Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Campaign Diary, Chapter 5: Essential reading about urbanism if you're interested in correctives to Jeff Gahan's suburban dreck.

"The idea that compact, mixed use, pedestrian friendly development is somehow alien to American families or productive capitalism is so strange. It’s exactly this type of building that made America financially and culturally strong from the very beginning. It’s actually all the low grade scattershot construction smeared across the landscape that’s concentrating wealth into fewer and fewer distant hands and impoverishing ordinary towns and families."

Anyone seen Scott Blair?

I hear that his bank stands ready and waiting to ignore the lessons herein -- early and often.

If you're still confused by what we've been saying with regard to urbanism, please read the article linked here. It's about how we build and use cities, and the point comes down to this:

"Form ... dictated by practical considerations based on what worked well on a tight budget."

In short, what Jeff Gahan has spent the past four years NOT doing.

Consequently, you can consider the article a de facto Baylor for Mayor campaign speech. Can either of my opponents touch any of this, either in terms of conceptual grasp or actual performance while occupying various offices over a period of years?

(crickets chirp, pins drop ... somewhere, a Gahan billboard is erected at the headquarters of a downtown neighborhood association, and a tsunami borne of cognitive dissonance threatens our collective existence as rational human beings)

I didn't think so, but go ahead and delude yourselves.

Do exactly what the tone-deaf local Democratic Party wants you to do, but at least have the good grace to remove the "Gahan for Mayor" blinders first -- and seriously, do away with your anti-GOP "chickens vote for Colonel Sanders" bumper sticker, because the closer to New Albany's historic center you live, the more your support for Gahan becomes this fowl analogy.

Cluck it.

I've highlighted just three passages, but you really need to read the entire article. Thanks to JeffG for calling my attention to it.

Middle of the Road Kentucky, by Johnny (Granola Shotgun)

... It also happens to embody all the tenets promoted by the Smart Growth “coastal elite”. Except Bellevue was founded in 1870 by some profoundly conservative market oriented families. Bellevue isn’t New Urbanism. It’s just plain old fashioned regular urbanism like every other town built before World War II. Its form was dictated by practical considerations based on what worked well on a tight budget. From the beginning there was a good balance of taxable private property relative to the public cost of providing quality municipal services ...

... Some people like living in a walkable neighborhood. Other people prefer a driveable suburban living arrangement. It’s a big country so there’s room for everyone to find a place they really love and want to call home. But there are inherent benefits and drawbacks to each kind of development. Notice that everything that makes the old part of Bellevue pleasant for people on foot makes it less conducive to people in cars. The opposite is true in the newer part of town. The more a place is made effortlessly driveable the less it works for pedestrians or cyclists ...

... Most municipalities and states (and the federal government for that matter) are consistently spending more than they collect in revenue. A majority of towns are already deep in debt and servicing that debt is becoming a larger and larger portion of the budget. The usual conversation of, “Teachers are paid way too much” and, “We just need to entice a big employer to our town” or, “If we widened the highway the new Target and Walmart will arrive to provide tax revenue” has entered an era of diminishing returns. This approach isn’t going to fix what’s broken. In fact, this set of policies is what’s slowly destroying our towns.

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