Thursday, February 17, 2011

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Gerald Winegard published an article at Bay Action Plan a couple of days ago entitled “Smart Growth” in Maryland–Not So Smart". In it he basically rails against the stupidity of the Maryland Smart Growth plan, for allowing people to live where they want to live, and do what they want to do:
...These essential tasks demand that we change the way we do business as population in the Chesapeake’s watershed continues to grow—and sprawl. The population more than doubled from 8.1 million in 1950 to 17 million now. There are 3.6 million more people since the Bay Program began in 1983. Demographers expect 3 million more by 2030...
Yeah, who would want to live in the Bay area and why?  It's obviously a complete mess..
...The resultant sprawl and spread of impervious surfaces is bad for the Bay. Storm water runoff flushes pollutants to streams and changes their natural flow. It was the only source of water pollution still increasing. While significant funding to clean up runoff from existing urban areas is needed, we need to stem the poor growth and consumptive land use that leads to choking the bay and ourselves in traffic...
What it "Smart Growth" and why is it failing?
...The signature element of Smart Growth—withholding of some of the state’s infrastructure dollars from development occurring outside county designated Priority Funding Areas—has been an abject failure. Thirteen years after the enactment of Smart Growth, this non-regulatory approach has had no discernible impact on curbing sprawling development, fostering better land use, or protecting open spaces...
So, "Smart Growth" is a policy of denying governmental services to people who choose not to be funneled into the places you want them to live and do what you want them to do, even though they may pay a full share (or for many suburbanites a greater than fair share) of the taxes to support those services?  OK, I'm against it, but not violently opposed.  The ability to tax one group and spend it on another is well within the power of the state as we have come to understand it.  Just don't whine when the shoe is on the other foot.

"Smart Growth" failed because people ignored the governmental disincentives and spent their own money to support the services the state withheld.  What remedy for Smart Growth does Winegard have in mind?
...What Maryland needs is a tough new approach to land use that curbs urban sprawl and protects forests including a no net loss of forest policy and an approach that does not allow any new pollution from development. Tinkering with this Dumb Growth approach or waiting 20 more years to see if things work any better will have catastrophic impacts on our state...
 Not too specific, but I sense that voluntary controls on where people chose to live is not a high priority in his mind, at least not for people who don't already have their nice suburban waterfront estate on the Bay.  Following the bio link for Winegard, we find:
Gerald lives on Oyster Creek just off of the Chesapeake Bay in the Severn River watershed...
A quick look at Google Maps shows a very nice water front neighborhood on the outskirts of Annapolis:

View Larger Map

I suppose it's too much to ask him to live in a town house in Baltimore to demonstrate the sincerity of his beliefs.

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