Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sign of the time

Ah, spring is coming. New birds passing through, petitions budding and renaming of everything that doesn't move. It must be an election year.

Representative Attao was a fine man, and he did many wonderful things. This isn't about him. Everyone else is nuts.

Sure he was always a top vote getter, and the demagods on Mt. Olympus can't agree on much else, but I feel like I'm lecturing the kids about My Space: 'Haven't you got anything better to do?'

Let's see, there's never been a budget for the Mayor to maintain the street signs we've got, so naturally many are missing after a few years. We'll just start replacing the ones that are left. It shouldn't cost more than a few thousand dollars and maps are easy to rewrite.

I've got it! Keep a list of the streets with the most signs missing and rename them first. No arguing about the 'parking order' of who gets a prime route.

It's going to be a sad day when we run out of streets, but that's somebody else's problem. The road in front of my business is only a block long, suitable for former Liberation Day Queen candidates or Municipal Council members.

This money thing is darn inconvenient, though. Hmm. We could try the
Hungarian solution, and just auction names off. That's pretty much a one-shot deal, but we wouldn't have to do it until they're dead and we could always change our mind.

It's probably better to run a street-naming lottery. Just write the name on a ticket and enter as many times as you wish. There could be a Saipanda Street! Every year we throw a big party on November 4 and gather the finalists around a bonfire. There have to be finalists, of course, because some of the names will be umm, inappropriate.

And that requires appointing a permanent street-naming Commission. They'd have to have an office and a director to ensure continuity. An assistant to be the acting director during his/her absence. An administrative assistant for phones and filing, but that's it, tops... unless you need street-naming enforcement, but that can be dealt with later.

The whole thing probably wouldn't go much over $250,000 in start-up money, but after a year money will be pouring in for shiny new signs and fresh paint. Just think about it. There could be a surplus going to the general fund.

The Legislature doesn't have to be cut out of the picture. We could always keep one Billboard Boulevard for the most popular idea of the year. It could be approved directly or referred to the voters.

You're going to tell me that isn't practical, and you're right. Nobody uses street names anyway. We still say turn left past the big mango tree, or the pink house, or the Mobil Station.

I wrote a press release when the signs were new and proudly gave the location as Asusena Avenue and Lester Street. Nobody laughed at my joke, but a few people did ask where the heck that was. So I told them "turn left at the Mobil Station..."

We need the names anyway, the U.S. Postal Service said that would get us home delivery. Didn't they?


Saipan Writer said...

Ah, street names.

But do we really want home delivery of our mail?

I like going to the post office! I run into people I don't see elsewhere. (I go at all different times to maximize this effect!) It's a very sociable place.

KAP said...

We'd probably still have to go in for packages, unless Customs wants to ride shotgun with the postpeople. Theft could be a problem, though Postal Police are the federal enforcers you don't want to meet.

The private companies would be devastated and the tradeoff is very good pay for carriers.