Yachts in Norwalk, Houses in Bridgeport
What am I talking about? For one thing, the waste of resources inherent in luxury motor yachts. This Stamford Advocate story cites a marketing guy thus:
Walsh said his Tiara 5800 Sovran with a 650-gallon tank gets about 55 gallons per hour at 30 knots.
Let me do some math here: 30 knots is 34.5 miles per hour. So when this Tiara 5800 Sovran travels for one hour at 34.5 miles per hour, it uses 55 gallons of gas. That's 55 gallons of gas to travel 34.5 miles.
Compare that to a car that gets 20 miles to the gallon. If it travels for one hour at 34.5 miles per hour, it uses about one and a half gallons of gas.
When the extremely wealthy use resources at outrageous rates, or when they build and heat and illuminate a 12,000-square-foot house, do they even think about issues like global warming? Or do they simply think: I worked hard, I have a lot of money, I'm not going to deny myself anything now, I deserve this? More likely, they don't think about it at all.
Here's another item from the boat show story:
Run by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the show is not a trade show but a consumer event designed to sell boats, Pritko said. Prices range from a few hundred dollars up to several million dollars. The grandest, dubbed Queen of the Show, is the 70-foot Azimut 68, priced at $2.6 million.
"It's nicer than most people's houses," Pritko said about the yacht scheduled to arrive tomorrow.
The $2.6 million yacht is nicer than most people's houses. In Bridgeport, meanwhile, the city wants a developer to include 3,000 housing units (apartments, presumably) in its big Steel Pier redevelopment, which is terrific. But (according to the Connecticut Post) here's what they'll be fighting about in Bridgeport: houses for families making $60,000 a year:
The agreement would also require Bridgeport Landing to construct 300 units of affordable housing — 250 units of which would be constructed off-site from the Steel Point project itself.
This was not good news to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which had been pressuring the city for 30 percent of the Steel Point housing units be set aside for low-income tenants.
ACORN spokesman Nicholas Graber-Grace said Monday that the low-income housing needs of the city are not being met by the Steel Point agreement.
"There would not even be affordable for people who have a decent salary — if you're making $40,000 or $50,000 per year, you couldn't afford them. They would only affordable for people making over $65,000," he said. "This is the biggest development in the city's history — huge tracts of land given over to the developer. How could it benefit the people of Bridgeport, when he only wants to build luxury units? The city does have the leverage — this is prime real estate, on the Sound."
I'm not here to turn into an advocate for the poor and the downtrodden. And lord knows I live in a nice house in a nice town. But the contrast is too stark to ignore: in one city, there's a display of consumerism that borders on the grotesque, while a few miles up I-95 they'll be fighting over whether a new development has enough room for families making $60,000 a year.
One more thing. The Tiara 5800 Sovran with a 650-gallon tank that gets about 55 gallons per hour at 30 knots?
"We've already sold 16 of these."