Friday, February 20, 2015, by Buddy Saunders
What kind of leadership does a city get when few citizens vote? The city ends up with what Arlington now has, a gaggle of big spenders bent on saving the environment under the laughable guise of “economic development.”
If you follow government and university thought and the agenda that flows from it, the message you get is that energy from fossil fuels, cars, private homes, and a lot of other things Americans aspire to all bad things.
The ideas that spring from these self-anointed mental giants are couched in such terms as “smart growth,” the implication being that if you disagree with them then you favor “dumb growth.”
We here at Opinion Arlington favor what the mental giants see as “dumb growth.” For example, one of our dumb ideas is that a car or truck moves people, goods, and services better than a bicycle. We also know fossil fuels deliver the energy we need at a cost well below that of wind and solar. And we believe that, given the option, most people would prefer to own a home rather than rent an apartment.
Those that think smart disagree. Mayor Cluck and his City Council believe Arlington needs all the apartment buildings it can get. If you want to build a high-density apartment building anywhere in Arlington, you’ll be showered with taxpayer-funded tax breaks. And if you are among the statistically nonexistent bicycle commuters in Arlington, you’ll be pleased to see more and more of the city’s streets “traffic-calmed,” meaning lane reduced or otherwise narrowed, to accommodate bicycles.
The problem with spending taxpayer money to accomplish nutcake goals is that such activity is expensive while yielding no benefit, or even negative benefit, for the ordinary citizen.
Here’s a perfect example. The Lamar Street Park and Ride facility (900 West Lamar near the Kroger) represents a true monument to our mental giant leaders. In 1999, at a cost of over half-a-million dollars, the city built a 550-car parking lot with a large covered pavilion with the expectation that it would fill with carpoolers and thus do wonders for the city’s unacceptable carbon footprint.
Drive by that lot today and you’ll see as few as one car and on a good day as many as eight or nine, but never more. The citizens of Arlington are still paying for this white elephant to this very day, maintaining it with yet more tax dollars.
Mayor Cluck and his council have never apologized for this gross waste of taxpayer dollars. Instead, these mental giants march on with even bigger and “smarter” plans for Arlington such as the impending multi-million dollar narrowing of Abram Street in a bid to make it “pedestrian and bicycle friendly.” Only in Arlington do we spend millions of dollars to reduce a street’s usefulness.
Sometimes it is better to be “dumb” than be a “mental giant.”
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First Elected June 2008