No Good for the 'Hood

by Bernard McCormick Tuesday, September 28, 2010 No Comment(s)

Some time back we described Amendment 4 as a bad idea whose time may have come. Upon reflection (and reflection is something scarce in this emotional debate) we amend our previous statement to say Amendment 4 is a bad idea in response to some bad zoning decisions. Despite understanding what motivates its proponents, we must admit this amendment’s time should never come. A lot of angry people, and some influential press types, are pushing the amendment, but we wonder how much reflection they have given the matter.


Land use and zoning are different animals. Zoning changes are the problem, not land use plans. We looked up some experts in land use and law, and got the views of people who know what they are talking about. In the words of one land use expert: “The constituency tends to mix them together, but they are distinctly different.” Now this is a man who gets involved in neighborhood zoning fights, where residents feel they are ignored by politicians approving development which harms their lifestyle. He is sympathetic to the little people, but says Amendment 4 will not solve the problem, and only put land use decisions in the hands of those whose backgrounds do not suit them for such decisions.


He sees a possible grave economic impact, and confusion and expense at the polling place if ballots are clogged with questions most people won’t understand, or even care about. This position echoes the business community fighting the amendment, even though our source disagrees with some of the zoning decisions made by politicians under the pressure of the same business community. He also adds that it would actually give cover to politicians who make the decisions that have led to this extraordinary movement.


The solution is at the ballot box, but not in the form of this amendment. It is the people we elect who are the problem. Politicians who champion neighborhoods in their campaign, but vote just the opposite when it comes to helping their developer buddies, are the real problem.


Forget Amendment 4. Throw the political bums out. They are responsible for their own dilemma.


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