Lots of little boys, some of them past retirement age, are waiting for spring training, and for the baseball season to begin.
Hockey fans are waiting for the playoffs. Basketball fans are waiting for the Detroit Pistons to be sold. Demographers are waiting for the release of detailed census figures next month.
Then, we’ll finally know how many people our cities and counties, townships and villages have. After that, they can begin calculating how much aid they will or won’t get from the state and federal governments.
The legislature is waiting for those census figures too, so they can begin to work on new district boundaries for both legislative and congressional seats. One congressional seat is going to disappear, remember, and that has several incumbents worried.
But most of all, our lawmakers, and everyone else in Lansing, is waiting for Governor Rick Snyder’s budget.
Somehow, he has to eliminate a massive deficit, and that’s going to mean deep cuts and pain. What we don’t know yet is who’s going to suffer the most -- or to what extent the legislature will go along with everything the governor wants to do.
And we’re also waiting to see if the governor’s fellow Republicans accept his recommendation that we go ahead and authorize the building of the new Detroit River International Crossing Bridge. There’s still some opposition, but the odds are now clearly in the new bridge’s favor. What is not in favor, however, is its name.
Usually, supports and opponents alike refer to the proposed bridge by its acronym, as “DRIC.” Which, as Governor Snyder remarked recently, is a terrible name. It sounds like something you take for post-nasal drip. So, even though the bridge isn’t a done deal, people are now actively debating what to name it.
The leading contender right now, at least in terms of popularity is to call it something like the Gordie Howe International Bridge. This proposal, apparently started by the head of the Ontario Trucking Association, has a lot going for it.
Howe, who will soon be eighty-three years old, was perhaps the greatest and most popular hockey player in history. He belongs to both countries, having grown up in Canada and then come to Detroit, to play for the Red Wings. There’s no scandal and no controversy attached to his name.
But there is one potential problem. I doubt that Gordie would or could pay $100 million dollars to name the bridge after himself. These days, naming rights are big business. Think Comerica Park.
That bridge is going to cost a lot of dough. There’s an additional complication that we could turn into a plus. Two nations are involved, and each must have an equal share.
So the best solution would be an auction for naming rights on both sides of the border. Eventually, we may be driving on the Seagram-Ford Motor bridge. Or perhaps the Charter One/ Bank of Canada Span. The possibilities are endless.
Which is why I think I ought to end this essay, right about now.