Shel Thompson: Same old formula for growth

February 3, 2014 

Post WWII formula: Perpetual growth equals jobs, plus tax base, plus sustained bureaucracy.

The state directs growth in 40-year general plan approvals. (Don’t worry, although your district is included, the growth won’t happen.) Cities, ravenous for fees, compete for expanded spheres of influence. Counties jealously counter city expansion to protect their empires. Citizen passion, rarely aroused, is quaint, amusing and irrelevant.

Battling bureaucracies perpetuate the archaic culture of sprawl and economic multiplier designed obsolescence. Which one successfully grabs the development fees is what counts.

Coordinated promotion of creative, civil, fulfilled residents of the same regional watersheds?

Why? The subjects of Stockton don’t vote in Modesto and vice versa.

Jobs, the “J” word, trumps all discussions.

Corridor Highway 99, so ideal for cookie-cutter development, is choked from Fresno to Sacramento with vacant industrial buildings. Modesto is unimpressed. Neither those enemy nations nor our adjacent county sphere (Beard Industrial District) generate revenue for “us,” and that is what matters.

1970 is past. Today’s social, environmental, economic challenges require innovation. The recent general plan show we just saw aired decades ago and will continue. Same destructive direction and inept vision, just different actors.

SHEL THOMPSON

Modesto

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