I don’t always remember my dreams, but I like the stimulation I get from them even when I forget most of what started it. This morning I awoke thinking about whether there might have been a toxic spill at some time in the past near my new residence, which is in a mobile home park backing onto an industrial area. It’s not something I’d thought about at first, when I moved in about a month ago (btw, the new number, once again, is 530.542-2579).
I’d been thinking only of the FEMA trailers of Katrina fame and the unfortunate reaction I had in Ginger’s fifth wheel last winter on first moving in there. My guess is that, if information on hazmat spills is available at all, it will take a concerted effort and no little exercise of my experience dealing with bureaucracies, to find out.
Having almost always been a home owner, I’ve pretty much been insulated from this kind of concern. Although that’s probably not as sure a thing as it should be, since the obligation to divulge such items upon sale is something which seems to be enforced mostly with a wink and a nod, especially under the teabag party philosophy which has been gaining strength for some forty years, now, under the guise of Reaganism
Then my mind went on to what role law and government really ought to have , and what role it actually has. On the one hand, it seems to me that, if there has been a hazmat spill in this area, I should, as a potential resident, be informed. People holding property near such an event should be required to inform potential renters and to notify buyers (for real) of the event so the newcomers can choose to put themselves at risk of the possible side effects of long term exposure to any remnants of the spill, especially if they have, or intend to have, children. As it is now, they simply have no choice, because they have no knowledge of the risk in the first place.
But I’d be dumbfounded if such were the case, especially as pertains to renters like myself. Trailers are rented by people who can’t generally afford influencing legislators, while trailer park owners–owners in general–not only can afford such influence, they are usually savvy enough to wield it. And there’s clearly a lot of money involved in such information, for a history of a hazardous spill would clearly drive rents down drastically.
So it’s highly likely that whether there’s ever been a spill across from my new mobile home residence or not of, say, mercury laden sludge, I’ll never know. But I’m too old and handicapped now to worry about it in any case. It takes me too long to get the research done. Hell, I’d probably die of a stroke or something before finding out about what would probably only be a thirty year threat anyway.
But still, it seems to me there ought to be a law. Young people should not only have access to the information, they should be actively informed of such data, and their incomes shouldn’t be a factor. If some company spilled the goods, that company should not only have to clean it up, it should have to bear the expenses, even those at first hidden, entailed by informing people of the fact. It shouldn’t be the trailer park owner that bears the consequent deflated revenue, it’s whoever spilled the stuff in the first place.
BP, for instance, should be paying so much for the gulf spill that I find it hard to imagine how, even it, would be able to survive the cash crunch. Lost revenue on the gulf coast will last for scores of years. And that won’t even reflect most of the true extent of the damage to the environment. Government’s role ought to be to try to set all that right–if not to make it right, as can’t possibly be done there. Only by making BP pay the true costs will future BP’s have a true incentive to avoid the same errors that BP made in order to cut corners and increase profits. Such corner cutting should hold real costs, and the role of the government should be to assure the costs are so high we never have another spill like that one. We shouldn’t have had this one after the Valdez. Or the Valdez after Santa Barbara. Etc., etc.
But, if anything is obvious, it’s that BP isn’t going to be hurt very much. But that’s another story.
Or maybe not (See what I mean about how the stimulation from one good dream (or bad, as in this case) can be such a delight, in terms of how it just gets the mind going?) Maybe the issue is really the same across the board. Maybe the real problem is that
government has taken on the role of protecting businesses more vigorously than protecting the people.
Being protected by the government, of course, isn’t something that you always want. Often don‘t In fact. Government always seems to be too eager to protect us from ourselves, or from some “evil” that only threatens us if we decide to embrace it, like homosexuality or drugs, or, heaven forbid, any choice we might make to escape the various grids that shape our lives–most of which amount to large scale exploitation by some large corporation or another.
But, certainly in a democracy, government views its role as serving the interests of the ones who most can deliver–and do–votes to elect the government. And, in capitalistic societies, that usually comes down to one and only one thing: money. The impending election is a prime example.
Money. How odd. I seem to have arrived, after long rambling, at the obvious. Money equals power. I’d hoped that Common Sense for the Third Millennium, the 501(c)3 organization I’m currently shepherding into obscurity, might have been an instrument to fight that trend. Having the imprimatur of a tax exempt non-profit, it could easily get grants that could be a valuable source of income for anyone willing to support its goals. With so many looking for a living, you’d think there’d be people coming out of the woodwork to participate.
But that group’s survival seems far fetched at the moment, as my energy for keeping it alive has waned and there’s not been a scurrying from the proverbial woodwork. If any of you would be interested in talking with me about how you might help avoid CS3rd’s demise so that it could take up the baton on questions such as these, use the phone number above. I’d love to discuss it. But act promptly, for CS3rd may not exist soon unless some shining knight, preferably highly motivated to protect the people in general over the monied classes, comes riding to its rescue.