New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina:

We should give back to the federal government the $4.8 million that was set aside in the new federal transportation bill to study capping the Eisenhower Expressway between Austin and Harlem. Instead we should send the money to help rebuild the levees around New Orleans.

After we do that, we should, with a little bit of embarrassment, tell state and federal officials to forget that we ever mentioned spending upwards of $1 billion on capping the Ike. We should tell them that Katrina has brought us to our senses, and we no longer want to build the most expensive soccer fields in the history of the world over a busy expressway.

In support of my idea, I ask all the people who served on the Cap the Ike committees to spend 15 minutes a day watching the news coming from New Orleans.

The craziness of this Oak Park project stands in stark relief to the honest-to-goodness needs of the City of New Orleans, where, for lack of political clout, their levees rise a few feet below the expected storm surge of a Category 4 hurricane.

While New Orleans shows a real need for billions to avoid another cataclysmic disaster, Oak Park has a pie-in-the-sky public works project that would benefit a tiny population at an astronomical cost.

The local thinking behind the Cap project has been that if someone in Washington is stupid enough to spend a billion dollars so that Oak Parkers can roast weenies in a park over the Eisenhower, we should be smart enough to take the money.

Instead, we can set an example of fiscal responsibility for the country by rejecting the pork and promising not to ask for more. In doing so, we will not ask our senators, Richard Durbin and Barack Obama, to spend their political goodwill on a government boondoggle no more defensible than a Lawrence Welk museum in Nebraska or a bridge to nowhere in Alaska.

If this is not enough to convince Cap the Ike boosters about the folly of their proposal, I have an alternative plan for funding the Cap project for them to consider:

Spending a billion dollars on the Cap would work out to about $20,000 for each of the 50,000 people in Oak Park. If we really think capping the Ike is such a great idea, then we should put up for a vote a one time $20,000 head tax on every man, woman and child in Oak Park and fund the project ourselves.

This way the cost of the project would be borne by those who would benefit from the new parks. If the people of Oak Park are crazy enough to approve my head tax referendum (and in Oak Park, who knows?), then we should build it with all the bells and whistles.

The effects of Katrina are sobering, but they serve as a reminder about how federal tax dollars should be spent on worthwhile infrastructure improvements and not cuckoo pork barrels.

Jack
Crowe

Let's give the Ike Cap money to New Orleans

ere is my suggestion for how Oak Parkers can best help the good people of New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina:

We should give back to the federal government the $4.8 million that was set aside in the new federal transportation bill to study capping the Eisenhower Expressway between Austin and Harlem. Instead we should send the money to help rebuild the levees around New Orleans.

After we do that, we should, with a little bit of embarrassment, tell state and federal officials to forget that we ever mentioned spending upwards of $1 billion on capping the Ike. We should tell them that Katrina has brought us to our senses, and we no longer want to build the most expensive soccer fields in the history of the world over a busy expressway.

In support of my idea, I ask all the people who served on the Cap the Ike committees to spend 15 minutes a day watching the news coming from New Orleans.

The craziness of this Oak Park project stands in stark relief to the honest-to-goodness needs of the City of New Orleans, where, for lack of political clout, their levees rise a few feet below the expected storm surge of a Category 4 hurricane.

While New Orleans shows a real need for billions to avoid another cataclysmic disaster, Oak Park has a pie-in-the-sky public works project that would benefit a tiny population at an astronomical cost.

The local thinking behind the Cap project has been that if someone in Washington is stupid enough to spend a billion dollars so that Oak Parkers can roast weenies in a park over the Eisenhower, we should be smart enough to take the money.

Instead, we can set an example of fiscal responsibility for the country by rejecting the pork and promising not to ask for more. In doing so, we will not ask our senators, Richard Durbin and Barack Obama, to spend their political goodwill on a government boondoggle no more defensible than a Lawrence Welk museum in Nebraska or a bridge to nowhere in Alaska.

If this is not enough to convince Cap the Ike boosters about the folly of their proposal, I have an alternative plan for funding the Cap project for them to consider:

Spending a billion dollars on the Cap would work out to about $20,000 for each of the 50,000 people in Oak Park. If we really think capping the Ike is such a great idea, then we should put up for a vote a one time $20,000 head tax on every man, woman and child in Oak Park and fund the project ourselves.

This way the cost of the project would be borne by those who would benefit from the new parks. If the people of Oak Park are crazy enough to approve my head tax referendum (and in Oak Park, who knows?), then we should build it with all the bells and whistles.

The effects of Katrina are sobering, but they serve as a reminder about how federal tax dollars should be spent on worthwhile infrastructure improvements and not cuckoo pork barrels.

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