Letters

(Page 3 of 3)

I cited Woodward Governor and Hewlett-Packard as examples of successful mixed use. Nowhere in the article did I say that these developments resulted from the Land Development Guidance System.

Nor did I “characterize cautious, middle- of-the-road liberals as communists, racists, and radical environmentalists.” I did note, however, that the slow-growth movement in the United States has attracted many varieties of people, including leftist greens, communitarian conservatives, closet racists, and even two-car suburbanites. While Mr. McKenna or Mr. Judson may disagree with this assessment, surely it is not “silly and unconscionable” to observe that many growth controllers fit one or another of these profiles. In any case, I went out of my way to state that Mr. Judson is neither a misanthrope, a radical environmentalist, nor a racist.

Mr. McKenna’s implicit argument that slow population growth leads to prosperity-is unconvincing. Indeed, all the data indicate the reverse, that prosperous people tend, to have fewer children, both because they have better access to birth control and because the labor power of their offspring is not crucial to the family’s economic survival.

Most of the growth-promoting activity to which Mr. McKenna objects is privately funded and organized. As to the city’s role, my position is that government should not subsidize growth. But neither should it force developers to subsidize current businesses and residents. Developers should pay their own way, but they should not be forced to cover the cost of parks, schools, museums, and other facilities not directly related to their projects. (Incidentally, the Anheuser-Busch brewery seems to represent a net gain for the city, since the tax revenue it generates far exceeds the financing costs associated with the bond issue.)

Mr. McKenna and Mr. Judson are off the mark when they accuse me of pro-developer bias. In fact, as I indicated in the article, I have a great deal of sympathy for those who seek to preserve the integrity and livability of their neighborhoods. I believe the best way to do this is through private arrangements such as land covenants, not through political coercion. When land-use issues are dragged into the political arena, the result is often a taking of property. It’s ironic that, as Americans are telling East Europeans that private property rights are the key to economic reform, we are witnessing an erosion of those rights in our own country.

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