The Brookings Report and You

The following was published on the Op-Ed page of The Lexington Herald-Leader on June 9, 2009.

Nothing stimulates a Cassandra like a “sky is falling” report. The Brookings Institute report on metropolitan “carbon foot prints” has found Lexington the foulest polluter in the land, pouring out greenhouse gases at a volume sure to burn up the globe. It sure has heated up the small fowl of the Herald-Leader editorial board. Like plentiful corn, the report has fueled a wing flapping, feather flying frenzy of sprawl bashing, mass transit celebrating and a new round of attacks on your home, your freedom and your pocketbook!

What the Brookings report alleges is unimportant in the current context. What it and others like it support and promote is the subject and poses a far greater threat to the future of our children and grandchildren than possibly warmer winters. A collective of educated elites, politicians and radical environmentalists, consider the most of us unattractive herd animals, ravaging the earth in our SUV’s as we run aimlessly, thither and yon about our suburban homes, too selfish to stop and too stupid to know better. As European imperialists once felt compelled by nobless oblige to rule the benighted peoples of Africa, so today’s self-styled nobles feel an overwhelming obligation to correct and rearrange the lives of the dim-witted.

The embarrassing state we find ourselves in, according to the Herald-Leader, is all the fault of “urban sprawl, long commutes and addiction to cheap power”. If you live in a single family home, have a yard, drive to work and prefer $2 gas to $4 gas, the editorial board has you squarely in its sights! You are the problem. And what must the town do to re-enter environmentally polite society? “Push hard for more and better infill.” “Support established neighborhoods and discourage automobile usage” Smart Growth.

Neighborhood associations and coalitions, please consider the following. You have been sold a bill of goods and are being lined up at the Kool-Aid stand. Infill and supporting the character of existing neighborhoods are mutually exclusive endeavors. Infill means increased density and it must occur within your neighborhoods, there is nowhere else. The Urban Service Area is virtually full with the large tracts located on the edge. Nonetheless, during the next 20 years the smart growth lobby and the Planning Commission, plan to move more than 30,000 new residents into this area of already established homes. This is infill and it must utterly and irrevocably destroy the status quo and radically alter the social and architectural character of your neighborhood!

And how shall we discourage automobile usage, an additional gas tax? Perhaps a steep annual mileage tax will do the trick or a $500 annual city parking sticker? If they cannot talk you out of your car the greeners are ready and willing to tax you out of it.

Over the years the Herald-Leader has published a number of my letters and essays most have been directly opposed to its point of view. Usually, these are in defense of the building industry of which I am a long time member. This message though is not about me but about you. People will continue to find Lexington a better place to live than whence they came and I will continue to plan, develop and build the homes they want. The smart growth party would have me do this by bulldozing large sections of existing neighborhoods and starting over.

This “Green Revolution” is a revolution indeed and it is a clear and present danger to your homes and your freedoms.