It’s time to privatize Gilbert.
If you’ve read the stories lately, you know that the Goldwater Institute is threatening to sue Gilbert because of its Freestone Rec Center, which competes with private gyms in the town. And Town Council members have slowly but surely drained the town’s funding for non-profits, figuring the private sector can fund them. And one Councilman, Victor Petersen, believes that the library unfairly competes with video stores because the library supplies videos. And Gilbert Republicans have argued that public schools compete with private ones, libraries compete with bookstores, and garbage trucks compete with private companies.
How right they are.
It’s time to privatize the town. At least as much as possible. After all, these private entities not only have to compete with the town, they actually help fund their competition through the taxes the town forces them to pay.
So I have a few modest proposals.
First, goodbye library. Sure, public libraries have been around since 1778 with the Franklin Library, named in honor of Ben Franklin, who supplied the library with many of its books. And Founders like Jefferson believed that public libraries were essential to a literate America.
But our Republicans are right — why should we get free books when we can purchase the same ones at our local bookstores? I mean, look at how our booksellers are dying, big chains and small. That has nothing to do with online vendors, but everything to do with public libraries.
Adios, ball fields at our parks. They compete with Field of Dreams, something the town already has a vested interest in. Why should taxpayers subsidize ball players when they can pay and play at the Field?
Sayonara, Cosmo Dog Park. Why do we treat dog owners as some kind of protected class? We provide them a park to walk their dogs. Hello? Anyone heard of streets?
And these owners have their own yards to allow the romps.
Deep Six Community Pools — They clearly compete with private pool companies, many of which are located in town. You wanna swim? Build your own pool.
And what about our schools? What’s up with school lunches? Why don’t parents provide their kids the lunches themselves? And the school lunches compete with private restaurants, to boot. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to have Joe’s Barbeque provide lunch to our kiddies.
So long, school plays. We have a nice, private theater in town, the Hale Center. But it has to compete with high school plays, plays subsidized by, you guessed it, us taxpayers.
Space prevents a more exhausting list of areas that can be privatized. And I’ll bet you can come up with some, too.
Hey, we could even change the name of the town: Gilbert, Inc.
Has a nice ring to it, eh?
Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.