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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Not every one golfs here.


Thirty minutes north of here we can play golf at the world class Bandon Dunes, designed to resemble the links on the Scottish Highlands. We had lunch last weekend as people who had flown in for the game spent hundreds to play a round and more to be housed in lakeside bungalows and lodges with the sounds of the Pacific as it roiled and moaned all night.

Most people who live here cannot afford to play here.

But they are happy The Dunes provide work. Some work full time with benefits; many more work part time. Groundskeepers, the wait staff, housekeepers, caddies, drivers,  cooks, general service people feel lucky to have a job, any job. They do  not have the extra money to cover even one round of golf in the place they work. Young, ambitious high school juniors become caddies as soon as they qualify, and will work here for a few years, unless they are headed for college with a scholarship and the blessings of a supportive family. Most of the young people will not return to their town after graduation because the chances of getting a job is quite small, anywhere on this coast where millionaires fly in on chartered jets and play a weekend of golf without giving a thought to the town that is hosting them.

Before Bandon Dunes came to the west coast, cities like Bandon, Coos Bay, Port Orford, Gold Beach, survived on lumber and fishing and ranching. With the arrival of retirees from California and other areas where real estate had reached skyscrapers' prices these towns began to see an influx of steady income and the need for services like health care and hospitality. Restaurants and hospitals are doing well; other businesses, however start up and close down within a couple of years.

People here survive on very little. Over 70% of our school children qualify for free or reduced lunches. Parents  work part time, with no benefits and make do with  meager salaries. The free dental van that visits our elementary schools found a bigger percentage of dental decay in our children  than usually found in undeveloped countries.

You are not going to hear sad stories out of anybody's mouths. These people are survivors, proud of their abilities to make do, year after year, cutting wood to use for heat and cooking, growing their own food, hunting and freezing their own meats, fishing in the rivers for fish that will feed their families for weeks. You may find they are eager to help neighbors, and they trade easily with each other, a mower, a tractor, a new part for an old engine.

The local municipalities have many challenges, not the least of which is how to upgrade crumbling buildings, water treatments, sewer systems, electrical grids, communication networks to keep the city alive and thriving. Grants are few and they require in-kind investments from a municipality without any industry to keep the coffers filled. Twice we have tried to pass a bond to upgrade our water system; both times it failed. With the sequester in place, schools and police force are seeing cuts that cannot be undone by local means. Safety and education will suffer; people will be displaced; food banks will empty out.

Yet, the golf business will continue to thrive. The recession did not affect them, as they developed and expanded even during those times; and they continue to grow and provide world-class recreation in a milieu of third-world economics.

Trouble, right here in Rivercity, my friends.





14 comments:

Eva Gallant said...

Yes, that "one percent" continue to golf and fly their private jets and spend their dollars, undaunted by the sequester or the recession.

janis said...

It does make you think. Irronically, my youngest is about to graduate and has accepted a internship in a wealthy East Coast Town that comes alive with the Families that have summer homes. This is not you typical vacation spot for those on a budget...
While searching for housing my daughter & I came across homes for upwards of $6000 a week.. A cottage for a mere $2000 per week. There are NO hotels here. Apartments are few to house those that work the country clubs and restaurants, not for someone looking for a 10+ week stay. We did find suitable housing, but she is paying a premimum to stay in a homeowners guest bedroom.
This search we encounted certainly reminded me that through the course of a nation that has struggled for years... some people have not been affected in the least bit, and continue to live lavishing lifestyles.

MerCyn said...

When will people realize the country is on track to become a second tier nation with a large gulf (forgive the pun) between the rich and the rest of the population - those with poor educations, no health care, no jobs or jobs offering low salaries with no benefits. I don't have answers - but hopefully someone, somewhere does, and the people who can do something eventually will institute change...

Brian Miller said...

huh, pretty funny the golf courses have no problem even in an economic downturn...most who live her cant afford to play here...that says incredibly much....

yaya said...

Here in small town America our downtown area is struggling to keep the buildings looking attractive to motivate businesses to locate on Main Street. Wal-Mart has killed the shopping district and we don't have a huge tourist draw...The Amish can't be the only attraction! The country club went belly-up until a Doctor came and bought it and is trying to ramp up membership and bring it back to life. Seriously? Who needs a country club? Don't have all the answers but we aren't giving up either. We are building a new middle school and elementary school, and small business is growing slowly. The hospital is struggling and Obamacare will probably be the final nail in the coffin...I hope I can get to retirement before it happens....very depressing. Hopefully education, hard work, and "can do" attitude will push some changes along.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I have only ever tried to play golf once and it was a disaster! Never tried again!! Have a great weekend Diane

the walking man said...

Go to the state legislature and get the authority to tax. Then tax the hell out of everything the visitors do. If they can afford a 4250 dollar round of golf they will never notice a $50 round tax. Make the club that owns the course support the community, after all it's not like they can move a golf course.

In general the uber rich are simply playing with money they stole from the middle class through market manipulation. Time to find a way to take it back.
































4250

troutbirder said...

The blind leading the blinded.

ds said...

A bond to upgrade the water system failed?! Oh, my. That speaks of dire straits, my friend. So sad. And yet the golfers go on, their water "hazards" pristine...

Vagabonde said...

It is so sad to read all this. When I became a US citizen I read that this was a government for the people by the people, but it is not, or it cannot be when the people don’t realize that they are voting against their own good. People elect their representatives who vote against health laws, transportation laws, funds for schools, etc. I have read that the US is no longer the country where people can get ahead faster – don’t know which one it is, but it’s not here. The US has one of the highest levels of income inequality and it is getting worse, the only country without health care for all citizens and think that it is OK to let poor citizens die (afraid of Obamacare as they say) – so why is this if the people are free to vote the way they want to? It does not make sense to me unless this is what they wish for their country (I forgot – any benefit for the people is a social benefit, and that is a hated word.)

Boodhooram Ignoramus said...

Mr Ignoramus can not afford to play golf. It is a rich peoples game, he believes. He can not go to high class hotels to stay, he could not earn that much. He will never visit Europe. he will never do many things because he had had not done some-things before. He will never write good blogs like you people, because he failed to study in his school days and ever after. thanks for restarting this good blog.

Boodhooram Ignoramus said...

Mr Ignoramus can not afford to play golf. It is a rich peoples game, he believes. He can not go to high class hotels to stay, he could not earn that much. He will never visit Europe. he will never do many things because he had had not done some-things before. He will never write good blogs like you people, because he failed to study in his school days and ever after. thanks for restarting this good blog.

Janette said...

Vagabonde- they don't vote. THAT is the problem. Our last election in our town- $30 million in debt with 30,000 residents? 14% came to the polls....

Maggie May said...

Yes, the things at the top of the ladder don't seem to be affected. Pity that most of us are no where near the top!
Maggie x

Nuts in May