Below are feedback letters in the Sunday Oregonian responding to the excellent op-ed “The Fallacy of Growth in a Finite World” (printed in its entirety in a previous post).
The upshot is: citizens around the State are beginning to understand the dire consequences of the “stuff it in” housing bubble, the need to consolidate services and the need for balanced, quality of life planning.
Hey Molalla: How is that AFFORDABLE COUNTY CONTRACT PROFESSIONAL PLANNING looking these days? How about contracting out to the County Sheriff for AFFORDABLE POLICE SERVICES AS WELL? That’s called consolidation – and anyone looking for less government or better use of public funds should be pushing for those affordable solutions to small town service needs.
Limited funds in Oregon for at least the next decade mean that CONSOLIDATION OF SERVICES is going to be the necessary wave of the future in this NO GROWTH DEPRESSION. Molalla needs its own “planner” (calling “the bully guy” a “planner” is a JOKE!) and its own police department (main function: shakedowns and speed traps) like it needs a hole in the head! Save tax funds: CONTRACT TO THE COUNTY!
Hey “Let’s build a Taj Mahal middle school” committee: Note the part in the letter below about the fallacy of “If we build it they will come”. The new wisdom is that the public can’t afford to build infrastructure on the obsolete notion that growth will always continue.
Getting a bond (good luck on that!) is only the tip of the public funding iceberg. Once ANYTHING gets built the struggle ensues to obtain funds to continue to maintain it. Think of the NEVER TO BE SELF SUPPORTING MOLALLA POOL fiasco. The middle school, given Molalla’s SHRINKING SCHOOL CENSUS, would be underused. CONSOLIDATE into buildings we already have.
We can’t afford to build speculative infrastructure based on growth wishes and dreams.
Hey taxpayers: Do you know that, as Molalla residents, you are funding a “guy” – a bully! with no credentials – to pretend to be a “planning director”? Do you realize YOU are paying him at least $70,000 a year to make a total hash our of your future? And do you realize that as “the bully guy” with NO CREDENTIALS IN PLANNING “works” he wracks up huge legal bills – thus costing you even more for TERRIBLE PLANNING?
That’s something to think about while you watch your “investment” in Molalla real estate sink like a stone!
Can you AFFORD to continue to fund any of the above SPECULATIVE DISASTERS?
Oregonian Letters to the Editor August 8, 2010 on the “Fallacy of Growth in a Finite World”:
It’s refreshing to read something that presents the honest double bind we find ourselves in today — as citizens, a planet and an economy (“The fallacy of growth in a finite world,” Aug. 1).
We read of the challenges facing the planet and the good-sense logic of powering down while, in the same breath, the need for growth to stimulate the economy. What few folks can really tell us is how to reconcile the two. In fact, few people really want to talk about it at all, which is more than tunnel vision.
Frankly, we, all of us, are caught up in an economic system that worked for a very long time, and accepting that it is broken can be anathema to the American dream we have been raised with. The resistance is not always about greed or indifference but rather a deep ingrained faith that markets, technology or some new financial device will lift us out of our troubles.
This is part of the American mind-set that goes all the way back to our legacy of Manifest Destiny — always upward and onward. But whether we make changes to our lifestyles consciously and determinedly while we can or we wait till the planet makes those changes for us, those changes will come. It is high time we accept that it is not “them” but “us” that the new world will turn on.
Will someone please explain to me how a 6,000-square-foot house on an 11-acre lot can be called “green”? This disconnect from reality at the Street of Dreams is particularly jarring if you also read Jack Hart’s article in Opinion with the sub-headline “Satisfying appetites for more, more, more won’t preserve the planet and promote happiness.”
We must stop our overconsumption of the planet’s resources. Street of Dreams? Nightmares, more like it.
After watching the tragic, unsustainable real estate “boom” from a front-row seat on a rural property near the failed timber town of Molalla, it is easy to say “The fallacy of growth in a finite world” was exactly on target.
The “boom” produced cheap houses in Molalla without proper system-development charges to fund needed infrastructure, such as parks, roads and sidewalks. The local “planner” has no education in planning. Jobs never arrived to balance Molalla’s suburban-sprawl residential growth.
Sadly, with the real estate “bust,” shrinking Molalla is now nothing but a textbook case of how not to do it: When quality-of-life needs are set aside in favor of the “quick and dirty” agenda of greedy land speculators, ill-planned towns are left as instant ghettos with little hope for recovery.
Shortsighted towns like Molalla won’t ever be able to “grow” their way out of the low-quality, expensive-to-remedy holes they have dug for unfortunate citizen “investors.”
Five direct answers to Jack Hart’s concerns in the Aug. 1 Opinion section:
Stop rewarding big families with a pro-breeding income tax policy.
Reverse the premise, “We must prepare for them because they’re coming.” If we don’t build it, they won’t come.
Repeal laws demanding a 20-year supply of developable land, which now guarantees more growth and more problems.
Redefine “sustainable” business as providing a decent living while not requiring growth to succeed.
Our overall policies must reflect the reality that very, very few of us benefit when more people come here.
Jack Hart deserves our gratitude for airing these issues so well.
The excellent article by Jack Hart on the dire consequences of unrestrained economic growth danced around the unmentionable solution: population control. No leader could get elected promoting such an idea, and there will never be a consensus that there are limits to growth. Unfortunately, it looks like a disastrous default will be the solution.