Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The urge to be urgent

Skip Lawrence suggests in his recent column that the Council should rapidly approve $5,000 toward the costs of moving the “Phoenix Pherris” wheel from Asbury Park to Kimberton for restoration. His reason for the supposed urgency: “there might just be other bidders for purchase.”

Of course, neither Mr. Lawrence nor anyone else suggests that there are really any other competing buyers. Nor does he enlighten us on how long the wheel has lain disused and rusting on the ground in Asbury Park. But, merely the imagined possibility of another buyer makes this an urgent decision, one for which time must be ‘compressed’ and, thus, judgment suspended.

Ms. Cohen told Council that the total project cost was about $152,000: $50,000 for the purchase, the rest for transportation and restoration. She also advised that she had a commitment for $25,000 toward the purchase price and that the seller was allowing the purchasers eighteen months to come up with the $25,000 balance.

One might well ask what competition there is to buy the wheel if the seller is willing to defer half the price for a year and a half interest-free.

One might also ask why Ms. Cohen wants or needs to move the wheel before it's been paid for. Is it her plan to refurbish the wheel first, before it’s fully paid, just to create more intense pressure to provide funding of the purchase price?

Has Ms. Cohen suggested where the wheel will go when it’s done? On whose land? Who will own it, secure it, maintain it? Until there is a more complete and coherent plan, there is no public urgency at all.