Saturday, June 5, 2010

Useless Local Government

Returning to a theme from earlier this week, the above is a picture of a public soccer field more than 24 hours after a severe but not exactly biblical rain storm passed through Torreón. I've written about this unfortunate problem in the city before: every time a moderately strong shower passes through Torreón, which is not often outside of a six-week period from late May to early July, virtually the entire city floods. This means that every year, there are probably a half dozen days when the roads are under water in many parts of the city, and public parks turn into giant mosquito breeding grounds. And Torreón is a prosperous town! If this is happening here, it's not surprising that lots of smaller cities are mostly unpaved.

I have no idea how much a citywide drainage system would cost, but it would seem that rather than waste cash on needlessly expensive and ridiculously complicated freeway exchanges (two were built in the previous mayoralty) when a simple stoplight would suffice, city leaders could invest in something that would save us all from risking our cars every summer. There is perhaps no direct link between this oversight and the fact that Torreón is not responsible for its own cash flow, but the whole governing ethos of making the city run properly --which is paramount for mayors, good or bad, in the US-- is absent here. Such an ethos is much harder to develop when responsibility for a city's income and expenditures is scattered among countless officials at three different levels of government. At the municipal level, the buck stops nowhere.

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