Friday, October 13, 2006

Economic Development for the West Side

“I think the mayor has been trying to find ways to help the West Side.”
That was Deputy Mayor Rod Blackstone's reasoning for moving the trash bag pickup from the ultra convenient Pennsylvania Avenue site where it has been held for years to the curious location of Patrick Street beside Charleston Department Store. In an article in this morning's Gazette, Blackstone reveals the staggering amount of work that has gone into the administration's strategic decision to infuse the West Side with new economic energy:

Blackstone said. “We’re working with police to close that section of the
street [Patrick Street].” Motorists can approach the block from Washington Street or from the south, he said.

Good grief. Inconvenience 90% of the residents of the city so they will drive down the most depressing street in all of Charleston, all in the name of economic develoment?

The Pennsylvania Avenue location was ideal because it was under the interstate and therefore immune to precipitation, it was geographically in the dead-center of town, it had outstanding access from every direction, it has adequate traffic lanes so there was never a tie-up. It had worked flawlessly for many years.

If it ain't broke...

Blackstone also explains why the city's trash bag distribution is late this fall.

Blackstone blamed the delay on efforts to market city assets, including trash bags, as a way of generating extra income for the city.

Bobbie Reishman, chairman of council’s Finance Committee, has suggested selling advertising space on trash bags for several years Blackstone said. “But it wasn’t coming together quickly enough, so we decided to go ahead and distribute the bags.”

Gee, I wonder why companies wouldn't jump at the prospect of buying advertising space on trash bags? Maybe because they're bags for trash? Maybe because they sit in a box until they are placed inside a can before they are put inside a truck before they are buried in a landfill? Not much exposure time for an ad.

This whole episode is embarrassing and frustrating.


clear eyes said...

I had a similar reaction to that article, but my big question about the whole trash bag thing is: Why does the city of Charleston buy and distrubute trash bags for the whole city anyway? Why can't Charlestonians buy their trash bags at WalMart, Krogers or Sam's like the rest of the world? I really got a kick out of the people complaining that they'd run out of free trash bags due to the late distribution this year. I know where they can get some trash bags if they need them.

Stanton said...

Oh you're just jealous!

Originally the free bags were to insure that people didn't use cheap bags that broke as soon as City workers tried to pick them up to put them into the truck. Now the bags they give us are of inferior quality but people are so used to getting them for nothing that we complain loudly when they are late!