Ugly and expensive.
That applies to the grotesque transit station foisted upon New Yorkers at the World Trade Center, described by the civic asset David W. Dunlap in Wednesday’s Times.
Or it could apply to the hideous World Trade Center now looming at the bottom of Manhattan, critiqued recently by another vital journalist, Michael Kimmelman.
But the toxic telephone poles, perpetrated by government in Port Washington, Long Island are downright bad for health.
These new poles tower above the tree line, foisted upon the populace after Hurricane Sandy took down many existing poles two years ago.
Something had to be done. Governor Andrew Cuomo arranged for a power company to take over for our incompetent locals. He reached across the river to the state of his partner and pal Chris Christie, the bridge guy, and imported the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), which describes itself as “a publicly traded (NYSE:PEG) diversified energy company headquartered in New Jersey, and one of the ten largest electric companies in the U.S.”
In the wake of the storm, utility crews from Canada to Mississippi to the Midwest did an admirable job restoring power, but somehow thousands of healthy-looking trees were cut down, giving the impression that crews were paid by the tree trunk. The utility then installed poles 80 feet high, twice the height of the previous poles, and our local government bunglers forgot to arrange for taking down the old poles. So now we have double sets, a blight on the entire peninsula.
Bad enough. But it turns out the new poles are also poisonous – treated with Pentachlorophenol, known as Penta, “a PCP chemical produced by mixing and pressure-treating wood with lethal phenols, chlorine and F9-HTS biodiesel fuels. Penta preserves the wood from rot by killing any living organism in, on or up to eight feet around the pole,” according to one environmental web site.
The site continues: “With that chemical cocktail, Penta poles leach carcinogenic poisonous gases and liquids that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says shouldn’t be encountered without protective clothes, gloves and masks.”
Belatedly, PSEG began putting aprons around the lethal poles, and putting signs every few poles, but the poison still leaches into the aquifer.
As the price for being poisoned, Long Islanders are receiving rate increases of 27 per cent from PSEG this fall. I am sure the PSEG shareholders are happy about the rates.
I am also sure Gov. Cuomo is proud of his import from across the river, which reminds me of lyrics by the great Tom Paxton:
Our leaders are the finest men
And we elect them again and again.
And that’s what I learned in school today,
That’s what I learned in school.
Meanwhile, on their way to school, don’t let the kids near the PSEG poles.
Welcome to World Cup 2022, the most absurd thing that the routinely absurd world of sports has ever produced.
Those extreme descriptions were what virtually the entire world, save for those who had walked off with bags of cash from Qatar, called the awarding of soccer’s greatest event to the incredibly tiny, incredibly wealthy country back in 2010.
Twelve years ago, many were convinced this event couldn’t possibly happen: staging the world’s biggest sporting event in a country the size of Connecticut, one with zero soccer culture and even less soccer infrastructure? The tournament couldn’t possibly take place in 120-degree heat, and FIFA, the governing body of soccer, most certainly wouldn’t upend football leagues around the world to change the traditional summer schedule, could it?
And, for God’s sake, what about the beer?
Those were just the logistical concerns. The moral concerns are far more distressing. FIFA, so busy paying lip service to equality, couldn’t possibly expect the world to embrace a country where you could go to prison for being gay, where women’s rights are severely curtailed and female victims of sexual assault could go to prison, charged with engaging in extramarital sex. And all those questions came before the global realization that the World Cup was being built on the backs of migrant labor: modern-day slaves held in Qatar with virtually no rights, low wages and no ability to leave. Migrants make up 90% of Qatar’s stated population of 3 million. The country’s native-born equal about 300,000, or roughly the size of Anaheim.
---Ann Killion, columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.