Friday, August 14, 2009


Dear Vaclav,
My village is going to hell in a hand basket. Consecutive years of bad municipal government have created havoc with laws put in place by people who really cared about democracy, the environment and a historic legacy of which their children could be proud. Granting permission for rock concerts in the last green space in the corporation's historic district is only part of the problem. There rats on High Street and residents of East High cannot sleep due the noise emanating from a honky-tonk whose existence which the municipal government made possible. Rats and noise do not enhance the value of housing and housing usually is the only economic asset the average citizen has. But there will be no Velvet Revolution in Shepherdstown. The very characteristics that make it unique--its fierce pride in individualism, for example--make it impossible for locals who oppose the Council's high handed attitude band to together, form a grassroots movement and restore the laws that were beneficial to the entire village. The bad laws, put in place in the dead of night, will remain in place. Some of the city people who moved here for peace and quiet will say, as a recent arrival,
"Compared to picking up bullets in my backyard, this is great."
Face it Vaclav, America has grown complacent, Obama's election notwithstanding. Shepherdstown is a little mirror of a great country in economic thrall to the Chinese and to oil prioducing countires. If you think I exaggerate, look at the national debt, for goodness sakes. We Americans have forgotten how to plan for the future. We settle for instant gratifacation, for whatever takes the lest effort to accomplish. My village is no different. We settle for what takes the least effort. We are selfish and greedy and we care nothing for that which does not affect us directly. We talk about healing the world but when it comes to the crunch we do precious little. We care about money, our cars and how much crab grass we can eliminate from our yards. So, what do you say will come to Shepherdstown and show Town Council what really matters in the long run? I am calling from Warsaw, another place where people know how to get things done. Will you tell the local Planning Commission that there is a way to effect change for the better? You can do it. You have charisma and you have clout and Shepherdstown loves ceelbrities. Velvet revolutionalize this place, guy. Pretty please, with sugar? VACLAV? Are you there?

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