Years ago Upton Sinclair said something about knowledge and responsible decision making going out the window if personal financial gain was at stake. We're afraid that is part of man's basic nature.
And now this undesirable trait, thanks to Measure 37, has certainly brought us to the brink of making some really irresponsible decisions with regard to our landscape and way of life. And the majority of us sit back, somewhat confused and certainly passive, and await the latest decision that could bring millions to a few and misery and sadness to the rest of us. Somebody wrote that the trouble with the gene pool was that there was no lifeguard. It appears to us that we have now lost the lifeguard that is responsible for overseeing proper land development.
Jefferson County along with the LCDC has attempted to manage growth in a responsible manner. Some say that they have been too restrictive and some of what we are seeing may be a knee jerk response to current limitations. With population shifts and general increase, responsible accommodating changes are necessary.
However, any measure that allows an individual to do anything that he wants to his land regardless of impact is abominable. Insight as to whether we are dealing with land owners and reprsentatives who are reasonable and conscientious people has been glaringly offered in their efforts to recall officials when policy decisions thwart their efforts.
Has land use become like a cancer that has lost cellular control? Mindlessly encroaching, destroying anything in its path. Are we going to be victimized by mankind's basic nature to squeeze every drop out of their resource?
We don't think that the voter understood the far reaching implications of Measure 37. If they did they certainly didn't understand the nature of man. Jared Diamond in his recent book "Collapse", gives countless examples of mankind exploiting and destroying his surroundings. It's chilling and it's tragic.
Subdivisions within our urban growth boundaries will and should occur. Development in rural and agricultural areas, if it is to occur, needs reasonable regulatory measures to protect us from ourselves. To be sure, one profits more from high-density developments. But at what cost and impact? The number of applications have been staggering.
Reasonable discussion with planning involving compromise could keep Jefferson County a place to be proud of and people working together. Minimum size plots (hobby farms) of five to 20 acres keep active life styles, and many businesses like implement dealers, agri-business, hardware, and feed stores alive. Water districts, controlled growth, reasonable traffic flows, proper infastructure, and the once gone always gone - vistas, all critical and essential elements for stability and quality, remain viable.
The challenge is progress with preservation. Jefferson County can show that we are exceptional.
Beth Ann and Bud Beamer