- - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Other people’s money seems to have dried up in Detroit (“Detroit’s water ‘spigot bigots,’” Web, July 24). Stuff you thought was free is just not to be had anymore. Government has a knack for turning surplus into scarcity, and creating a water shortage in a state that was referred to as a “water wonderland” surely deserves some kind of award. Of course this scarcity has nothing to do with the availability of water, and has been more than half-a-century in the making.

On a recent monthly stint with “Meals on Wheels” in Arlington, I had a substitute driver who was a longtime Arlington resident. As we made deliveries up and down Columbia Pike, in and out of the neighborhoods, the driver told me he was concerned about a proposal to have a streetcar run up and down Columbia Pike and reduce the number of driving lanes from four to two. What are Meals On Wheels recipients supposed to do if we can’t get to them — ride their bikes to the grocery store?

Having volunteered with this service for three years, I can attest to the fact that the people who receive these meals do so as a last resort. They are generally sick and immobile. You don’t get Meals On Wheels deliveries unless you are desperate. It is a charity that works, in contrast to just about anything the government lays its hands on.

There are larger forces at work here, and regardless of the pathological tendencies of the “new urbanists,” there was probably big money and politics behind this streetcar decision. So I told the driver that if you dig deep into the push behind most government catastrophic change, you will find a toxic mix of politics and corruption. Eventually if you can’t move to get away from it, you end up with a water shortage.

SAMUEL BURKEEN

Reston