Thursday, May 17, 2007

Peking. Moscow. Tiverton?

Well, that’s the question one Tiverton resident is asking of us. In the May 10th edition of the Sakonnet Times, Mr. James E. Correia of Tiverton submitted a letter (can’t find it online, hence no link) where he scolded residents for trying to keep the town green and basically in “the 18th century” as he puts it. Heck, if Peking has a McDonalds and Moscow a Kentucky Fried Chicken, why shouldn’t Tiverton Mr. Correia ponders (read: complains). You can read my formal response in this week’s paper. Here’s another version:

Beside the obvious that you cannot compare the (supposed) amenities of metropolitan areas with that of small-town suburbia, Mr. Correia is lamenting over his need to drive into Fall River for many of the things that make (t)his modern life complete – fast food, laundromats, big-box retailers that squash mom & pop shops, and let us not forget, taxi services.

As far as I’m concerned – and many others feel the same way -- this is where all this should be kept. Does a McDonalds or Wal-mart need to be located every 10th mile on the mile? This doesn’t equate to convenience; rather it’s a reflection of America’s sad love affair with laziness, artificially low prices (and the blind eye that’s turned towards the sweat shops of Asia), and a lifestyle that is out of touch with the natural balance of the world.

I wonder if Mr. Correia is a life-long Tiverton resident. If so, that makes his diatribe even sadder, for he seems to have not experienced all the great small businesses we have in town that could meet most of his needs. Tiverton is the community it is because all of those urban-like-things are not here. As I alluded to in my response letter, a sustainable community is one that embraces smart growth and development — development that achieves economic prosperity while maintaining a character that is representative of its rural nature. So spend your money here, Mr. Correia, and keep our businesses running (and thus paying the town taxes you seem so concerned about).

The best line in his letter is this: “The people who are trying to keep Tiverton in the 18th century should do the moving. Move to some remote village in Alaska or Northern Maine and you can live like hermits with no conveniences.” Funny thing, the local people in these areas are probably very content with what they have and feel their lives very complete. I've been to Alaska and have witnessed that completeness first hand. Rural 18th century New England life meant no plumbing, electricity, refrigeration, and paved roads. Last time I looked, most of us here in Tiverton had those things.

If you are so drawn to Fall River, move there and shorten your commute. But be careful, the grass is always greener on the other side.


Anonymous said...

Great response Bill.

Ray Lundgren


Thanks, Ray. While we should all value the varied opinions that make our society (and town) what it is, sometimes, you just have to call things out for what they are.

Have we met before?

nate said...

Amen, bruthah!