Part 39: Fit The Thirty-Fifth: For Science!
Fit The Thirty-Fifth: For Science!
The industrialists were growing restless. The bone they chose to pick was that of the power conservation ordinance the city had enacted long ago partially as a cost-saving measure, but also to minimise the pollution caused by extra plants.
Of course, I expected Mortimer to be hardnosed but I was a little surprised by his attitude here.
But, mindful of the risks of overloading our current infrastructure, particularly the nuclear plants, if we rescinded the ordinance, I chose to stick with the status quo. Oh, sure, we could build more plants to take up the slack, but why? Ian and his pals seemed to have little awareness of their diminishing role in the city's economy. Still important, to be sure, but Funkytown was more of a commercial hub than an industrial centre; and indeed, with the industrial sector, it was the cleaner, high technology sectors in the ascendant.
There was all sorts of strangeness going on with the water supply, there must've been about a hundred pumps lining the river to supply the city, and at least half of them must've been deteriorating due to age. Still, one of the benefits of living on a river was the water supply.
I also began to reel back on the unwritten covenant that the old town districts such as Ashy Bend would only have low density housing; paradoxically, the high land values seemed to encourage the rich to occupy whole blocks with a single mansion, which seemed indulgent to me. At least if the density cap was raised in parts, we could have a whole heap of rich bastards, I mean, taxpayers, in a block rather than a single estate.
I wouldn't completely rezone the whole Old Town this way, the blocks immediately adjacent to the lake would remain intact, but when the existing high-density zones encouraged opulent apartment blocks such as this, why not encourage some urban renewal?
Some of these buildings were massive. But not only massive, but lucrative.
Anyway, it wasn't as if there wasn't room elsewhere for low density housing, such as the slopes facing the north shore.
The 1996 budget.
And interesting to note that the commercial sector was responsible for more of the city revenues than the industrial sector, even if the factories were taxed at a higher rate.
Expand, expand, expand.
There was in fact a good slab of flat land at the top of Boot Hill, on a plateau that could conceivably add close to another fifty thousand to the city's population.
A new surface rail line was laid across from the North Pismo line, right up the side of the hill, through the heart of the rapidly expanding Boot Hill district, then connecting with the existing routes through Firetop.
1997. I would never have thought that having too much money would be a problem - what to spend it on? - but it was nice one to have.
Time to have a look at possible ordinances. The Nuclear Free Zone was one we chose not to go with, since the city was heavily dependent on nuclear energy. I would have liked to enact it in accordance with a lot of people's wishes, but it simply was not practical at this stage. I did hope something better would come along - solar and wind were neat technologies, and but they just didn't pull enough grunt.
I did decide to approve the landfill gas recovery project, however. Anything that reduced the amount of waste was fine by me.
A road grid was laid out on the plateau...
And a local business - and education - district had already taken form.
So many intellectuals...
The playing field project in Pompeii had had the desired effect of making the area look a little less samey.
There was some consternation as to my decision to follow through with the rezoning of the Old Town - but then, we only had to evict three households, which would be replaced by thousands. Besides which, the existing residents were rich enough to buy penthouses where their mansions once lay if they desired the same address.
Another subway tunnel was run under the river...
... to provide the residents a faster run to the city rather than having to take the loop all the way around Westshore if they desired.
The beachfront of North Pismo was also approved for development.
1998, and we had nearly half a million in the bank.
... and nearly half a million souls as well.
The results of the Old Town rezoning. I seriously didn't think they could build buildings that fast. I should hope that they didn't fall down just as quick.
Similar stuff was happening up on Boot Hill, though there was still a few vacant subdivisions after a year of zoning the district.
It was almost as if I had to zone housing in relatively undesirable areas so that the less well-off could afford somewhere to live. But if they could abide the aircraft noise, even that area was pretty convenient to the city centre and other attractions.
We're gonna party like it's 1999.
There are only so many ways you can say "we're making an obscene profit, let's spend it on something completely stupid".
But, well, there were other things we could spend it on.
A science lab? Why not.
Sure thing, Feargal. But please don't try to flatter me. I still know about your group's llama-beheading activities.
The jerk kind of lied, it wasn't a donation, we had to pay for the damned thing. Like, ha! §75,000 was that much of a problem these days. I got a perverse pleasure out of signing the cheque, like someone who worked hard and honestly over the years to earn their money and thus had absolutely no compunction about spending it on the classiest hooker available for a filthy-yet-elegant rogering session.
Anyway, it would be a good thing for the city.
At the opening of the facility there was much speculation about the various projects that might be generated out of the lab.
"I know! Let's invent the world wide web!" one bright spark ventured at the cheese and wine function, only to be informed by Tim Berners-Lee, who was guest of honour at the opening, that he had already invented it and they should try something new.
Oh god, she was still at it about the Thanksgiving Day procession.
OK, we'll have your goddamned parade, then.
More complaints about brownouts...
... leads to more nuclear plants being built. Yes, I was becoming quite uneasy about our reliance on these, but perhaps paradoxically the best way of reducing the risk of calamity was to build more.
Of course I had to present at the parade when it came strolling down an arbitrary street in Firetop West. With a captain of the local regiment leading the way, a inflatable pig was the first float behind.
Followed by a mouse.
Followed by a pig. Followed by a mouse.
And then Santa brought up the rear. I have to say, that was a particularly pissweak parade. I'm sure that it would prompt the citizens of Funkytown to rush out and empty their wallets and max out their credit cards in an decadent orgy of consumerism and department store aisle bare-knuckle fights over Tickle Me Elmo dolls.
And before I realised it, Funkytown's centenary was upon us, coinciding with the new millennium.
This called for a celebration.