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June 28, 2007

Comments

Hattie

This is so sad. Relatives of mine who have a vacation place in McCall, Idaho, sing the same sad tune. There affluent outsiders are even driving out the affluent locals!

Arwen

Speculative housing bubble has gentrified everything. Compton, for crying out loud, with 900 square foot homes going for 300K. Not sustainable. Real wages are not keeping up. Rent, if eating 60% of the median and below working stiff's budget removes their money from the economy in other places. It's a shaky house of cards.

Every boom followed by a bust.

Arwen

Sorry, that's 60% of the budget of the working stiff making the median income or less.

Laura

I'm a Peace Corps volunteer in Romania and all I can say is if you want to live inexpensively and still get to see earth and sky - Come to Romania?

Curly Earl

What about the economic impact these "outsiders" bring to these "off the beaten path" areas ?

The locals, like it not not, welcome the influx as it drives property values higher, provide higher paying jobs and puts more money into the pipeline.

All these properties changing hands ?. Someone had to sell them. They are not squatting or asking for a free rides.

I don't get your point.

Take Hawaii. Do you think the natives there were complaining when mainland cash started to flow in ? Not a chance. Time to cash in .

Telluride. They did this to themselves.

Justin K.

...................sad

A Canadian

I agree with Curly Earl. The land must have belonged to some locals at some time. They sold out, I guess. When you sell out you no longer have any right to complain....

Monica

They may not have a right to complain legally, but they may have, morally. It depends on the circumstances.

Capitalism is good at making people lose their rights through legal means, just because they can't afford not to do so. For instance, someone who can't afford to buy a home may have to put up with conditions they don't like, such as allowing the landlord to enter their apartment by giving a 24-hour notice. Some other landlord may say no pets, or no smoking, or something else. For financial and location reasons, it may be impossible to find an apartment where there are no conditions that the tenant does not quite like. But it is by signing a lease that the tenant loses certain rights, or acquires certain obligations. He is not exactly forced to sign. Same thing for employment, or for some sale transactions. Maybe some of the people who sold their property were pushed by economic forces, such as the need to get money to feed their family or the inability to pay mortgages or get them renewed at a cost they could still afford. There are ways to make people lose their rights and property and even sign that they agree. And there are, or there used to be, cultures without proper papers that could be taken advantage of by someone from a more sophisticated legal system.

buena

Barbara, I live in a town like the ones you describe. It's a very sticky problem. Locals hate the newcomers but have no qualms about subdividing their open land into small ( 1 or 2 acre) parcels and making a killing on it. Then they bitch because it's getting so ugly here with all the development!

And just try to enact some sort of smart-growth zoning requirements and you'll hear the ranchers and developers squeal like stuck pigs. We've been trying to develop some sort of reasonable subdivision regulations since I came here 14 years ago. The ranchers and developers have money and they pack the commissioner's meetings, and nothing ever happens.

Bottom line, there are too many people in the world, and there's not enough world left. We all want to slam the door on newcomers as soon as we've found a beautiful place.

lc2

Well I now live in an expensive rural-ish area and grew up in a cheap truly rural area ... and I can tell you it's better to be broke in beautiful surroundings. Couldn't agree more that even if it's not a biological imperative to crave the solitude and tear-rendering quality of the sticks ... it's better for the soul. Give me open space over skinny lattes any day (although to be honest, we have both in my area ... and that's why our 800 sq.ft. house is appraised at $200K). But you have to have aggressive anti-subdivision zoning, and real, not just token pro-farming and ag.land protection policies to make it work. Tax breaks for families who vow to keep space open, even if it's not being actively farmed. Grants for up-and-coming farmers. Etc. And also the vacationers have to accept that if a place is affordable, trailers and double-wides will dot the horizon ... and that's all part of being in the country.

Hattie

Where I live trailers are banned. And billboards. We struggle along without them somehow.

chris

Barbara writes:

"This Land is Their Land"

Following that title is a screed that expressed contempt by the gallon for every American, including those who are lucky enough to benefit from the growing popularity of their towns.

She writes:

"Sun Valley...The sky was deep blue, the air crystalline, the hills green and not yet on fire. Strolling out of the Sun Valley Lodge...the boutiques were displaying outdoor racks of summer clothing on sale!

"But things started to get a little sinister - because even at a 60 percent discount, I couldn’t find a sleeveless cotton shirt for less than $100. These items shouldn’t have been outdoors; they should have been in locked glass cases."

Locked Glass Cases? In other words, shoplifting deterrents. I see. She thinks we're a nation of shoplifters, especially when it comes to expensive boutique clothing items for women. Nice. She's surprised merchants in Sun Valley aren't worried about theft. Maybe, just maybe, affluent shoppers PAY when they shop.

Sun Valley does have a lot of wealthy visitors and residents. That's one reason many of the locals are locals.

Skiing? Some of the best IN THE WORLD. Thank W. A. Harriman, the CEO of Union Pacific Railroad for discovering the site and building the initial Sun Valley resort in 1935 -- in the Great Depression. I just know the locals hated having work in those tough days. Clark Gable, Errol Flynn and Ernest Hemingway were lured in to give some zip to the place. Awfu. Just awful.

Of course Hemingway did commit suicide in Sun Valley. But I don't think the development of the resort or nearby Hailey caused him to do it.

She writes:

"Then I remembered the general rule, which has been in place since sometime in the ‘90s: If a place is truly beautiful, you can’t afford to be there."

This is the big laugh. Land prices rise when populations grow. When people arrive, their arrival and presence creates work.

She misleads:

"All right, I’m sure there are still exceptions – a few scenic spots not yet eaten up by mansions. But they’re going fast."

Let's try Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, up in the northern panhandle of the state. In 1980 about 15,000 people lived in the CdA area. Today the population of the area is 50,000.

Why? CdA was once bounded by large agricultural tracts of land devoted to the production of grass-seed. However, as people began moving to the old town, builders sought land on which to build homes for the new arrivals, as well as long-time residents who were ready to leave the old creaky house for a new place.

Guess what? The builders bought the land that had previously been nothing but open flat land used to produce grass-seed, and covered that land with small houses on small plots of land.

These houses were built for working people and their families. You could call these housing developments the Levittowns of the Rockies. They have delivered similar benefits to their owners. These aren't the feared "rich people" who buy these homes. They are the locals and the new arrivals. The tradesmen, the skilled workers.

I know the area well. I've been visiting Coeur d'Alene since 1980.

She writes:

"Driggs ID, just over the Tetons from wealthy Jackson Hole. At that time, Driggs was where the workers lived...The point is, we low-rent folks got to wake up to the same scenery the rich people enjoyed, and hike along the same pine-scented trails."

and:

"But the money was already starting to pour into Driggs – transforming family potato farms into vast dynastic estates. I understand Driggs has become another unaffordable Jackson Hole. Where the waitstaff and bed-makers live today I do not know."

More lunacy. First, those jobs in Jackson must pay major wages for people to travel long distances over mountain ranges to work them.

OR, there's another reason people go long distances to work lousy jobs. The job gives them something else. Usually, it's a ski pass.

Jackson Hole is another American resort that attracts skiers from all over the world. For many years you could visit any restaurant in Jackson (or Sun Valley or Aspen, and many other places) and you would find almost every employee in the place -- including dishwasher and bus-boy -- was a college graduate. In my ski bumming days, I knew people who took a year or two off from PhD studies to ski. The big attraction was the nearly free ski pass -- and the incredible fun of life at a big ski resort.

Moreover, locals soon realized the resort business was great for them too. They were the builders, the plumbers, the electricians, and the doctors and lawyers.

The commuters from Driggs, however, must have been gratified when Driggs became popular. That house Barbara rented must have begun generating more revenue for its owner as the town's popularity climbed. Local life definitely improved for the locals. And the new arrivals had a reason to arrive. In fact, those who had been traveling over the hump from Driggs to Jackson may well have been able to work in the newly popular Driggs and end their lengthy commutes, unless their real purpose was skiing at Jackson.

She writes:

"I take this personally. I need to see vast expanses of water, 360 degree horizons, and mountains piercing the sky—at least for a week or two of the year. According to evolutionary psychologist Nancy Etcoff, we all do, and the need is hard-wired into us."

Yes. And there are more Americans than ever. There are 300 million of us. In 1965 the population of the US hit 200 million. Thus, it has increased 50% in about 40 years.

But over the same period, the population of Idaho has doubled. It is now almost 1.5 million. Americans like Idaho. So do illegal immigrants.

Idaho is also a very white state. Census data shows it is 95% white. The overall US population is about 80% white.

Looking at other race characteristics, Idaho is about 0.5% black. Idaho is also known for its neo-nazis and its Aryan Nations church. However, those clowns are feeling the heat. The recent arrivals are driving them out. Or at least driving them to the fringes, where they have little impact and attract no national media coverage like they did in the 1990s. That's good, isn't it?

She writes:

"But the gentrification of rural American has a downside for the wealthy too. The more expensive a resort town gets, the further its workers have to commute to keep it functioning."

It is a rare town in Idaho that has no room for low-wage earners. Idaho, by the way, receives MORE handouts from Washington than it SENDS to Washington. In other words, for years it has been a Welfare State. But the arrival of more residents who are better educated and better paid is changing that. The day is coming when Idaho PAYS and RECEIVES its fair share of federal tax revenue.

She writes:

"And if your heart doesn’t bleed for the dishwasher or landscaper who commutes two to four hours a day, at least shed a tear for the wealthy vacationer who gets stuck in the ensuing traffic."

Please. I can't take it. The whining over a thing that never was. The Good Old Days. No dishwasher commutes four hours to a wash dishes. This is a myth -- unless, as I said, the dishwasher is merely funding his skiing habit.

Meanwhile, it is common for resorts to supply employee housing. I worked on the construction of the Big Sky resort in Montana, just north of Yellowstone Park. At the resort were two substantial buildings of small living units and bunk areas for employees.

Life in those units was like all the best parts of college life without classes. We were the bartenders, the dishwashers, the waiters, waitresses, lift operators, ski patrol, etc. Fun like you cannot believe.

She writes:

"It’s bumper to bumper westbound out of Telluride every day at five, or eastbound on Route 1 out of Key West, for the Lexuses as well as the beat-up old pick-up trucks."

So what?

She writes:

"Then there’s the elusive element of charm, which quickly drains away in a uniform population of multi-millionaires."

Fiction. There's no "uniform population of multi-millionaires." However, some of the NEW millionaires are the LOCAL landowners who are able to sell their properties to arriving millionaires.

The farmers around Coeur d'Alene were ecstatic that builders were offering enough money for the land to allow the farmers to retire comfortably, instead of working till they dropped. I guess that's bad.

Meanwhile, the nature of this exclusivity is appalling. It boils down to shutting the door on property sales and development at some arbitrary point that, remarkably, follows on the heels of the arrival of the biggest whiner in the valley.

Of course these morons never understand economics. Or the forces that keep people on the outside.

This land envy and the selfishness of those who want to increase the difficulty of obtaining some is appalling. It is also deceitful. If the enemy -- affluent buyers -- are prevented from buying land through various zoning limitations, the result is ALWAYS fewer job opportunities for low-wage people. A prosperous community ALWAYS includes a need for more workers. Those are often the people who once traveled far to work at lousy jobs.

The attractive power of prosperity might be the force that pulls illegal immigrants to the US. Yes?

She writes:

"The Hamptons had their fishermen."

Hamptons fishermen and potato farmers are quaint remnants from the past. So what? Now people spend serious money to hire those fishermen to take them out on sport-fishing boats to catch sharks and other deep water fish. Sounds like a good thing.

She writes:

"Key West still advertises its “characters” – sun-bleached, weather-beaten, misfits who drifted down for the weather or to escape some difficult situation on the mainland."

Oh. In other words, she's taking that semi-romantic view of claiming the characters of Key West have escaped from someone's novel. Actually, before helping to popularize Sun Valley, Ernest Hemingway did his part for Key West. To Have and Have Not was written in Key West. He arrived near the start of the Depression. You can be sure the people of Key West appreciated the fact that he helped to increase tourism, which became substantial while he lived there -- over 70 years ago.

She writes:

"But the fishermen are long gone from the Hamptons and disappearing from Cape Cod. As for Key West’s “characters”: With the traditional little “conch houses” once favored by shrimpers going for a million and up, these human sources of local color have to be prepared to sleep with the scorpions under the highway overpass."

Yeah, well, a century ago, when Key West was nothing, well, it was nothing. The area had mosquito problems that drove off almost everyone.

She writes:

"In Telluride, even a local developer is complaining about the lack of affordable housing. “To have a real town,” he told the Financial Times, “Telluride needs some locals hanging out"—in old-fashioned diners, for example, where you don’t have to speak Italian to order a cup of coffee."

If Telluride NEEDS some old-fashioned diners for locals, this clown should build one or two. But I'll bet no one has offered to finance the construction of an old-fashioned diner.
Times are changing.

She writes:

""America the Beautiful" -- I don’t think it was meant to be sung by a chorus of hedge fund operators."

There aren't enough hedge-fund operators in the world to populate a dying town in Iowa.

However, for those looking for that Last Good Place, here's the biggest tip you'll ever get: CUBA.

Yet another Hemingway favorite.

After Fidel croaks, and that day is getting close, it is likely his brother will liberalize the country enough for the US to end its embargo. Cuba will once again become a great destination. It is an island stuck in the 1950s. Everything is old. But that will change as Americans arrive.

If you want a cheap place, steer clear of Havana. Cuba is the real estate opportunity of the 21st century. You can be sure -- absolutely certain -- that Cubans will welcome Americans and every dollar we spend on the island.

lc2

You know chris, this might come as a shock to you, but there are cities other than your beloved NYC in the world, and there are rural areas outside of Idaho too. For a self-professed numbers guy you certainly seem to get hung up on anecdote-driven diatribes. You do actually live in a predominantly rural state ... or were you unaware?

Justin K.

Ok Chris I have a number for you. 2055, do you know what that number represents? It’s how many words you typed in your last “comment” and I stopped reading after 100 words. I asked this before and got no response so I’ll ask again. Why are you on this page? What are you looking for? You don’t seem to agree with what Barbara says. Your “comments” are so long that most people most likely don’t read it and your “comments” lose all credibility. So why are you here? Maybe your just here to take the fun out of this page. Maybe that’s your job. Who knows, maybe you’re paid to go to human rights rallies and under mind the validity of the event. But I suppose if that where the case you would never tell us that. How ever I still want to know what you hope to accomplish by posting on this page.

buena

Ignore chris. That's the only way to get rid of him.

realpc

Barbara, you seem to be unaware of the basic facts of nature. When an environment is desirable, for any reason, plants and animals start moving in. Competition intensifies as the area starts to fill up.

This has gone on since long before humans arrived on earth. You cannot expect resources to be infinite. As long as our population continues growing, the desirable places will be filled with our species, and other species will die out.

You cannot expect the earth to support more and more humans with luxury and beauty for all.

Every species, and every human society, had to seek out its niche. Humans have managed to survive in deserts and on glaciers. We are the most adaptable species and now, thanks to technology and industry, we are crowding out the others.

So rich people can afford to live in nicer places and the poor can't? Don't you see that this is how reality works?

The situation results directly from our great success. If you want an ever-increasing number of people to enjoy the luxuries of modern life, then you can't also expect to preserve the beauty of nature.

chris

lc2, you wrote:

"You know chris, this might come as a shock to you, but there are cities other than your beloved NYC in the world, and there are rural areas outside of Idaho too."

Yes, there are towns all over the Mid-West that are suffering the pains of depopulation. The kids who go to college never return. Like my mother, who left Creston, Iowa for Northwestern U and NY City, only seeing it on occasional visits.

You can buy the finest house in Creston for a shockingly small sum. But, believe it or not, Wal-Mart has benefited Creston.

You wrote:

"For a self-professed numbers guy you certainly seem to get hung up on anecdote-driven diatribes."

The numbers support my anecdotes.

You wrote:

"You do actually live in a predominantly rural state ... or were you unaware?"

Do you pluck this stuff from the air?

The population of NY State is 19 million. Two-thirds (67%) of the population of New York State lives in NY City and the six counties around it.

Then you have the cities of Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Utica, Binghamton and Plattsburgh to bump up the percentage of urban/suburban further.

New York State may have plenty of rural countryside. But the vast majority of New Yorkers live in cities and suburbs. The rural population is small.

Here's some numbers for you. The population density of NY State is 402 people per square mile. The population density of the US is 80 people per square mile.

lc2

Um, chris, no kidding. I was talking about area, not population. But you've answered my question ... that you have very little curiosity about your more or less immediate surroundings and how it impacts your food supply, water quality, electricity rates, and the like. Thanks for the answer!

chris

lc2, you wrote:

"...that you have very little curiosity about your more or less immediate surroundings and how it impacts your food supply, water quality, electricity rates, and the like."

I am painfully aware of food prices, water quality and supplies, electricity rates and all the other costs of living.

What question are you asking?

Are you asking if I know WHY prices for some goods and services are higher in NYC than other areas?

Or HOW the water system works? Or WHERE electricity comes from.

When it comes to NYC, the answers are often unique.

Just so you know, the utility companies over the entire US must spend a lot of money to provide service to new sites. A growing population leaves utility companies no choice but to spend on new service and new production facilities.

There are 300 million Americans today who need water, electricity and gas. It took 40 years for the population to rise from 200 million to 300 million. Based on the demographic trend of the last decade, I'd say we will hit 400 million in less than 40 years. A lot less.

You seem to suggest that free movement of citizens should end.

Do you think there is some unused strategy that would allow this country to meet its water, gas and electricity needs at costs far below current levels?

There are many ways to cut costs, like open oil drilling on more US land and restarting our nuclear power programs. But that's all political.

If costs of gas and electricity are your concern, then you should realize that the high cost of energy reflects the unfortunate effect environmentalists have had on our energy industry.

Anyway, I think you are pining for a life that does not, and has not, existed in this country.


Curly Earl

Hattie proclaims :

Where I live trailers are banned. And billboards. We struggle along without them somehow.

Yeah, OK. And your point is ?

Have you ever ventured upcountry to see how the real people live ? I seem to recall seeing both trailers and billboards, so perhaps in your enclave you wont see too many trailer parks, but isn't this the problem Barbara is lamenting ?

Hilo Hattie, visionary extrordinaire.

lc2

chris, I don't have to pine for anything, I'm already living my dream. And here's a hint: it doesn't involve Wal-Mart.

I wasn't really asking for a lecture about electricity de-regulation, I was wondering if you've ventured upstate to see the farmland that's been sold so ya'll in the city can have cheap power. I was wondering if you think maybe it would've been better to keep some of that farmland viable so that so much affordable produce didn't have to be trucked from farther away. Ever stood back and contemplated the reservoirs upstate, or learned about the towns that were sacrificed so you could get good clean water from the tap? But I guess you city dwellers have loftier issues to consider. Just remember not to talk about farmers w/your mouth full.

lc2

I have to agree with Curly ... Hattie, what is your point, exactly? Other than that you find your particular area more aesthetically pleasing than those that allow double-wides? You say people struggle along somehow ... are you sure they haven't just been priced out of the area altogether? That sounds exactly like something Barbara E. wrote in "N&D": that the popular consensus is that "surely the poor struggle along somehow ... don't they?"

Hattie

The concern trolls are out in force!
If you're looking for authenticity as represented by destitute people, you can find plenty of it around here. This isn't Maui, this is the non-tourist side of Hawaii Island.
I would almost favor trailers as low cost housing here, but county regulations for infrastructure density and services would make it hard for us to have trailer parks. We already have thousands of people living in substandar housing without "the basics" electricity, running water, sewers. Trailer park population densities without services would be a catastrophe.
We have just a very few trailers sitting on large rural lots now.
The island of Kauai bans trailer parks outright. On the East side of Hawaii Island it's more a matter of impracticality.
And thanks to the work of The Outdoor Circle, a citizen's group, all of Hawaii banned billboards many years ago. Can't say I miss them.

paperpusher666

Hattie, another factor that discriminates against trailers is that they are considered personal property, even if you own the land where they are placed and you do the necessary site preparation to make them "permanent". If you want to buy one, banks won't lend you the money for longer than a car.

I was the project manager for the construction of an office building in 1996. We could have built 22000 square feet for the same money as 17000 sq.ft. had we used trailers rather than a permanent building. I argued for permanent construction for two reasons: lower heating and cooling costs and the desire to avoid a rehab that would cost half of the purchase price of the building in 5 years or so. Due to the climate in the area, we had run into the need to rehab 4 other temporary structures after that amount of time.

Temporary construction tends to become permanent. Once it's up, people will want to use and keep the building. If you can keep up the maintenance, trailers can be a very nice place to live. The trouble is that many people who live in trailers often defer maintenance, and so the trailer gets run down over the years.

Hattie

Interesting. Of course any kind of construction needs maintenance. Our biggest problem here is poor infrastructure.

name

YES....YES.....

chris

lc2, you wrote:

"chris, I don't have to pine for anything, I'm already living my dream. And here's a hint: it doesn't involve Wal-Mart."

I'm not suggesting anyone should love WalMart. My WalMart concerns boil down to customers getting quality products at low prices.

You wrote:

"I wasn't really asking for a lecture about electricity de-regulation, I was wondering if you've ventured upstate to see the farmland that's been sold so ya'll in the city can have cheap power."

Apparently you do need a lecture. Electricity rates in New York City are high. Not cheap, as you stated.

Second, it is a LAW that 80% of NY City's power be generated INSIDE city limits. That means only 20% comes from sources outside the city. Some comes from Hydro-Quebec. Some from Indian Point Nuclear plant.

Meanwhile, electricity production is becoming a more open business. In other words, power now enters the US electrical grids in many locations and it sold to end-users who are often far away. The transmission infrastructure needs a lot of improvement, but that takes time and money.

You asked:

"I was wondering if you think maybe it would've been better to keep some of that farmland viable so that so much affordable produce didn't have to be trucked from farther away."

First, no vast tracts of land were converted from farming to energy production.

Second, farmers who have sold property, sold it at market rates. The property was not seized through some application of Eminent Domain. Moreover, if farming was sufficiently lucrative, other farmers would buy the land of selling farmers. If farms are disappearing, it's because buyers with different ambitions are acquiring the land. That implies non-farmers are offering more for the land than other farmers. I don't know why a retiring farmer would sell his land to someone offering less.

You wrote:

"Ever stood back and contemplated the reservoirs upstate, or learned about the towns that were sacrificed so you could get good clean water from the tap?"

You raise a few issues with this statement. First, the NY reservoir system is over a century old. It was staked out a long time ago, when the population of NY City was far less than it is today.

What towns were sacrificed? There is no Hoover Dam that created a lake where previously there had been a valley.

The reservoir system covers a small percentage of the state. The water from the system is delivered to towns along the routes of the aqueducts.

You wrote:

"But I guess you city dwellers have loftier issues to consider."

Your comment also raises the point that you think a limit should exist on water supplies to NY City. You seem to suggest that a handful of people in the Catskills are suffering because over 8 million people in NY City are unfairly benefiting from water rights.

Do you think there are no compromises in life for NY City dwellers?

It's possible the water rights of NYC have affected supplies upstate enough to limit some farming. But clean water is a resource, and no resource is available in unlimited quantities. Thus, choices must be made.

Is the trade-off between water and food from Catskill farms a smart one? Obviously yes. The price of MOST food is not a function of transportation costs. That is one variable among several.

Meanwhile, Green Markets operate in open spaces all over the city every weekend and at least a couple of days during the week. When I worked in the World Trade Center, a Green Market operated along two streets bordering the site.

Their prices are okay. But not remarkably low. Plus, they sell a lot of value-added products -- cookies, jams, pies, etc -- at smaller discounts from local store prices.

But hey, the prices reflect the cost of doing business, and the amount of money customers are willing to pay. In other words, a free market.

Meanwhile, you might want ot look into milk pricing in New York. The process is criminal. However, I think WalMart could break the milk-pricing cartel.

How much is a gallon of milk where you live? The most common price near me is $3.89 a gallon, $2.49 a half-gallon, and $1.49 for a quart.

Lucy

One of the characteristics of scenic areas is that there are few jobs in such places. People live in ugly large cities because that is where the work is. The rich people who can afford to live in lovely rural cities provide money to support the poor people who can then also live there and benefit from the jobs provided by meeting the wealthy's needs. There is nothing wonderful about people cutting down trees and clearly out animals in order to do subsistence farming, although you seem to think it is quaint. It is far preferable to put up with a few mansions so that a local shop has customers and people can still see a view instead of fields or clearcut.

lc2

chris,

For a smart guy who wants to win this and every argument you pick, your ignorance about the resources you use every day, astounds me.

Of course communities were flooded to create the reservoirs. Of course there are terrific problems and even fatalities (three a couple of weeks ago) b'c of flooding during storms, with the water table permanently altered with the reservoir construction -- doesn't matter that they were dug a hundred years ago. To not acknowledge reality when it sits so close to your home is mind-boggling. I'm not saying the trade-offs aren't worth it to all concerned, but at least see the situation for what it is.

Of course farmland was seized to accomodate power lines, and of course your elec. would be pricier if said power lines hadn't been installed in the early 80s. I happen to know this b'c I was at forums in local gymnasiums and fire halls where people were trying in vain to organize against behemoth Niagara-Mohawk. Guess I must've imagined that.

What is locally-produced and less-traveled food worth to you? It will be worth a lot more if gas prices keep creeping up. It wouldn't hurt you to realize that electricity doesn't come from the switch on your wall, food doesn't magically appear at the local grocery, and water doesn't materialize at your kitchen sink.

chris

lc2, you wrote:

"Of course communities were flooded to create the reservoirs."

Name a community that was flooded in the creation of the Catskill Water Supply system and let me know how many people were displaced.

You wrote:

"Of course there are terrific problems..."

Like what?

You wrote:

"...and even fatalities (three a couple of weeks ago) b'c of flooding during storms,"

You can find an account of a drowning in any body of water in this country including a kitchen sink. So what?

You wrote:

"...with the water table permanently altered with the reservoir construction -- doesn't matter that they were dug a hundred years ago."

You should do a little research on the topic. They weren't "dug".

Meanwhile, the entire system for NY City was essentially completed by 1915.

You wrote:

"Of course farmland was seized to accomodate power lines, and of course your elec. would be pricier if said power lines hadn't been installed in the early 80s. I happen to know this b'c I was at forums in local gymnasiums and fire halls where people were trying in vain to organize against behemoth Niagara-Mohawk.

Niagara Mohawk has never served NY City. That aside, power-company rights-of-way and easements do not equal wholesale conversions of farmland to other uses, like sites for housing developments.

You wrote:

"Guess I must've imagined that."

Some of it. Yes.

You wrote:

"What is locally-produced and less-traveled food worth to you? It will be worth a lot more if gas prices keep creeping up."

Worth more? Not a chance. The consumer pays a price that reflects all the factors of getting the goods to market.

Thus, the local producer loves competing with someone who must ask for higher prices. The high-priced player establishes the market. If the expensive guy charges a dollar for his tomato, the local guy will charge a little less, or maybe the same.

But if there was no expensive guy peddling his goods, the low-cost local guy would find himself competing with other low-cost local guys and he might get only 50 cents for his tomato instead of a buck.

You can be sure the local guy is happy to compete with those who must ask high prices.

You wrote:

"It wouldn't hurt you to realize that electricity doesn't come from the switch on your wall, food doesn't magically appear at the local grocery, and water doesn't materialize at your kitchen sink."

Meanwhile, the Green Energy people will cause the price of food to rise if ethanol becomes an energy staple. So much corn will go to ethanol production that all corn products and corn feed for livestock will become more expensive. Food prices will rise as we attempt to use a food staple for energy.

Anarcissie

chris: '... Meanwhile, the Green Energy people will cause the price of food to rise if ethanol becomes an energy staple. So much corn will go to ethanol production that all corn products and corn feed for livestock will become more expensive. Food prices will rise as we attempt to use a food staple for energy. ...'

According to the commie mailing lists and blogs I read, that has already been happening. In some poorer countries, it is becoming a serious problem. Soon you'll be able to starve an African every time you tool down to the mall in your truck for a quart of hormone-flavored milk. But whatever. Nothing must infringe the right to burn all the gas you can lay your hands on as fast as possible.

lc2

Well chris, the fact that you're unfazed by the drownings around the NYC reservoirs tells me everything I need to know about you ... and that this discussion isn't worth my time. Feel free to fend for yourself if and when any of your food, water, heat, or fuel supplies dwindle. In the meantime, realize that your bluster, bravado, and cut+paste editing won't put food in your mouth if it comes to that.

Cheers!

hong kong willie

more money is all they want. hong kong willie

hong kong willie

more money is all they want. hong kong willie

chris

lc2, you wrote:

"Well chris, the fact that you're unfazed by the drownings around the NYC reservoirs tells me everything I need to know about you..."

In other words, you are arguing that because it is possible for people to drown in the Catskill reservoir system that provides water for New York City, that is a reason to limit water supplies to NY City? Or to stop development in NY City? Or something.

Drownings are unfortunate, but they have nothing to do with the use of rural land in this state.

You wrote:

"Feel free to fend for yourself if and when any of your food, water, heat, or fuel supplies dwindle."

You make absolutely no sense. You seem to say that a humanitarian crisis is looming for New York City residents due to some bizarre developments putting upstate NYer's at odds with NY City dwellers.

Meanwhile, based on your comments about Niagara Mohawk, its clear you don't know which citizens of NY the company serves. And it appears you did want to stop other upstate NYers from receiving electricity generated in your region. A clear case of NIMBY. Nice.

James

Thanks for an interesting article.

I'm English and our beautiful places have been out of range for a very long time. I have East of Eden fantasies about the US and I'm sorry to hear it's happening over there too. As with another commenter here, I'm thinking about eastern Europe.

KV

In economic matters the U.S. (and others too, I am sure) are not much more than a reeking cesspool of graft and fraud.
The only people who don't have to swim in it in order not to drown are the ones that add the most to it's volume.
THEY are the only ones who can afford to buy the boats over the sides of which they continue to piss on the rest of us.
And we gaze lovingly and adoringly upward at them in abject sycophancy, just glad to be noticed and given an opportunity to capture a droplet of that golden stream.

Sad, but true.

Ed

Guthrie deliberately wrote that song as a sarcastic protest. So it was indeed meant to be sung by a chorus of hedge fund operators. :-)

UpstateNYGirl

So, chris, what's your thought on New York Regional Interconnect, the company that is, in fact, planning to put power lines on a current railroad track through upstate NY, lowering the property values (further) of those along the route and raising the electricity prices of those people (with lower incomes) in the central NY area, so the people in NY city can have cheaper power? How about they build a nuclear power plant on Long Island instead? It's closer...

JacksonHoleFeminist

Barbara,
Thank you for writing this post. I just moved back to Jackson Hole, where I grew up 20-odd years ago, when it was still a quirky cowboy town. I love this place and these mountains as if they were family (my human family also have managed to stay here). I feel outraged -- and deeply sad -- that the superrich have bought up so much of my hometown. You named a few of them. However, please don't count Harrison Ford among the opportunistic "owners" - Mr. Ford was here decades ago, he keeps a low profile and is accepted as a local by locals. He saw long ago what would happen to Jackson and he bought 100s of acres to set aside as conservation land - that land along the Snake River is still protected today even though I'm sure there are developers foaming at the mouth to get at it.
Instead, it's worth mentioning that Dick Cheney has a home here, which is emblematic of the superconservative superrich who've descended upon us.. we must have the most well-funded "Crisis Pregnancy Center" in rural America. Check out their newsletters - and donors! - at http://www.cpcjh.org/contact.htm
Thanks again for writing about this important issue.

chris

UpstateNYGirl, you wrote:

"So, chris, what's your thought on New York Regional Interconnect, the company that is, in fact, planning to put power lines on a current railroad track through upstate NY..."

I'm all for it.

You wrote:

"...lowering the property values (further) of those along the route..."

How do you know? Answer. You don't. Meanwhile, the preceding sentence is ironic in the context of this discussion. Barbara's original post noted the high and rising cost-of-living in places of great scenic beauty. You, however, are claiming that the beauty of Upstate NY is already cheap, and might get cheaper. Isn't that an argument for putting power lines everywhere?

With respect to electricity production, what would happen to upstate rates if the upstate population began to surge?

In New York City, there are many visible objects that supposedly impair the appeal of property. Yet real estate prices keep rising. Even in the very, very worst parts of the city.

Take East New York, a section of Brooklyn on the Brooklyn/Queens border. Though much improved, it is the home of the 75th police precinct, which is the precinct that has recorded the highest number of murders per year every year for a long time. Despite more than a murder a week in this area, a brownstone rowhouse is $500,000. Nuts? Right.

You wrote:

"...and raising the electricity prices of those people (with lower incomes) in the central NY area..."

False. Part of the deal to obtain the necessary rights-of-way, easements and buy the needed properties is rate relief. People upstate are not going to see HIGHER rates as a result of this project. However, with oil at $70 a barrel, EVERYBODY will feel a little pain.

You wrote:

"...so the people in NY city can have cheaper power?"

I don't know where this nonsense comes from, but NY City power rates are probably the HIGHEST in the country. But you seem to suggest that upstate residents will somehow subsidize power rates for NY City residents, when, in fact, it's the other way around.

You wrote:

"How about they build a nuclear power plant on Long Island instead? It's closer..."

Perhaps you are joking. Or perhaps you don't know about Shoreham, the nuclear power plant on Long Island that ran into huge problems over construction problems about 25 years ago.

I am a big supporter of nuclear power plants. They offer the only form of energy production that answers almost all of our prayers. Almost, but not all.

As for the NY Regional Interconnect, like most projects of this type, its true impact on upstate residents will fall far far short of the wild claims made by its opponents.

Maybe you are unfamiliar with the game. It's known as extortion. The locals stand in the way of progress until they are offered enough incentives to step aside.

Meanwhile, though the NYRI will cover a route of about 190 miles, most of that mileage is over land on which rights-of-way already exist.

The NYRI is quibbling with opponents about lines traveling over about 20 miles of property.

The Alaska Pipeline hasn't harmed Alaska or the residents. In fact, the revenue from the oil has paid generous dividends to the Alaskans entitled to receive the checks.

chris

JacksonHoleFeminist, you wrote:

"I just moved back to Jackson Hole, where I grew up 20-odd years ago, when it was still a quirky cowboy town."

It's always interesting how people relate to their hometowns and how most people feel the towns were born around them. Almost as though the towns have no history more ancient than that of the writer.

You wrote:

"I love this place and these mountains as if they were family (my human family also have managed to stay here). I feel outraged -- and deeply sad -- that the superrich have bought up so much of my hometown."


Yeah, the rich are always such a problem. You ought to look into the Rockefellers' impact on your favorite part of Wyoming.

You wrote:

"However, please don't count Harrison Ford among the opportunistic "owners" -"

What makes the buyer of property in an area of spectacular natural beauty OPPORTUNISTIC? It is clear are expressing a negative sentiment with your use of the word.

You wrote:

"Mr. Ford was here decades ago, he keeps a low profile and is accepted as a local by locals. He saw long ago what would happen to Jackson and he bought 100s of acres to set aside as conservation land - that land along the Snake River is still protected today even though I'm sure there are developers foaming at the mouth to get at it."

I see. So "developers" are now the bad guys. Of course people would have to desire to buy the property from the developers. And there are far more buyers than developers. In any case, isn't it the new people to whom you truly object?

Meanwhile, it is the height of selfishness, bordering on contempt, to praise the exclusion of people from an attractive area when the person praising the exclusion has ties to the area that grant insider status.

JacksonHoleFeminist, can you afford to buy a place in Jackson Hole? Or are you dependent upon your family for your return to the old hometown?

Meanwhile, tough zoning laws that restrict development in areas of great scenic beauty result in real estate sales ONLY to the well heeled. Thus, when such thoughtful locals as Harrison Ford buy large tracts of land, the remaining parcels become pricier due to the decrease in supply. That pretty much guarantees the new people in town will come equipped with a lot of money.

You wrote:

"Instead, it's worth mentioning that Dick Cheney has a home here, which is emblematic of the superconservative superrich who've descended upon us..."

Dick Cheney, unlike Harrison Ford, moved to Wyoming as a kid. Whether you want to admit it or not, he has contributed more to the well being of Wyoming than Harrison Ford. However, I'm certain Harrison Ford is the wealthier of the two, if that means anything.

Meanwhile, Wyoming is another state that is overwhelmingly white. Blacks are seldom seen, accounting for less than 1% of the popuation.

You wrote:

"...we must have the most well-funded "Crisis Pregnancy Center" in rural America."

It's impossible to know how you feel about this center, which is aimed at dissuading girls from having abortions in the hope that they will deliver babies for adoption.

What is your view of this Crisis Pregnancy Center?

You wrote:

"Check out their newsletters - and donors! - at http://www.cpcjh.org/contact.htm"

I did. Very interesting.

Monica

"Dissuading girls from having abortions in the hope that they will deliver babies for adoption" is a good thing. Actually, it's better if the mother or her relatives raise the baby. But then, if she is about to have an abortion, anything that saves the baby is better than abortion, because at least the baby will live. It's sad that some mothers would do away with their own baby and find excuses such as that it was not born yet and the mother was poor or busy with things like education.

I used to think like that until I realized how unfair it is to prevent a human being from existing (not hypothetically such as by not having sex, but once it is conceived) for socio-economic reasons and selfish personal reasons. This is a culture of death. In more primitive societies where life was often short, at least whatever life existed was allowed to thrive for as long as it could (with some exceptions such as execution). I don't see why a society where many people live short, possibly happy, lives until some disease kills them is any worse than a society where thousands of individuals did not even get that opportunity because their mothers would have them killed in the womb. And this happens in an affluent society where poor kids would probably not be allowed to starve to death, and where such kids may do better and be happier later on in life.

Fendergal

Chris, many communities were flooded to create the Ashokan Reservoir, part of the Catskills reservoir system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashokan_Reservoir

And here's a more comprehensive list of towns for the entire Catskills system. Some population numbers are cited.

http://www.bearsystems.com/losttowns/lost.html

chris

Hattie wrote:

"Relatives of mine who have a vacation place in McCall, Idaho...There affluent outsiders are even driving out the affluent locals!"

Lunacy like this is often repeated.

How are locals "driven out" by "outsiders"?

Property transactions are negotiated deals in which the buyer offers compensation to the seller. Until the two parties reach a mutually agreed upon figure, there is no sale.

Thus, "drving out" is a contemptible characterization of the process between the two parties.

Moreover, the concept of "outsider" is another pejorative term that is at the essence of bias and discrimination. However, the only bias and discrimination I can see in these transactions occurring in areas of astounding natural beauty, is based on money. If the buyer has enough, he can join the community and carry his share of the tax burden.

Hattie, the irony of your comment is rich. You have defined your relatives as the "outsiders", yet because they are currently property owners, you and they identify themselves as "insiders".

Where is the line drawn? Is there a year -- like 1492 -- that separates "insiders" from "outsiders"?

Or are the classes divided by education, wealth or career? Race? Religion?

Idaho is a provincial state. Catholics still feel a hint of ostracism. The Protestant locals will say Catholics are of a different religion. There are few Jews in Idaho, but their presence does not go unnoticed, especially when they seek membership at golf clubs. Invariably money is mentioned.


chris

Fendergal, you wrote:

"Chris, many communities were flooded to create the Ashokan Reservoir, part of the Catskills reservoir system."

Clearly, the majority of residents in these ghost towns were found in cemeteries. Almost no one lived in these tiny dumps. They had all moved to the city.

"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashokan_Reservoir"

You added:

"And here's a more comprehensive list of towns for the entire Catskills system. Some population numbers are cited."

You have missed the point of the forces driving objections to the creation of the reservoir system. The biggest complainers were those seeking the most money for the properties affected by the development of the water system. The game is money. Opponents of big projects fight until they are paid enough to stop fighting.

New York City had a population of 4 million in 1905 when the Reservoir system was begun. Meanwhile, Upstate was, as always, an area of dwindling opportunity and rural poverty.

On the other hand, New York City was growing. It was determined that the need for water for 4 million people exceeded the rights to the upstate land that might have been home to several hundred people.

Meanwhile, the writers of the articles have no concept of the "greater good."

It should be noted that residents of New York City pay the bulk of the taxes in NY State. The residents of Manhattan alone pay 25% of the state's income tax. In other words, Upstate New York depends on NY City in every way.

http://www.bearsystems.com/losttowns/lost.html

There's always a long list of complainers and obstructionists who live to keep people from what they want and need.

The farmers who come to NY City to sell their products at Green Markets travel down the thru-ways to get here. That's good. For them and for city residents.

But highways require land. And there's less flexibility with highway location than with power lines.

The Erie Canal is a great thing. The St. Lawrence Seaway is also. And the Panama Canal, our transcontinental railroads, airlines, our highway system, our electrical power system, and so on.

Chris S.

I have lived in Colorado most of my life. I have seen the developemant of places like Telluride and can say it's a mixed bag. The bottom line is nobody has to take those resort jobs if they don't want to commute or slave away in such an environment. Why do they do it then? The fun of being in a resort area and that ski pass. The other Chris is right about that. I generally choose to stay away from places like Aspen, Vail and Telluride and let the rich tourists have them. There are other scenic areas in this state that are off the beaten path.

ro278ck

m285k

lc2

I have only two comments for chris:

1) Just heard a radio report TODAY about how upstate stands to lose, even according to the power co. spin doctors, in the latest scheme to carve up countryside for power lines going downstate. Get this: upstate elect. rates will be HIGHER in this scheme!!

2) I'm quite flattered that you take on my posts, dissertation-like, w/all your numbers and bluster. But it only reveals that you can't discuss this as an issue of fundamental fairness. I have to say this is the first time I've seen it suggested that downstaters should be pitied for their high energy rates, and upstaters should be grateful? Well you read something new every day!!!

chris

lc2, you wrote:

"1) Just heard a radio report TODAY about how upstate stands to lose..."

Was that an NPR radio report?

You wrote:

"...even according to the power co. spin doctors, in the latest scheme to carve up countryside for power lines going downstate. Get this: upstate elect. rates will be HIGHER in this scheme!!"

Get this: rates are rising all over the country. Power is expensive, and it's not simply the rising cost of fuel that makes it so.

Among other matters, the power industry has changed over the last two decades. Many power companies simply operate plants that produce electricity.

Another corporate or state entity owns the transmission lines that carry the power to towns and cities. Yet another company manages the local distribution.

Each has its own set of expenses. All the employees want higher pay, better medical coverage, etc. And the cost of fuel is rising.

Therefore, the possibility that Upstate rates will rise means little in the broad energy setting. It is possible that Upstate rates will increase LESS than rates in other regions. But journalists are idiots when it comes to numbers.

You wrote:

"I'm quite flattered that you take on my posts, dissertation-like, w/all your numbers and bluster. But it only reveals that you can't discuss this as an issue of fundamental fairness."

I discuss the facts. The concept of "fairness" is way too subjective. However, it's my sense that you think it's unfair for power companies --serving millions of people around the state -- to acquire the use of a small amount of Upstate land that sits in a region populated by a relative handful of people.

You wrote:

"I have to say this is the first time I've seen it suggested that downstaters should be pitied for their high energy rates, and upstaters should be grateful?"

Pitied? High rates are just a fact of life in New York City and the surrounding towns.

Meanwhile, like I've said, there are now 300 million people living in America. There are 19 million in NY State. Over 8 million live in NY City.

Over 25% of NY income tax comes from Manhattan. Thus, NY City represents both huge numbers and huge dollars. The combination trumps what appears to be the selfish concerns of a tiny group of would-be Erin Brockovichs.

It seems you think there's a prescription for cutting the population and energy demands from NY City that wouldn't involve the suspension of the Constitution.

However, you must accept the fact that the demographers are right. The population of NY City will probably hit 9 million by 2020.

Building is occurring at an astonishing pace all over the city. Every borough. Lots of big projects including new and extended subway lines as well as a new World Trade Center.

You should expect energy demands from NY City to soar. Though much of the new power will come from plants within the city limits, your region will kick in its share.

upbeatpete

Having experienced this twice possibly I can answer the question about the "locals" selling the land. The process is really quite simple. a developer identifies someone who has failed to pay property taxes. This is like blood in the water for they recognize the financial distress. They offer to buy the land for a fraction of the value and build all the houses possible. So Mr. Jone's 20 acre farm suddenly becomes 40 expensive homes. The value of the new homes becomes the "comp" value for the taxman, and local taxes shoot way up. This forces more people to sell. So, it really is a form of "legal stealing."

And, if that doesn't apply, the developers have been known to use basic terror tactics. Locally, the developer graded the side of a mountain so tons of mud would run into a fellows yard. They fouled a creek, burried a barn and silt washed around the house. I shot some aerial photographs you might find eye-opening.

Finally, indeed there are always some local folks who have no idea about the "real" world. Filled with lies and good old fashioned BS they cooperate until they are forced to leave.

Folks this isn't a better part of society.

chris

upbeatpete, you wrote:

"A developer identifies someone who has failed to pay property taxes..."

As unpleasant as the results may be, the owner exposes himself to risks for failure to pay his taxes.

You wrote:

"They offer to buy the land for a fraction of the value and build all the houses possible."

This game has been underway for decades in the scenic towns of the US.

A friend of mine has attempted it many times in Breckenridge, Colorado. He's been in Breckenridge since 1973, when it was a dusty town in precarious financial condition.

My friend was a carpenter who graduated into a "builder". He always watched the tax rolls for people in trouble. But every time he found a landowner with tax problems, he was outbid in his attempts to acquire property at bargain rates.

The winning bidder may have gotten a relative deal. But the price was never "pennies on the dollar." Competition among bidders took care of that.

You wrote:

"So Mr. Jone's 20 acre farm suddenly becomes 40 expensive homes. The value of the new homes becomes the "comp" value for the taxman, and local taxes shoot way up."

I've owned property in remote towns that have become suddenly popular. Yes, taxes have shot up. And guess what? There are more voting taxpayers than developers. Thus, the local politicians often see the wisdom of lowering the mil rate following sudden upward revisions in property values.

You wrote:

"This forces more people to sell."

This is a dubious claim. There are often property-tax exemptions for people over 65. In any case, there are always forces that cause people to sell.

As the current problem with sub-prime mortgages shows, sometimes people purchase a home and finance it with an adjustable-rate mortgage. But when the rate jumps from the insanely low introductory rate to a point close to the market interest rate, the mortgage payment becomes unaffordable. Well, that happens.

Same with property taxes. There are no guarantees that property taxes will remain steady.

Meanwhile, the towns in which property values and taxes have risen sometimes have the good sense to use the money for necessary stuff. Like improving the schools, which are often crappy in these towns. That's how it was in Breckenridge for many years.

You wrote:

"So, it really is a form of "legal stealing.""

Amazingly, when people are faced with losing their property due to property-tax nonpayment, they are known to find the money to keep the wolf from the door. While there are some sad stories, the people who move into the newly constructed houses are also people who belong to the community. Those many new families replace the single family and most likely make the community a better place.

You wrote:

"And, if that doesn't apply, the developers have been known to use basic terror tactics. Locally, the developer graded the side of a mountain so tons of mud would run into a fellows yard. They fouled a creek, burried a barn and silt washed around the house. I shot some aerial photographs you might find eye-opening."

Such egregious abuse to obtain property would lead to major lawsuits these days. If the person whose property you mentioned did not sue the developer, that person is a fool. If the court did not find in favor of the land-owning plaintiff, then the developer paid-off the court.

Barry

This would be sad if it were not such a baldface outrage and world-wide phenomenon. And how soon will the last spots in the country(or the planet) where there remains some sense of space and natural beauty, simple be cordoned-off, ultra-privatized and protected by Blackwater-like private armies? Our bloated 300 million plus population can't help much either with any pastoral memories any of us might entertain from our youth(mine in the 50s and 60s)of wide open spaces in the America we once might have known.

oldbogus

A place in Colorado worse than Telluride is the Vail Valley; the condos are going up from Vail Pass to Glenwood Canyon as you read this . Even former backwaters like Eagle and Minturn, where working people used to live, are booming. One long, narrow construction zone.

The workers now drive from Leadville over a high mountain pass (either way they go) to get to work at ski companies or whatever. An hour or two each way when the weather's good. A day's lost pay when it's really bad.

joyce

chris, you said, you said, and you said -- who was it being critical about a screed?

jdm

Robin Leslie

The housing crisis, for this is what this situation is, is just as deep and wide as in the United States. The new corporate elites are literally taking everything they can lay their hands on, and property and land is the cornerstone of their organized plunder.
The London Stock Exchange speculators (gamblers)who drive the casino economy of corporate business, buy up property portfolios and on top of this theft, are the buy-to-let second, third and fourth homeowners, who are buying up whole villages in the UK driving out the young and first time buyers, and leaving local communities
deserts throughout the year.
The cumulative effects of this neo-liberal inner colonisation is the collapse of human society
and the destruction of the family, quite apart, of course, from the serious health and relationship problems that drives increasing aggression and violence in UK society, rivalry and competitiveness displacing
self-restraint and well-being!
We live in a One Party State in the UK, with all major political parties sharing the same ideology of market fundamentalism, with similar levels of internicene warfare as the United States!

Barry Curran

Bravo Robin! It is both refreshing and disquieting to read you comments on the predatory buying up of properties in Britain's small towns. I live in Barcelona's Old Town and have seen first hand the same agressive instincts in practice principally by Brits (though the Dutch come in a close second)who will buy up whole buildings and drive out residents who have lived for in them for generations.If this were happening among some idigenous populations in the jungles of Brazil, people would be screaming to the heavens and someone would be setting up an NGO in their defense. This is done through tactics of harrasment,bullying and sometimes physical threats. In most cases the people effected are the elderly. Often once the way has been "cleared" and the buildings have been emptied, the "properties" are then converted into weekend party flats for "Hen" and "Bachelor" parties from Britain and the attendant boorish and often violent behavior that go with such phenomena. But then what can one expect from a generation whose only models of behavior and values were cultivated in the Thatcher years and then instutionalized by the following one party government.

Robin Leslie

Vaclav Havel the Czech writer described the situation in Europe and the West after the fall of Communism as a 'post-totalitarian' condition of 'living in the lie'. This lie was the mythology invented by Western corporate and political elites to root the ideological hegemony of market capitalism and the culture of possessive individualism in Western States, and by colonisation globally. By
institutionalising a culture of possessive individualism (selfishness)
these Western States could foster the myth of 'the end of history', in other words, the world has always been like this, there was nothing of significance before this.
The mythology helped the construction of the post-1980 One-party neo-liberal State, where dissent was increasingly policed, and one ideology was co-ercively imposed, this is what we call modernization,
the captivity of the State by corporate interests, and
the technocratic control and domination of manipulated and dominated populations. The lie in which people are now living
is a mimetic reproduction of the Eastern European totalitarianism that preceded it. The lack of solidarity is directly proportionate to the technocracy of fear used by neo-liberal penal systems to suppress dissent, allowing only tokenist protest. Flying the flag has now become the ideological successor to Havel's Greengrocer!

Gordon

I was told that there is another verse to the song that we don't normally learn in school:

As I was walking along the highway
I saw a sign there said "NO TRESPASSING"
The other side of that sign said nothing -
That side was made for you and me.

Thanks for seeing, feeling, thinking and writing.

Chaz Fromage

The issue of population pressure was brought up multiple times here, and I think that it's relevant.

From what I can tell these days, we seem to think that every problem (including the social ones) has an engineering solution - that we can just engineer or or scientifically solve our way out of every emerging problem. To a certain extent it's likely true. However, it will be far more painful than just doing simple things like controlling population growth. And if we could do just that one thing, it will give us time to think clearly regarding how and when to engineer solutions rather than executing them without serious thought and regard for consequence as we do now.

It seems like all corporations and the like care about are the generation of consumers. They don't seem to care how long they live or the quality of consumption much - just that they consume. Otherwise we'd have some serious control over the introduction of new molecular structures and genetically modified products into the consumer market.

Complex social problems is what I see... that require social reform of some sort.

La Framéricaine

Dear Barbara Ehrenreich,

As I worked today at UCI, I listened to your interview with Patt Morrison on 89.3FM. I was happy to hear that you had written a new book--I read both Nickel & Dimed and Bait & Switch.

I was a housekeeper for a lot of years and have been an admin asst in academia for more than a decade. Thus, I spend quite a bit of my mental time thinking about the subjects that you have decided to dedicate your writing career to researching and reporting upon.

For a long time now I have been disturbed by the fixation on material wealth that we see and hear reflected back to us in the USA in our print media, our television, our cinema, our music, theater, sports, and education.

I don't know if you will remember the movie "Stakeout" with Richard Dreyfus, Rosie O'Donnell, and Madeline Stowe but it was during that film that it first struck me really hard how, en masse, we were manipulated if we weren't somewhat awake. Madeline Stowe is a waitress, I think, and she is being spied upon by Dreyfus and Rosie in a scene in which she is supposed to be in her "home." The home is some large place, a full house, in a beautiful, wooded town, kind of like Palo Alto.

I will never forget sitting in the dark of the cinema and saying to myself, "This is pure, unadulterated bullshit. How stupid to they think I am?" Now, I know that almost everyone else will say, "It's just a movie!" but I feel very strongly that it isn't just a movie at all. It is representative of a kind of permanent state of cognitive dissonance that infuses one when time after time the reality of what one knows to be true is massaged into something more palatable on a social level.

In any event, everyone's baseball bat to the brain pan is different and that was mine.

I want you to know that I am grateful to you for taking the time and making the good faith effort to go out and research the subjects that you broach in your books. I feel less alone with my private experience when you do so.

Last week I actually had a dark laugh at my own image of the citizens of the US having become reminiscent of the Native Americans who were moved in on by the Pilgrims and their descendants and fellow immigrants. The "white" man wanted the land so, little by little he arranged to get it with beads, with guns, with smallpox infected blankets, or with military might. He couldn't share. He had to demonize the original residents to justify his actions.

Now it's the same thing. Every square centimeter of land is for sale, and for sale to the highest bidder. Even if that sale will not result in a greater social good. After Katrina we got more casinos, after the sub-prime debacle we'll get more rich people owning houses and fewer average people owning them.

I don't have children, on purpose, so it is easier for me to vote with my pocketbook than it is for a lot of other well-intentioned people. I don't go to concerts, theater, or large production venues of any kind because the prices are obscene. I only buy clothes in ROSS or from the flea market. There is nothing on earth that I want for which I am willing to go into debt, including house.

I will soon leave the USA and move to France because I bought a house there in a small village for the price of a crappy US car. They have national health care so my 71 year old husband and I are unlikely to end up on the street due to a bankruptcy brought about by medical bills.

Thank you for thinking and writing about these subjects even if you take some flack for it. It is appreciated and helps to diminish the sense of unreality felt by the non-rich in a world where we are all becoming their parasites.

david winsar


KEYWORD: BUY CIALIS


Content: BUY CIALIS


SUBJECT: Order Cialis
BODY: What Men Are involved to order Cialis ?
What Men Are involved to order Cialis ?

In 2005, the executives at the Cialis offices came up with a new marketing idea. They decided to send out requests for men willing to try online pharmacy with order cialis, and to then respond to a survey. They wanted to reach men who might not already have used order cialis. They decided to send letters to many in many of the less-developed countries. When the executives first saw the responses come pouring into the company's main office, they felt excited, and convinced that they had made a wise move. Then as those same executives began to study closely each response, they seemed to suffer a loss of confidence in their marketing expertise. From Russia the executives in the Cialis offices got more than one picture of a ragged-looking sailor. His hair hung limp and long at the sides of his head. He had a long mustache on an hairy face. He did not meet the usual Western standards, standards used to designate a man or woman as "attractive." The executives in the Cialis' offices were confused. They had doubts about the chances for men such as those who had responded from Russia to have an chance to test the effectiveness of any ED pill.

The Cialis executives could not envision any woman climbing into bed with one of those Russian sailors. Then, just after the executives had begun to plan how to "relieve" those Russian sailors of their commitment to the planned survey completion, an open book changed their minds. A learner of one executive was attending a cooperation college. A high school student, that attendee of community college classes hoped to speed-up her education by taking those advanced courses. One night that high school female was studying the text from her health class. It was a book written by Dianne Hales. The female high school student had opened the book to a page with pictures of men and women from various cultures. One man strongly resembled the Russian sailors who had sent letter to the Cialis executives.

According to the information provided by Ms. Hales, people in different cultures hold assorted ideas about what makes a man or woman "attractive." Further information on the same page of Hales' text implied that the Russian sailor looked "attractive" to many Russian women. The executive and father spoke with his daughter about her text. Finding that she had finished studying that text, and had moved on to the assigned work from another class, the executive and father asked agreement to make a copy of the page that he had been reading. The executive and father found his daughter quite pleased to be of help to her father. He took her textbook and hurried over to the nearest copy store. He made several copies, so that he could share his information with several other executives. The next day all of the tope executives at the company that makes Cialis studied the picture of the supposedly "attractive" Russian sailor. Those executives agreed to move ahead with the original plan-the plan to have men living in various parts of the world test the ED pills to order cialis online.

Author:
david winsar

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