Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kate McGarrigle, 1946-2010

News of Kate McGarrigle's death is a few days past but it did not pass unnoted here. Kate and her sister, Anna, wrote and performed marvelous melodies and clever lyrics that have been on my playlist for over three decades. I still get chills when I hear Kate and Anna's crystalline harmony on "Heart Like a Wheel" The free spirited enthusiasm of "Kiss and Say Goodbye" is delightfully fun. "NaCl" and "The Swimming Song" never fail to make me smile.

She leaves behind a saddened family, friends and fans. We are all richer for being able to share and remember Kate McGarrigle's extraordinary musical legacy.

Godspeed and thank you, Kate.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Park Model

This hits close to home.
An oversight board voted unanimously Friday to close 13 of Arizona's state parks in response to budget cuts, leaving two-thirds of the parks shut in the most aggressive cuts to such facilities in the nation.

In 1987 I worked on an performance audit of the Arizona State Parks system. Our major finding was that Arizona had a pretty poor state parks system by just about any measure, largely because the state was not willing to appropriate funds for acquisitions. The audit identified options for creating a stable funding source. A 1990 citizens' initiative implemented one of those options and created the Heritage Fund, that allocated a share of lottery revenues for various natural and historical resource acquisitions and programs.

Within the next decade State Parks added some crown jewel parks, virtually all of which are identified in the story. The closures are the collateral damage from the economic collapse. The loss is, I hope, temporary. I do not see in the article that Arizona is selling off its patrimony--not yet-- so the lands, history and heritage will remain protected. In Arizona's land consuming culture that's no small feat.

I'm proud to say that I played a small role in that feat.

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