Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, March 20, 2005

U-Curve Economics

News-Repress CFO Randy Alcorn's article on housing leaves a little to be desired.. He reviews for us the State of the City Breakfast last week where Mayor Marty Blum presented the State of the City. Sara was there and doesn't remember much of what he mentions in his article that appeared today.

Here's his take on what was said:
Heading the mayor's list of challenges confronting the city was the need for affordable housing, which, baring a real estate price collapse of seismic proportions, means more housing. More housing, however, means more people which mean more traffic; more sewage; more demand on limited resources like water and open space; more police and fire fighters; more schools; more teachers--more of everything we wouldn't need if we continued to have limited housing.
He took a statement about the need for affordable housing and made it look like the Mayor was calling for the apocolypse. I'm not sure what he means here as Santa Barbara just doesn't have a lot of real estate to build "more housing" and this isn't what the Mayor or the City Administrator actually said.
Twenty years ago the city's elected stewards recognized that in order to preserve what makes this place so uniquely desirable, population had to be limited to 85,000. Because they understood the correlation between development and population growth, they pursued policies intended to limit development.

Today, with noticeable new development and a city population exceeding 90,000, that correlation has been euphemized into the "critical need for more work-force housing". Do our elected officials speak for most of us when they stump for more housing and commercial development? Has community sentiment changed so much in 20 years?

Sara was at this breakfast and did not hear Marty "The Slugger" Blum or the City Administrator call for more commerical development or housing past our present capacity. Where does he think all of our service workers are going to live? Where are News-Press owrkers going to live -- if we aren't careful, we are going to have a "brain drain" and lose our young talent. No one wants Santa Barbara to grow too much or even at all -- but we have to take care of our workforce if we are going to thrive as a city.

We are in the u-curve era. In the Reagan era, it was the bell curve trickle down economics. Today, the u-curve is how there are young and old, rich and poor, etc. without much in between. Just as dangerous as building up or out is the concept that we need to circle the wagons like we are entitled to have Santa Barbara all to ourselves.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

the word that kept coming to my mind while i read randy's piece this morning was "dickhead." sorry if that's blunt and ad hominem, but yeah. dickhead. that's it exactly.

on the upside, he's got what, 1200 someodd words going out there about every week, and usually he's all over the map. today's piece was a bit more focused than usual.

randy needs to do a better job keeping up with the latest fads in compassionate conservative thought mangling. he must've missed this memo, but the latest vogue is that if you're proposing something that will screw people, you say you're doing it because you really want to help them. i.e. we're going to throw your pension fund to the dogs on wall street, fend for yourselves...because maybe you'll make more money that way! see? it isn't hard.

i'm sorry to be tossing out an ad hominem attack like this. i know, i'm coarsening the debate etc etc. (and from behind a wall of anonymity, even!) but when you come right out and just say it: "screw working class people who have jobs and want to live here" or "the city should outsource as much work as it can to poverty wage paying contractors" without even vaguely attempting to soften it behind even the flimsiest of veneers, where do you go from there? there's a certain lack of humanity there that ought to be called what it is. so, dickhead.

most perfect place on earth, my ass. this town has a serious mean streak, and you only have to go as far as the editorial page of the paper to find it.

3/20/2005 5:25 PM  

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