Tuesday, February 10, 2009

That’s nucleus of the cell, not doughnut hole.

Some folks in Trenton are traveling down the long lonesome road again to try to get towns to merge. This time, they want to merge “doughnuts” with “nuclei”.

Doughnut is their term for the larger towns that surround smaller towns in New Jersey. Bridgewater and Somerville. Freehold and Freehold Township. And my own town of Flemington, surrounded by Raritan Township.

Nucleus is my term for the center of those towns.

The problem, I think, is one of perspective. The Trenton folks think of the center of these towns as the empty “hole in the doughnut”.

I think of those towns as the nucleus of the cell.

Wikipedia defines a “doughnut” as “a sweet, deep-fried piece of dough or batter.” Pronounced “doʊnət”. I don’t know what those symbols are either, but it means “doughnut”.

The average doughnut has about 385 empty calories. And it takes about 28 minutes of walking (4mph) to burn the calories in one plain doughnut. More if it has custard or jelly in the center.

Now, a nucleus is the control center of a cell, which contains the cell's chromosomal DNA. It’s where it’s all happening. The center of activity. The vibrancy. The brains, baby, the brains.

And that is the point here: nucleus versus doughnut. The center of all activity versus the empty calories of fried dough.

Their perspective needs to change.

Perhaps the bill being passed around Assembly committees requiring ‘doughnut’ towns to merge with their ‘empty’ centers, should itself be forced to merge, and placed in the center of another bill.

Maybe one that establishes a constitutional convention to deal with the way property taxes are determined. Yup, that’s a good idea. And tasty, too.


Anonymous said...

Joey...I must admit I am terribly confused by your argument. I do not pretend to know if the merging of NJ towns and services are a good thing or not...

But I think your cell nucleus metaphor has some problems. As you know the nucleus is the most important part of the a cell but the nucleus depends heavily on the other organelles to function.

Mitochondria turn ATP to energy for the cell to operate... the Golgi apparatus processes lipids, proteins and other large chained molecules... the endoplasmic reticulum for transport and packaging of proteins.

The cell metaphor actually makes a GOOD argument FOR the merging of services for the nucleus cannot operate nor exist without these surrounding subcellular components.

Don't get me wrong...I am not arguing for the merging of NJ towns. I really can't say one way or another what is the best answer.

I am simply pointing out that if you ever must debate this issue you might want to use a different metaphor than a cell nucleus. `

Anonymous said...

Well, the point is that towns like Flemington, Freehold, etc are vibrant, happening, 'cultural center' communities that just happen to be at the 'center' of another community. There is no compelling reason to believe that just because of their 'geography' that the new merged community will be better, faster, stronger than two separate ones.

My point is that the drafters of this bill assume for some reason that the 'hole' in then center is less than the some of its 'parts'.

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