Saturday, May 4, 2019

Linda Lou Takes Me On Tour Of Our Old Hometown

My favorite nurse, Linda Lou, was visiting our old hometown, Burlington, this morning, and proceeded to send some photos to my phone.

I shall share a couple instances of Linda Lou's photo documentation.

I saw these photos and wondered if what I was seeing is one of the reasons, stored far back in my memory, memories of the little town in Washington I grew up in, with those long stored memories being part of what caused me to be so appalled when I first came to see what was not to be seen, in my new location in Texas.

Fort Worth.

Fort Worth, a town with a population nearing a million, well, over 800,000, and little Burlington, Washington, a town with a population around 3,000 when I was located there.

As you can see above, via Linda Lou's photo of my old home in my old hometown, Burlington's streets have sidewalks. I did not know there were towns in America without this convenience, til I saw that most of Fort Worth's streets lack this type modern conveyance.

Now, the street I lived on really did not need a sidewalk. Because right across the street was one of Burlington's city parks. That particular park is named Maiben Park.

In Maiben Park there was this other thing I thought was the norm in modern America. Running potable water with modern restrooms. Actually, if I remember right, Maiben Park had at least two instances of modern restrooms. One in the community center, which was part of the five acre park, the other in the center of the park, near the preserved old growth forest.

Naive me assumed it was a civic safety code thing for parks in America to have running water and modern restrooms, til I saw my first Fort Worth park, Gateway Park, which has outhouses of a sort I had not seen before. Outhouses seeming to be installed permanently in concrete enclosures.

Eventually I was to learn outhouses were the Fort Worth city park norm. And that few of the town's parks have running water. I had zero understanding of how it was allowed, for sanitary safety reasons, to have parks with picnic tables without a means to wash ones hands.

Even Fort Worth's highly touted (by local propaganda purveyors) imaginary world class music venue, the Panther Island Pavilion mess, has an installation of those Fort Worth signature concrete enclosed outhouses.

And Fort Worth somehow is perplexed that the town is not attractive to corporations looking to re-locate, no matter how big the bribe to do so is.

One of the other photos Linda Lou sent me was of the new Burlington Public Library, located a couple blocks west of my old home location.

In the photo of the Burlington Public Library you also see Skagit Valley Public Transit in action.

The valley wide public transit system did not exist when I was growing up. Skagit Area Transit (SKAT) came along later in the previous century from the period when I lived in Burlington.

I do not know if SKAT is still the working acronym for Skagit Area Transit. I don't remember anyone objecting to the name.

When Seattle's South Lake Union area got a trolley, South Lake Union Trolley, with SLUT being its acronym, there were some who thought it embarrassing that people were saying things like "I rode the SLUT downtown", or "Just take the SLUT to the Needle". But, SLUT stuck.

Back when SKAT being providing public transit to the Skagit Valley it was free to ride. I only remember availing myself of this one time. For some reason I needed to get home from the Skagit Mall and something was malfunctioning with my vehicle.

Now, I know there are right wing numbskull sorts who get all wiggy when one says something like public transit is free. Too dumb to understand that some areas have sufficient numbers of people who understand the concept of using money raised via various taxes to pay for a needed service, such as public parks with modern restrooms, streets with sidewalks, and public transit, due to the fact that having such makes the entire community more economically viable.

Now, I do know that in this century SKAT now does charge a transit fare, and that the system has expanded greatly from when I lived in the valley. One can now ride public transit all around Puget Sound. What a concept.

Regarding Skagit County having county wide public transit, while Tarrant County, where Fort Worth is located, does not have county wide public transit.

Let's look at a couple data bits.

Tarrant County has a population of 2,054 million in an area covering 902 square miles.

Skagit County has a population of 125,610 in an area covering 1,902 square miles.

So Skagit County is hugely bigger, size-wise, than Tarrant County, with a small fraction of the Tarrant County population, and yet Skagit County manages to cover all that area with public transit.

Along with many other amenities lacking in Tarrant County, and particularly in Fort Worth.

Such as the county seat of Skagit County, Mount Vernon, has managed to install an actual needed flood control wall along an an actual river, protecting its downtown from an actual flood, and in addition to that turned its waterfront into a riverwalk promenade, along with a large public plaza, and public modern restrooms.

All done without using or abusing eminent domain, in a fraction of the time Fort Worth has been boondoggling along with its national embarrassment.

All done without begging for federal dollars. Or without employing the unqualified son of a local congresswoman in order to bribe her, I mean, motivate her to try and secure federal funds.

Meanwhile, the county seat of Tarrant County, Fort Worth, has been boondoggling along most of this century trying to install some un-needed flood control in an area which does not flood due to existing flood control, and has also been trying to make some sort of riverwalk promenade with ridiculous bridges stuck unbuilt after years of dawdling due to project mismanagement, mucking up a simple project which has messed with people's lives for years.

And this mucked up project has used and abused eminent domain, in ways many consider to be criminal.

And in Fort Worth the unqualified son of a local congresswoman was given the job of directing Fort Worth's river project, ineptly, unsuccessfully, stupidly, corruptly, incompetently, while being paid over $200K a year, while his mother tries to scam some of your tax dollars.

Anyway, thanks Linda Lou for bringing me some old memories today, and triggering remembering some newer memories...

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