Tuesday, July 24, 2007

One of the top ten towns....

Claremont, CA where I live, has been picked as number five on Money magazine's list of the top ten towns in the US. Is that good? I doubt it. If a lot of people decide to move here, the small town flavor that I like will be lost. We won't have tricycles full of toddlers in our Fourth of July parade; we won't have a politically correct "Egg Hunt" instead of an Easter Egg Hunt: we won't have Monday night oldie rock concerts in the band shell in Memorial Park. We'll become a city.

I think cities are fine in their place, but I don't want to live in one if I can help it. The problem, as Verlyn Klinkenborg pointed out in a recent editorial in NYT, is that California keeps on growing, projecting a doubling of population soon. Why not plan NOT to keep on growing? But that seems to violate all of our laid back principles, our laissez faire, our "whatever" approach to life. The problem is, planning to have a quality life without growing is HARD, and it's not fun to do hard things. But if we don't make any plans, then we'll be caroming off each other everywhere we turn. So couldn't we try to do some projections for limiting growth instead of encouraging it? Maybe Al Gore could help, he's taking on the giants these days. We will surely waste far too many resources and cause far too much pollution if we go on this way. It's time to wake up and think about these issues.

Do you agree? Or do you think it's just sort of a NIMBY response I'm having, saying I have mine but if I can, I'll keep you from having yours too? It's difficult to sort out motives here, for me too.


Vix said...

But how can a state plan not to grow? How can we stop people from moving in?
During the Depression in the 1930s, the LAPD was actually deployed to state borders to stop Okies from the dust bowl from coming into CA and taking all the jobs. (The plan didn't work very well but it got a lot of publicity.)
Everyone knows about our climate, our glamorous movie stars, our beaches and resorts. How could we stop them, even if we all agreed we wanted to?


Laura L. Mays Hoopes said...

Interesting to know they once tried not to grow; I wasn't here until after high school, so I never had any California history. I don't suppose I meant to have soldiers stationed at the Arizona border, but I was thinking more about all the houses being built. More and more of the "inland empire" is becoming houses. It seems to me that the regulations can't be insisting that there's long term water enough for these people to drink and bathe. I was thinking about NOT building, NOT passing laws to subsidize development, thinks that feel more subtle, but might end up detering some people from moving here. But if the smog behind the Rose Bowl won't do it, I suppose insufficient housing wouldn't either. I wonder about tactics like saying you couldn't become a California citizen until you'd lived here x years? I doubt that would work either. Oh, well, it's probably just a NIMBY. Once enough people have moved here to erode the amenities, some will move out to the next place, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

I just wonder where the water is going to come from. The western states are already using up the Colorado River. If this drought is long-term, we will be in trouble. I don't think we can say "No growth," but I support limiting growth. Seems like city councils are too hungry for tax dollars to say no to developers.

Vix said...

THere's probably enough to say on the water issue to fill up ten separate blogs! But ever since Mulholland set his mind to it, we've been pretending we have enough water. I don't think we ever did.
So when we say, NIMBY. . . are we talking about a patch of dry dirt, or a yard with a lawn? :-)

Laura L. Mays Hoopes said...

Circling back to my initial musings, it's running out of water, Cactus yes/grass no, that would make it a lot less fun to live here. I probably wouldn't mind xeroscape if I had it from the start, but would hate to be told I could not water my lovely fruit trees and raspberry vines. If we have to choose between a little water for each of too many people and watering plants, I would make the same choice as everyone else, which is why I wish there was a humane and decent way to limit growth to what we can 'afford' for water, electricity, open space, etc. Hard questions, with much already said about them, but no good answers that I know about.

thehappyheather said...

I think it's great because now I don't have to explain to people that I live in the "good part" of the 909...Because of the T.V. show OC the 909 has gotten a lot of bad publicity. It's nice to see some good news about Claremont!