Living in Springfield you get used to negativity. Reading comments on any website about any local story, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with the city, will often lead to someone taking a swipe at the City of Homes. These seem to be written both by city residents and suburbanites.
The Valley Advocate and the granola crunching denizens of the upper valley usually do their sniping in different fashion. Their criticism frequently comes with the patronizing delivery the Brie eating liberal set has perfected. (This from a socialist.)
Anyone active in Springfield politics or public policy will be familiar with the experience of being lectured on the importance of “affordable housing” or something similar by people who send their kids to schools where the de facto uniform consists of (I have it on good authority) North Face outerwear, Gap Kids khakis, Banana Republic shirts, and Timberland boots. The claim is that they simply know what course of action is best…though it never seems to involve them actually becoming part of the solution. Fun to hear when you know, for example, that 97% of your daughter’s classmates live below the poverty line. Yes, yes, tell me again about poverty ye residents of Amherst and Hadley.
Back to The Valley Advocate. For years this news weekly has taken the side of a combination of the pessimists, the perfectionists, and the Pollyannas when it comes to policies here in the city. As the voice of everyone who has run away from the city of Springfield (the abandonment of which by them being the city’s primary problem) they poo poo any initiative aimed at gentrification or at maintaining a rump of the middle class. They report on the plight of the poor and minorities and scurry back to bistros in NoHo to pontificate on policy purity.
Just today I was perusing the electronic version at valleyadvocate.com when I read this delicious quote in an article about the Palmer casino:
“A lot of us like Palmer the way it is,” one man told me. “I moved here from Springfield to get away from the crime and congestion.”
Cool. Nice of the reporter to include that in the piece. So relevant, and not at all indicative of underlying racism and elitism. By the way, I’ve never considered moving to Palmer because I’m not fond of syphilitic meth addicts. Go figure.
Maybe I should find an article on recycling in Holyoke and drop that in as a comment.
If you want to see what happens when you give the HateSpringfieldFirst crowd some red meat, check out the comments on this article about a place rating website (with all the methodological credibility of the publication which made Springfield the second most gay friendly city in the United States) which listed Springfield as the worst place to live in America.