The Unborn Undead Water District Five of Ulysses, New York
A big work of chalk graffiti on the route 96 bridge crossing over Taughannock Creek seen today declared, “Keep Water District Five Alive”.
That’s an odd rallying cry for the small number of people in Ulysses who had been dedicated Water District Five supporters. It’s odd, because Water District Five never has been alive.
Water District Five has been nothing but a series of proposals, without the backing of the our elected representative government. A few individual politicians supported one or the other of these proposals, but never was a Water District Five proposal passed all the way through the village and town boards in such a way that the project was made “alive”.
Water District Five never had enough support to make it truly come into being. If anything, you might call it a legislative embryo – an unborn thing produced by strange fertilizations of anti-regulation ideologues and opportunistic landowners.
Or, given the increasingly grotesque permutations that Water District 5 went through as that small group of die-hard supporters tried to raise it from the dead, you might call Water District 5 a legislative zombie. So, although Water District Five was never truly alive, it certainly could be regarded as a member of the undead.
Keep Water District Five alive? When I see a slogan like that, I don’t get angry so much as sad for the person who went through the effort to write it out. The person who wrote that message had been fed a bunch of hopes and dreams by people who hyped the non-existent project up to such proportions that the graffiti artist had really come to believe that it was anything other than pipe dreams.