Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Couple of things

- Yes, I've been slack. In all honesty, I've been thinking about abandoning the blog, but I probably won't. Whenever I think about doing just that, something pops up that I want to comment on, so it's not likely. However, I may post less frequently as I have in the past. It's just that you get tied up with work, family, volunteerism and, well, a general desire to sit down and watch sports on TV, and you find that you post less and less. I'll do my darnedest to stay more up to date.

- Speaking of up to date, can I just point out that Jim Whitehead is definitely a frightening individual. Paul Broun may be absurdly more conservative than me, but he seems like a decent enough fella who just marches to a different ideological drum than me. Whitehead, however, is downright ornery and somewhat detached from reality. Everyone is familiar with his older comment about getting rid of the University of Georgia because it has nothing but liberals (tolerance anyone?), and he's gone and done it again by saying 'left-wing political activists [are] intentionally registering illegal aliens to vote, including known Al Qaeda terrorists.' Now, I recognize that some Republicans have developed this odd fantasy that Democrats love manipulating elections, but it's just that ... a fictional tale they spin when they have little else to bring to the plate. So, again, at least Broun is out there talking about issues (albeit with an admittedly differing take than myself), but Whitehead apparently just likes making up stuff. Is a man who is obviously so far removed from the actual debate of concrete issues really mature enough to be a congressman?

- Of course, I say that but the people of Central Georgia did elect John Douglas.

- Matthew Yglesias - who is at new site by the way - thinks just like me ... with regard to Avril Lavigne.

- As we already knew, the area non-profits are getting some sort of compensation in the Naval Supply School deal. The University of Georgia, however, is still dragging its feet, but that shouldn't be a concern. They're still the best fit, even if Augusta legislators enjoy completely overreacting to the possibility of an additional Medical College of Georgia campus up here. Seriously, my grandmother thought they were closing and moving up here, which is completely false.

- Speaking of that, I was glad to see Gov. Sonny Perdue use the line-item veto to permit passage of the mid-year budget. And I'm also glad he's calling out Glenn Richardson. It's beyond comprehension to me how one of our legislative bodies can have such a backward-thinking individual responsible for its guidance and leadership.

- I missed good follow-up commentary opportunities with regard to the whole Boys and Girls Club thing. Here's my take ... the commission was right and Henry Ramsbottom is wrong. It's not nuanced, sure, but it's to the point. Someone who comes in, offers a mildly decent proposal that has some potential, is unwilling to bend on the requests from the commission to meet the vision laid out in the land use plan, refuses to withdraw his request to resubmit so it could be properly examined by the planning staff and then, upon it's not shocking defeat, threatens to build something completely opposite of the original proposal just to tick off people he doesn't like is wrong. It's pretty cut-and-dry methinks.

16 Comments:

Blogger hillary said...

Is a man who is obviously so far removed from the actual debate of concrete issues really mature enough to be a congressman?

Of course, that's assuming Whitehead isn't just trying to get attention and actually believes what he's saying. I'm not sure which way is better.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Polusplagchnos said...

It would be impolitic to say something as a politician that nobody believes, unless it's a humorous statement intended to be one. That's not to say that the politician must believe it to say it, but she does have to believe that someone believes it, and that's perhaps the troubling part of politics: belief-at-a-distance.

In a sense, even trying to draw attention from one's opponents means saying something hyperbolic and probably offensive to them, or what you believe those other people find to be offensive. So, it's still a belief about what other people believe. If the goal is to offend others to close ranks with someone else (sort of how sycophants make fun of geeks to get beat up less by the bullies), then you've got differential beliefs-about-beliefs going on.

I'm just saying that unless it's a joke and intentionally so, Whitehead probably does have some belief that people do believe Democrats are helping al Qaeda to vote. But note that the claim is just that the Dems are registering the terrorists. They very well could be voting Republican or Libertarian, you know. Given that Republican policies of aggressive response tend to help al Qaeda recruit globally, it stands to reason they'd prefer Republicans in offense than so-called appeasing or weak Democrats.

About the Ramsbottom thing, I understand that some people want to turn a profit on what they do with land. It is what makes the capitalistic system work for those with wealth, afterall. But if a community clearly did not want their historical and aesthetic sentiments ignored, what worth is that profit? Is Ramsbottom that hurting for money to feed his family or pay his employees? I don't know, and I suppose well-intentioned entrepreneurs think that's none of my business anyway. But it just seems to me that working cooperatively and sincerely with a community is much better for business than not.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

I don't think it's wrong at all. He SHOULD build the most horrifying structure known to man, just to let the seven county corruptioners know the real life consequences of their brainless worship of the land use nonsense and their mindless "Developers are bad" mentality.

I'm sure that this will get my post deleted by Heidi's man JMac, but that's ok I have to say it anyway --
Personally I would like to see Ramsbottom build a giant structure in the shape of a certain part of the male anatomy, with a figurine of Heidi Davison seated atop it. In fact, I would probably be willing to make a rather substantial financial contribution to such a project.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Jmac said...

I'm sure that this will get my post deleted by Heidi's man JMac, but that's ok I have to say it anyway ...

Why would you think that? I may vastly disagree with you and, at times, figure you to be a tad uncouth, but I've got no problem with you expressing your opinions here.

And I do like me some Heidi Davison, but I'm hardly her man. We've got some disagreements, but those, admittedly, are infrequent.

Still, for your argument to work Chuck, it would have to be the case that ...

1. The commission didn't just pass on what would have been a very environmentally friendly design (which included, to be fair, a generous donation of land by Ramsbottom);

2. The commission would have had to have gone out of its way to ramrod Ramsbottom. That isn't the case. Quite the contrary actually as several commissioners suggested he withdraw the amended proposal and resubmit it immediately so to give the planning staff adequate time to evaluate the proposal and work with him to make it conform properly to the land use plan.

Ramsbottom's threat of building a high density, steel structure - of which, for the record, I'm not entirely opposed to - is as if he's removed himself from what was a very rational discussion. Rather than amend two minor things - add additional retail space and tinker with a retaining wall - he's scrapped the whole thing just because he got his feelings hurt.

That's petty, and it reveals him to be a rather small person (if he proceeds with his threat).

All that said, if he puts up some sort of structure that he's threatening, the commission would permit it because it would meet the land use plan ... because that's what the commission does. It's job is to evaluate the land usage proposals with the land usage plan, and make the appropriate decisions from there.

They act with the interest of the community in mind. It's a shame that Ramsbottom apparently has little desire to do that.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Polusplagchnos said...

I call this "Exhibit A."

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Now Jmac - I like you and everything (really - despite my uncouthness!), and I enjoy our discussions, but still, you cannot credibly deny that you're Heidi's man. She likely has a deed to you someplace in her safe deposit box. (That's not meant to be an insult, seriously.)

There's likely a deed to you, Alice "I love students, now let's come down HARD on them" Kinman, Kelly "*Pant pant pant pant* yes miss heidi ma'am anything you say miss heidi ma'am *pant pant pant pant*" Girtz, Andy "God save the Queen Mayoress" Herod, Doug "He Doesn't Get a Nickname Yet" Lowry, Elton "Pot N' Kettle" Dodson, David "Gamma Delta" Lynn, and Carl "Jibber Jabber" Jordan. I actually think she may be coming perilously close to violating the Thirteenth Amendment.

Nevertheless, I do appreciate you not deleting my comment. It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise, given the sharp tone of my comment.

In any case - regarding the substance of your comment: The issue here is the corruptioners' slavish worship of the Land Use Plan. Plans can change if there is a good reason - and it seems to me that supporting the Boys and Girls Club is a damn good reason, as is supporting ACTION, INC., groups that are taking real action to help real people suffering from real poverty.

A land use plan is not holy writ. Are we all supposed to remove our hats and kneel whenever a copy of the Land Use Plan passes in front of us?

Ramsbottom does not WANT retail space. For whatever reason, he doesn't want it. Why should he have to have it on his property if he doesn't want it? Just so some busybody "neighborhood" people - with no jobs and nothing to do but butt in to other people's lives and other people's property - can ooh and ahh and say "Look at the pretty retail space, just like Ansonborough??" As far as I'm concerned, such people need to get jobs and get lives and stop trying to meddle in everyone else's.

I would not object to a Gameday type place either. In fact I am looking into living at the Gameday. (Is there a pool?) It is the Empress and Corruptioners, and the nosy neighborhood people, who are having a bitch-and-moan fest about the "threat" of having another Gameday place. Well, then perhaps they should have been reasonable and allowed a variance from the Land Use Bible (*removes hat and genuflects, kissing the ground seven times*)

7:20 AM  
Blogger hillary said...

the issue here is the corruptioners' slavish worship of the Land Use Plan. Plans can change if there is a good reason - and it seems to me that supporting the Boys and Girls Club is a damn good reason, as is supporting ACTION, INC., groups that are taking real action to help real people suffering from real poverty.

Chuck, they're separate issues. Granting someone the ability to do something with their property that you think is wrong just because you like them is not how the process is supposed to work.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck wrote: "Plans can change if there is a good reason - and it seems to me that supporting the Boys and Girls Club is a damn good reason, as is supporting ACTION, INC., groups that are taking real action to help real people suffering from real poverty."

Unfortunately, Chuck, that's illegal. Georgia law quite clearly says that personal finance/ hardship CANNOT be a consideration in land-use zoning matters. I'd suggest you know something about GA law and GA Supreme Ct rulings before spouting off any more, to save yourself future embarassment :-)

1:10 PM  
Blogger Jmac said...

She likely has a deed to you someplace in her safe deposit box.

You know, that's actually pretty funny.

Regarding the land use plan, I can agree to an extent when you say 'well, why not use it this one time ... it's going to benefit a good organization and we'll just get back on track down the road.' However, the problem with this argument - aside from the legal concerns that have already been pointed out - is that type of mentality could very well extend, then, to all zoning considerations before the commission.

And, if that's the case, why in the world do we even have a land use plan? One that was the product of tireless work and research by folks from all sorts of occupations, ideologies and interests?

If you put in place a vision for how something is going to be, it's imperative to stick to that vision (particularly in its early stages as it is in now) in order to lay the groundwork for how we want our community to grow. That's what this land use plan is all about.

If Ramsbottom opts to build a high density monstrosity, well then ... as long as it meets the land use plan, he's free to do so. Of course I would question why he would opt to do so, particularly if his whole argument is that he doesn't want retail space because he has doubts about its profitability.

If he thinks it won't work in the solid amended proposal he had, why would it work in his 'Gameday' style development? Logic would dictate that he either not purchase and develop the property or that he would opt to build upon the amended proposal.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Hillary: the key words in your phrase are "THEIR property" (emphasis mine). Why should it be your right, or the Empress', to "grant" someone the ability to do something with THEIR property? If it's causing a nuisance to you on your property, that's one thing - like someone storing nuclear waste on their property and making his neighbors grow extra tails and stuff. But the Empress did not pay for this property, why should she be able to dictate what the one who DID pay for it can build on it?

Al: didn't say anything worth commenting on (as usual).

JMac:

The law has never stopped the Empress and Corruptioners before. They usually find loopholes (such as, hmm.. moratoria?) to get around the law whenever it pleases them to do so.

A land use plan (*removes hat, genuflects, and kisses ground seven times*) is a guide, not a Bible. It is not something that needs to be followed to the letter for fear of being struck by Zeus' thunderbolts.

The argument that "If we make an exception for you then we'll have to make an exception for everyone, so why even have a land use plan" is baloney. It is the slippery slope argument in its fallacious form. That's like me looking at a form book, picking out a form, and saying "This form needs to be changed to meet the particular needs of my case - that's it, all these books are totally worthless, let's just go burn them all."

It is kind of like when I broke a coffee mug when I was six years old, and my mom instantly jumped to the conclusion "Well that's it, we just can't have nice things!" That kind of thinking was baloney then (no offense Mom) and it's baloney now. Just because you make an exception doesn't mean you just throw out the guide altogether.

And you do the same thing that Hillary does - you talk about what "we" want. Why should what "we" want matter? I know I didn't make any contribution to buying the property. I didn't pay a dime to buy the property and, while I don't know for sure, I venture to guess that you didn't either. Neither did the Empress. Neither did the busybody jobless "neighborhood" people I talked about earlier. So why should "we" have any say at all?

The Empress and Corruption is SUPPOSED TO (not "does," but "is supposed to") act in the best interest of the community. Slavish worship of the Land Use Plan is not in the community's best interest. Even you admitted that if the man wanted to build an absolute abomination of an edifice, one that would make small children weep and adults go into dry heaves every time they see it, that would be fine *as long as it fits the land use plan.* You are so fixed on the letter of some PLAN (not Bible, but plan) that you totally ignore the real impact it has, good or bad, on the community. Is that a proper way to govern, in your opinion?

Glory be to the most sacred Land Use Plan, bless Its holy Name now and forever! Ave! Ave! Ave!!

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck: First of all, your paranoia is getting to you. Anon wasn't Al (I am assuming Mr Davison) but me!

Second: you clearly can't read. Considering financial issues is ILLEGAL. Of course, were the Mayor and Commission to get ACC sued by taking financial matters into consideration you'd also be complaining, no doubt ;-)

Third, the county govt has spent public money --that is, your money and mine-- to provide a whole bunch of services to that property, from roads, to fire and police protection, to the scenic view (Greenway space). To argue, therefore, that the public in the form of the Mayor and Commission --who, like it or not, was elected by the public-- has no right to have any say on how that land is used is falaccious. Only if you can show me that the govt has had absolutely no impact on the value of your or anyone else's land --ie if you get absolutely no benefit from govt at all levels (fed, state, local) from the services it provides, from roads and fire protection to clean water-- would your absolutist property rights work.

Since you're obviously such a fan of such absolutist property rights arguments, however, I'm going to buy the plot of land next to you and put in a chicken plant. Then let's see you not complain about what the govt does to protect neighborhoods. So, where do you live? My checkbook awaits.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Polusplagchnos said...

As has been pointed out and as you yourself acknowledge, Chuck, it's a question of what constitutes a 'nuisance'. You gave the example of nuclear waste as something that damages another's property when on one's property which that other is permitted to disallow one from possessing or maintaining on one's property. Anonymous suggests a chicken plant as another example.

Now, I take it it's actually irrelevant whether people in a neighborhood have jobs or not, so long as those people live in those neighborhoods. Why that is an issue for you is unclear. However, if you accept that one person can say how another person's use of their own property affects the former in terms of creating a nuisance for that person, if you accept that a citizen can make a complaint about how another person impacts the community, I am not sure why this doesn't fit the pattern.

As you put it, the Empress cannot say what Ramsbottom can or cannot do because it's not her property, either the one affected or the one affecting. But then it's not also your property, so your argument goes, and instead it is the property of those jobless people in the neighborhood that's being negatively affected, so they claim.

You might disagree with their claim, but that doesn't mean they cannot make the complaint of the development as a nuisance. Your own argument, as you presented it here, shows that people who derive some negative 'nuisance' effects from another's use of property should be taken into consideration. It just goes to show that more community discussion is needed here to understand, on both sides, the nuisances and the benefits.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Xon said...

JMac said:

"However, the problem with this argument - aside from the legal concerns that have already been pointed out - is that type of mentality could very well extend, then, to all zoning considerations before the commission.

Ooh, I like where this is going...

And, if that's the case, why in the world do we even have a land use plan?

Yes! Zing! You have touched the thing with a needle. Why, indeed? Way to go, my new libertarian friend!

Oh, that was a rhetorical question? Nevermind...

"One that was the product of tireless work and research by folks from all sorts of occupations, ideologies and interests?

You can interfere with other people's property, so long as the plan for how you are going to do so is put together by way of a lot of hard work (by diverse people). I think I'm following you here...:-)

7:05 PM  
Blogger Polusplagchnos said...

Well, yes, Xon, there is no inviolable and absolute right to one's own property. Not even to one's own body, that most intimate of properties, as the government feels it worth regulating what one puts into the body. It is deemed illegal to use methamphetamines in one's own body, for example.

Again, it seems there are legitimate or just ways for state or social interference with how one uses one's own body, unless your quasi-libertarianism holds against the outlawing of abortion, underage consumption of alcohol, or use of cocaine or meth. And it also seems these legitimate or just ways to interfere, whether with one's extended property or one's body, invoke the weight of society and the negative effects of individual activities on the community.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Poulos: I think there is an objective element to "nuisance" - you cannot just use "nuisance" to micromanage everything that goes on in someone's house.

For example, Heidi Davison's very EXISTENCE is a nuisance to me. I am personally irritated every time her heart beats. Does that mean that when I become Mayor I should be able to just order the government to execute her?

WHA? Why ever not?! She's causing a NUISANCE!!!

3:55 PM  
Blogger Polusplagchnos said...

I wouldn't object to the use of the term if I were the one who introduced it.

However, since you say there is an objective element to being a nuisance, I have to ask what counts for being something that is objective. For example, it is objective that loss of vegetative cover on a stream bank can severely weaken the habitat the stream provides for various living creatures. But that's not always a concern. Also, it is objective that demolishing and grading an area that has historical value changes the nature in which that history is placed. But that's not always a concern, also. It is also objective that building a rather large condominium, or a large phallic edifice, can provide jobs to local people who are otherwise indicated as being jobless. But that's not put forward as a positive, either.

My thought is that this isn't so much a concern of objective consequences, whether beneficial or harmful, for you as it is just another occasion to get in a few insults and insinuated death threats. Still, one key point I will make, again, about the language of being a nuisance to others is that the one being the nuisance doesn't get to define what it is to be a nuisance to others. Those standards, whether objectively or subjectively appropriated, are put forward by the ones harmed.

And if you are neither party to the conflict, the best you can do is determine if those standards are met. If the people who live in the neighborhood where the development will take place, whether jobless or not, are affected by how it proceeds, their concerns and complaints still matter.

But you're the lawyer. I just work in the county.

It is interesting, to me, that this parallels what I was saying earlier about people who choose to offend others. They don't act in a way that is offensive to themselves, but in a way that they believe is offensive to their targets. Here, we see that the measure of what is offensive, or a nuisance, is determined by the affected party. Some people, for whatever reason, choose to act in an offensive way, when there are other ways to act, even for the sake of profit.

For what does it profit a man... ?

12:52 PM  

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