Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bedroom communities

This morning on KUAC's local news, at approximately 8:35 a.m., Dan Bross, in discussing the Parks Highway expansion/upgrade project between Ester and Fairbanks, referred to Ester as "a bedroom community of Fairbanks." My hackles immediately went up. "Harrumpf!" said I, and then wondered: why did this description of our fair village irritate me so? I mean, if Fairbanks were to suddenly drop off the map, Ester would be in a world of hurt.

So what, exactly, is a bedroom community? Well, per Wikipedia, it's a commuter town, "an urban community that is primarily residential, from which most of the workforce commute to a nearby metropolis to earn their livelihood." Per Barron's business dictionary, it's "A residential community in the Suburbs often near an employment center, but itself providing few employment opportunities." In other words, it's not financially independent. Well, this is true enough, so why was my first reaction that it was a perfect example of unthinking bias on the part of a reporter? I think that it's that it places Ester in subordinate position to Fairbanks. It defines Ester in terms of Fairbanks, as though the community exists only when we are zonked in our beds, and we only come alive when we go to Fairbanks.

But the village is far more than that, and, if we include the vicinity (Gold Hill) actually does have a lot of businesses: the bars, Dreamworks, Gold Hill & the Chevron station, the mines, the lumber mill, the Gold Camp, Judie Gumm's, Goldstream Water, Water Wagon, the Annex, and a farm. Plus there's all the self-employed types: carpenters, designers, artists, journalists and other writers and photographers, etc. (Alas, I cannot really count the paper as an employer, not yet.) And we are notorious for providing our own entertainment.

Ester is full of independent-minded people, and so even if technically we are dependent on Fairbanks for jobs, to use a term like "bedroom community" rather than "outlying community" or "nearby community" or some such diminishes our village.

Perhaps Dan forgot for a moment that we are a republic, so declared by no less than a borough assemblyman. Fairbanks doesn't even have a flag (and ours has been to both poles)!

So I say again, with feeling: harrumph!

1 comment:

Jeffrey-A-Rogers said...

Better to be a 'bed room community' than a 'K-mart community'.