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Stating the obvious and implied solutions

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
June 5, 2002

 

"Wise men don't need advice. Fools don't take it." — Benjamin Franklin

Over the past few years I have been commenting on the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and their "growth at all costs" agenda. More recently I have been having a field day highlighting the rhetorical inconsistencies put forth by the gurus of growth in their misnamed annual report. Short on facts, and heavy on the fluff, I was under the impression that by pointing out the obvious, that most readers would be able to discern what needs to be done to remedy the situation. Boy was I wrong.

Serving as catalyst for this column was a gentleman, whom I consider to be well versed in regards to environmental considerations. With the best intentions he informed me that although he appreciated my line of inquiry, he felt the one thing missing was that I failed to provide solutions to the civic and societal issues dividing our communities. I'm beginning to think tacit ignorance has been hardwired into our species.

My columns have been dedicated to furthering the conversations relating to population growth, dwindling resources, and the Holy Grail of environmental sustainability. All too familiar with the questions, the answers are as obvious as they are seemingly unobtainable due to cultural blind spots of egocentrism and anthropocentrism. Residents of San Diego County know what needs to be done, they are just unwilling to do it if it means, for even a second, if it means forfeit their assumed right of comfort and convenience.

San Diego County has reached its carrying capacity, and everyone but the folks at SANDAG seem to understand this. For those readers unfamiliar with the term, carrying capacity refers to the number of individuals who can be supported without degrading the natural, cultural, or social environment i.e., within resource limits and without reducing the ability of the environment to sustain the desired quality of life over the long term.

With more than 3 million people calling San Diego County home, any growth at this point is unwise due to the fact that we simply do not have the necessary infrastructures to maintain our ever growing communities. Defining the addition of lanes to area freeways with smart growth is on par with an obese man loosening his built and calling it weight loss. Sooner or later someone with planning authority must begin to face the fact that our region is over populated.

With more than 3 million people calling San Diego County home, any growth at this point is unwise due to the fact that we simply do not have the necessary infrastructures to maintain our ever growing communities. Defining the addition of lanes to area freeways with smart growth is on par with an obese man loosening his built and calling it weight loss. Sooner or later someone with planning authority must begin to face the fact that our region is over populated.

Smart growth is just another term for high density development, which does nothing to address fundamental carrying capacity factors such as potable water, human waste, topsoil loss, and energy generation. High density development merely shifts population into smaller areas, replacing sprawl with overcrowded urban "zones,"without ever addressing the larger picture of how much is enough. The "how much is enough" conundrum is one SANDAG is unwilling to address.

In a world managed by common sense, the thought of adding to your problems with more of the same would be equal to the aforementioned obese man deciding the only way to deal with his extreme weight to eat himself into a coma. But this is exactly the course of action SANDAG has dedicated it's existence too. And like the obese man, the result of our over consumption will not be pretty.

In a world managed by common sense, the thought of adding to your problems with more of the same would be equal to the aforementioned obese man deciding the only way to deal with his extreme weight to eat himself into a coma. But this is exactly the course of action SANDAG has dedicated it's existence too. And like the obese man, the result of our over consumption will not be pretty.

It is my opinion the formation of SANDAG is the root of our problems, as it's creation was in response to a perceived notion the San Diego region was not growing fast enough to satisfy the greediest among us. Tired of being sleepy agricultural region blessed with surf and sun, in a mere 38 years San Diego County has been transformed into an orgy of stucco and steel, with nowhere to go but down.

Now that SANDAG has achieved its goals of destroying the region in pursuit of economic gain it is time to deconstruct the agency, allowing local municipalities once again do what is in the best interests of their residents. Sadly the development industry has other plans.

 
 
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