Sunday, October 7, 2012

If I was a Billionaire...

I know this is going to sound a bit trite, maybe even glib, or just like outright bullshit, but whatever. One of my biggest dreams has always been to have the means by which to build things to make a better place to live for those around me. I'm talking about the kinds of things that require massive funding.

This isn't a new idea, obviously. Plenty of American philanthropists have done amazing things over the past four hundred plus years. To me, having cool toys would be nice, and I would definitely collect a few; but spending some of that money on making the area more fun and livable would make me feel more content and fulfilled. Just sayin.  The one big difference here is that I'm anything BUT a philanthropist.

Having more or less planted my roots in the area of southeast Virginia, I feel like I could target things more effectively here than elsewhere. I know the nay-sayers will argue that much of this is unattainable or impractical, but fuck them. I'm sick of hearing about what can't be done. Every big idea and big project in this country's history has had it's share of push-back. From national parks, to interstate highways, to the space program. Even Ben Franklin was laughed at when he suggested we implement public schools and libraries. Besides, my list isn't all that pie-in-the-sky really.

So here's my "top ten" list of things I would build or improve around here, if I had the means to do so:

1. Build/expand a unified light rail system throughout the seven cities. Connecting all military bases, shipyards, airports, schools, public venues, parks, oceanfront, and shopping centers. Find a way to make it cheap to use, maybe free, and yet self-sustaining.

2. Build or expand several large parks, so they would be capable of supporting mountain biking and hiking, with hills and interesting features.  Trucking in some dirt and big rocks could make a lot of places more interesting and fun to use.

3. Expand and build more biking/hiking trails that would make it possible to ride or hike between, and throughout, all of the local cities and to Richmond, and/or Raleigh.

4. Implement public broadband and WiFi. Gigabit to every neighborhood, library, school and so on.

5. Fund a program so every dog and cat can get spayed and neutered, and get their required shots for free.

6. Push hard (REAL hard) to end the ban on sliding down hills when it snows.  You can "swim at your own risk" but you can't slide at your own risk? It's completely retarded.

People having fun on snow - illegal in Virginia Beach
7. Build a high-speed rail line from here out to Richmond, Raleigh and connect up with Acela to form a line along the coast passing through here.

8. Expand local scholarship programs so local students who prove themselves by grades and financial need can attend local colleges and universities.

9. Fund programs to offer more incentives to military families to remain in the area after ending their service. Jobs, schooling, housing, tax breaks, whatever.

10. ?? (I'd leave this one open for future ideas)

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