$100 land sale rubs reader wrong
After watching a recent council gigglefest, I was struck that when
it comes to the plight of tenants and low-income residents here, our
local sultans have no problem preaching the bitter necessities of the
But when well-heeled landlords and developers come down to feed at
the public trough, we can’t do enough to make life more comfortable
for them. When it comes to the operation of local government
nowadays, it’s clearly a case of socialism for the rich, and free
enterprise for the poor.
What we saw at a Redevelopment Agency meeting was clearly a
blatant case of corporate welfare. It’s bad enough our council has
spent almost $10 million assembling various downtown properties in a
dubious “redevelopment” scheme. It’s awful when they decide to “sell”
valuable land to a local developer for a mere $100. But when council
members respond to reasonable criticisms of the deal by smugly
claiming these future landlords were “willing” to “step up to the
plate” on the project -- as if the Cusumanos are doing us all a favor
by accepting the land for a ‘C’ note -- one doesn’t know whether to
laugh, cry or commit suicide.
It’s insane to throw away good money after a bad idea; this
dubious project only proves how perversely “redevelopment” can be
manipulated by the wrong people. Whoever said we need the kind of
downtown project our council claims is the reason for the giveaway in
the first place? Did it ever occur to them that the difficulty other
developers had in placing projects there might indicate the
problematic nature of the core idea itself?
There’s nothing wrong with letting a downtown parcel lie fallow
until economic conditions improve enough to the point where other
developers might also be “willing” to take on a project. The funniest
moment of the evening came when a spokesman for the deal claimed that
with financial conditions as they are, combined with the specific use
requirements of the city, the value of the land in question was only
about $100 anyway.
Oh, yeah? And we’re supposed to take these people seriously? The
folks who are laughing the most are doing it all the way to the bank.
And thanks to this council, the rest of us won’t be joining them
Hunting and hillsides don’t mix
In this day of dwindling habitats for our precious wildlife, the
answer is not to appease sportsmen who find some sick pleasure in the
taking of life. Is it not enough that we have seen the Burbank hills
cleared, cut and chopped to fit a relatively small number of
extravagant homes? Now we need to slaughter what wildlife remains;
animals are doing whatever they can to survive our never-ending need
to develop the hills.
The deer are not choosing to invade our backyards, it is because
we have intruded upon their habitats. To argue that since no one has
been hurt in the past and the public overreacts to bowhunting is like
saying there hasn’t been anyone hit by a car on Olive Avenue and
Victory Boulevard, so why do we need traffic signals?
So what’s the answer? Why don’t we let some guy in a Hummer and
army fatigues go up into Wildwood Canyon and enjoy himself while he
offs a few of those annoying creatures? Why not take out some
mountain lions and some hawks and squirrels while you’re at it?
They call it “wildlife management,” when in fact it’s human
mismanagement that has caused the imbalance in the first place.
Our last remaining acres of undeveloped area should continue to be
a place where children can go on nature hikes, our elderly can take a
Sunday morning stroll, or young couples can enjoy a sunset. I don’t
think any of these wonderful scenarios would be enhanced by arrows
flying through the air.