Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Say Yes to NIMBYism

Leave guilt and shame where they belong - protect what you earned. 

There is a lot of anger going around these days.  Social and economic "justice" are terms for a lot of the angst: They represent the age old struggle between the "haves" and "have nots".   "Justice" has nothing to do with the new terminology - there are no laws being broken - only someone's subjective sense of  "fairness".  Are the "haves" doing or paying their "fair share"?  When will the "have nots" have enough?

That questions are important.  Is society fair?  What does it mean to be fair?  How does government guarantee each citizen equality?  Equal rights under the law?  Or is the law is morphing from doing bad acts into punishing designated people - white, wealthy, male, etc. - for not doing enough?  Add owning property to the list of offensives.

Owning property is now a symbol of the class struggle as property becomes more expensive and out of reach for the average person.  Never mind that government created the problem with the land restrictions of the UGB - the propertyless want to use government to get their fair share.  Guilt and shame are powerful tools employed to wrest concessions from the haves - no one wants to be labeled insensitive, selfish or racist.  The mob have made owning more property than some unspoken amount a crime.  Indeed, for the Communitarians, no one would own property - it belongs to the commons and government grants trust rights to the land.

Hard work or just being alive?  What should determine rights to a particular piece of land?  Is one's property really theirs if government increasingly restricts what can be done with it until the owner must get government approval for what they can have or can do with it?

For me, NIMBY means get government off my property and out of my neighborhood - don't ruin what we have spent our lives working for, especially if it's because my property or neighborhood is determinedby someone to be better or my lot bigger than someone else's.

Portland's Laurelhurst Neighborhood Fights

to Keep the Housing Crisis Out.

The residents of a quaint Portland neighborhood plan to ward off developers who could bring teardowns, McMansions or apartment buildings for renters
"Laurelhurst is unique. Every house is unique," says John Liu, who bought his 1911 Portland foursquare in 2006. "If we can't stop redevelopment, this piece of Portland history will basically go away." 
"The whole street—it will look like Beaverton by the time they're done," says John Deodato, a longtime Laurelhurst homeowner who says he gets 20 letters a month from developers seeking to buy his home. "The city won't do anything about it unless we do."
Laurelhurst is one of many central eastside Portland neighborhoods where housing values have soared since the recession, and where developers are snatching up scarce vacant lots and a few modest homes they can demolish and replace. The average home price here is now $750,000—and one house sold this month for $1.6 million. 
Yet Laurelhurst's biggest opponents are those who share the same politics but think that neighbors are being selfish.
"We are facing a housing shortage with dire consequences," Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) said last month, "and frankly I am disappointed that this bill has run into some of the same old NIMBYism that helped create this crisis."
Critics charge that by trying to save Laurelhurst from the wrecking ball, its residents are in fact erecting a wall to keep out newcomers, renters and people of modest means—making Laurelhurst an oasis of money in the midst of a housing shortage.
Former Metro Councilor Robert Liberty, who once headed 1000 Friends of Oregon, perhaps the state's leading land-use advocate, says Laurelhurst's agenda is contrary to that of progressive politics.
"The consequence [of seeking a historic designation] is pretty clear: It isolates those neighborhoods from shared responsibilities to be a more welcoming community and to accommodate the housing that's needed," Liberty says.
Whoever wins the fight for Laurelhurst, this much is clear: Your neighborhood may soon be next.

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