One Republican mayor in a well-to-do Republican Indiana town agrees with me that greenspace can bring in green:
James Brainard is a Republican mayor whose city sits in a Republican county carried comfortably by Sen. John McCain in last year's presidential race. But at the moment, he is rooting for President Obama.
"Government should be investing in infrastructure," the Carmel mayor said in his City Hall office. "That is what government is meant to do. It creates long-term value. I think the stimulus plan is a good one."
... His wish list runs several pages and costs a combined $428 million. Brainard says his priorities would create more than 12,000 jobs.
His list includes several new roads and roundabout projects, which he says not only ease congestion but save fuel by replacing red lights. There is a parking garage for downtown, a couple of fire engines.
And, yes, the mayor is unapologetic in seeking federal funding for a pool with a water slide.
"Someone has to construct that amenity," the mayor said before taking us on a drive around the city. "We believe in parks, we believe in greenspace, because that makes our community more competitive for jobs, for high-paying jobs [John King, "Indiana Mayor Says He'd Put Stimulus Money to Good Use," CNN.com, 2009.02.06].
Now there could be a little zero-sum paradox there: build one park, and you boost that town's economy at everyone else's expense; build parks everywhere, and no one has a competitive advantage.
But I'll still take my parks, and so will every mayor in the country, if the Coburn Amendment doesn't stop them. That's why, for better or worse, this stimulus bill will pass. Rush and his radio legion layabouts can whine "porkulus!" all they want, but the folks with pull, the mayors and governors, will all tell their Congressional delegations, "We'll take that money."