Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Redeveloping Story

I spent three hours this evening at the Fernley City Council where the agenda was mostly taken up with a public hearing on creating a redevelopment district that would substantially consist of most of the built-up areas of the city (including our property and house). I came in very worried about the potential for such a district to arbitrarily condemn our house, force us to sell it to the district by eminent domain, and sell it to some property developer. Having heard the comments and the explanations from the council, mayor, and staff, I am far less worried than I was coming in.

One person complained bitterly about using incremental additional funds generated through an increase in property values to be used to pay for additional infrastructure and public amenities as "socialism," and clearly he was deeply opposed to anything with "socialism" in it. That actually prompted me to go ahead and make a short statement at the very end, after most of the people had left. I said, approximately: "I like having clean water to drink. I like having law enforcement to enforce laws, and a fire department to put out fires. I like having paved roads in my community. All of these things, paid for communally by the taxes we pay, are socialism! And I don't know about the rest of you, but I like living in civilization!" Even from one of the council members who I know to be a strong Republican, that one drew a smile, and I think I heard a few chuckles in the room, which is what I had hoped to get.

From the comment that one person made to me after the meeting, he didn't get it at all. He started going on about how Bernie Sanders shouldn't be allowed to run for President, "No socialist should be allowed to run for President!" They were shooing us all out of the building, which is probably just as well because I would have earnestly looked him in the eye and said, "Few things are as deeply un-American as saying that a person should not be allowed to exercise their political freedom, including running for elected office, solely based upon the content of that speech. Such a claim runs right up against the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and undermines any claim we might have to be a free society." Again, I doubt he'd get it. I rather expect that to him, "Freedom is for me and for anyone that agrees with me."
Tags: fernley, politcs
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