When a building that was budgeted to cost $3.2 million winds up costing $11.5 million, something is likely to hit the fan. But in this case, the unhappy noise is local and migratory birds smacking into its environmentally-hip, LEED-Certified wall of windows.
Transit Oriented Development is an innocent-sounding term that gets some critics of local government all wee-wee’d up. In a nutshell, it’s based on the belief that your Subaru is killing the planet, so we should all ride our bikes in the rain to a train that drops us at a station just a second soggy bike ride to the office. The city and county planners and regional agencies who dream up T.O.D. schemes exercise a twisted logic that says, build a light rail or streetcar line between Point A and Point B, and soon, “vibrant communities” will sprout up around the train stations and streetcar stops.
A thriving redwood tree is one of nature’s most majestic creations. It can grow over 300 feet tall, with a trunk that can be more than 15 feet in diameter. One tree inspires awe by itself, and when gathered in groves, they create a deeply shaded cathedral that touches even non-believers like me.
The redwood in this story possesses none of those qualities.
Will County, Illinois might not be a household word, but its county seat is Joliet, which was made famous by the Blues Brothers. The official county website says it’s one of the fastest growing counties in the United States, and offers “fantastic business opportunities and a remarkable environment to all who live, work and play here.”
In 2010, Robert Rizzo, the Chief Administrative Officer of Bell, CA became the poster boy for corrupt politicians who rob taxpayers blind and get away with it because local news is the least-read section of the paper.
For decades, Detroit’s Democrat politicians have steered the city towards an inevitable crash that finally arrived in June 2013, when the city officially declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy and Kevyn Orr was federally appointed as an emergency manager, an act that turned Detroit Mayor Dave Bing into a figurehead as politically powerful as Queen Elizabeth.
Picture an unholy alliance of local government liberals and Federal bureaucrats, then take that to an even more frightening level by factoring in the classic liberal love of public transportation. These cash-burning forces converge at the one city in America that combines the worst excesses of local and Federal government: Washington, D.C.
Some critics (me) contend that local governments slice their budgets into far too many “special funds” that are designed to protect pet projects, so that a surplus in one fund – let’s say the Porcupine Mating Area EIR Fund – can’t be used to fill a deficit in another special fund – like the Bike Share Feasability Study Fund.