In a democratic society the citizens run their government. In order to do so they have to know what their government is doing, right? Maybe, just maybe, those of us who care about actually practicing democracy in the United States of America should be just a little bit concerned when our government claims that it has the right to keep all its secrets (i.e. whatever they want) from us while we can keep none of ours (which they get to define) from them? I dunno; just a thought.
This article eloquently sets forth the concerns voiced by a substantial number of people in our community who are (quite rightly) concerned with the current condition of our environment and the need for its protection. But this near-hysterical presentation typifies the lack of balance that many members of the "liberal" community have displayed throughout the ludicrously extended process of the General Plan Update.
1) Last year it was the liberals screaming about the "right wing" Board "delaying" the GPU, as new Board members sought to understand the massive document they were expected to approve (they were accused of incompetence and foot-dragging). Now the liberals are insisting that the process be further delayed in order to allow adequate public input. Ironic, particularly in view of the fact that they've insisted all along that the GPU was formed with magnificently adequate input (which it certainly was not; that's what the whole Sec. 1500 flap was and continues to be about).
2) Yes, the Board has shifted since the recent elections to a more conservative stance. That happens in politics; get used to it. One of the reasons why the pendulum swung that way this time was the regrettable inability of the liberals to even try to understand what is real and important in the values of the conservatives; this intransigence caused quite a few people to vote for conservative candidates. The liberals would do well to learn a little humility and to open themselves up to the thinking of people with a different view. So, of course, would the conservatives, who also tend to cling to their view and to ignore anything that would seem to threaten it. Nobody's position here is without merit; we need to listen to each other, learn from each other, and work together in what we agree is the common interest.
3) The conservatives are basically saying that we should treasure our freedom to do what we please, that we need jobs, houses, and places for both. The liberals are saying that that freedom must be used responsibly; that the common good trumps individual desires, and that no more important common good exists than the natural environment. It is unarguable that in our pursuit of "free enterprise" we have terribly damaged the environment (logging in Humboldt County is a perfect example) to the point where it is now absolutely essential that we rein in the damage. How do we (how does the Board) balance these needs when they appear to conflict?
4) Do the changes that the Board has approved in the Guiding Principles really represent a headlong rush from environmental sanity? I don't think so; although environmentalists are understandably concerned with the conservative shift on the Board, I think that much of that concern is overdrawn.
5. Give the Board a break. When they take up the GPU they are not expected to rubber stamp it; they are supposed to consider it and to make whatever changes they feel are appropriate. Which means, does it not, that they have the power to do so, with or without additional public input (of which there supposedly has already been plenty). So let's be fair here. While we stay on the case.
In Print This Week:
Dec 5, 2013
vol XXIV issue 49
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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