Sunday, September 15, 2013

Small Town, Small Corupt Minds In Power

Alot of the stories I tell are about my raising hell as a teenager. I was never a "rebel without a cause", I had a cause and I was damn sure it was just. Perhaps some... ok, alot of the time I didn't channel my anger and rage toward the correct subjects, but I'm beginning to learn how to. This blog is a big part of that, I write not only in an attempt of exorcizing my demons, but also to point out the wrongs that I have long quietly sat back and dealt with.

I grew up in Madison Township, a little rural area right outside the City of Middletown Ohio otherwise known as "living in the country". Middletown is a small, shithole of a city so named due to its proximity between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio (the area had it's "15 minutes" when this appeared as a question on Jeopardy). It's one of the many cities in the United States that grew exponentially with the once prospourous paper and steel industries densely located in the area. However, as these companies prodominetly began to move overseas, the jobs went with them.

Whats left today is a battleworn shell of the area's former glory. An all but abandoned downtown sits largely vacant where the locals are more likely to rob or proposition you then they are to provide any legal service. Once upon a time these buildings were hot commodities and the entirety of the town came to the area to do their day to day business. Today, the local industry is mostly located outback of Central ave where the toothless, meth addled prostitutes service the town's men in the back of old rusted out pickup trucks. This begs the question, how do once prosperous towns get in this shape?

With small towns either everyone cares about the business of the city and perticipates in the local government, or no one does and leaves it up to the jackals that flock to the potential oppertunity that only being in power provides. Unfortunately, Middletown/Madison seemingly fell into the former category (although Madison wasn't big enough to be bothered with any real politics). There are many, many examples of this particular brand of small minded, self-entitled thinking to be spoke of, but due to the nature of the blog format, I will only list a few, particularly viscous cases.

The first is of local "entrepreneur" and "humanitarian" Perry Thatcher. While serving his elected duty heading the Middletown City Council, he owned about 112 acres of seemingly useless real estate. No one thought much of this until he and his partner received about 5.5 Million dollars in taxpayer income when the board he was member of voted to purchase the land and build the new city hospital there. Thatcher claimed to be "hands off" with the deal. Unfortunately that seemed enough to passify the public as he pocketed nearly 2.25 Million Dollars of their hard earned money without a conflicted-interest.Yes, a few people raised issue with this, but no one cared enough to be vocal on the subject.

Thatcher donated alot of money to local charities, many of which were designed to help the local economy and promote the growth of the local artistic community. That would seem to be completely contradictory to his position of removing the "punk rock element" that "plagued" a venue of which he owned. Enter, the Hoosegow, a local studio that hosted some of the hardest working local bands of the area. The place was located in a nearly abandoned area of downtown Middletown located next to the local homeless sanctuary and even the bank sharing its corner had shut down. This "detriment" of a musical showcase had both local and national acts that toured in it. However, Thatcher deemed it a public nuisance and successfully seeked to kick out the local inhabitants. After a brief and well deserved riot protesting the ending of the only local strictly musical venue happened, he had the property turned into a much more profitable endeavor. A parking lot. In an already vacant area. (One day, when certain unnamed statute of limitations run out, I will go more in depth on this event)

But Middletown wasn't the only source of corruption, it branched out into the country as well. Madison School system and the powers that helmed it for several years were just as corrupt.. Every 2 years the school begged the community for more money due to needing "increasing infrastructure, facilities, and faculty". Horseshit. I used to watch as the teachers would take publicity photo's of "overcrowded rooms" and not having enough desks for students. Do you know how these photo's were accomplished? Piling 3 different classes into one half vacant classroom. I was there, I saw it happen, and it wasn't just on one occasion.

Furthermore, when ever it appeared that a new budget increase would not go through, the powers-that-be threatened to pull the only thing that the school had to offer, the football team. Now, the coach was a piece of shit as were most of the players, but to speak honestly, football was the only activity in Madison that MADE the school more money than it shelled out. Now, why would a school threaten to remove a program that actually benefitted it financially? Because they knew they had the community by the balls and there was no way they would let their prescious football program go by the wayside.

Worst place ever? Not by far. Middletown/Madison has plenty of amazing humans who care deeply about one another residing in it. These are but a few quick examples of the corruption that unfortunately plague the area. One is left to wonder if the area would be in the shitty mess that it is neck deep in at the moment if greed, power, and money weren't the primary concerns of those governing. Many of us are quick to blame the economy for the conditions of our beloved hometowns, but sometimes, you have to place the blame within yourself for not rising up and pointing out the corruption right underneath our noses. I for one am tired of sitting backseat as some greedy, cash obsessed asshole helms the wheel, only to tuck and roll as you are sent off of the edge of the cliff.

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