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Sustainable Playland president's son writes college paper critical of Astorino
Did Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino act morally when he chose a local nonprofit organization to refurbish and manage Rye Playland, the county-owned amusement park?
Philosophers John Rawls and Immanuel Kant don’t think so.
Or, at least not according to Kelly Morque, who is the son of Kim Morque, the president of the nonprofit organization Sustainable Playland Inc.
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In a paper posted online for a Bucknell University philosophy course, Kelly Morque interprets Rawls and Kant’s theories to conclude that Astorino doesn’t deserve the mantle of a philosopher king.
“Using Rawls’ Theory of Justice and Kantian ethics as the foundations for my argument, I ultimately conclude that the current proposal for Playland was not chosen in a way that represents the best interests of the stakeholders involved,” writes the younger Morque in the paper.
The county’s Board of Acquisition and Contract approved a management agreement with Sustainable Playland on April 18.
The nonprofit organization plans to invest $35 million on the park, dismantle nonhistoric amusement park rides, create a big lawn suitable for open-air concerts and make the park a year-round destination, with indoor playing fields and nicer restaurants. It plans to take over the park in October.
Rawls and Kant wouldn’t approve, Morque argues.
Rawls contends that public policies aren’t “consistent with social justice” unless that are “arranged to the greatest benefit of the least-advantaged members of society,” Morque writes. Kant postulates that public policies should not reflect the interests of a single person, the Bucknell student adds.
Thus, if we are following this correctly, because the Sustainable Playland plan doesn’t necessarily reflect the interests of low-income Westchester County residents (and no one ever said it did, that we can recall) and Astorino basically acted unilaterally in choosing the nonprofit, it seems the county executive has run afoul of two of the greatest minds of Western civilization. According to Morque, anyway.
One problem. Astorino always answer the criticism that he acted unilaterally on Sustainable Playland in the same way: A panel that included county legislators and others chose the group from a large field of bidders that replied to the county’s request for proposals for the aging, unprofitable park.
The purpose of the Bucknell course, according to its website, is to apply philosophical notions to current affairs.
Philsophical problems notwitstanding, Kelly Morque supports his father.
“From the perspective of a Rye resident, and as someone who has observed what has been going on at Playland for my entire life, I fully support SPI,” he writes.
His father didn’t seem to mind.
“My son’s college coursework includes studying different philosophers and their approaches,” Kim Morque said. “His paper reflects that. I thought it was an interesting and well-written piece. I hope he gets an A.”
Evidently, the course didn’t want to be very engaged in public debates. After Newsday asked questions about the online paper, it was taken off the website.