October 5, 1995 in City

Who Needs Science? You’ll Never Use It

By The Spokesman-Review

Boy, did we ever dodge a speeding bullet with that highfalutin’ Pacific Science Center deal.

The final ballot count released the other day by the Spokane County Elections Office shows the nays had it by a whisper: Just 350 votes.

Saints be praised! The last thing we need is for the city’s youth to start stuffing their heads with the wonders of the universe.

Newton. Einstein. Archimedes….

No good can come of this.

Start kids thinking lofty thoughts and before you can holler, “Eureka!” they’re moving their overgrown brains out of town for meaningful careers.

While they’re curing cancer or plugging holes in the ozone layer, where does that leave us?

In an IQ-barren hog wallow. A place that would make the dim lights on our current county commission look like NASA technicians.

Kids don’t need to set their sights on the stars. They need to keep their eyes fixed and dilated on reality.

You don’t need to know a lick of physics to get a perfectly good job right here in River City.

All you have to learn is how to say a few words:

“Paper or plastic?”

Or, “Would you like the curly fries or the regular ones?”

Of course, I didn’t always feel this way.

I’m ashamed to admit I actually voted to stick a science center in the Riverfront Park Pavilion.

I foolishly figured such an addition would be more uplifting than the petting zoo, so cherished by our toothless hill folk.

I was deluded into believing our young people would get more out of conducting hands-on science experiments than playing Boom Ball in the Pavilion’s sweaty amusement gallery.

Anti-City Hall activist Mamie Picard showed me the fly in my ointment.

Mamie is one of the stalwart Gang of Nine - a tireless group of citizens devoted to dumping sugar into the gas tank of progress.

The Gang can’t take all the credit for the vote, certainly. But it deserves a standing O for tossing grenades whenever it could.

Mamie dropped by the newspaper to see me the other day. She was aglow with the heady thrill that comes with clubbing a science center to death.

“We didn’t get enough information,” she kept telling me. “Too many unanswered questions.”

That’s the greatness of the Gang of Nine. These people can spot an unanswered question a light-year away.

No concern is too microscopic to be ignored. No detail is too trivial to overlook. There is always a need for MORE INFORMATION.

The Gang wages a holy crusade against all the misguided efforts to supposedly improve the conditions of this community.

Well, things are just fine the way they are.

It’s just a sloppy shame these vigilant warriors weren’t around 20-some years ago. They would have scuttled Expo ‘74 quicker than an O.J. jury.

What business did we have to think we could host a world’s fair? All Expo ‘74 did was ruin Spokane’s vibrant railroad industry.

Our city once was crisscrossed with a maze of majestic concrete train trestles. They weren’t pretty, but the sheer weight of their presence thrummed with power and wealth.

The vast area around the clock tower was a wonderful sprawling railroad yard.

There were freight cars dripping diesel into the black earth. And wine-soaked riders of the rails that Spokane residents referred to lovingly as “bums.”

It was a grand and gritty place and now it’s a grassy, crowded park. Thank the arrogant dreamers who dared turn this modest town upside down.

Count your blessings we dodged the science center. I grew up without a science center. Look how smart I turned out.

Duh, would you like the curly fries or the regular ones?

, DataTimes

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