I’ve learned in my avocation that things move either too fast or too slow. Here on Longboat Key in July and August there is little going on, at least on the surface. This is by design. Our founders pictured a community of part-timers, with most decamping their ‘winter’ digs for either their permanent homes, up north as they said, or another ‘summer’ place in the sun by the sea (another sea).
I’m not so sure that this model is valid anymore. For us who opine on your behalf there seems to be a feast or a famine of newsworthy events. Locally there is too little or we miss our news cycle. Nationally there is clearly too much. It’s all relevant, maybe not timely. My colleagues here and I do our best searching out the entertaining and the informative. Some even say they like it.
We here at the News have written on tropical storms, the ending of Hal’s era, the appointment of yet another commissioner, the failure (maybe) of mediation between two of our feuding parties, budget doings, even a few words on taxation.
I even offered white roses — without response.
In my perusal of newspapers I look for the humorous as well. A brief piece caught my eye. Under the heading “Hiring hotties,” The Economist (July 21, 2012) asked the question, “When can an employer prefer the attractive over the homely? Marylou’s Coffee, a chain in New England, is renowned less for its coffee than for its staff. In tight pink T-shirts and short shorts they tend to be young, pretty and female.”
OK, even if as I recall, it is Marylou’s News founded south of Boston in my home area, things were simpler then. It seems now that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was investigating Marylou’s for discrimination — without anyone complaining.
Our British cousins report that a writer at the Boston Herald proclaimed: “Yes, Marylou’s ‘discriminates.’ Every employer ‘discriminates.’ If they didn’t, I’d be working as a Chipendales dancer.”
It seems that there is no federal law banning ‘attractiveness discrimination.’ Only Washington, D.C., Santa Cruz, N.M., and San Francisco do. That’s strange, eh? They continue, “But one day Marylou’s may have to choose between claiming its business is forthrightly to titillate male customers, or change its hiring practices. Perhaps a few men, or ladies of a certain age?”
Municipal pensions seem all the rage. We had the spectacle of Wisconsin. That governor survived a recall election. Even here on Longboat Key the subject consumes some quarters. I try to stay out of that local conundrum. The same issue of The Economist newspaper carries a story on Scranton, Penn., headlining: “Yet another American city struggles to stay solvent.” Continuing, “They have an old saying at the fire station on Mulberry Street: I don’t know who the new mayor is gonna be, but I hate him already.”
The mayor, it seems, earlier in July, slashed all municipal salaries, including his own and that of the firemen, to the federal minimum wage. They have restored salaries recently — “for now, at least,” they say.
Scranton’s deficit is reported to be, as a percentage of its budget higher than San Bernardino’s. That city has just become the third California city in a month to file for Chapter 9, the municipal version of bankruptcy protection.
Again in The Economist, “A recent report on the financial health of states and municipalities by Paul Volcker and Dick Ravitch forecasts a gloomy fiscal future unless they stop ‘kicking the can down the road.’”
I know that things are not nearly so bad here on Longboat Key, but I’m staying out of that one — for now.
I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about Sen. Marco Rubio, one of ours in Washington. Some might recall that I spoke highly of him during his Senate primary campaign. It really wasn’t that long ago. He certainly gets a lot of attention these days; he didn’t then. I opened this brief column by saying that I look for items in newspapers. My scope is a tad broader. I’m reading now Marco Rubio’s memoir, “An American Son.” We’ll have more to say about this American son whatever happens in the National campaign.
From where I sit that national campaign is moving much too fast. The Republican Party Nomination Convention will be held just up the road a bit in Tampa. Some spillover business will find its way to Manatee and Sarasota counties. That’s good.
Candidates will certainly come to our city; we are in play.
The Democrats will hold their convention in Charlotte. Again candidates will come here. That’s good too. An exciting time is ahead.
I read in Longboat Key’s other paper, The Observer, that one of the national party’s LBK Club presidents has taken issue with that newspaper’s editorial treatment of our president. Editorials are for that, the presentation of ideas to mold opinion. The Observer did that. We may all be a bit too thin-skinned.