An interesting article appeared in my e-mail yesterday. After studying it I thought perhaps it should be required reading for all city officials and those who would like to join the ranks. And every citizen who cares about their community. Especially now that it is election season.
Written by Michael J. Kinsley and L. Hunter Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Paying for Growth, Prospering from Development explains the difference between the two and the pitfalls that can occur when those differences are not understood.
Most interesting to me was the explanation of how local governments often unwittingly worsen problems in their attempt to solve them and perhaps more importantly, how viable economies can be developed and sustained without growth.
It outlines the problems rapid growth can generate; traffic congestion, increased crime, higher rents and housing shortages to name a few. Sound familiar?
Interesting too, it points out that it can also bring intolerance and disrespect for leadership. Sound familiar?
Explained is how growth is an increase in size where development is an increase in quality and diversity utilizing the assets on hand.
As I watch the city council races unfold in our little corner of the world I see all these red flags. I think perhaps many who are challenging the incumbents feel they aren't cognizant of these differences or for some reason are as dead set against sustainable development as the challengers are being accused of being against growth.
Neither is completely true. People who have come from other areas have often gone through these changes in their previous communities. This now being their home, many would like to help avoid mistakes that are indeed avoidable. This is not the only community to be suffering growing pains. Nor the first.
Rather than castigating one another, why not have an intelligent dialog with open minds? Now is the time. If the rancor doesn't stop, Coeur d' Alene will be but a flash in the pan as far as it's reputation as a great place to live is concerned.
We've got to take care of our kids, our neighborhoods, our elderly and our homeless. This doesn't mean warming centers in the dead of winter that will close at 9 p.m. It doesn't mean turning a blind eye to increased crime. It doesn't mean every community trying to under fund their stray animal problems when it's common sense a regional effort is the most viable way to succeed.
It does mean taking care of the basics. Basics that are being under served. Charging ahead without the base being solid invites collapse. This is the perfect time to examine what our leaders are doing and determine our level of satisfaction - or not. Voter's choice.
Read the article folks.