Politics of exclusion
How whiney NIMBYs keep others down
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by Wayne Laugesen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It was a predictable parade of selfish hypocrisy at the Boulder City Council meeting. It was sad and telling, removing all doubt that modern liberals are really just statist materialists, hell-bent on getting government to protect their own personal wealth and lavish lifestyles.
Visualize about 40 people marching to a microphone, one at a time, nearly every one of them telling council members the same exact thing: Not In My Back Yard, by God!
The council was taking public feedback on a city proposal to revise its portion of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. The plan sets a vision for future development of the community, and guides the council and members of the Boulder Planning Board in decisions about zoning.
The city has proposed changes to the comprehensive plan that would allow denser housing development in various neighborhoods, mostly those near transportation thoroughfares. It's the only real "affordable housing" proposal Boulder has put forth. It's the only proposal that takes into account true economic principles, and accepts the fact that making housing more affordable in Boulder means allowing the market to provide more homes. It's a proposal that would reduce in-commuting, improve the balance between jobs and homes in Boulder, and for those reasons lesson our city's toll on the environment.
But when it gets right down to it, most Boulder residents couldn't care less about the health of the planet or the quality of our air. They care nothing about the social injustice of a community planned so poorly that middle class workers must commute from far away towns for lack of ability to find affordable homes in Boulder.
Boulder, quite simply, is best defined by greed. Don't believe it? Than watch a re-run of the April 17 city council meeting on municipal Channel 8. Here's what I saw:
And on, and on, and on. For several hours, it was "save the trees, save the horses, save the ducks, save the children, save my view, preserve my property value, etc., etc., etc."
All of these arguments were the same. In their own clever ways-using politically-correct buzz-words like "nature," "traffic," "wildlife," "mothers," and "children"-each of these people said: "I got mine, to hell with everyone else."
How is it that a community capable of this vile and callous display of disregard for the welfare of humanity enjoys a national reputation for progressive liberalism? When I was a young liberal, it meant acting with compassion toward those who can't find homes near their jobs. Liberalism meant the politics of inclusion.
Today, in Boulder, the definition of liberal has changed dramatically. Modern liberals don't cherish social justice. Instead, they value government and control. They want government controls to maintain an imbalance between themselves and others. It's "To hell with them. I live here now and I vote. Try getting re-elected by a local bank employee who commutes home to Globeville each night."
What's a politician to do? It's the only way to get elected and stay elected in this community. Boulder politics are 100 percent about exclusion. The mindset is this: "Save me from 'those people,' and I'll support you." Chances are, "those people"-should they ever find a home-will join in the politics of exclusion not long after settling in.
The depressing meeting had three bright spots:
But Boulder won't do that, because it would run counter to the profitable politics of exclusion. Unfortunately, too many "haves" in Boulder get their self worth, and their financial worth, from making sure the "have-nots" go home to Denver each night.