Saturday, January 24, 2009
The glass is half full
After people laughed at Ken Miller's alarmist Letter to the Editor in The Journal "if you fill the potholes trouble will follow," Mr. 'Mad River Bluffs funds beneficiary - yes, that's Ken's house that gets saved by this "boondoggle"' Miller tried a different tach in a My Word in the TS; same theme, same scare tactics couched in Lakoffian terms... a kinder-gentler fear-monger. You ALMOST have to feel sorry for Ken.
Bryan Plumley's response in today's TS points out some of the flaws in Miller's thinking.
Isolationism is equal to suffocation The “Imagine Humboldt” piece by Ken Miller has significant misinformation and flawed economic biases that cannot be left unchecked.
1) No one is proposing that Richardson Grove become a thoroughfare. His choice of words like thoroughfare and widening are designed specifically to mislead and inflame. The project at Richardson Grove is, in fact, the absolute minimum required to facilitate the use of newer, more efficient, industry standard trucks while preserving the experience of the grove. Take a look at the plans and you will see that, for the most part, the road is actually being made curvier.
2) In nature, geographic isolation fosters unique, often bizarre evolutionary changes that are the result of a shallow genetic pool that increases the chances of mutations due to interbreeding and lack of competition that allows unproductive mutations to survive. This is known as the “Island Effect.” Indeed the results can be spectacular. Unfortunately such communities, as they become more specialized, also become more susceptible to even small changes in their environment. Do we really want to become weaker in a world that is more dynamic and competitive than ever?
3) From an economic standpoint, isolationism equals suffocation. Few communities can survive economically as an enclave. Those that do, are places like Carmel, whose residents derive their immense wealth from elsewhere and create economic barriers specifically to keep the rest of us out.
I, for one, believe that this incredible area should not become another scenic preserve accessible only to the elite.
Such a scenario is actually pretty unlikely, however. Reality shows that in the vast majority of cases, nations, states, regions and communities that have isolated themselves have become impoverished, backward and poor stewards of their natural resources. Look at places like China or India. Self-imposed isolation led to poverty, desperation and the over exploitation of their natural resources. Exactly the opposite of what their leaders originally intended.
Ironically, in our own experience, it was these very transportation improvements that made Humboldt County accessible and threw open the shades to expose to the world the environmental destruction that was happening behind the Redwood Curtain.
There is an alternative however. We can replace fear with hope. There are plenty of examples around the world of communities who have prospered by creating unique and special places, not through isolation, but through good planning and high development standards. Such standards, when implemented fairly and transparently, foster innovation, attract talent, export ideas instead of natural resources and create opportunity for everyone along the economic spectrum. While Dr. Miller sees transportation links as a pathway the world will use to change us for the worse, I see them as a path for us to change the world for the better.
Where are Ken's legions of letter writers? I think they have gotten tired. Weary of his never-ending battle. Moving on with their lives. Leaving him to preach, exposed in all his hypocrisy, unable to hide behind others. 'Bout time.
AND, speaking of LAUGHING! ◼ The Mirror with Many thanks from Ken Miller
Update: Apparently a letter of Thanks from the McKinleyville Bluff residents was read into the record at yesterday's BOS meeting (1/27), not by any of the residents, and not by Ken Miller.
Here's a report on the up to $1.5 million dollar project: Mad River bluffs stabilized
The saga began in late December 2005 and early January 2006 when virulent storms sent 13 feet of the Mad River bluffs into the river along a quarter-mile stretch at the west end of School Road. The storm-related retreat took the bluff within 15 feet of one Verwer Drive home.
The Natural Resources Conservation District subsequently authorized funding for the bluff stabilization project. However, those involved struggled with liability issues -- whether legal responsibility would fall to the homeowners or the county or McKinleyville Community Services District.
The county had agreed to act as the project's administrator and was seeking indemnification from the owners of the potentially affected property. That was eventually established and the private property owners contributed $100,000 for parts of the project that were not grant-funded.