Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Wrinkle Treatment That didn't Work

Just this month, Mayor Wrinkles successfully defended his seat against a challenge by Councilman Newfangled in the recent Apathy, Kansas, mayoral election. If wrinkles were tree rings he’d be in a petrified forest. The Heavily Creased One enters his 24th year of keeping the seat warm in city hall. I’d like to point to a major accomplishment that distinguishes his tenure in office. Does unassisted continuous respiration count for anything?

Recent progress for Apathy, Kansas, was the construction of an Arby’s and a Popeye’s chicken. Our local pharmacy moved to a new location and rented their old building to a payday loan shark. There’s a brand new fitness center that Apathy residents can join in order to pay a monthly fee while sitting at home in front of American Idol with a fresh bowl of chips & salsa and a promise to exercise tomorrow. And the big pile of dirt on our main street is still just a big pile of dirt on our main street. It’s supposed to be the center of town, aptly named “Towne Center.”

Towne Center is the apple of Mayor Wrinkles’ eye. It’s the crown jewel of his accomplishments. Started around 2003 with an allocation of a few million in city funds to pave a curvy road lighted by quaint black decorative street lights on a brick paved median, the completion of Apathy’s shopping district has been the center-piece of Mayor Wrinkles’ last two re-election campaigns. I photographed Towne Center for Crossview in late 2007. It was a large dirt lot several acres in size, split in half by Artery Road. Since then Artery Road has been clogged as dirt has been moved from the south side of the street to the north side of the street and then moved back again. There’s a fantastic sledding hill for residents to use on the four or five days each year where we actually have snow. A picture of Towne Center taken today would show the same pile of dirt that was photographed in 2007 with the addition of a slew of unused construction vehicles parked on the large vacant lot.

Mayor Wrinkles hasn’t ironed out all the details on how he’s going to complete this project, but that didn’t stop Apathy residents from returning him to office. Councilman Newfangled had some fresh ideas and an innovative approach to try to stimulate economic development, but they were too radical for the Polygrip crowd that constitutes the mayor’s voting base, or for Councilwoman Vile’s critical last minute attack. There was no guarantee that Newfangled’s ideas would have worked, but I believed they were better than the status quo.

The majority of our residents didn’t agree. That’s not quite true. The majority of our residents who bothered to get their fat behinds off the sofa and to the polls didn’t agree. One-fifth of our registered voters voted. Councilman Newfangled lost by 61 votes, and 4,000 of our 5,000 registered voters didn’t miss the Tuesday night line-up on CBS. The uppity whipper-snapper with the audacity to challenge Apathy’s favorite next-door neighbor was kept in check by the AARP contingent that enjoys coffee at the kitchen table with Mayor Wrinkles, progress be damned.

In today’s mail I received The Apathy Connection, the quarterly newsletter published by our city leaders. In the same month that Mayor Wrinkles asked for and received yet another four year term in office in order to lead our city to the promised land of economic development in his beloved Towne Center, he wrote to the residents:

“I know you are all interested in what retail stores are coming to town. I really wish there was something I could tell you on a positive note.”

His supporters must be so proud!


CrossView said...

Wow! You have more going on in your "big" city than we do in our little "town". We still have a Mickey D's and a DQ. They shut Wal-Mart out and gave us a Fred's. Fred's is one step up from Dollar General. The same Sheriff has been in office for over 20 years. And you don't want on his bad side. It's ok if you break the law if you're related to him. We need Buford Pusser.
The local economy is in shambles and the educational system doesn't educate but they are almost through with the new high school sports complex.
Ok, I quit now. I'm getting depressed!

Kathleen said...

Politics in Apathy, Kansas, sound like a micro-clip of politics in Self-Destruct, North America.