If California Can Do It…

Maybe it’s the desperation born of a $15 billion budget deficit this year, but extraordinary things are happening in California. According to the Sacramento Bee, an “unlikely coalition” of environmentalists, builders and local governments agreed Wednesday on legislation that would stop using state transportation money to subsidize “sprawl.”

California’s SB 375 would use the $5 billion in transportation money the state allocates each year to encourage compact development. The bill also would change how regions make transportation decisions to encourage development that increases affordable housing and reduces commute times, emissions and gasoline consumption. Additionally, the law would amend the California Environmental Quality Act to reward projects that improve air quality and energy conservation.

“We cannot continue to do business as usual,” said Ray Becker, chairman of the California Building Industry AssociationBecker said. “We all agree in one way or another to change the way we do business to be able to come together in this historic agreement.”

Such an agreement could never happen in Virginia, where productive dialog between key constituencies — legislators, local governments, the building industry, environmentalists and conservationists — is next to non-existent.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine struck out when he called a special General Assembly session to discuss transportation without first forging a consensus. If he wants to take another swing at the problem, he would be well advised to see how the warring parties were brought together in California… then try something similar. What we’re doing now is not working.

(Hat tip: Ted McCormack)

172 Responses to If California Can Do It…

  1. In California, the local citizens have a lot more input than in Virginia. He_l, Fairfax County’s Gerry Connolly doesn’t even think that the Tysons Task Force needs to air a the changed plan for Tysons with the citizens even though it moved from a maximum of 114 M sq. ft. to 220 M sq. feet — or 63% of all the commercial space in Manhattan.

    The original Mayor Daley had nothing on Gerry!

    TMT

  2. In California, citizens have the right of citizen-initiated referenda which is a powerful check on any legislature contaminated by special interest money.

    (and if you think my characterization is too strong – I’d invite you to visit VPAP and see for yourself just how much money changes hands from business interests to Virginia legislators. Anyone who believes that much money is “innocent” and/or has no impact on legislative actions needs a major attitude adjustment).

    So in California, the foxes are free to play in the henhouse all they want but if citizens get up in arms about it – they have a much more powerful option than throwing rascals out (but leaving their bad laws behind) – citizens can – and have – negated legislative actions that they don’t think serve their interests.

    In Virginia, citizens are virtually toothless because the only option they have is to toss out the rascals but only after the damage has been done – and cannot be easily undone.

    Yes.. strange and weird stuff can happen from citizen-initiated referenda but at least it’s not driven by campaign contributions and in many circumstances, it is certainly no worse than some of the laws that result from influence money.

    Citizen-initiated referenda are a powerful check and balance on a legislature that has to choose between citizens and business interests.

  3. Now TMT …

    The maximum density is rarely reached. And … it’s a 30 year plan so we’re talking 2038 or something like that.

    California is trying to achieve more density in their plan. So is the Tyson’s Task Force. As far as I can tell:

    1. Prevailing wisdom holds that a plan with greater population density creates more sustainable human settlement patterns.

    2. Prevailing wisdom holds that a plan with greater population density creates a mixed use “place” where affordable housing is achievable. It is achievable under the theory that all “places” will pay their true location variable costs and a high density “place” will have lower true location variable costs (per unit). Therefore, higher density “places” have a lower “overhead” and can be affordable.

    3. The prevailing wisdom holds that density provides critical mass for things like mass transit. Therefore, the transportation issues that face mid to low density locations are solved in high density locations by pedestrian traffic, mass transit, etc.

    TMT – Your answer seems to be “stop growing, stop development”. Or, perhaps, “grow elsewhere, not here”. I cannot support that belief. It is typical of the NIMBY-esque, selfish approach put forth by groups like the PEC. Essentially it says, “I got my money through economic growth now everybody else can eat cake.”.

    There are problems with Tyson’s Corner. There are issues with the Task Force recommendations. However, these problems are not unique. They are solved the world over and can be solved in Fairfax County too. For example, in Chicago, gigantic airliners travel on bridges over highways so O’Hare can expand without causing snarls in traffic exiting the airport.

  4. Larry is exactly right about citizen initiated referenda. Those referenda keep the politicians in check. California also has a recall mechanism – as Gray Davis learned. It’s high time that Virginia had the same. The stranglehold the GA has on the state goes beyond Dillon’s Rule. It includes prohibition to referenda, no recalls and a very opaque state government.

  5. “strange and weird stuff can happen from citizen-initiated referenda but at least it’s not driven by campaign contributions and in many circumstances”

    Larry,
    Don’t get me wrong, I agree with you entirely. Just one nit to pick: special interest money is deeply involved in the referendum process. Unions, to give one example, dump millions into advertising to dupe voters into supporting/opposing special interest initiatives. The other problem is one of the ballot proposals from the late 80s was essentially: “All car insurance companies must cut their rates by 10%.”

    Although a court threw that initiative out, it shows one of the downsides of mob rule. I much prefer mob rule to the Pocahontas crew, though.

    To Mr. Bacon,

    What happened to “user fees”? Developers support SB375 because it means stealing $5 billion from drivers and giving it to boondoggles that developers can be involved in. Ecomentalists support it because it’s anti-growth — or as I prefer to call it, pro-death.

    Here’s where the pork goes: “planning grants and planning incentives for the development of regional and local land use plans that are designed to promote water conservation, reduce automobile use and fuel consumption, encourage greater infill and compact development, protect natural resources and agricultural lands, and revitalize urban and community centers.” In other words, lots of ecomentalists will be lining their pockets. Developers, too.

    It’s great if people get together and make rational planning decisions. It’s not so hot when the central government planning board steals the use of property without compensation to achieve the glorious goals of world sociali… oops, I mean “smart growth.”

    Here’s a summary of one of the many idiotic provisions in this lousy legislation:

    Defines the phrases “consistent with the preferred growth scenario” or “consistent with the regional transportation plan” to mean that the capacity of transportation projects and improvements does not exceed that which is necessary to provide reasonable service levels to the preferred growth scenario.

    In other words, you’re specifically prohibited from planning ahead and building extra capacity when it’s cheaper and more efficient to do so.

    Madness.

  6. Groveton – the staff and the Task Force consultants have opined that total infrastructure failure would occur if Tysons were to grow beyond 114 M sq. ft. But the plan is to go almost 220 M sq. ft beyond what is already impossible.

    Yes, the growth would not occur immediately and some might never occur at all. But once the density is authorized, it’s authorized. So regardless of the facts 20 years from now, it can be built with very little further review. That’s the problem. We are making an open-ended commitment and tying future decision-makers hands. Opposing that is not NIMBYism; it’s common sense.

    Moreover, I know a number of other real estate developers that fear they will be forced to pay higher taxes on their properties to fund infrastructure for Tysons and may well face an inability to get zoning changes for their land as the county pushes development to Tysons. Opposing that is not NIMBYism; it’s common sense.

    There is no commitment to solve Tysons’ problems. The Task Force has not completed any reasoned analysis of the infrastructure needs to support their level of development. They just want to approve high densities. For example, VDOT plans for Route 7 is to keep it a major thoroughfare. The Task Force pretends that Route 7 can be made a pedestrian-friendly boulevard. The densities are predicated on the latter, even though VDOT makes the decision. It makes no sense whatsoever to approve density on premises that will never come true. The Task Force has not addressed the fact that Fairfax County’s waste water treatment plants cannot handle anything beyond what is already in the Comp Plan. Why would any sensible person approve massive development increases when there is no plan to address sewer needs? The traffic studies have not been completed. Funding sources for the necessary improvements have not been identified. Etc. Etc.

    All they want to do is to describe Disney World and say trust us, 220 M square feet of development will result in Disney World. Opposing this is not NIMBYism; it’s common sense.

    TMT

  7. TMT:

    The difference between legitimate concerns and NIMBYism is the willingness to think through alternatives. The Piedmont NIMBYs don’t want development in their pristine bucolic wonder world. They do not care about economic growth, they do not offer any alternatives.

    So, where are we in Fairfax County? Do we accept our responsibility to participate in a growing US economy? Are we willing to suffer the inevitable inconvieniences that accompany economic growth? Or, are we NIMBYs? Are we people who have decided that we no longer participate in the economic growth of the United States?

    If we want to be more than selfish NIMBYs then we need to disucuss how growth can be accomodated. What are the requirements that the citizens of Fairfax County have in order to fully particiapte in the growing US economy? If Tyson’s is hopeless then what area in Fairfax County is hopeful?

    I have long argued that the Virginia state legislature is all but useless to the citizens of NoVA. In fact, I believe that their opaque siphoning of money from areas of economic growth to areas of economic stagnation is worse than useless. It is harmful. However, simply complaining about the state political process is not enough, at least in my opinion. We need to also look for ways that the local politicians can accomodate growth in an acceptable way. Growth will always be stressful, it will always be somewhat painful.

    So, I ask – what specific changes would need to be made to the Tyson’s Task Force plan in order for it to work within the bounds of acceptable inconvienience. I see your concerns as being the following:

    1. The economic beneficiaries of added Tyson’s density will not pay for the costs of that added density. Instead, others who do not beneift from the added density will end up subsidizing those who do.
    2. VDOT and Tyson’s Task force disagree on the future of Rt 7 in Tyson’s. VDOT enviions a major thoroughfare and the task force envisions a pedestrian walkway.
    3. There is a governance issue between VDOT and Fairfax County regarding the use of Rt 7. Given Virginia’s strict adherence to Dillon’s Rule you can assume that VDOT’s planning architects in Richmond will trump the plans, goals and aspirations of the local government in a local matter. The question is how to overcome this latest example of backwards thinking on the part the state. According to many on this blog localities have all the power and authority they need to solve human settlement pattern problems. Yet you correctly point out that a 2 mile stretch of Rt 7 can scuttle any Fairfax County plan to improve the community.
    4. Fairfax County’s sewer system needs to be expanded in order to manage the additional wastewater that growth will produce.
    5. Traffic studies need to be completed.
    6. The tax increases needed for the infratrsucture to support this higher density have not been defined.

    Is that it? Six major issues to overcome?

    And this is what should separate Fairfax County from the NIMBYs – we actually try to find ways to suppoort economic growth and the economic opportunities that growth brings to the people of Virginia. NIMBYs oppose growth on any meaningful scale and could care less if the poor stay poor forever. In fact, poor people make good caretakers, maids, cooks, etc for the NIMBYs. So, they’d really prefer the local poor stay poor in order to keep their rural estates stocked with low priced labor.

  8. re: money in politics, money in citizen referenda

    it’s true, there are advertising campaigns in California – pro and con for various referenda but that is not the same as money going from business interests to legislators.

    Can citizens be “fooled” by advertising? yes.. but there are ample ways to promote the opposite view also.. in papers, on the internet, etc…

    as opposed to the way the money “works” in places like Virginia where citizens have no clue and don’t even realize that they’ve been had.. until after the fact.

    I’ll take the citizen referenda with all it’s flaws and faults over what we have now.

    If nothing else, citizen-initiated referenda will cause votes to at least think about what they are voting on.

    I don’t know about you.. but I often get asked questions about candidates.. a week or days or even hours before the vote – from folks who realize they’re going to the polls and they don’t know the candidates positions.

    so.. yes.. if someone is going to vote.. and a referenda is on the ballot.. many will at least try to understand what they are voting for.

    It’s possible, with a well funded advertising campaign mounted against opponents who are not well funded can still fool the public.. but not near as easy as with letting the elected guys sneak around on their votes…

    note.. that even to this day – that Richmond allows unrecorded votes in committees – that kill and approve legislation…

    it’s a shameful way to operate and to be honest, I’ve heard very little from any of our elected to stop the practice.

  9. In Snata Monica a group wants to cut commercial development in half for the next fifteen years.

    RH

  10. “Yes.. strange and weird stuff can happen from citizen-initiated referenda but at least it’s not driven by campaign contributions and in many circumstances”

    Nonsense.

    In the Oregon land use debacle there was said to be a huge influx of special interest money involved in order to get the original proposition overturned – and much of it came from out of state.

    All the referendum does is level the playing field for raising money to affect the outcome.

    RH

  11. may well face an inability to get zoning changes for their land as the county pushes development to Tysons.

    Bingo. This is an unarticulated tax on these people, and it is a cost that is NOT factored in when considering all of the “conventional wisdom” issues groveton mentions.

    They will wind up paying more than their share of their own locational costs because the locational costs have been artificilly altered through zoning: in this case overzoning Tyosns. In other cases it comes from underzoning the bucolic Piedmont, but the problem is the same: distorted property rights.

    RH

  12. referenda do not guarantee a “pretty” process nor one that does not result in swings of the pendulum but what it does do is give ordinary citizens the ability to directly counter legislative actions.

    Instead of having the Chamber of Commerce or Dominion or the Homebuilders talking to legislators about favored legislation – the citizens also are at the table.

    I’m not in favor of mob rule and for than reason, referenda need to have strict criteria so we keep the frivolous stuff to a minimum but I won’t have to convince many in this blog to admit that what our vaunted legislative process yields sometimes in Richmond – is also frivolous.

    What happened in California – having all sides involved in a dialogue and an agreement between disparate interests is the result.

    Not to say that there will be some folks who strongly disagree but at the least – the minority views have equal opportunity to appeal directly to citizens also.

    Part of Groveton’s complain is basically having a governing philosophy in Virginia that is a throw-back to the days of gentry deciding what was best for the common man – except now – we’ve got folks in Richmond who are more concerned about hunting dog laws than NoVa gridlock – and it just does not work ….

  13. TMT -

    Here’s “two for the price of one”:

    http://www.keithfimian.com/media/advisories/action/?page=56305

    You can vote against Connolly and vote for a guy who says:

    “The money must stay in Northern Virginia,” said Fimian. “We are the Commonwealth’s economic engine and our taxes fund the rest of the state. We need to keep every new transportation dollar in Northern Virginia. The Governor’s plan is just another shell game where even more of our Northern Virginia tax dollars go downstate to regions that don’t need it. Getting stuck behind a tractor on the highway isn’t gridlock.”

    Let the games begin.

  14. “but what it does do is give ordinary citizens the ability to directly counter legislative actions”

    What is to stop citizens from doing the same thing as the homebuiolders now? When it comes to referendum thesame big money interests will have the most advertising and the most spin. It changes the venue more than the process or the outcome.

    And, as you point out it still depends on people actually going out to vote. In the end you know what the people who voted want, not what the people want, and those may be very different things.

    Thats why I think you need to just put the spending “referendum” or model budget right on the tax form: you get input from everybody.

    The other problem with referenda is that it promotes singel issue politics. It is easy to say I want or don’t want X, in a vacuum. But putting the model budget on the tax form requires everyone to consider priorities: how much do I want this compared to that.

    RH

  15. Groveton legitimately asks: whether problems related to Tysons Corner and infrastructure could be addressed? Yes, they could be, but there is no intention to do so. Addressing the issues would provide a plan that would not max-out densities. There would be balance. But balance won't yield 220 M sq. ft.

    The last Tysons Task Force had balanced membership that tried to find what made sense. With 18 new traffic lanes and other significant intersection and interchange improvements, plus what is now four rail stops, they concluded Tysons could grow to 78 million square feet. It also qualified that level of density on the ability to provide other needed additions and improvements to infrastructure.

    We have a few, but certainly not all, of the road improvements. Hundreds of millions remain unfunded. In theory, the four rail stops are coming, but major funding issues remain. The other infrastructure issues remain unaddressed.

    Now, with the addition of a some grid streets that staff have suggested would require the razing of about 5 million square feet of existing buildings, and a few other road improvements (also not funded), but without any real attempt to address the other infrastructure issues, the 78 million has grown to 220 million.

    If the plan included a road map to address these issues (what's needed & funding issues), many people might accept the change in size. But there has been no explanation of how the issues are addressed. It is not being explained because it cannot be explained.

    For example, VDOT says 37% of Route 7's traffic is through traffic. Those vehicles are not going away on their own account. It would be possible to make Route 7 a boulevard, but to do so, one would need to find a place for the through traffic — an elevated bypass, a new Rte 7 connection, new free lanes on the DTR or something else that costs money. But there is no solution for the through traffic coming from the Task Force. The issue has been ignored, even while the Task Force has concluded a boulevard will be constructed because it supports more density. The through traffic issue has simply not been addressed.

    The Task Force is not addressing infrastrucure issues because, to do so, would force the costs so high that elected officials would push the density down.

    This not land use planning. It is simply an attempt to buffalo enough people to vote for massive increases in density without also planning for how such density is to be managed.

    In the words of another developer who owns land in other parts of Fairfax County, "Obviously the real deal of the rail proposal — huge density (read $$) for the Tysons billionaires, infrastructure paid for by others — is becoming apparent. Tysons at 3 sq. miles is the size of lower Manhattan which requires 57 subway stops to service."

    Groveton, maybe we should take off our "super-hero suits" that keep us incognito (for good and sound reasons) sometime and talk face to face. Coffee at Greenberry's in McLean? I could tell you things that would curl your hair!

    TMT

  16. “As the board prepares for Friday’s public workshop in Santa Clara on
    its “scoping plan” to carry out Assembly Bill 32 – the landmark
    global-warming legislation – it proposes a reduction of a scant 2 million metric tons of emissions through better land-use decisions. Incredibly, that would be less than the air board plans to achieve from encouraging proper tire inflation.”

    How much will “better” land use regulations cost? How much does proper tire inflation cost?

    RH

  17. Tysons at 3 sq. miles is the size of lower Manhattan which requires 57 subway stops to service.”

    I said months ago that four stops was a joke. But you could say the same thing about much of the rest of the Metro system: not enough stop density, and not enough coverage.

    We should just skip Tysons and go right to the airport, then fix Tysons when we cqn do it right.

    RH

  18. TMT:

    I don’t know where Greenberry’s is but I am sure I can find it. I am in the US through the end of August and would be happy to meet for coffee. Rather than bore the other participants on this site with logistical details, just send me an e-mail at Groveton@GMail.Com. I’ll be easy to recognize. I’m the one driving the Lexus with the gun rack.

  19. Today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch has three Op-Ed views on water quality/supply and development around Chesterfield county’s watershed.

    What would be ground-breaking would be for the RT-D to point out there is no “happy” compromise possible, with the way the problem has been posed. And a compromise may not be the way to change expectations and practices either.

    - an RT-D reader

  20. It seems to me there is a built in paradox here. Lot’s of people want to build and buy homes that lots of other people consider as sprawling. So we wind up writng regulations to prevent sprawl and we argue that this is the will of the people and for the public benefit.

    To put it another way the value of “private Property” is actually set in a public market. Therefore any attempt to regulate the market is an assault of private property values and therefore private property rights.

    I have said previously that the way to deal with this is for th ecounty to decide how much building they wish to allow: 1%, 2%, 5%, and figure out how many dwelling units or office spaces that is.

    This puts an end to the arguments about “rampant, uncontrolled growth” at it means the No growthers have to put a number on what they euphemistically call growth management.

    Then then the county should have a lottery in which any citizen can win a building right. If TMT wins a building right, for example, he can either hold that right off the market and feel secure that he has done his part to prevent avaricious Tyson’s development.

    Or, he can sell his development right to a Tyson’s developer for whatever he can get, and quit bellyaching about how development is not good for the average citizen. Any citizen would have an equal chance to profit from the growth.

    I was widely renounced for this “bizarre” and crazy idea. Now it turns out maybe it wasn;t so crazy.

    At NYU law school class assignments are made by lottery. There are no waiting lists for classes. This gives students an incentive to sign up for the most popular classes, even if they don’t want to take them. If they win a seat in one of the most sought-after classes, they can work out a deal to sell their seat to another student.

    RH

  21. “If we want to be more than selfish NIMBYs then we need to disucuss how growth can be accomodated.”

    I think that implies that we discuss how the wealth from growth, and presumably the additional increase in wealth from planned growth that excludes some, can be shared.

    I found this quote (on an entirely different topic) which exemplifies the problems we face:

    “Its kind of disingenuous to say that its agriculture consuming all that water. Yes, agriculture consumes water, but who is consuming the agriculture? It’s the people in the cities.

    If people would stop eating food, farmers wouldn’t need to use so much water to make it grow.”

    Who, in this scenario is not paying their full locational costs? City dwellers whose locational premiums are subsidized by those who are prohibited from building? Farmers whose water costs are subsidized? Or city dwellers who get cheap food as a result?

    RH

  22. “I think that implies that we discuss how the wealth from growth, and presumably the additional increase in wealth from planned growth that excludes some, can be shared.”

    That’s the same basic issue that underlies much of the debate over growth and transportation. Today, much of the costs are shared among everyone, but the benefits remain mainly, but not exclusively, concentrated in a few individuals or entities.

    If _____ County were to double in population over the next 15 years, who would benefit and to what extent; and who would pay/suffer the consequences and to what extent?

    Fill in the blank. Would the answer be different from place to place?

    TMT

  23. I think you have a huge disconnect here RH.

    Most places that institute restrictions on growth don’t give a rat’s behind about “sprawl”.

    The reason for the restrictions is that the next election will see the BOS turned out for approving tax increases to pay for the roads and schools needed in response to growth.

    This is no “negotiation” to see how growth can be accommodated unless it is perceived by those who pay taxes – as paying for itself such that tax increases are minimal.

    What does not fly is for folks to have overcrowded roads and schools and then on top of that get told that a major tax increase is needed.

    “sprawl” is nothing more than a a handy “oh yeah.. and besides the tax issue – it’s bad sprawl also”.

    and as I have been telling you – as long as we have elective governance – the growth pendulum only swings so far before those getting the brunt of growth – have a say at the ballot box.

    So the “trick” here is to find a way to “accommodate” growth without it resulting in a lower quality of life and/or higher taxes.

  24. “the growth pendulum only swings so far before those getting the brunt of growth – have a say at the ballot box.”

    In other words, it is OK for mob rule to get what they want, and to keep what they have, by penalizing those who were most conservative and saved their land the longest.

    For THEM a lower quality of life, and higher taxes in he form of abnormal restrictions for the purpose of subsidizing those that came first are OK?

    “but the benefits remain mainly, but not exclusively, concentrated in a few individuals or entities.”

    And doesn’t my “growth lottery” plan solve that problem? You migt or might not get something this year, but it beats the heck out of getting nothing – forever.

    —————————

    “If _____ County were to double in population over the next 15 years, who would benefit and to what extent; and who would pay/suffer the consequences and to what extent?”

    You are stuck on the idea that there are only negative consequences, which I reject as being based on a frequently repeaed but fundamentally faulty analysis.

    I would argue that when property rights are properly ascribed, as in the lottery example, then it matters a lot less who owns them. Strong property rights enable them to be traded in such a way that NO ONE gets hurt.

    The fundamental situation in Tysons is that people are afraid that new property rights (more density) will be granted to some, and only they will benefit, but disbenefits will accrue to all.

    That situation is no different in Fauquier than in Tysons, except for the scale.

    Higher taxes won’t mean squat if you have higher income and more property value to pay on: that argument is a red herring. The real trick is to accomodate growth and make sure everyone profits enough to make the lower “quality of life” and higher taxes worthwhile.

    RH

  25. “This is no “negotiation” to see how growth can be accommodated unless it is perceived by those who pay taxes – as paying for itself such that tax increases are minimal.”

    I think you have the disconnect. Of course there is a negotiation going on here. The people who have already benefited from development are negotiating for new property rights: ones that are NOT in their deed. And that right is the (new) right to exclude others, for their own profit.

    Even if you are right, the way those who pay taxes percieve it as worth while ought to be strongly influenced by what they can put in their pocket. Lots of people already did that with home equity loans and second mortgages, but you disapprove of that kind of early profit taking.

    RH

  26. As Groveton put it:

    “I got my money through economic growth now everybody else can eat cake.”.

    RH

  27. You are right: they can do this because they have the votes at the ballot box. So it is really, “I got my money and my right to vote, and now I’m going to stuff my cake down your throat.”

    I would think that by now we would have learned that government has a moral responsibility to protect the minority and the disenfranchised.

    RH

  28. re: mob rule

    bullfeathers to the max.

    in your world, voting BOS for raising taxes is “mob rule”.

    re: who was here first

    a LOT of growth occurred WITHOUT degradation of quality of life or MUCH higher taxes.

    When modest growth occurs in an area that has adequate land for it and existing citizens do help pay for it – but at a modest growth rate then it “works”.

    It does not work when the growth rates exceeds 5% and it is concentrated in an area where there is not not available land to accommodate it.

    That kind of growth – everyone – existing residents AND newly arrived, once they realize how stressed the infrastructure is – no one likes.

    re: making money off of growth

    another classic case of bullfeathers.

    Most folks want a nice place to live with reasonable taxes and do not buy a house with the intention of making a big profit on it.

    They hope if they move that they can get their money out of it and then a bit more if they are lucky but people who buy homes to live in are fundamentally different from those who are trying to make a profit off of development and homebuilding.

    re: protecting the minority and disenfranchised.

    yet another bizarre concept when applied to folks who are in the business of making money off of land development.

    In your world, apparently, policies to reward profit seeking behaviors that come at the expense of others is “protecting the minority”.

    you’re totally confused about this.

    what is protected RH is the ACCESS to EQUAL opportunities regardless of your race, creed, color, etc.

    Last time I checked developers were not classified as a “protected class”.

    Your approach to this is to FORCE any and all growth on existing residents no matter how much they already have or how much their quality of life has already deteriorated.

    If you and the homebuilders folks would spend just a little time understanding what causes “mob rule” and accept it as a reality as long as folks can and do vote – and seek to address what causes it – we’d have less development restrictions.

    People are not opposed to growth that IMPROVES their quality of life and/or REDUCES their taxes.

    so.. it’s NOT GROWTH nor SPRAWL that drives most folks – it’s crowded roads and schools and higher taxes.

    If we did roads and Schools like we do self-balancing water/sewer systems where you pay initially for an “availability” fee that goes into a capital fund for future expansion and then everyone pays a monthly fee for operations, the growth issue would subside.

    The major hitch to such a system is that the homebuilders want to impose a minimum impact fee regardless of what it costs to provide the infrastructure.

    Think about this – what if localities were forced to provide water/sewer but they could not actually charge what it costs to provide it and instead were forced to take a loss on it and then have to raise taxes to make up the loss.

    What would happen?

    In a word – no more hookups and more restrictions to hookups.

    This is the problem.

    not mob rule. not anti-growth. not “taking” of property rights but simply a desire of those who want to make money to not pay their fair share of the infrastructure needs.

    so you can’t have it both ways.

    either you have a system – like water/sewer where the fee itself is set by the actually costs needed to maintain and expand the system to facilitate new growth

    or you do not and you suffer “mob rule” at election time.

  29. When modest growth occurs in an area that has adequate land for it, it is because someone owns the land and has not developed. To later prevent development, on the same basis as previous developers amounts to taking other people’s property in order to support your own amenities.

    The “adequate” land is still out there there but NOW you want to control it. If that is the case, then buy it, and see how much THAT raises your taxes. Downzoning is a directed tax against those that own land, in favor of those that have already developed, so let’s just call it what it is.

    How many places actually have growth that exceeds 5%. Now, how many have growth of less than 1% – and still complain about excess growth?

    If the national growth rate is 3%, then where will those people go? Wherever they go, someone will complain about excess growth, and blather about rising taxes as if that was the only consideration.

    Naturally some places will be more attactive than others and therefore 5% growth is all but inevitable: 20% of the NBA players score 80% of the points, and it is no different with growth areas.

    I don’t have a problem with people paying their fair share of infrastructure needs, but I submit that what is actually happening is that newcomers are getting saddled with enormous burdens because of deferred maintenance and facilities precisely because existing residents were NOT paying their fair share. I submit that existing landowners get NO CREDIT for paying taxes for many years when they got no services: even you have pointed this out.

    Take the case of Middleburg. They have an old and antiquated sewer system that is just about maxed out (lack of planning maybe?) So what did they do? They stuck the tab for the ENTIRE new replacement plant on the owner of a new development. Pretty much the same thing is going to happen with the Marshall water supply: dither and stall for thirty years, then stick it to the developers.

    Or how about the case in Montgomery where they have had several major water main breaks – simply because the system is old and worn out – because the exsting owners didn’t want to pay their fair share of infrastructure needs.

    We see the same thing in HOA’s. They find their infrastructure costs more now, but rather thann raising the assesment on everyone, they add “initiation fees” to just the new owners. I know of a road in an HOA that is long and steep at the end. The HOA has a road agreement that everyone signed. But now the argument is that hose homes at the end of the road use more road and should pay more. (Those are also the nicer homes on top of the hill, and the hill means more maintenance on that stretch.) Basically those at the lower end are lobbying for more property rights, while unethically ignoring the previous agreement.

    I don’t agree that you can’t have it both ways, in fact you MUST have it both ways to avoid and unfair “new agreement” that amounts to mob rule and stealing property. You MUST find a way to proerly account for the true costs of both new and continued maintenance of infrastructure and NOT simply blame all the costs on newcomers.

    Sorry to be such an ethical stick in the mud, but to me you argument sound narrow, weak, and selfish. And I see too many counterexamples.

    RH

  30. RH – the percentage of growth is a proxy for crowded roads and schools and no available money to improve them without borrowing.. or in some cases – borrowing is not an option because the locality has maxed it’s borrowing ability.

    When you get to that point – there are two responses.

    1. – raise taxes on existing residents to pay for roads and schools and risk getting voted out of office if they perceive you to be the reason why growth was allowed to the point of having to raise taxes.

    2. – stop growth unless/until the amount of new infrastructure required is paid for up front via proffers and impact fees.

    The only other option would be to have Richmond force localities to accept any/all growth for impact fees that are insufficient and will require a tax increase – and what will happen here is localities will figure out a way to stop growth no matter what the builders lobby achieves in Richmond.

    The ONLY way out of this is to allow localities to pass on most of the cost of new infrastructure to new buyers – minus the amount paid by existing residents which would be roughly the amount that they would pay for 1% growth.

    They already do pay this if you look at the proffer schedules for new homes.

    They don’t come close in most cases to paying for the infrastructure that will be needed.

    Places like Prince William have calculated those costs to be in excess of 30K per home.

    One might ask – “why is this so much more than prior years” and the answer is the one you’ve already provided in early blog entries – and that is – the more dense development is – the more it costs to provide the infrastructure for it.

    A two-lane road originally built costs 1/10 what it costs to make that same road a 4-lane road.

    A new school costs 10 times what it used to cost – in land costs alone.

    The question is why should existing residents pay 10 times more for infrastructure than they paid for originally?

    Your logic that their homes are worth more does not fly because that is paper money that they cannot use. If they sell their home and buy another one in the same area – it will cost as much or more than they are able to sell their existing home for – so increased value is a moot point for most folks.

  31. re: ethics

    here’s your problem.

    “by-right” essentially means that you escape paying the infrastructure costs.

    If everyone who built had to pay infrastructure costs – and those costs were enough to cover enough (not all but enough), then there would be no “ethical” rationale for restrictions.

    Indeed, many rezones that negotiate to pay adequate proffers will get approved.

    A gated community that pays for it’s own school and roads often will get approved without controversy.

    The big “rub” comes when folks want to sell lots that can be built on with no infrastructure costs.

    That is unethical in my mind when others who buy homes have to pay infrastructure costs.

    So if you want to talk ethics – then it should be a level playing field for everyone. Everyone should pay their fair share of infrastructure costs.

    If we don’t have that level playing field – then the ethical aspects are already suspect IMHO.

  32. I hear your argument, and I understand it. I, too, think that both sides should pay their fair infrastructure costs, but we fundamentally disagree on how that should be calculated.

    I simply do not agree that “by-right” means you escape paying for infrastructure costs. I don’t see how we can say that farms and vacant land pay far more than they cost in services – sometimes for decades or even centuries, and then when they finally get developed claim they are getting a free ride on their “by-rights”.

    Especially after their “by-rights” have been reduced two or three times in the interim by the mob with the votes.

    Now, if the mob with the votes was paying for the “by-rights” when they take them away, then they would be in a much better ethical position when it comes to demanding proffers when they give them back.

    It is unreasonable to claim that the community cannot afford the sudden infrastructure costs that come with “excess growth” when a) excess growth is never defined an b) the same burden is almost insurmountable when placed on a much smaller contingent. It is tantamount to simply saying “no-growth”.

    If the situation was truly like the one you describe with the gated community, then I would agree with you, but it is not. If that was the case, we could simply put a price on development, and if you pay the price, you are approved.

    You can’t seriously suggest to me that the NIMBY’s would stand for that, can you? It isn’t about money, it is about power and control over other peoples lives. Until your example of the gated community becomes commonplace and genearlly accepted proactice, you will never convince me otherwise.

    And, by the way, notice what the gated community concept does: it more carefully describes property rights. If they buiod a private school or pool, then those outside the community had better not expect to use it.

    Your argument boils down to an ex post facto “I got here first and I have the power, go stuff yourself”. It violates a long standing, and generally accepted social contract, just as my example of the HOA road, and I think it is distateful and selfish on that aspect alone.

    I think you would need to analyze homes over their useful lifetime, in a crade to grave fashion in order to determine what their affect on infrastructure needs are and what their payments are likely to be. The problem with your analysis is that it is based on a single point in time. The government can afford to have and ought to have a much different perspective.

    At one time, when the farm was “new” the farm sent a number of children to school, both from my wifes family and from the hired hands families. Some of them went to segregated schools. But there hasn’t been a child here for forty years, and the farm is still paying for that infrastructure, and at a much higher rate. But, if it ever gets built on, you would claim we are somehow “escaping” paying our full costs.

    I don’t see it as not paying your share, but rather that the presently popular method of calculating that share is wrong, cynical, two-faced, contradictory, self-serving and even vicious. I’ve been to too many meetings where “public participation” held sway over common sense and farness to think otherwise.

    You think “The big “rub” comes when folks want to sell lots that can be built on with no infrastructure costs.” and I think the rules that put the by-rights in place were put there for a reason. They are a social contract that cannot be abrogated without cheating or welching, unless you are willing to pay, and pay handsomely.

    By itself that would negate your claim that building leads to higher taxes, because so would “not building”.

    THEN YOU WOULD HAVE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD.

    Right now you do not, because you could apply for a zoning change and be turned down, EVEN IF YOU OFFERED TO PAY DOUBLE your full costs.

    As I have said before, I could build several barns here, with driveways, water, power, and septic. I could increase the truck traffic in and out of here substantially more than a normal house would create, qnd I could basically do that without a problem or complaint, unless I really go whole hog and become a nuisance.

    I conclude that it is not the development, not the run-off, not the septic or sanitation, not the power supply, or the traffic that worries anyone. I conclude that they don’t want neighbors and they don’t want children around, because children go to schools and schools are the big enchilada.

    I conclude that it is a rotten low down chiseling way to treat the people who were kind enough to let us move in without a complaint. I’ve watched it happen in two different communities, and I have always thought that it was a big-time screw job – even when it didn’t affect my interests one way or another.

    Now, is Tysons different from Fauquier or Martha’s Vineyard? You bet, but the fundamental issues and arguments are the same, just the scope of the rip off is different – whichever way it winds up falling.

    We are going to have to agree to disagree on this, because my mind isn’t changing until I see different facts on the ground, and different things happening out there. If I live long enough to see some semblance of a level playing field, I’ll let you know.

    Want a metric?

    When the number of people who are suing over a denial equal the number of suits over an approval, then I’ll think you have a system that is about fair.

    RH

  33. The argument is simple.

    You tell existing residents that new growth will cause their taxes to increase, roads to get more congested and trailers needed for the schools.

    or you lie.. and they find out the truth anyhow…

    then what?

    out you go… more restrictive rules – to the point where fairness is a casualty.

    and that’s my point.

    you have to deal honestly with taxpayers and you cannot diss their concerns about growth – unless you are willing to suffer the penalties…

    the folks who want to make money off of land – don’t give a rats behind over growth impacts so .. is it THAT surprising that those who are impacted by growth also don’t care how restrictions affect those who want to use their land in ways that will cause more growth impacts?

    If you want to have a philosophy that is consistent – at least be honest enough to admit that what you’re after does not take into account it’s impacts to others.

    and at some point.. if the “others” feel adversely impacted.. as long as they can vote –

    ..you are going to lose…

    not once..not twice.. but continuously..

    the only way to “fix” the problem is to accept the fact that if you want less restrictions then you’re going to also have to take ownership of how to deal with the adverse impacts of growth…

    if you don’t want to “own” it – that’s fine – but you also lose.

  34. I think we have a further confusion on the difference between taxes to pay for operating expenses and taxes/proffers/impact/availability fees for capital projects.

    Everyone pays taxes to pay for operational costs.

    You pay taxes to pay for county functions that provide you with services.

    for instance, if you call the Sheriff, he comes.

    If a flood washes out a bridge on your road, the county will pay to fix it.

    Your taxes pays for teachers, deputies, county clerks, dog wardens, etc…

    This is true in virtually every county.

    the problem comes when new infrastructure – capital projects need to be paid for.

    People who have lived for years in a county – every year – part of their taxes go to pay for capital projects – jails, courts, new animal shelters, and schools and roads.

    The question is – how much should existing citizens pay for new facilities specific to new homes?

    Many places handle water and sewer this way.

    Existing users pay for operational costs.

    New users have to pay for a “hook-up”. This is their share of the costs of the capital facilities required to provide them with “availability” of a hookup.

    This is not unfair nor discriminatory because existing residents also had to pay for a hook-up.

    The fact that the cost of the hook-up was perhaps less than it is now is no different than the fact that the car they bought 10 years ago was also less than what it costs today.

    That’s not unfair unless you think somehow those who paid for infrastructure years ago got it cheaper unfairly.

    What I advocate is that all infrastructure be charged the same way.

    When they charge you for a water/sewer hookup – it is based on a fair pro-rata share – at the time you need the connection.

    If the price for pipe has gone up – then it’s still your fair share.

    If we continued this same arrangement for schools and roads and libraries and fire/rescue – then each buyer of a home would also owe their fair share for these things just as they expect to pay their fair share for water/sewer.

    If we did this – growth would better pay for itself – and existing residents would not oppose new growth because roads and schools would keep up with growth – just as water/sewer keeps up when everyone has to pay their fair share.

    You talk about ethics.

    This is by far an ethical approach to growth.

    Your argument that we cannot figure out what is a fair share is bogus unless you want to use the same argument for water/sewer.

    How do we know that what is charged for a water/sewer hookup is any more or any less fair than a similar process for determining a fair share for other infrastructure?

    What is driving your and the homebuilders philosophy is the belief that such fees makes homes less affordable to which I would reply – not any more or less so than food, or autos or furniture.

    Why should we sell homes for less than what they actually cost – so they will be more “affordable” if at the end of the day – that policy results in a food fight about who should pay infrastructure costs – and in the end – restrictions on growth?

    It’s a lose-lose approach and it is dumb as a stump…IMHO.

    do other infrastructure fees the SAME way we do water/sewer and a more fair system will result that will be less restrictive.

    I’d like to see more affordable homes also – but not if it results in what boils down to an involuntary subsidy that can (and will) be voided at the next election.

  35. the folks who want to make money off of land – don’t give a rats behind over growth impacts so ..

    The folks who already made money off the land being developed – don’t give a rats behind over what happens to whoever owns what is left, either.

    I have seen and known too many individuals and famililies whose dreams, plans, and financial future were crushed because of the mob mentality of the voters you describe. It is a whole different level of hardship than what happens if your tax rate goes up ten cents.

    I don’t think you can convince me that downzoning is anything more than stealing. And accepting proffers to rezone something previously downzoned is worse than taking a bribe: that is extortion.

    Now, resonable proffers for legitimate upzones: I don;t have a problem. But to have a level playing field the argument needs to cut both ways. You want up zones, pay for them, you want downzones, pay for them. You claim it is all about infrastructure, then lets see a price you will accept, regardless. We can negotiate from there. But so far all the rules and time are stacked against the requestor and stacked in favor of the public – at no cost. As shown in the following quote:

    ——————

    “we hear that environmentalists have “given in”

    Environmental groups dropped their opposition to two different coal-fired power plant expansion projects in Wisconsin and Texas this week after the utilities agreed to a range of concessions designed to limit the environmental impacts of the plants.

    [snip]

    “We’ve been fighting for more than seven years … It’s time to put this [plant] behind us and focus on the other ones that are in the pipeline,” said Bruce Nilles of the Sierra Club.

    Such compromise is helpful, because the world of extremes is too costly in terms of opportunity foregone or environment destroyed.

    As Coase said, assign property rights and then let parties negotiate. With these agreements, the environmental organizations — representing citizens and Nature — have made a deal with the power generators that represent power consumers. Better that than continued gridlock. (I’m wondering who had the property rights, and I’d put my money on the enviros, who had the ability to block new plants nearly indefinitely.)”
    ……

    Which is pretty nearly exactly what you said when you said “you are going to lose…

    not once..not twice.. but continuously..”

    Which is pretty much exactly the stuations slaves were in: they could only lose – continuously.

    Until we grew up enough to recognize that slavery is wrong. I’m not sure I see a whole lot of difference here. If you force me to pay taxes on land I can’t do anything with, then I’m a slave working for you.

    You insist on starting with the proposition that there are (only) adverse impacts of growth. And that is why the playing field is uneven: because that is a false proposition, and it is a false proposition to say that owners haven’t already paid their share, or that developed property hasn’t already taken a long history of benefits at no cost.

    Your complaint about only adverse benefits to growwth is onesided and wrong.

    Otherwise, you are right. The mob has the votes and the mob will win.

    They will still be slaveowners.

    RH

  36. “Everyone pays taxes to pay for operational costs.”

    Yes, but it is fully demonstrated that they don’t pay anywhere near enough. Then they try to recover the difference by excess taxes on the new folks. To that extent proffers are a hidden tax for maintenance and what should be normal expansion.

    There is no reason to think that ALL of the capital expenditure plan should come from proffers and connection fees.

    The question is – how much should existing citizens pay for new facilities specific to new homes? That is exactly the question and I’m pretty sure that it is not being answered correctly at present.

    RH

  37. re: “The folks who already made money off the land being developed – don’t give a rats behind over what happens to whoever owns what is left, either.”

    developers RH.. not the buyers.

    why do you think that if developers got away with something in prior years that it’s wrong to restrict them now?

    In your view – it’s wrong to pass a rule saying you cannot dump oil in a ditch because people were allowed to do it previously.

    It does not work that way guy.

    re: “There is no reason to think that ALL of the capital expenditure plan should come from proffers and connection fees.”

    says who? That is EXACTLY the way it works with water/sewer in most places.

    In fact, the Feds REQUIRE it if they provide loans for the infrastructure.

    What possible reason could you provide that this should not be the case?

    and don’t give me that bull about the way it used to be..

    the way it used to be is why we have problems now…

    we need to reform the system such that each buyer needs to pay their fair share with no expected subsidies from anyone else.

    what happened before is over and done with.

    we need to find a way – a fair and equitable way to grow and to remove restrictions on growth.

    It is the folks who don’t want to do this that are the cause of the continuing restrictions.

    there is no free lunch on infrastructure and efforts to avoid that cost – lead to restrictions.

  38. “In your view – it’s wrong to pass a rule saying you cannot dump oil in a ditch because people were allowed to do it previously.”

    I never said such a thing, or anything like it and I wish you would stop telling me what I think.

    RH

  39. why do you think that if developers got away with something in prior years that it’s wrong to restrict them now?

    This has nothing to do with the developers. It has to do with those doing the restricting – the mob voters. What they are doing is grabbing control over land they don’t own, effectively getting a public benefit for free.

    Had the same restrictions been applied to their own lots, then they would have had to buy more land and their roperty would be more expensive, and more taxes would be paid on it.

    This way, they get control of the property and stick someone else with the taxes and maintenance, while they get to enjoy less crowded infrastructure.

    They tax someone else so they don’t have to tax themselves.

    Then they put those people permanently at the end of the queue, which means they are effectively slaves with no hop[e of redemption. Groveton referred to a similar condition in Fairfax, where landowners are concerned they will be passed over if development is “channeled” to Tysons.

    I never said that the rules cannot be changed, but we should demand that full and proper compensation be paid when they cause negative repercussions for a few. When that happens, and only when that happens, will there be an incentive to find a fair and equitable way to remove the restrictions on growth.

    The policy guidance for the National Flod Plain Protection Act, for example specificallysays that flood plain protection is a public benefit, and the cost for this benefit should NOT fall on the unfortunate few who through an accident of geography and new regulation, have land land that is designated as flod plain, and the policy lists a number of methods to mitigate that cost.

    So the idea is not lost on the Law, but even so it is incomplete because none of the methods suggested actually amount to 100% mitigation.

    ——————————-

    If all of the capital expenditure plan comes from hook up fees, then where does the money come from when a decaying system needs capital expenditures? Where does the capital come from existing citizens who have “used up” a capital resource? In Middleburg 100% of it came from a new corporate citizen. Now, part of the Middleburg problem was to meet new effluent standards, and that is a cost that clearly should have been shared by all.

    RH

  40. I agree we need a fair way to pay for the costs of growth and to share the benefits of growth. We are a long, long way from doing that.

    “Existing users pay for operational costs.” And that is part of the problem, existing users shousl also pay part of capital costs, because capital needs to be replaced and expanded.

    It is unrealistic and frankly wrong to expect new owners or users to pay 100% of the cost of all infrastructure up front. That is tantamount to saying “no-growth”.

    The reason it is wrong is that the previous owners often paid taxes for decades, while getting no service. Obviously, this isn’t true in the case of water service, but that is a bad example because it is one of the few services that is supplied individually.

    Even then the tap fee has serious problems. My Alexandria home had water and sewer lines crossing the property, which had been there for decades. You argument would be that they were psid for with tap fees from the users, long ago. And yet, the fee to allow me to pay my own plumber to connect to the existing and already paid for line was $7000, amost what it would have cost to install septic. Today it might be $20,000.

    What new infrastructure did I pay for? The fee I paid should have been refunded to those that came ahead of me and paid the full cost. That way, they would see and profit from the benefits of growth.

    But that isn’t what happens: the $7000 I paid disappears, and yet it shows up in the form of lower costs for the system, and this kind of thing occurs because there isn’t a proper accounting of who owns what, and who paid for what.

    Property rights, in other words.

    Or if you don’t like that, then we can just split the tab and stop bellyaching.

    Either way, once you have an agreement you need to abide by it, or buy your way out.

    RH

  41. re: “I never said such a thing, or anything like it and I wish you would stop telling me what I think.”

    right here RH:

    “It is unrealistic and frankly wrong to expect new owners or users to pay 100% of the cost of all infrastructure up front. That is tantamount to saying “no-growth”.

    The reason it is wrong is that the previous owners often paid taxes for decades, while getting no service. “

    you are totally focused on what happened “before” – which was wrong – and needs to be reformed.

    your idea that people should not pay 100% of the costs is bizarre.

    When you buy a car or a boat do you expect to pay 100% of the costs or do you think it is “unfair” that you have to?

    why in the world would you use that logic for a house?

    do you think you should not have to pay 100% of the costs for your granite countertop or your toilet fixtures?

    then why would you think that about the other things that your house needs?

    there is no free lunch.

    when you subsidize new home construction by raising taxes on existing homeowners – who vote – you are doomed to have restrictions.

    there is no free lunch.

    If you want less restrictions on property rights then you’re going to have to agree to have new growth pay for the infrastructure needed to serve it.

    when you continue to say what happened before and use that as a reason to essentially force others to pay for infrastructure – you are insuring more restrictions on property rights.

    there is no way around this guy.

  42. “It is unrealistic and frankly wrong to expect new owners or users to pay 100% of the cost of all infrastructure up front. That is tantamount to saying “no-growth”.

    What has that got to do with the statement I was complaining about?(“it’s wrong to pass a rule saying you cannot dump oil in a ditch because people were allowed to do it previously.”) That I never said or anything like it, and it is utterly different from the other quote above.

    These are two completely different issues.

    I never said you cannot change a rule, but, when you have people with vested interests, made under a previous rule (or even an unexpressed but widely accepted social contract), then they need to be compensated for negative consequences of a new rule (or abrogation of previously accepted behavior). You think that is bizarre, but in fact it is written into the (at least environmental law) and frequently prcticed in other venues as well.

    It is only that we don’t do it well or consistently. When we do, there will be less controversy over new rules, and fewer unneccessary or less than marginally value rules proposed – because then we will realize in full what you always espouse: we need to learn to pay for our own “choices”.

    When we made it illegal to discharge oil into a waterway, we also provided convenient and publicly funded waste oil containers, so that negative consequences of the new rule are mitigated.

    You simply start with the presumption that the previous condition was “wrong”, and therefore you are “entitled” to a new property right – too bad for everyone else.

    —————-

    The second issue has to do with how we apportion the capital costs of new and replacement infrastructure.

    Your proposal is tantamount to saying “no growth” because if “we” all cannot afford it then there is zero likeliehood that a small subset of “they” can afford it. it is a cynical, disingenuous and misguided argument, in my opinion. To me, if it sounds self serving, sounds like a lie and is based on false or overly selective data then it falls generally into the categories of (at least intellectually) dishonest and therefore unethical.

    You argument makes no consideration of the benefits of growth and therefore it relies on selective and misleading values. I never said people should not pay the costs, but I claim the method of assessing them is grossly worng and mistaken – partly because it does not subtract for the benefits.

    We also have more than adequate evidence to suggest that “we” are first of all not paying enough to contribute into needed capital expenditure funds to begin with. Pushing ALL of the capital costs on newcomers is therefore wrong.

    What we don’t have is a way to decide who is responsible for what infrastructure: who owns what, and therefore who should pay for it (except fo your own example of a gated community, which supports my argument). I don’t think your constant example about water supply is a good one, be cause it is individually supplied: it gets a lot more complicated when you get to universal services that anyone might use (or has the oppportunity to use) in any place at any time of day or night – like roads.

    If you had a way to do that (decide who precisely benefits from what), then you would immediately see the value of the first argument, because then property rights would kick in and you would obviously have to pay for changes in rules that change the property rights, or you would be able to sell your new rights or higher values of existing rights, if that happens.

    Then there can be no argument about what a right (or loss of right) is worth because the market can decide.

    The second thing you would see is the case in which the transaction costs are so high that the problem isn’t worth solving and you should just split the check. But you always seem to see that situation as subsidising someone or another, so you think that we should stop that, no matter what it costs – even if it cost more (in transaction costs or otherwise) to stop the subsidy than to pay it.

    ——————————–

    “when you continue to say what happened before and use that as a reason to essentially force others to pay for infrastructure – you are insuring more restrictions on property rights.”

    Depends on how you look at it. The supreme restriction on property rights is that I own it and you don’t. Now, the people who are sitting warm and dry and happy in their homes that they were allowed to develop by their previous neighbors wish to prevent their current (but still undeveloped) neighbors from getting what they already have.

    We already have a procedure in place for that to happen: they can buy the property – even take it under eminent domain – so long as they pay fair compensation. Then they can restrict their own property rights all they wish. But this has the effect of raising their housing costs and their taxes: it resets the former “wrong” rule and sets it where it should have been. Now everyone who is left is on a level playing field, and those that could’t stand the heat got paid to leave.

    Or, we can figure out what the infrastructure is worth, cancel everyone’s occupancy permit, and then pay for the infrastructure with what people are willing to pay to get their occupancy permit back. We can make back assessments to make up for the difference between what has been paid and what we have on the ground, and THEN you can apply a PAYGO rule going forward because it is no longer unfair.

    You always insist that it is the FORMER condition that is “wrong – and needs to be reformed”, and you might be right, but that does not convey the right to impose new conditions selectively – only on the new guys, without any compensation for the previous social contract.

    In real estate there is a thing called adverse possession: even though you have the right to the property, you may still have to pay to kick a long term squatter off.

    “when you subsidize new home construction by raising taxes on existing homeowners – who vote – you are doomed to have restrictions.”

    But this is selective data which reflects none of the value they may have recieved from growth, and notice the first word “when”.

    What this means is precisely that it matters when you sart the new rule, and therefore how you compensate.

    When I buy a new car or a boat, it is my car or boat. What I don’t expect is for someone to come along LATER and either tell me that I have to pay more for it, or that I am not allowed to use it as before (you can still have your car but you can only drive it on your land).

    I know you think all of this isbizarre, but to me it is crystal clear and consistent, both internally and externally. As far as I can see the only thing there is no way around is that your argument is seriously flawed.

    This much I agree to: the mob has the votes, and they can do whatever they want, even if it is wrong or based on arguments that are seriously flawed.

    We seem to be inceasingly presently developing a new system based on your paradigm. On Martha’s Vineyard a coalition was waving the fright banner: “If existing zoning continues we will see 50% more houses than we have now.) But they weren’t suggesting that the way to fix the problem was to buy the property and then expire their own zoning: they just want to expire someone else’s.

    I submit that we will find that paradigm to be “wrong – and need to be reformed” .

    And when that happens, you will hear the SAME people hollering about THEIR property rights, and demanding compensation. So this comes full circle to WHEN do we set the start date to fix the (now obvious) problem? What were the expectations (social contract through zoning laws) when they got their property?

    RH

  43. Your idea that only new people should should pay 100% IS bizarre, and so is your idea that only new roads should be paid for only by users, when other people benefit as well.

    All I insist on is a higher standard of accounting and fairness than what I see as your one-sided property grabs and assertions of right and wrong, regardless of who think are the “good” guys, and regardless of what I think needs to be fixed.

    RH

  44. I said “It is unrealistic and frankly wrong to expect new owners or users to pay 100% of the cost of all infrastructure up front. it is tantamount to saying no growth.”

    And your translation of that is that I think “people should not pay 100% of the costs”

    Those are two completely different statements. It is an example of sloppy thinking and outright mischaracterization, which I think is wrong.

    In fact, I do think “people” should pay 100% of the costs, and they should also pay for their benefits, or count them aganst the “costs” imposed by others. It is a systems thing.

    What I don’t think is that only NEW people should pay hundred% of the costs (even if the costs may appear to be new costs) and only after some arbitrary point in time (as in when other “come heres” get enough votes to screw their neighbors).

    What I don’t think is that we are allocating the costs anywhere near correctly and therefore some people are paying MORE than 100% of their costs, which is just as wrong and just as damaging as some people paying less than 100%.

    The only way to get it right is to work at it, but you refer to simply reject the concept of fairness as bizarre.

    It isn’t that hard. How would you feel if (a new) rule was applied against only you?

  45. I’ll even go farther. One way or another people will pay 100% of costs, now it is only a matter of if it is done fairly. I make a decision in the market, I pay the consequences or take the gain.

    I make a decision in zoning, it is a sure bet that someone ELSE will pay the consequences.

    ——————-

    Right now yuo can buy an SUV dirt cheap. If you can afford to speculate you can buy one so cheap that you can buy a lot of gas for the difference from the premium people are paying for efficient cars.

    If gas stays high, you use it for a second car and you still come out ahead for a long time. If gas goes down you can resell it for a profit, or drive a bigger safer car for a lot less money.

    Sound like the housing market?

    But, all the cars that get driven do get paid for – 100%. And people do pay for THEIR choices. The difference in zoning and land use issues is primarily the time scale involved, plus the fact that they are assymetric: we deliberately draw the rules to benefit some and cost others.

    And one result is insufficient affordable housing. One result is that some pay more than 100% of their costs, while others skate free under mob rule and bad math.

    RH

  46. I believe folks should pay for the infrastructure they need – no matter if others got away with not doing so in the past.

    just as I believe that if a new law says that you cannot dump oil or produce a pesticide that used to be allowed – again you are NOT due compensation because it used to be a “right”.

    In your world – we cannot have new laws if they restrict what used to be allowed unless there is compensation.

    which is totally bizarre.

    because EVERYONE would be affected and where would you get the compensation money?

    From EVERYONE RH.. that’s why what you saying makes no sense.

    You claim that folks got infrastructure for less than what it cost?

    Who did?

    Can you show who got it and who did not?

    How would you figure out how much money to collect?

    it’s a bizarre concept RH – admit it.

  47. “we cannot have new laws if they restrict what used to be allowed unless there is compensation.

    which is totally bizarre.”

    Why is it, then, that some laws are passed which require exactly that? I think they are mostly good examples, and we should require more of it.

    If we previously allowed some bad action to occur, and licensed some business to operate under that condition then it is OUR fault as much as his. It is to OUR benefit to fix the problem, and HE should not have to bear the full economic cost of (all of us) fixing OUR problem.

    If you read the policy guidance for the National Flood Plain Protection Act, for example, it specifically says that protecting the waters, and preventing the cost of dealing with disasters is a public benefit, and that the cost of providing that benefit should NOT fall solely on the poor SOB who happens to own it through an accident of geography, history, and new NFPS designation.

    ————————–

    “because EVERYONE would be affected and where would you get the compensation money? “

    Well, now you are finally catching on. The way these rules get passed is on the claim that they provide a public benefit. If there really is a benefit then everyone is better off except a few (like those designated in the flood plain) and there should be plenty of benefit to go around to make compensation. The winners ought easily to see enough benefit to pay off the losers.

    This condition has a name, called Pareto Efficient, and it is widely uses in games and social theory.

    If they can’t, then the claimed public benefit must never have existed, or it isn’t worth what was claimed. People like yourself just want the public benefit without paying for it, and they do that by claiming a prior or greater right where none actually existed.

    Even if they succeed in essentially stealing new rights, the costs still ripple back through the economy, so there is no real savings (pollution moves to another country), but there is real bitterness on those who were treated unjustly.

    “In the real world ensuring that nobody is disadvantaged by a change aimed at improving economic efficiency may require compensation of one or more parties. For instance, if a change in economic policy dictates that a legally protected monopoly ceases to exist and that market subsequently becomes competitive and more efficient, the monopolist will be made worse off. However, the loss to the monopolist will be more than offset by the gain in efficiency. This means the monopolist can be compensated for its loss while still leaving an efficiency gain to be realized by others in the economy. Thus, the requirement of nobody being made worse off for a gain to others is met.”

    What’s bizarre is that you have so little regard for what is not bizarre at all, but simply fairness codified.

    —————————

    Lake Jackson along with a number of other state lakes is failing. It will cost several million dollars to fix it, and these funds come ONLY from user fees.

    Obviously the fees collected in the past were not highe enough to pay for maintenance of the lake infrastructure, and it now needs a capital infusion.

    Would you claim that ONLY the new fishing licenses should be higher? That renewals are one cost but new licences have an initiation fee to pay for retroactive capital needs?

    ————————–

    “You claim that folks got infrastructure for less than what it cost?

    Who did?

    Can you show who got it and who did not?

    How would you figure out how much money to collect?”

    No, you are mistating me once again. This is your argument, not mine. How do you know that a handfull of really long distance commuters cause our congestion problems? How would you figure out how much to collect?

    What I said was that if only new people pay for new infrastructure, what happens in actuality is that old people use it (the new library or fire truck) too, therefore they get to use infrastructure for less than it costs (them).

    This is your problem, not mine, and it is generally the problem with user fees and user pays: it does not and cannot properly recognize all the costs and all the benefits to be allocated. It actually could be done, to figure out what to collect from whom, but it gets impossibly complex and expensive, like the citIzen of Cook County who gets a bill composed of fees from dozens of different “service districts”.

    That system migh actually work, sort of, but frequently you find that the best and cheapest thing to do is just raise taxes, share the benefits and shut up.

    Split the check seven million ways and it is hard to argue convincingly that you individually are somehow being cheated. And yet that seems to be your position: any slight, no matter how small to me must be addressed by someone else, no mtter how large the cost to him.

    Pareto Efficiency just says that it is your position that is bizarre. If people are not willing to pay to get to a better position, then a) it isn;t a better position or b) it is a better position (more property rights) and therefor they are stealing.

    RH

    RH

  48. “In real-world practice, the compensation principle often appealed to is hypothetical. That is, for the alleged Pareto improvement (say from public regulation of the monopolist or removal of tariffs) some losers are not (fully) compensated. The change thus results in distribution effects in addition to any Pareto improvement that might have taken place.”

    In other words, people claim a public benefit but they don’t pay for it (all) and therefore they (think) they are getting something for free.

    But this condition exactly contradicts your position that any ifraction against your rights, no matter how small must not be allowed by prior or greater right.

    Therefor the only honest thing to do is to argue that all (new) public benefits be fully paid for (User pays). And since, as you point out it is impossible to know, then if you want new public benefits, you should be prepared to pay more taxes and share the benefits.

    RH

  49. Pareto Efficiency has been amplified by Bayes and Kaldor Hicks.

    Bayes efficiency include Pareto Efficiency but considers the TIMING of when a new change(regulation) is introduced, which is an issue you nad I have discussed.

    Kaldor-Hicks efficiency considers not only timing but all the other problems of how to make proper compensation in a condition of incomplete knowledge, which is your complaint here.

    RH

  50. re: “Why is it, then, that some laws are passed which require exactly that?”

    because what you consider to be property rights – the law does not.

    it is NOT a property right to pollute – even if it used to be legal.

    re:….”…and licensed some business to operate under that condition”

    this is why it is called a PERMIT RH and it is also why that permit has an expiration date on it.

    In other words, you are only allowed to do it as long as you are permitted to do it. It is not an inherent right (because you need the permit) and it is not a permanent right (because it expires).

    re…”If you read the policy guidance for the National Flood Plain Protection Act,”

    I have read it and what it says is that you get the insurance AND one bite at the apple. If you get flooded, you get compensated – ONCE and if you rebuild in the same place you are on your own.

    This one time deal is a GIFT – a SUBSIDY. The only reason it exists now is not because insurance companies won’t cover it but because the premiums are so expensive – which they should be if you build in a flood prone area – no different than you buying a high speed car and you have a bad driving record.

    Flood Insurance is equivalent to the risk pool insurance for autos.

    re: Pareto Efficient

    yes.. you can find it classified under Welfare Economics.

    please name a practical real life application of it.

    re: “What’s bizarre is that you have so little regard for what is not bizarre at all, but simply fairness codified.”

    actually no…

    your idea of “fairness” is myopic and unrealistic.

    your idea of property rights and my idea (and the law) are not the same either.

    re: Lake Jackson

    no .. it’s not the fees RH.. it’s the reason why it is failing…

    why is it failing and other lakes not?

    If the cause of it’s failing is due to runoff then the folks who are responsible for the runoff are responsible for the damage.. not all taxpayers and not all fishing license holders.

    re: “No, you are mistating me once again. This is your argument, not mine. How do you know that a handfull of really long distance commuters cause our congestion problems? How would you figure out how much to collect?”

    the commuters are easy.

    the issue with infrastructure is not my problem because my solution is to charge folks who need it – period.

    you are the one who says that this is not fair and that others should help pay for it because somehow they got away with not paying for theirs…

    which is a totally bizarre concept in terms of practicalities…

    you could never figure out how to go back and figure out who owed what…

    but that’s not the point – the point is that system was wrong to start with.. and needs to be reformed.

    Then you say that collecting in full for infrastructure will stop growth. It won’t.

    That it makes homes less affordable. Yes.. compared to what? the high cost of additional square feet or granite countertops or a new SUV?

    Your theory.. if someone buys an SUV and the gas price goes up then everyone else needs to pitch in and help buy that guy gas because it’s not his fault that he was not good at predicting gas would go up or that his job would change…

    Pareto Efficiency is basically a socialist even a fascist concept – no?

    Doesn’t it require a centralized command and control government to keep reallocating costs to keep things “even”?

    Name an economy that if based on this and operates successfully.

  51. Pareto Efficiency is basically a socialist even a fascist concept – no?

    No. Pareto Efficiency is used in engineering and many other disciplines including gaming. (There is no point in adding power to an airplane if the weight of the new engine and more fuel “costs” more than the power is worth.) It is a well known and generally accepted method of evaluating social policy. It is just that it is not unirformly used.

    The reason it is not uniformly used is because of politics. If I can vote to reduce density after my house was built, and if I can gain benefits for free doing it, why wouldn’t I?

    Pareto efficiency is a measure of fairness in public policy, politics is about stealing fairness and conferring power.

    It doesn’t matter what form of government you have, pareto efficiency tells you whther the policy is fair, and effective. Policy ought to make society better off, if it doesn’t, it is bad policy, regardless of the type of government.

    So I have a thousnd people in my town. I come up with a policy that saves each person a dollar on their taxes, but it costs one person $5000. The thousand people vote for it because the previous policy was “wrong” and they “win”.

    Except now that guy doesn’t have the $5000 to spend in their shops, and everyone is worse off.

    ———————

    Funny you should mention Fascism though. Pareto was highly opposed to the Italian government of his time and his editorials (from exile) contributed to its fall and takeover by the fascists, who tried to raise him up as a hero.

    He wasn’t having any of it though, he hated the fascists, and his writings on this topic were separate work entirely.

    ——————–

    “Doesn’t it require a centralized command and control government to keep reallocating costs to keep things “even”?”

    No. All it requires is strong property rights, properly defended and described, with the right to buy and sell. That is how cap and trade will work for greenhouse gasses.

    ———————-

    “because what you consider to be property rights – the law does not.” That’s the problem. Fix that and the rest goes away. The fewer rules you have the fewer ways to work the system, but you must have rules about what you can own and how it is protected. The primary responsibility of governemtn is to promote order and guarantee property rights. We just haven’t finished the job yet.

    —————

    “it is NOT a property right to pollute – even if it used to be legal.” that is what Bayesian efficiency considers, which is a time dependent extension of pareto efficiency.

    When you say it is not a property right to pollute, even if it used to be legal, what you are really claiming is a change in property rights from what used to be to what is now. How can that happpen unless one party buys out another parties rights? Oh, that’s right, it’s called stealing. Just because time is involved makes it different somehow?

    When you claim it is not a property right to pollute you are claiming a political right to say what is a right and what isn’t.

    In fact, of course it is a property right to pollute. The question is who owns that right or who has the authority to control it, andd what is it worth. When the government issues a discharge permit it is leasing a property right that it claims to “own”.

    Stop thinking of property rights as something associated with real property, and this is less confusing.

    ————-

    the point is that system was wrong to start with.. and needs to be reformed.

    When do you start? how do you know it was wrong? You are assuming there were no rights prior to a certain time in order that you can claim them for free now. Whether it was “wrong” before isn’t the issue: it is how do you invoke change fairly.

    Clearly that isn’t the case. We had a legal social order that we lived with, and even if we agree it needs change we shuld expect to change it legally and fairly.

    Pareto Efficiency addresses fairly.

    Practically speaking you do not need to go back very far, usually. Although we may yet see redress to the American Indians, Australian Aborigines, and New Zealand Maori for redress of historical property rights abrogations.

    The interesting thing about seeing how far back youneed to go is that it makes suggestions about haw far forward you need to look.

    ————————-

    you could never figure out how to go back and figure out who owed what…

    Actually, you can. Oregon Measure 37 did just that. With a lot of things, we don’t have to go that far back, and we do have records for a lot of things.

    Prior to 1900 I could have done pretty much as I pleas on the farm, from around 1940 or 1950 I had development rights described as one lot per three acre, from 1986 I had seven development rights, and in 1995 I suddenly had four, except they had already been used by my mother-in-law. Then in 1996 the government decided that development rights were property and set a price on them at $30,000 apiece.

    Since there were no development rights described before 1900 there were no restrictions and no price. But now there is a price, so the obvious question is how would I back todays price up: back to 1940 when there were development rights, but no price had been set yet?

    And now the county is poised for yet another downzoning, and clearly we can estimate the cost of that, because now we have a price. It isn’t a “real” price because it is set by a command and control government, but you have to start somewhere.

    The Tyson’s problem as espoused by TMT is hard, but it isn’t impossible.

    RH

    ————————

  52. re: property rights and the right to pollute

    when it is determined that something is harmful – and it is restricted – it applies to EVERYONE.

    Everyone who used to be able to produce/use that pesticide can no longer.

    This is no different than a new law that says that talking on a cellphone in a car is illegal even though before the law was passed, it was not.

    and it applies to everyone..

    according to you this is a "right" taken away and therefore must be compensated.

    since the law applies to everyone WHO exactly owes the compensation?

    would you just go out and collect from everyone and then turn around and give it back to everyone?

    and what exactly would be the basis from taking money from everyone in the first place?

    that's why I say this is a bizarre concept.

    this makes absolutely no sense at all.

    then you use this – as a basis for other alleged "rights".

    When you build a house – you do NOT have the right to charge other people to provide you with water & sewer and yet that is what you claim -because…

    .. someone long ago did not have to pay

    .. it stops growth

    .. it makes the house unaffordable

    what poppycock!

    you owe what it costs to build a house, buy a car or anything else in which you need a product or a service – and you should be the one to pay for it.

    Pareto Efficiency … did you answer the question about a practical use in a real world economy?

    also.. if something is not "balanced" then how do you get it back into balance and how do you do it?

    don't you need a centralized government to decide when things are or are not in balance and what needs to be done to fix it?

    name an economy that works this way RH.

  53. re: controlling speculation

    when Fannie/Freddie CHANGE… LOWER their requirements for loans that STARTED with the mortgagee having a job and a salary commensurate with the payment and the loan on the home at 80% of it’s current paid appraisal..

    when they take away the STARTING requirements then they are encouraging loans to people who do not qualify for mortgages higher than the value of the home.

    The government should NOT be supporting these kinds of transactions in any way, shape or form.

    As you said.. people ARE going to speculate but taxpayer money should not be used to encourage or participate in it…

    The truth of the matter is that most investors would not be dumb enough to actually loan money to people who don’t qualify at prices higher than appraisals UNLESS the Government DOES insure them.

    and that’s the problem.

    it’s the same problem with the Flood Program.

    Most smart folks would not build in flood prone areas without insurance.

    Right now – the insurance for building in flood prone areas is very high – so what the government is doing is SUBSIDIZING the cost of the insurance.. by agreeing to help pay the loss.

    So we have folks building SECOND HOMES.. people who can AFFORD a second home to start with ..getting a free ride… on something they should be paying for to start with.

    The only folks the flood insurance program should apply to is folks PRIMARY residents that were built many years ago before we understood the risk of building in flood prone areas…

    You call this Pareto Efficiency and “property rights”.

    I call this irresponsible subsidies to folks who shouldn’t get them in the first place.

    where does it say in your property rights concept that people are “owed” subsidized flood insurance as a property right?

  54. "a new law that says that talking on a cellphone in a car is illegal even though before the law was passed"

    Such a law would probably be pareto efficient and no compensationwouldbe necessary. Cosnider the case of a one person crash. The cost of the crash is probably greater than the value of the cell phone conversation. I don't see a problem here, and it is a dumb example anyway.

    ————————-

    "would you just go out and collect from everyone and then turn around and give it back to everyone?

    and what exactly would be the basis from taking money from everyone in the first place?"

    You are obviously not listening and don't care to. If it applies to everyone then it is probably pareto efficient and no compensation is necessary. But the usual case is when many gang up on a few with the claim that their movement is for "the public good" they just conveniently leave out those members who are disadvantaged in their calculations.

    It may turn out that the cost to a few is greater thanthe gain for many, in which case there is no public benefit. If there is a public benefit thenthe many can easily find a way to compensate the few, and still be better off.

    The only reasons not to do so are selfishness, greed, and power.

    ——————————-

    "you do NOT have the right to charge other people to provide you with water & sewer "

    I agree. And that is exactly what happens if only new people are charged (too much) for capital expenditures. They wind up paying water and sewer charges that were deferred by previous citizens.

    WE have plenty of evidence that there is a lot of deferred capital expenditure which people have refused to raise taxes for. Until some bridge falls in the river.

    WE have plenty of evidnece that existing resindents will benefit from and use new infrastructure paid for by others.

    I agree with your argument but it goes to far and is too one sided. As you describe it, it is oversold, overpromoted and full of falsehoods, enforced by mob rule against those that have no defense.

    I think it is offensive and I won't have any part of it.

    —————————–

    I buy a car and I expect to pay for it. And I expect the rules for its use to continue. If you suddenly say my car can only be driven in my county, for your benefit, then you should share the loss in value of my car. You should pay for you new benefit. Even worse if your new rule only applies to new cars, not existing ones.

    It makes no difference if you claim the previous rule was "wrong". All that means is that you are now claiming a new property right that pre-existed the one you claim is wrong and never existed anyway. It is a self defeating argument.

    ———————–

    "Name an economy that works this way."

    NYU law school assigns their classes by lottery. youthen own the clas and you are free to barter, trade, or sell your property right to someone who values it more.

    This is only one example, there are lots more and lots of partial examples if you care to look around.

    —————————–

    "The only folks the flood insurance program should apply to is folks PRIMARY residents that were built many years ago "

    I partially agree. I would support a Flood Plain National Park assembled over time by those who are flooded out multiple times.

    Otherwise, you are over simplifying as usual. This issue is far more complex than you allow, although I'll agree up front there are abuses.

    They could probably be fixed if property rights were properly assigned and traded.

    1) Flood insurance has become unavailable in some places that have no flood history, ever, simply because they were suddenly "designated" as being in a hundred year flood plain.

    2) Some places have become flood prone because of human activities in other places, or changes in activities. Places that never flooded (because of river dredging supporting comercial operations) became flood prone when dredging was halted for environmental reasons or because the commercial activity stopped.

    ————————-

    "where does it say in your property rights concept that people are "owed" subsidized flood insurance as a property right?"

    Did I ever say that?

    —————————–

    Think about insurance. Isn't it really a situation where we agree to subsidize each others occasional catastrophe? Don't most catastrophes have a predictable root cause, like floods or smoking in bed?

    You think some have the right to be subsidized against catastrophe and others don't?

    But, you say, my insurance is too high because of people who "choose" to live in flood plains. I can get a benefit of lower costs if we just exclude those bums who happen to be fellow Americans.

    Never mind that they will lose their mortgage when they lose their insurance, their bank will take a hit because the place can't be resold, they will lose their equity, and all because they live in a place "designated" as a flood zone, even though it has no history of flooding.

    ————————–

    Insurance is regulated by the states. The states have been unable to prevent cherry picking by the insurance companies. Theoretically, all the rational people who do not live in flood zones should get a break on their insurance by excluding these high risks.

    Have you seen your insurance go down? I haven't.

    The federal government sees a loss in revenue and economic activity because of all this, and they decide it is worth their while to subsidize this form of insurance, on a cost benefit basis.

    You still pay for the flood insurance, but now you pay it through taxes and the feds instead of through the insurance companies.

    What has happened is that the feds decided it was worth while to compensate those that lost insurance to make up for the (dubious) "benefit" enjoyed by those who now have lower insurance costs.

    It is Pareto Efficient, although you don't believe it.

    I don't beleve they are "owed" extra-subsidized flood insurance, even though alinsurance is basically a subsidy. But that does not mean that it isn't in our best interest to provide it.

    If you believe that private enterprise can do this better, then maybe the FEDs should simply order insurance companies to provide it to everyone and divvy up the cost.

    It used to be that if you wanted oceanfront you built a little beach shack and if it blew away, no great loss. Now we have faboulus beach properties that many more people can enjoy and rent, courtesy of subsidized flood insurance, courtesy of stupid flood designations to begin with, courtesy of stupid greenies who wanted a simple solution to "protect" some watersheds.

    It is no wonder that developers love greenies.

    RH

  55. You get all hung up over the idea that someone might get compensated for providing you eith a benefit, because you claim that what he was doing was wrong.

    Take your BP medicine and relax. You should never pay unless your share of the benefit is larger than your share of the compensation. What is the problem with that? Why don’t you want the bad guys on your side?

    RH

  56. You tell me.

    I can get a $250,000 boat and put it, insured, in a marina that itself cannot get hurricane insurance. And the insurance on the boat is pretty cheap.

    How does that happen?

    RH

  57. re: “How does that happen?”

    It’s called a market-based economy without Government subsidies or Government-instituted “Pareto Efficiency”.

    According to your philosophy, somehow this is unfair and the owner is “owed” insurance coverage because he provides an uncompensated benefit to the community for providing a marina.

  58. re: “Such a law would probably be pareto efficient and no compensation would be necessary.”

    RH – WHO decides if a new law is pareto efficient or not?

    this is no such criteria involved.

    ANY new law that applies to EVERYONE whether it be banning cellphone use or pesticide use works exactly the same way.

    You say that the cell phone law is “probably” okay but you disagree with the pesticide law – done the same way because in your mind – it is a “taking”.

    why is the cellphone law not a “taking” if it takes away a previous “right”?

    and since it does exactly what a new law against pesticides would do in terms of taking away a “right”, who gets compensated and where do they get the money to compensate them?

  59. re: ..”But the usual case is when many gang up on a few with the claim that their movement is for “the public good” they just conveniently leave out those members who are disadvantaged in their calculations.”

    RH – when you outlaw cell phone use in a car, there ARE SOME PEOPLE who are restricted “for the public good” and who are “disadvantaged”.

    and yet.. their previous “right” has been outlawed and they HAVE been disadvantaged and yet they receive no compensation.

    Why?

  60. re: “I agree. And that is exactly what happens if only new people are charged (too much) for capital expenditures. They wind up paying water and sewer charges that were deferred by previous citizens.”

    and how do you figure this out on a practical basis?

    and.. if you decide that folks infrastructure must be paid for by the folks that need it – how do you figure out how much to not charge them as a result of previous under-charging to existing residents?

    Your solution is to make the claim and say that charging for all of it is wrong… and then you want to use an arbitrary number with absolutely no basis in fact – just a number you (and the homebuilders) pick out of thin air as what you think is the “appropriate” number.

    It’s pure poppycock RH.

    You have no solution here – other than to force a lower charge for infrastructure without any clue as to how much less.

  61. re: …”Until some bridge falls in the river. “

    totally unrelated to proffers…

    bridges fall in rivers… when the annual transportation budget is 4 billion dollars…

    it’s not about money.. it’s about prioritization of the money you have because you will never have enough money to do all the things that you would like to do.

    When you choose to build a NEW freeway out of your 4 billion dollar budget instead of fixing a bridge that is about to fall down – it has absolutely positively nothing to do with charging folks for infrastructure for their homes and everything to do when a failure to properly allocated existing resources for public monies.

  62. re: “NYU law school assigns their classes by lottery. youthen own the clas and you are free to barter, trade, or sell your property right to someone who values it more.”

    Name a National or State economy that operates this way.

  63. re: “You think some have the right to be subsidized against catastrophe and others don’t?”

    No.

    No one has the “right” to subsidized insurance in the first place.

    and if the Government decides to provide limited subsidies to some folks based on restrictions then it is still not a “right”.

    no one has the “right” to be provided with subsidized insurance.

    re: “I can get a benefit of lower costs if we just exclude those bums who happen to be fellow Americans.”

    you get NO benefit if your own insurance premiums are higher than they would be because insurance is provided at lower cost to others than to you.

    re: “because they live in a place “designated” as a flood zone, even though it has no history of flooding.”

    in the private equity market – there is no rule that restricts a financial institution from providing a loan to such properties.

    the “designation” is not a law that says no loan can be made.

    what the designation says is that no Government (Taxpayer) monies will be provided to support mortages for such purposes.

    re: …”cherry picking by insurance companies”.

    this is the way the free market works RH.

    You are NOT ENTITLED to private insurance in the first place much less at a rate you think is reasonable.

    No one “owes” you insurance in the first place.

    Your “insurance” is a private, quid pro quo transaction between you and a private company – as it should be.

    Why do you think this is a “right” that is provided to you by the Government?

  64. re: “It is Pareto Efficient, although you don’t believe it.”

    it’s pure BULL and you know it.

    Show me a cite .. where the government says that they are doing this as a result of Pareto Efficient!

    re: the Feds “ordering” insurance companies…

    The Feds are NOT in the business of providing insurance.

    When you say FEDS – you are talking about ALL taxpayers..

    and ALL taxpayers should not be taxed to provide subsidized insurance to those who engage in risky behavior – like building a home in a flood prone area – especially when other taxpayers decide to NOT do that risky behavior.

    Your idea is to tax the guy who built his house on a hill to pay the insurance for the car who built on the river…

    isn’t that a “taking” ?

  65. re: “It used to be that if you wanted oceanfront you built a little beach shack and if it blew away, no great loss. Now we have faboulus beach properties that many more people can enjoy and rent, courtesy of subsidized flood insurance, courtesy of stupid flood designations to begin with, courtesy of stupid greenies who wanted a simple solution to “protect” some watersheds.”

    what a load RH! a double LOAD!

    “Greenies” have absolutely NOTHING to do with the Federal Subsidized loan program.

    The folks who want this program are the folks who want to build those “fabulous” beach properties to make a private profit off of renting them but they can’t make a profit if they have to pay the actual insurance costs.

    Nothing to do with “greenies”, EVERYTHING to do with individuals seeking a subsidy from other taxpayers for their own profit.

  66. “and how do you figure this out on a practical basis?”

    First you have to concede that it is a possibility, and then resolve to look for fair and equitable cost distributions instead of just blaming everything on the developers and newbies.

    I don’t know the details of how you would work this out: that’s a job for analytical economists. I suspect that they would look for a way to balance increased costs for exiting homeowners with adequate maintenance and repair, and then match new costs with new residents with a factor for use/benefit of new infrastructure by existing residents.

    The situation in Middleburg where one new corporate resident basically paid for an entire new sewage plant for the whole town is an extreme case, but it points out the problem.

    ————————–

    “No one has the “right” to subsidized insurance in the first place.”

    This just rings my tilt meter. I really don’t know how to respond. Insurance is exactly a case where we all subsidize each other. We can no more operate without some insurance than we can without some pollution.

    My take on this is that the greens (all of us, really) wanted to protect the watershed. This led to designation of flood plains, and this led the insurance companies to a chance to cherry pick by bowing out in some areas. The feds realized this was a) an inequitable situation and b) an economic disaster, so they stepped in to fill the breach.

    Leaving aside the stupidity of building inadequately in a place that we know has a serious flood history, and leaving aside your value judgements about what people should and should’t have, and what constitutes a subsidy we are left with one question: is the nation better off with at least some flood insurance available or without?

    If we are (all) better off with the subsidy than without, then why not make the subsidy?

    Not ALL subsidies are necessarily bad, even if they strongly tend to run that way.

    How do you figure out if we are (all) better off? You use the Pareto definition for efficiency.

    In this case the Feds made a cost/benefit determination that you don’t like, and you think it is wrong, wrong, wrong. But when the Feds make an air pollution cost benefit analysis you do like, well then, that’s the law dammit.

    I think we need more transparency and more quantitative analysis in both situations, but I doubt we will get it because of special interests and pork.

    Like I said, I concede there appear to be abuses. Some people call it playing by the “rules”.

    ——————————
    “you get NO benefit if your own insurance premiums are higher than they would be because insurance is provided at lower cost to others than to you.”

    That would be true if it was the case. I don’t think it is. Even subsidized flood insurance is very expensive, and most people don’t have it.

    In theory, the rest of us get lower insurance because we don’t have to spread around the cost of flood damage amongst homes that are not in danger. I don’t see the effect in my premiums though: I suspect the insurance companies just pocketed the difference.

    So the choices are
    -force everyone in a flood zone to go bare naked with the associated loss of business and oportunities.
    -subsidize flood hazards along with every other hazard the way we do with normal insurance
    -exclude flood hazards from normal insurance and pay a premium on our taxes to provided federally funded insurance (Call it more-subsidized if you want, but all insurance is basically some of us subsidizing others.)

    Health/and life insurance companies do the same thing with smokers, with the result that smokers are more likely to be sick and less likely to have insurance. Guess who foots the bill? Is it right? No. Is it better than the alternative?

    —————————

    “…”cherry picking by insurance companies”.

    this is the way the free market works RH.”

    Well yes, except what is really happening is that the insurance companies dump their worst risks on the public dole. Then it is only partly a free market. You really need to learn to look at the whole system, not just the parts you like.

    It is certainly not a free market when no insurance is available. I’m in apparent good health and work actively every day, yet priate health insurance is not available to me, not at any price from any insuror, because I suffer from several chronic diseases, at a low level.

    From a health insurance standpoint, I’m like one of those people who are classified as being in a floodplain, but who are not in any danger of flooding. Worse really, at least the guy in a flood plain can still get fire insurance. I can’t insure my heart because I have arthritis.

    Maybe I have no right to insurance. But insurance companites are regulated and I have the right to lobby to see that they are regulated differently. I could argue that others get artificially lower rates because of discrimination against a few unfortunate victims.

    We require every public building to have handicapped parking and wheelchair access, plus additional “reasonable accomodations”. We could just as easily require public insurance companies to provide full access.

    But then you wouldn’t have a “free market”.

    ———————————

    “Show me where the government says that they are doing this as a result of Pareto Efficient!”

    I don’t know of a case where they use the words Pareto, Bayes, or Kaldor-Hicks expressly, but these theories are well known to anyone who has studied public policy. Environmental law does say expressly that no person or group of persons should bear undo costs because of the promulgation, enforcement, or lack of enfocement of environmental law, which is pretty nearly exactly the same thing.

    If there are government policy makers who do not consider these things, then they are uneducated. The fact that we do not use these theories, or use them well when we do, is no reason why we shouldn’t.

    You don’t pay anything unless your benefit is greater than your costs of compensation. What, really, is your problem with this? Why don’t you want the other side on your side? Why does it have to be winner take all?

    —————————-

    “Name a National or State economy that operates this way.”

    I don’t think the economy as a whole works that way. The NYU example merely shows that it can work, and is used. Maybe government will get smart some day.

    How often do you personally buy something when you know that it costs more than it is worth to you? Why would you act any different when it comes to public spending/policy?

    ——————————

    “but you disagree with the pesticide law – done the same way because in your mind – it is a “taking”.”

    That’s because it seems obvious to me that the benefits internally outweight he costs to the cell phone user: there is no taking. But if they banned cell phones entirely, then it would be a taking.

    I don’t disagree with pesticide laws, or the manner in which the benefits are calculated. (Except I do think they are probably overblown and one-sided. I think we could do a much better, more proffesional job and provide more clarity and be more inclusive. It would be to the benefit of environmental interests if we insisted on better analysis, and I don’t think it would change the overall outcome).

    All I say is that if the benefits are that great, then we should easily be able to compensate those who are damaged by the new rules. There is no reason not to, other than our desire to get something for nothing, and our (new) value judgements about who is “bad”.

    You can eliminate all of that angst, and hurt by saying look, here is what you have and what we have. We want to (and will) change what we have and that is going to affect what you have. Here is how we want to (and will) make a trade.

    Otherwise, it’s “Here is what we want and we are going to take it: go screw yourself. Oh yeah, and now that we’ve put you out of business we still expect you to clean up after yourself.”

    Notice that unlike the cellphne example the winners and the losers are not the same. (Although they overlap: pesticide producers still benefit from not killing the environment.)

    —————————-

    why is the cellphone law not a “taking” if it takes away a previous “right”?

    Because the benefit it provides (to the cell phone user) is already greater than the taking. The takee and the beneficiary are the same.

    It is a no brainer, but not all policy is like that.

    ————————-
    “in the private equity market – there is no rule that restricts a financial institution from providing a loan to such properties.”

    No government rule, but your loan will be called if your insurance isn’t paid up. If the lenders didn’t have such a rule, you would insist that the government create one, and have inspectors to make sure it is enforced.

    ——————————

    “The Feds are NOT in the business of providing insurance.”

    Sure they are. You can ONLY get flood insurance through the Feds.

    —————————-

    “Why do you think this is a “right” that is provided to you by the Government?”

    The government controls and approves the insurance companies rates. We can no more operate without insurance than we can without pollution. What I think is that the government has given the insurance companies they are supposed to regulate more rights than they have given me, who is supposed to be a free citizen.

    —————————

    “Greenies” have absolutely NOTHING to do with the Federal Subsidized loan program.

    What federal subsidized loan program? Where do I sign up?

    The greens wanted to protect the watershed, one thing led to another. Law of Unintended Consequences. That is just my take, I could be wrong.

    ———————-

    “This is total Bull”

    Take it up with the PhD’s. I don’t invent this stuff.

    —————

    “If you and the homebuilders folks would spend just a little time understanding what causes “mob rule” and accept it as a reality as long as folks can and do vote – and seek to address what causes it – we’d have less development restrictions.”

    No, we wouldn’t. What causes mob rule is the ability to beat up on minorities. The property rights of minorities are not fully and equally protected by the government, as they should be.

    RH

  67. “…”cherry picking by insurance companies”.

    this is the way the free market works RH.”

    Yeah, and it is like having a taxicab company that refuses to go to the black side of town, or redlining loans, both of which are illegal.

    RH

  68. re: “First you have to concede that it is a possibility, and then resolve to look for fair and equitable cost distributions instead of just blaming everything on the developers and newbies.”

    nope.

    I’m not blaming anything on anybody.

    I’m just saying that if someone needs infrastructure for their home that it is a just and equitable cost for them to assume as part of their responsibility.

    If you feel differently then you will have to prove the inequity.. with the numbers ..and propose a change…

    …the burden is on you … because are the one that is saying that the current methods are not fair.

  69. re: “Insurance is exactly a case where we all subsidize each other. We can no more operate without some insurance than we can without some pollution.”

    RH – insurance is not a subsidy.

    Insurance is a private transaction between you and someone who will agree to pay your damages in the event of an accident.

    That company is free to look at your risk factors and to determine how much to charge you based on their assessment … and you are free to not buy their insurance.

    there is no subsidy at all.

    what you are advocating is that the government – other taxpayers – pay for some of your premium … and that would be a subsidy in return for some alleged “benefit” that they would receive for subsidizing you – a “benefit” that is little more than a fatuous claim on your point, unproven.. and in any event – nothing than someone else has to accept in the first place.

    If you want to build somewhere where there is a higher risk of damage -that is your right – but it is not your right to force a company to provide you with insurance – much insurance at a rate you think is reasonable.

  70. re: “My take on this is that the greens (all of us, really) wanted to protect the watershed. This led to designation of flood plains, and this led the insurance companies to a chance to cherry pick by bowing out in some areas. The feds realized this was a) an inequitable situation and b) an economic disaster, so they stepped in to fill the breach.”

    your “take” is, as usual, bizarre and plain wrong.

    “Greens” had absolutely nothing to do with flood plain designations.

    The Government did this in response to people who were crying about the fact that they lost their property because they did not have insurance – and wanted the government to give them disaster relief.

    The Government decided that it was not going to consider relief of any kind if it told folks where the risk was higher – and they decided to build there anyhow.

    I cannot believe how uninformed you are between what the Government does and environmentalism – which this has virtually nothing to do with in the first place.

    There is no inequitable “situation” when someone decides to build in a flood plain. No one forced them to do it and no one else is responsible for their decision to do so.

    again.. this is all about personal responsibility… and nothing about “environmentalism” or even “inequities”.

  71. re: …”is the nation better off with at least some flood insurance available or without?”

    the nation is better off when we, as individuals, make decisions that we are accountable for and do not expect others to pay for.

    period.

    the nation is worse off when we start taking money from taxpayers to give to folks who make stupid decisions that cost them economically.

    apparently you think if someone makes a stupid decision that costs them economically – that the rest of us are better off paying for their loss.

    How do you figure that since that becomes a loss of money from those that did not do stupid things and still have to pay?

  72. re: “If we are (all) better off with the subsidy than without, then why not make the subsidy? “

    because we are not.

    we are not better off just because someone asserts that we are.

    we are only better off when the folks you propose to take money away from – AGREE with you.

    Otherwise .. all you have is an unfounded asserted that others – the folks you intend to take money from – don’t agree with.

  73. re: “How do you figure out if we are (all) better off? You use the Pareto definition for efficiency. “

    you are free to “use” whatever theory you want to assert something.

    but you are not free to make that assertion – without proof – and without concurrence of proof – from those you intend to take money from.

  74. re: “In this case the Feds made a cost/benefit determination that you don’t like, and you think it is wrong, wrong, wrong. But when the Feds make an air pollution cost benefit analysis you do like, well then, that’s the law dammit.”

    That’s correct.

    Because I trust the Feds cost/benefit far more than I do some unproven theories….

  75. re :”That would be true if it was the case. I don’t think it is. Even subsidized flood insurance is very expensive, and most people don’t have it.”

    but they are not entitled to insurance to start with – it’s a business transaction between you and and the insurance company.

    The fact that it is expensive to start with means that the insurance company has looked at the risk and is charging you what it thinks it must if it is to be able to pay your loss and still stay in business.

    Subsidized insurance – insurance provided to you at a cost to other taxpayers – is not a “right”.

    Your “fair share” of insurance costs – your premium – is not what you think is fair – it is the value of your property plus the risk – as determined by those that will have to pay your loss if you suffer one.

  76. re: “So the choices are
    -force everyone in a flood zone to go bare naked with the associated loss of business and oportunities.
    -subsidize flood hazards along with every other hazard the way we do with normal insurance
    -exclude flood hazards from normal insurance and pay a premium on our taxes to provided federally funded insurance (Call it more-subsidized if you want, but all insurance is basically some of us subsidizing others.)”

    no.

    the choices are – what the insurance companies choose to offer – for a price they will set.

    your choices are to shop around and find the best deal.

    at no point – does any company have to provide you with the coverage that you want nor at a price you think is fair.

    there is NO SUBSIDY RH .

    Insurance is NOT a subsidy.

    It is a quid pro quo transaction between you and someone who promises to pay your losses if you have one – and in exchange you agree to pay premiums to secure that coverage.

  77. re: smoking and insurance

    smoking is a risky behavior.

    if you smoke, your insurance should cost you more.

    how much more – is not determined by you but by the folks who promise to pay your bills if you get sick.

  78. re: “Well yes, except what is really happening is that the insurance companies dump their worst risks on the public dole. Then it is only partly a free market. You really need to learn to look at the whole system, not just the parts you like.

    It is certainly not a free market when no insurance is available.”

    RH – I think you have a fundamental lack of understanding.

    Insurance is NOT a “right”.

    No one can be forced to insure you.

    No one can be forced to offer you insurance either.

    A “free market” allows businesses to “freely” decide what products they wish to sell – and which products they don’t wish to sell.

  79. re: “Maybe I have no right to insurance. But insurance companites are regulated and I have the right to lobby to see that they are regulated differently. I could argue that others get artificially lower rates because of discrimination against a few unfortunate victims.

    We require every public building to have handicapped parking and wheelchair access, plus additional “reasonable accomodations”. We could just as easily require public insurance companies to provide full access.”

    the difference is these are public places – not private.

    The Government does have a right to require standards for the health and well being of all citizens. Even then this is controversial.

    I’m surprised that you do not consider this requirement to be a “taking” of property rights.

    Are you saying that the Government does have the right to take your “property rights”?

  80. re: “”Show me where the government says that they are doing this as a result of Pareto Efficient!”

    I don’t know of a case where they use the words Pareto, Bayes, or Kaldor-Hicks expressly, but these theories are well known to anyone who has studied public policy. Environmental law does say expressly that no person or group of persons should bear undo costs because of the promulgation, enforcement, or lack of enfocement of environmental law, which is pretty nearly exactly the same thing.”

    Practical economies RH – not isolated “pseudo” examples.

    you said that you needed this to work at the SYSTEM level to even out imbalances.

    Even if the Environmental Case – we decide – all the time to restrict things we used to allow – and you claim that in doing this that we are unfairly and inequitably restricting rights…

    .. which is the opposite of the example you are giving

    no?

  81. re: “The fact that we do not use these theories, or use them well when we do, is no reason why we shouldn’t.”

    the fact that you cannot name one out of 113 countries in the world – means what?

    that all of these countries are ignorant and uneducated?

  82. re: “All I say is that if the benefits are that great, then we should easily be able to compensate those who are damaged by the new rules. There is no reason not to, other than our desire to get something for nothing, and our (new) value judgements about who is “bad”.

    RH – if everyone has the “right” to pollute some substance – and we decide that that substance is harmful and we take that right away from EVERYONE – who would pay for compensation since EVERYONE has that right “taken”?

  83. re: “Because the benefit it provides (to the cell phone user) is already greater than the taking. The takee and the beneficiary are the same.”

    who determines this using what criteria?

    what if you don’t agree with it?

    how is that different than you disagreeing (or not) with other “takings”?

    The process for the cell phone law is the same process for outlawing pesticides… using a similar criteria – public health and welfare.

    What would you do if someone said that using that cell phone while they were driving was how they made money and by taking away that right – you are depriving them of making money?

    Should we then charge everyone else to provide compensation to them?

    what would happen if everyone then made the same claim – that they made money making cell phone calls from their car – and they too wanted to be “compensated”?

    this is how bizarre this becomes.

  84. re: “in the private equity market – there is no rule that restricts a financial institution from providing a loan to such properties.”

    No government rule, but your loan will be called if your insurance isn’t paid up. If the lenders didn’t have such a rule, you would insist that the government create one, and have inspectors to make sure it is enforced.”

    no I wouldn’t. If you have a private loan – the terms of it are between you and the loan company.

    ——————————

    “The Feds are NOT in the business of providing insurance.”

    Sure they are. You can ONLY get flood insurance through the Feds.

    try to buy your auto insurance or fire insurance from them.

    You are not buying flood insurance from the government RH.

    You are buying flood insurance from a private company – for a much lower price than they would charge you – if the Government did not subsidize them.

    This is NOT a good thing.

    We DO NOT want to expand this.

    We want to KILL IT…because basically you’re taking property from other to help pay insurance costs for those engaging in risky behaviors.

    The more you subsidize risky behaviors – the more risky behavior you’ll encourage.

  85. re: “”Why do you think this is a “right” that is provided to you by the Government?”

    The government controls and approves the insurance companies rates. We can no more operate without insurance than we can without pollution. What I think is that the government has given the insurance companies they are supposed to regulate more rights than they have given me, who is supposed to be a free citizen.”

    We may not be able to operate without insurance?

    Some folks want to self-insure RH.

    They want to set aside funds every year in a fund that they can tap if they need it.

    They can actually get together with other folks to form a cooperative where each person pays their share into the fund – according to value of their holdings and their risk.

    This is called “insurance”.

    The Government does get involved in regulating basically to insure that companies who say they will insure you – won’t take your money and then renege …..fraud….

    because of the nature of insurance.. where you pay ahead of time.. and only get the service later.

    and true – most states require a unassigned risk pool where all companies who sell auto insurance are required to divy up the folks in the high risk group and provide minimal liability insurance.

    This is more to protect insured people from those who won’t or can’t buy insurance…to start with.

    and you do pay for it – it is a separate item on your insurance – “uninsured motorist fee”.

  86. re: “The greens wanted to protect the watershed, one thing led to another. Law of Unintended Consequences. That is just my take, I could be wrong.”

    I’m surprised at you RH.

    You claim you are an environmentalist but sometimes you don’t know the first thing about it.

    What exactly is “Protecting the Watershed” in the first place?

    and what does protecting the watershed have to do with someone building a home in a floodplain?

    answers, please.

  87. re: “Yeah, and it is like having a taxicab company that refuses to go to the black side of town, or redlining loans, both of which are illegal.”

    or like the company that says “no shirts, no shoes – no service”?

    what the law says RH is that you cannot discriminate.

    it does not say that a company must sell a particular product or service.

    If it does sell a particular product or service then it cannot refuse to sell it to some or charge different rates for the same product based on race.

    you’re .. one again.. confusing what a company can legally do verses what they are required to do.

    they do not have to offer you insurance if they treat everyone else the same way.

    If they offered your neighbor insurance but not you then you might have a beef.

    but if you both live on a river and they refuse to offer either of you insurance – that is their right.

  88. “Worse, the public couldn’t buy flood coverage from most insurance companies, which regarded floods as too costly to insure.

    Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to address both the need for flood insurance and the need to lessen the devastating consequences of flooding. The goals of the program are twofold: to protect communities from potential flood damage through floodplain management, and to provide people with flood insurance.

    For decades, the NFIP has been offering flood insurance to homeowners, renters and business owners, with the one condition that their communities adopt and enforce measures to help reduce the consequences of flooding. “

    You couldn’t get flood insurance anymore than you could get a cab to the black sections of town before the government stepped in to fix the “free market”. Thats why beach shacks and river cottages were just that: if they got wrecked it wasn’t a major loss.

    The National Flood Plain Protection Act served two goals.

    One was to improve the water supply by increasing stream buffers. The other was to reduce damage from floods by reducing the amount of building in flood plains or other mitigation measures. Reducing building in the flood plains reduced runoff and allowed the flood plain buffers to do their job.

    The act reconized explicitly that preventing all building in the floodplain would be a hardship (loss of property rights) and it explicitly suggests the policy of offering density credits. This means a landopwner with half his land in the (newly designated) floodplain could increase the density in the other half so as to not lose value by virtue of providing a public benefit (better watershed management).

    “the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 which required structures built in a 100-year floodplain to carry flood insurance coverage as a condition for receiving federal aid or federally insured loans. “

    “The National Flood Insurance Program transfers costs of private property flood losses from tax payers to floodplain property owners through flood insurance premiums;…..”

    Like I said, the Feds considered it the lesser of two evils, and it is tied to improvements in preventing flood disasters, and protecting the water quality.

    You cannot get a loan, for the most part, without flood insurance, and you cannot get flood insurance without the federal program.

    “Throughout history, people have settled next to waterways because of the advantages they offer in transportation, commerce, energy, water supply, soil fertility, and waste disposal….The nation may choose to use these flood-prone lands for the primary purpose of economic development, or it may take action to better balance their economic and environmental outputs. “

    Does that last phrase sound a little like balancing Pareto efficiency to you? Environmental outputs are public benefits and economic outputs are private benefits.

    “When I moved to Wilmington in 1999 Shell Island was about to go into the ocean and condos were selling for $30,000. When I left in in 2004, there was plenty of sand all around and condos are now selling for $250,000, the new sand is home to lots of birds and environmentalists are, gasp, happy:”

    Could not have been done without insurance.

    ——————-

    I’m intimately acquainted with the uninsured motorists fee. After my wife was hit by an uninsured motorist it took ten years of lawsuits to collect from my own insurance company the insurance that I paid for.

    It is one reason why I think the insurance companies have more rights than I have.

    In another case they canceled her health insurance (I can’t get any) retroactively and took back all the payments they had made. The state of Maryland was suing the same indurance company for that practice, but in Virginia I was told by the insurance commissioners office simply that “They have the right.”

    ———————

    It is one thing to self insure against your own losses. If yuo can afford to lose your house and build a new one, great, knock yourself out.

    It is something else to self- insure against losses to someone else (liability). If a group wants to self insure they can form a corporation and do that, but they will have to meet the minimum standards for cash reserves required by the insurance commissioners.

    ———————

    “who would pay for compensation since EVERYONE has that right “taken”?”

    You obviously don’t wan’t to understand this, but you are perilously close in spite of yourself.

    Usually you have one polluter and many pollutees. Only the polluter has an economic interest in the right, and therfore a loss. Everyone else is more than happy to give up that right, since they aren’t using it, don;t have any economic value in it, and don’t want anyone else to either.

    But, suppose that right is explicit, and it has a value attached: 5 lbs of pollution. Now the polluter could go around and buy those rights from anyone who was willing to sell them. For Dioxin and Kepone the amount allotted would be vanishingly small and the cost of buying enough to do anything would be prohibitively high.

    Suddenly, there would be a price associated with wanting clean air: you would have to sit on your allottment, and do without the money AND the products it might produce.

    Or you could give it away to the clean air foundation as a gift for them to sit on, and you would get a tax deduction, same as we do with PDR’s.

    ——————-

    “”We need to reaffirm the principle of predictability,” George David, chairman of United Technologies Corp, told the House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

    “We need to say to our world that we are going to have a cost of carbon, whether it’s cap-and-trade or a carbon tax,””

    -

    A cost of carbon implies that it is something you can buy and sell: it is property, something you can own, sell, or give away.

    It is our carbon and I don’t think that Untied Technologies should be “granted” a monopoly on it the way the origianl Virginia land grants were done, just because “no one owned the place”.

    ————————–

    RH

  89. When we all own our carbon and we decide how it is spent, THAT will be the ultimate in referendums.

    RH

  90. re: “with the one condition that their communities adopt and enforce measures to help reduce the consequences of flooding. “

    nope.

    the second condition is that if you suffer a loss in a floodplain – you get the insurance provided you do not re-build in the flood plain.

    re: “This means a landopwner with half his land in the (newly designated) floodplain could increase the density in the other half so as to not lose value by virtue of providing a public benefit (better watershed management).”

    HUH? where does it say this?

    I’ve never heard of it. Besides how much property is half in and half out of a flood zone to start with?

    re: “Like I said, the Feds considered it the lesser of two evils, and it is tied to improvements in preventing flood disasters, and protecting the water quality.”

    the point being that taxpayers should not be subsidizing those who build in flood zones.

    The program is a quid pro quo – carrot/stick – “we’ll insure your property if your locality stops allowing more building in the flood plain AND you do not rebuild if you are flooded”.

    re: “Does that last phrase sound a little like balancing Pareto efficiency to you? Environmental outputs are public benefits and economic outputs are private benefit”

    that phrase is gobblygook.

    what does it mean?

    that some folks may choose to build in flood plains?

    well fine..but no where does it say that other taxpayers should pay for their losses…

    re: “”When I moved to Wilmington in 1999 Shell Island was about to go into the ocean and condos were selling for $30,000. When I left in in 2004, there was plenty of sand all around and condos are now selling for $250,000, the new sand is home to lots of birds and environmentalists are, gasp, happy:”

    Could not have been done without insurance.”

    What? What the heck does this have to do with insurance?

    re: “It is one reason why I think the insurance companies have more rights than I have.”

    RH – you’re paying them – a quid quo pro – for coverage.

    Your “rights” in such transactions are not sacrosanct and they may be subject to others interpretations – the company that sold you the coverage .. and the courts….

    that’s why it’s important to know the reputation of the company you deal with.

    I am sorry to hear of your health insurance issues.

    In the case of health coverage – I do believe that everyone should get basic coverage.

  91. re: "Usually you have one polluter and many pollutees. Only the polluter has an economic interest in the right, and therfore a loss. Everyone else is more than happy to give up that right, since they aren't using it, don;t have any economic value in it, and don't want anyone else to either."

    that's simply not true.

    you do seriously do not understand the current laws

    You are permitted ONLY as long as the State believes it does not have significant harm to others.

    Your only "right" is to a permit that is conditional with respect to whether or not that product is determined to harm others and when/if it is determined to be harmful – your permit is nullified and RH.. there is no compensation because once again…

    your "right" was not to pollute but only to a conditional permit.

    You simply do not have the right under any circumstances to emit from your property through the air or water or ground – any substance which is deemed harmful to others.

    by the way RH.. the definition of what is harmful is not determined by the polluter… either…

    you can say that exhaling air or farting is a pollutant – but if the state does not agree – then it is not a pollutant – and you don't need a permit to do it.

    but if the substance is deemed by the state as a pollutant – no matter what you think – then you are required to get a permit or you will be charged with violating the law.

    there is no inherent right to pollute RH.

    re: "But, suppose that right is explicit, and it has a value attached: 5 lbs of pollution. Now the polluter could go around and buy those rights from anyone who was willing to sell them. For Dioxin and Kepone the amount allotted would be vanishingly small and the cost of buying enough to do anything would be prohibitively high."

    this is garbage RH.

    it assumes that the polluter has an inherent right to release Kepone when in fact they do not.

    they cannot buy and sell the right to do it because they do not have that right to start with.

    You assume that all pollution is the same and that all of it can be handled by cap and trade and it cannot…

    there is no cap and trade for Kepone and for that matter virtually all substances that are considered toxics.

    there is no "price" associated with clean air.

    there is no "necessity to pollute" either. Companies do not close up because they will not be allowed to pollute.

    In fact, here are thousands, millions of products that can and are produced without polluting – even though they do have toxic byproducts and even though they used to release them into the environment but are no longer permitted to do so.

    Kepone is one of them.

    they are now required to not let those toxics get into the environment and they are required to process those toxics into byproducts that are either no harmful or sequestered.

    I'll say it again in case you did not understand.

    Cap & Trade does not work for toxics and is not permitted to be done.

    Cap and Trade is permitted for only a limited set of things most of which are considered harmful if there are excessive amounts of something that by itself in small amounts is not particularly harmful.

    for instance airborne sulfur dioxide is not deadly or life threatening to humans is it is dispersed by a high smokestack.

    .. but in excessive quantities in concentrated areas it can lead to acidfication of streams and rivers .. killing the aquatic critters.. which while very harmful is not deadly to humans.

    there are dozens/hundreds of rivers in West Virginia and other states that are "dead" from acid – from mine acid and there is no way to fix them…. and people swim in these streams and even use them for water supply.

    re: "A cost of carbon implies that it is something you can buy and sell: it is property, something you can own, sell, or give away."

    it may or it may not but it would not be up to the polluter to make that determination and it certainly is not a "right" much less an inherent right.

    The same process that determines what substances are harmful and what the restrictions on emitting them are – will be used for carbon and until then there is no "right" to buy or sell credits.

    the bottom line is this:

    your "rights" end at your property line.

    if you want to release "stuff" from your property onto others property – you are not the one who determines if it is "okay".

    The folks whose property is affected by what leaves your property and ends up on their property are the ones who determine what you are allowed to release.

    It's not a question of 'acceptable' levels of pollution.

    it's a question that you simply do not have the right to pollute others property.

    no more than they have the right to pollute yours.

    You've got this giant blind spot where you see one kind of property owner as actually have MORE rights than other property owners rather than all of them having equal rights.

    and "equal" rights means that you are not allowed to pollute property that does not belong to you.

  92. HUH? where does it say this?

    This is suggested in the policy guidelines that are included in the act. It is widely adopted as zoning ordinances in jurisdictions across the united states, including Fauquier, Boulder, Columbus, and many others.

    However some jurisdictions have adopted the position that there will be no density credits and the landowner who happens to be designated as floodplain will bear all the costs of providing cleaner water, and other public benefits. This is in clear contradistinction to the intent of the act, which as stated above is to balance historically valuable uses with environmental and public protection.

    —————————

    My rights may or may not have anything to do with my property lines. Property rights do not have to be exclusive to real property.

    ————————

    "Cap & Trade does not work for toxics and is not permitted to be done."

    Have you read the toxic substances control act? Virtually anything that is acidic, basic, or flammable is a toxic substance.

    ————————

    "It's not a question of 'acceptable' levels of pollution."

    Actually, it is, whether you believe it or not.

    ———————-

    "you simply do not have the right to pollute others property.

    no more than they have the right to pollute yours."

    Then nothing can be done anywhere, because avery activity generates pollution. Either we all have the same rights or we all have none.

    ———————–

    RH

  93. re: "This is suggested in the policy guidelines that are included in the act."

    can you provide a link to a real example?

    re: "Property rights do not have to be exclusive to real property."

    that's true – but folks who own property – regardless of whether it is real or not – still have rights to not have that property damaged or taken by others.

    re: toxics

    here's some reading for you:

    http://www.scorecard.org/chemical-groups/one-list.tcl?short_list_name=tri00ry

    http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=16161

    here is the list of toxics RH:

    http://www.scorecard.org/chemical-groups/one-list.tcl?short_list_name=p65

    NONE of these are Cap & Trade

    cap and trade is not allowed for most toxic substances and is not contemplated .

    re: "It's not a question of 'acceptable' levels of pollution."

    Actually, it is, whether you believe it or not. "

    agreed – but the definition of what is "acceptable" is not static, changes, and almost always changes to more restrictive not less.

    re: "Then nothing can be done anywhere, because avery activity generates pollution. Either we all have the same rights or we all have none."

    bullfeathers – only if one thinks of all pollution as being the same.

    Some pollution – stuff in sewage treatment effluent is not the same as say..dioxin or kepone.

    your idea is that pollution is pollution – and it's all the same and that's why you think it can be handled with cap & trade …

    it's not the same.

    excess nutrients – a pollutant is no where near as damaging as DDT or PCBs…

    you CAN cap & trade nutrients – as they are starting to do with the Tributary Nutrient Management Plans but there are no Tributary Kepone Management Plans and there never will be.

    advocacy of cap & trade for ANY pollutant – as a way to allow business to exist is not allowed.

    the standard is not what is required by business – but what level of damage is "acceptable" and that level is very restrictive and getting more so.

    Business is not allowed to release toxics because it costs more to manage them on-site.

    Even sewage treatment plants are restricted to what they can release and that is becoming more and more restrictive also.

    re: "you simply do not have the right to pollute others property.

    no more than they have the right to pollute yours."

    and neither of you have that inherent right RH.

    The concept you keep espousing that others do not have the right to restrict your pollution is wrong.

    They DO have that right and you as a property owner who wants to pollute do not have that right.

    You cannot release anything legally listed as a pollutant unless you get a permit – and that permit is NOT predicated on what the polluter claims is their only option.

    the polluter is told what they can and cannot release – no matter what effect that has on their business.

    There is nothing in the law at all that says that a polluter must be given a permit if he can prove there is no other way to produce something without polluting.

    As Allied Chemical.. the folks who dumped Kepone if they can still dump it because their business will be adversely affected if they cannot.

    No one had to prove that they would be harmed more than Allied would benefit.

    The State issued a "stop" order – shut your pipe down or else we send troopers to do it.

    and they did

    and they got fined millions of dollars… for violating the terms of their existing permit…

    None of this would have happened if they had a right to pollute.

  94. re: using cap & trade with toxics

    more reading for you RH:

    "A federal appeals court decided last week that a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule exempting coal- and oil-fired power plants from cutting toxic mercury pollution violates the Clean Air Act and is unlawful. The court rebuked EPA for attempting to create an illegal loophole for the power generating industry rather than applying the toughest emission standards of the Clean Air Act (see full text of decision [PDF]).

    The ruling invalidates the agency's so-called "Clean Air Mercury Rule," which allowed power plants that fail to meet emission targets to buy credits from plants that exceeded targets, rather than installing mercury emissions controls of their own. In other words, the EPA wanted to use a cap-and-trade system with mercury – a highly toxic substance.

    Fourteen states, dozens of Native American tribes, public health and environmental groups (including Environmental Defense), and organizations representing registered nurses and physicians challenged the EPA's mercury rules. Are you surprised that Environmental Defense opposed a cap-and-trade system? It's because mercury is a toxin, and cap-and-trade doesn't work with toxins."

    notice the last sentence

    read on:

    "A cap-and-trade system is the best way to limit sulfur dioxide (acid rain) and greenhouse gases because they're ubiquitous and their negative impact is more global than local. With toxins like mercury, there can be hotspots of pollution, such as a particular lake or stream. The only way to handle a toxin is with an absolute cap – no trading. The power industry has had the technology for years now to dramatically reduce toxic mercury pollution, and it's way past time to put it to work.

    Mercury is mostly emitted as air pollution that ends up in waterways and accumulates in fish. When people eat the fish, they ingest the mercury which can then cause nerve and brain damage, especially in young children and developing fetuses. EPA is well aware of how toxic mercury is. They have a whole Web site devoted to it."

    http://environmentaldefenseblogs.org/climate411/2008/02/15/epas-mercury-rule-bad-use-of-cap-and-trade/

    and notice who wrote this -

    Environmental Defense – a well respected middle-of-the-road Environmental organization often at odds with the other groups and very much in favor of market-based solutions.

  95. I’m not going to argue with you that the cost of relasing some toxics isn’t much higher than others, and that therefore the right to do so isn’t much smaller. I already said that some rights may be defined as vanishingly small.

    The fact remains that we think CFL’s are OK and burning coal isn’t, when we know that CFL’s will result in SOME mecury discharges.

    We once banned beer because it was considered to be the devil’s own toxin, and later we decided the price of prohibition was too high.

    You believe that the law can do whatever they want, because there never were any property rights. I beleive the law can do whatever they want by ignoring and denying property rights that formerly existed. They may have existed by consent, or by malinformed consent, but the fact remains that we allowed and encouraged people to make investments that we believed benefitied us under those conditions.

    That is an unwritten contract, and as gentlemen we are as bound to honor it as we would any handshake.

    When we change the rules we have a moral obligation to mitigate the damage to those individuals that we cause.

    You don’t think we have any such moral obligations simply because we now claim they were the “bad guy” first.

    But your argument that there is no right to pollute comes down to the fact that you cannot do ANYTHNG because everything pollutes, one way or another.

    I don’t believe it is possible to make and enforce laws that violate physics. I don’t think it makes any sense to try, and if you do, it is fundamentally dishonest.

    That group in Santa Clara that is trying to put a 15 year moratoriumon commercial development is essentially saying that ANYTHING you do is offensive to us, and therefore you do not have the right to do it.

    OK, fine, but the people in Santa Clara do not have the right to tesll some Chinaman what to do (yet), and so the claim of some “universal right to prevent”, like yours is moot. It is uneneforceable and as times and costs change, so will the laws.

    Even Nancy Pelosi is now onboard with offshore drilling.

    Your take on the flood plain situation is that is is a slow shutdown: you get insurance for now, but if something happens, you cannot rebuild. OK, so those people get partial mitigation: it is better than just kicking them off the land.

    But the end result of how this is going down is far different from the original intent, which was to BALANCE valuable, traditional, and historical uses with better water and floodplain protection while minimizing flood damage disasters.

    What started as a good idea has been deliberately and cynically overapplied in some places. A four hundred foot setback from the edge of a “floodplain” of a 6-inch streambed that is dry 11 months of the year is an attempt to protect the water, then protect the floodplain, and then “take” an additional 400 feet simply because we want to. It has nothing to do with preventing flood disaster.

    It is an example of the creeping requirements syndrome that amounts to an attemtpt to simply prevent everything, so that there will be no pollution. Just like Santa Clara.

    In Pennsylvania the Governor actually has a “Zero Pollution” program in place designed to prevent ALL pollution. The idea is to use the waste from one company as the feedstock for the next. While this can be done to some extent, it is principally a perpetual motion machine which cannot work, and advertising it as “Zero Pollution” is an outright lie.

    I don’t think we should tolerate that kind of behavior. And I think it is exactly the sort of thing that makes Greenies look like nut cases, and is bad PR for the cause.

    —————————

    “A cap-and-trade system is the best way to limit sulfur dioxide (acid rain) and greenhouse gases because they’re ubiquitous ….”

    As far as I’m concerned, you sould stop right there and we would be in agreement. Sulfur dioxide is a toxin and so is mercury. They are both more or less ubiquitous. A cap and trade system impies ownership of the right to pollute which can be traded or sold.

    Otherwise the only difference is the degree of toxicity, how much the rights are “worth”, and how the rights will be distributed and protected by law.

    This is fundamentally a matter of degree, not a matter of on and off. You can make it a matter of on and off by law, but it won;t change the facts anymore than prohibition on beer or offshore drilling did.

    ————————

    So now you think it is OK to subsidize their insurance as long as they are nto allowed to rebuild?

    RH

  96. re: “The fact remains that we think CFL’s are OK and burning coal isn’t, when we know that CFL’s will result in SOME mecury discharges.

    We once banned beer because it was considered to be the devil’s own toxin, and later we decided the price of prohibition was too high.”

    Once again you demonstrate that you don’t know the difference between pollution and issues that don’t involve pollution at all.

    Further – whether we allow or ban or partially ban any substance including CFLs is a continuum based on an expanding body of knowledge that can easily change how much we think it should be restricted.

    this is why I say that no matter what the level of the pollution is – you still do not have the right to release it – not before you do it and not after you have been permitted to do it.

    The release of pollution is conditional and revokeable contingent upon the latest science and it has nothing to do with your “right” to produce a product and the process produces pollution.

    I’m gonna keep after you until you admit this because you use this concept to justify all kinds of not true ideas about property rights.

  97. re: “You believe that the law can do whatever they want, because there never were any property rights. I beleive the law can do whatever they want by ignoring and denying property rights that formerly existed. They may have existed by consent, or by malinformed consent, but the fact remains that we allowed and encouraged people to make investments that we believed benefitied us under those conditions.

    That is an unwritten contract, and as gentlemen we are as bound to honor it as we would any handshake.

    When we change the rules we have a moral obligation to mitigate the damage to those individuals that we cause.

    You don’t think we have any such moral obligations simply because we now claim they were the “bad guy” first.”

    In fact I do believe in equity but I think we do not arrive at equitable solutions by letting people who benefit from pollution of development ..be the ones.. who determine what is right or not.

    I do believe that other property owners also have rights to not have their properties impacted by others.

    You seem to think that you are justified in doing things that may affect others adversely – as long as you prove that it is a benefit to you that outweights the impacts to them.. except you want to be the one who decides

    .. and the LAW says that it is those that are impacted because if they can show impacts then the person causing them has to cease or they have to get a permit – which is given only if you meet the requirements laid down by an elected government.

    there is no supreme dictator who decides this.

    and that’s what you keep alluding to .. a supreme “decider” instead of a majority of those involved.

    like it or not – your ability to do things that DO impact others IS LIMITED by those who are impacted.

  98. re: “But your argument that there is no right to pollute comes down to the fact that you cannot do ANYTHNG because everything pollutes, one way or another.”

    again.. you cannot seem to admit/understand the difference between those things classified as pollutants and those that are not and permits that allow pollution but at specified levels.

    Many, many people can and do enjoy full use of their property without emitting any pollution unless they are permitted to do so.

    you, as a property owner do not get to decide what pollution is permitted and what is not.

    The government, who represents ALL property owners makes that decision.

  99. re: “OK, so those people get partial mitigation: it is better than just kicking them off the land. “

    they’re not kicked off their land. For generations.. for hundreds of years, people grew crops and ran cattle on river lands – and they still can.

    and you can build on it too – as long as you take personal responsibility for the consequences and don’t expect someone else to pay.

  100. re: “But the end result of how this is going down is far different from the original intent, which was to BALANCE valuable, traditional, and historical uses with better water and floodplain protection while minimizing flood damage disasters.”

    not true. Only in your opinion and you are obviously in the minority as most folks do not want their taxes to be given to people who make risky decisions that end up with financial losses.

    A public process took place on the Flood Insurance – and it continues – but it is clear that most feel that while you are free to do what you want – that it is also your personal responsibility for the outcome.

    The government will only help those who truly were hurt through no fault of their own and they limit that help – because tax dollars are involved.

  101. re: “Sulfur dioxide is a toxin and so is mercury. They are both more or less ubiquitous. A cap and trade system impies ownership of the right to pollute which can be traded or sold.”

    this is why you and folks who share your view don’t get to decide because you are dead wrong.

    the two chemicals are very different and have very different impacts in the environment and require different approaches.

  102. re: “This is fundamentally a matter of degree, not a matter of on and off. You can make it a matter of on and off by law, but it won;t change the facts anymore than prohibition on beer or offshore drilling did.”

    It’s not on or off at all.

    A company can be permitted to release both sulfur dioxide and mercury but neither in unlimited amounts and each with different restrictions.

    A “permit” is not black and white.. it has a range of what is allowed… on it..

  103. re: “So now you think it is OK to subsidize their insurance as long as they are nto allowed to rebuild?”

    I’d prefer none but I’ll accept the compromise.

    The other change that I’d support is to means-test the damages.

    I do not think that people of substantial financial means should receive subsidies at all.

  104. “I do not think that people of substantial financial means should receive subsidies at all.”

    You think tht some people’s property rights are worth more than other people’s.

    Just because of the amount of property involved. So does Fauquier County. Those with the largest tracts of land were downzoned MORE than those with smaller tracts.

    ———————-

    “I’ll accept the compromise.”

    That’s really big of you, if it makes everyone better off.

    —————

    Allied had a permit that defined their rights and responsibilities. They violated their property rights agreement and they deserved to be punished.

  105. “the two chemicals are very different and have very different impacts in the environment and require different approaches.”

    They have different values and uses in commerce, too.

    The approach is the same: balance the beneficial uses and the rights to use them against the harmful effects and the right to avoid them.

    The best way to achieve that balance is to establish a market, just as we will do with cap and trade. The reason we will do it is because it is far more efficient than command and control.

    RH

  106. Consider Ocean Isle, NC.

    On Ocean Isle the middle of the island (most crowded, most public) has been designated a reclamation zone and the town is using public funds to maintain a wide sandy beach through publicly funded beash reclamation and sand replenishment. The east and west ends of the island (the beach faces south) have either officially (west end) or unofficially (east end) been designated non-reclamation zones. In normal language that means homeowners on the ends of the island are on their own. If they want to try to save their property, they can, but there is going to be no public help. Homes which were inthe second row last year are now precarious beachfront, and landowners have been ordered to remove sandbags.

    Property owners who emplaced hardened structures caused additional erosion on the other side of the structure, often on another parcel as these are often erected on property lines.

    Thus we can see that property owners doing something on their property affects others.

    Homeowners who wish to believe that the shore is static are going to have their fantasy ruined. Insurance companies are increasingly tired of paying out on claims on the shore, and dynamism vs expectation of stasis is the reason why. (We might point out that this holds true for homeowners like TMT, and those in Santa Clara, who think that the status quo can resist the sands of change.)

    The result of this policy (non-reclamation zones) will mean that less than affluent families will be excluded from the beach areas as rich people who can afford private reclamation buy up all of the land, build extravagant houses on sand and eliminate parking spaces and access.

    Or else, the costs will be so hihg that owners will walk away and all of the island will become “Public” and ultimately beach reclamation will continue with public funds.

    Only, with the homes gone, where will the funds come from?

    Beach property will become more expensive and more subject to occupation by hotels and such. As a result more people will have access, but at the cost of more high end development. Such owners will have the clout to see to it that beach reclamation is provided for THEIR private property, and we will ahve come full circle.

    RH

  107. “what does it mean?

    that some folks may choose to build in flood plains?”

    No, it means that density credits are used to allow more building in the non-floodplain portion of their land in order to compensate them for being denied building in the floodplain portion.

    The public gets the benefit of floodplain protection and the owner does not have to bear all the costs of providing that benefit.

    RH

  108. Besides how much property is half in and half out of a flood zone to start with?

    Lots of property is. Almost 90% of the land parcels in Fauquier county fall in that description. You wouldn’t beleive what counts as a “flood zone”. It is even crazier than what counts as a “wet” land.

    RH

  109. “You’ve got this giant blind spot where you see one kind of property owner as actually have MORE rights than other property owners rather than all of them having equal rights.”

    Funny, that’s exactly the way I see your position. You think small landowners have mroe rights than large ones, for starters.

    I, on the other hand think we do have the right to pollute, because it is inevitable and unstoppable. But I think we all have equal rights to pollute, not one more than the other, and we all have equal rights to clean air and water, not one more than another.

    The EPA infact says that no pwerson should be subject to undue burden from the enforcement of or lack of enforcement of environmental laws. We all have the same rights, whatever they turn out to be.

    We just have not written down what they are, yet. When they get expensive enough and valuable enough, we will.

    RH

  110. “I’m just saying that if someone needs infrastructure for their home that it is a just and equitable cost for them to assume as part of their responsibility.”

    I agree with that part, but it is also clear to me that existing owners have NOT been paying adequately towards capital maintenance costs and your argument is being used as a flase front to divert what should legitimately be their own costs. Exactly as HOA’s are resorting to initiation fees only on the new members.

    Existing owners are blaming higher taxes on newcomers whne in fact higher taxes are needed ANYWAY, just to catch up on deferred maintenance that has now become a capital expense.

    RH

  111. “it is NOT a property right to pollute – even if it used to be legal.”

    No it isn’t.

    But it was when it was legal.

    When you made it illegal you removed that property right.

    RH

  112. re: “You think tht some people’s property rights are worth more than other people’s.”

    Nope.

    When we are talking about giving some property owners taxpayer money (a subsidy), I believe that subsidies are not justified for folks who are not suffering a financial hardship.

    That if we are going to have some subsidies, then they should be limited to those that lack financial resources.

    Such that, for instance, subsidized flood insurance for someone who inherited a home in a flood plain and cannot afford the insurance – as opposed to someone who had the money and the choice about where to build his new home and chose to build it in a flood plain.

  113. re: ‘Allied had a permit that defined their rights and responsibilities. They violated their property rights agreement and they deserved to be punished.’

    Allied did not have a permit to dump Kepone.

    and what this proves is that they did not have the right to dump Kepone nor anything else not specified on their permit.

    What this proves is that they did not have an inherent right to pollute as you claim that folks have.

  114. re: “The approach is the same: balance the beneficial uses and the rights to use them against the harmful effects and the right to avoid them.

    The best way to achieve that balance is to establish a market, just as we will do with cap and trade. The reason we will do it is because it is far more efficient than command and control.”

    the approach is that you cannot dump something unless you have a permit and you cannot get a permit for things like Kepone, dioxin, ddt, pcbs, and a whole host of things whereas you CAN get a permit for sulfur-dioxide.

    What this proves RH is that the processs is NOT the same.

    Some things are NOT allowed – period because they are deemed too dangerous and harmful no matter what economic value of those “beneficial uses” you claim they have.

    The process you describe is not the process in use.

  115. re: "The best way to achieve that balance is to establish a market, just as we will do with cap and trade. The reason we will do it is because it is far more efficient than command and control."

    please explain how you control toxic release WITHOUT a command & control system.

    Who do you think would "establish the market" is not a Command & Control entity.

    more bullfeathers …RH

  116. re: “Or else, the costs will be so hihg that owners will walk away and all of the island will become “Public” and ultimately beach reclamation will continue with public funds.

    Only, with the homes gone, where will the funds come from?”

    this is comical.

    Where do you think PUBLIC FUNDS come from?

    they come from taxpayers.

    and if taxpayers from outside of the beach area don’t want to subsidize the sand for property owners that benefit from the sand then they vote not to do it.

    You cannot tax one set of folks to provide subsidies for other property owners without their permission.

    how fair and equitable is it to tax property owners outside the area of the area to subsidize sand-replenishment for those that benefit from it?

  117. re: “Beach property will become more expensive and more subject to occupation by hotels and such. As a result more people will have access, but at the cost of more high end development.”

    and why should we take money from some property owners to enable “high end” development for other property owners – again?

    this is comical… RH

    do you really think it is okay to tax one set of property owners so that others can develop “high end” properties that benefit themselves?

  118. re: “No, it means that density credits are used to allow more building in the non-floodplain portion of their land in order to compensate them for being denied building in the floodplain portion.”

    tell me where this is written in the rules and give me some places that do this…. otherwise.. let’s agree that this is hand-waving blather…

  119. re: “The public gets the benefit of floodplain protection and the owner does not have to bear all the costs of providing that benefit.”

    how does this help the public that is not in the floodplain especially if they had to choice to build in the floodplain and chose not to because of the risk and higher insurance premiums?

    what is the benefit to these folks to pay subsidies to those who chose to be in the floodplain?

    there is no public benefit RH.

    the “benefit” is that the folks who ordinarily would not build in the floodplain because they could not afford the insurance.. now ..can afford the insurance because it is subsidized by others.

    that’s not equitable.

  120. re: “I, on the other hand think we do have the right to pollute, because it is inevitable and unstoppable. But I think we all have equal rights to pollute, not one more than the other,”

    RH – what you think is the way that it used to be before we had pollution laws….

    you’re still living in the 19th century.

    What you “think” is no longer allowed and for good reason – because individual property owners, using their own criteria, as to what is acceptable will pollute the hell out of anything and everything.

    The only way to control people like this is to outlaw all pollution without a permit.

    The “permit” is what decides how much – not the person doing the polluting.

  121. re: “The EPA infact says that no pwerson should be subject to undue burden from the enforcement of or lack of enforcement of environmental laws. We all have the same rights, whatever they turn out to be.

    We just have not written down what they are, yet. When they get expensive enough and valuable enough, we will.”

    They ARE written down RH. It’s called the law and the EPA will not give you a permit for anything you wish to pollute.

    The law says that everyone must be treated equally.

    That’s true – and the law says that Nobody can pollute without a permit.

  122. re: “but it is also clear to me that existing owners have NOT been paying adequately towards capital maintenance cost”

    wrong.

    this is your unfounded opinion for which you provide no proof of any kind… just a bald assertion…

    If you had proof, you could show the dollar cost and you cannot.

    so what you are saying is that because some unknown dollar cost associated with something that happened 40 years ago.. that modern day proffers – backed up by actual data to show dollar costs –

    are illegal…

    you have no proof and no practical way to deal with the issue even if it were true…

    and your “solution” is basically to use it as an excuse to not have a proffer/impact fee system.

    I notice that you do not use that argument for water/sewer.

    why not?

    Do you think that the way that water and sewer is done is “illegal” and wrong…?

  123. re: “When you made it illegal you removed that property right.”

    if it was a “right”, how could it be legally removed?

    was it because you never really had that “right” to start with?

    tell me the companies that have been compensated for being told that they no longer can pollute even the same things they used to pollute?

    why is this?

  124. re: “Existing owners are blaming higher taxes on newcomers whne in fact higher taxes are needed ANYWAY, just to catch up on deferred maintenance that has now become a capital expense.”

    if you build a 1000 new homes and the existing schools are full – WHERE does the new school come from?

    this is NOT “deferred maintenance.

    this is NEW infrastructure needed to serve those 1000 new homes.

    HOW is this new school paid for?

    Where will the county get the 30-100 million for this new school?

    You bellyache on and on about property rights restrictions in Facquier but if these 1000 new homes were to be in Facquier and they did not charge proffers – WHO do you think would pay?

    YOU WOULD RH. The country would raise YOUR TAXES to pay for the new school.

    Now.. what if you had to build a brand new school almost every month at 30-100 million per – like Loudoun had to until recently?

    Without proffers – the cost of these new schools would have to be paid for by taxes on existing residents.

    and remember.. you cannot build the schools AFTER the 1000 houses have been built – so the money for those schools has to be provided at the time the homes are built.

    this means, with no proffers, that existing residents would have to be taxed BEFORE the schools were built.

    So.. if Facquier did this and said they were going to allow 1000 new homes to be built next year – WHERE do you think they’d get the money for the new schools?

    They’d get it from YOU. They’d raise the taxes on YOUR PROPERTY to pay for that new school.

    Would you AGREE to higher taxes for that purpose?

    no rope-a-dope answers please.

    fess up RH. Answer the question.

    Do you want your taxes increased to pay for new schools, libraries, fire stations, roads, etc BEFORE the growth actually occurs?

  125. I don’t have any problem with new people paying for new infrastructure, except to the extent that existing residents also benefit.

    I’ve said that before, but I believe there is way too much fungible expense being offloaded onto newbies.

    RH

  126. “YOU WOULD RH. The country would raise YOUR TAXES to pay for the new school.”

    OK, so what? Fauquier just increased my taxes almost 30% for new schools, and they have had a 30 year battle against growth.

    “what if you had to build a brand new school almost every month at 30-100 million per – like Loudoun had to”

    Almost everyone in Loudoun IS a newbie and they ARE paying for their own schools. If that isn’t the case and you have lots of existing residents and one new school then the answer is the same – so what?

    Newbies can pay their full costs, but if the existing residents haven’t for thirty years, and won’t now, then they have no one to blame for bad infrastructure but themselves.

    The constant refrain that growth is responsible for higher taxes and lower quality of life is incomplete, overblown, and at least aprtially wrong.

    RH

  127. “Do you want your taxes increased to pay for new schools, libraries, fire stations, roads, etc BEFORE the growth actually occurs?”

    When I want a new tractor I have to save up for it (tax myself) long before the need for the tractor becomes critical. There is no way the new tractor can pay hundred percent of its expenses from day one.

    The rope-a-doe here is that first we want no new growth without adequate public facilites. We refuse to maintain the ones we have, let alone build new, and we want the APF paid for only by the new people. The new people cannot pay for the growth in advance, and like my tractor they cannot pay for themselves up front.

    It is a circular argument that really just says “No new growth”.

    Yeah, I’m willing to pay taxes so other people can do what they want, as long as it means I’m allowed to do what I want.

    RH

  128. “If it was a right, how could it legally be removed?”

    I see the light bulb finally came on.

    It can be legally removed and still be unethical. We violate the constitutional ban on takings all the time.

    It can be removed legally by mob rule and lots of votes, but it still amounts to a taking.

    We simply refuse to recognize it for what it is. You take anyone of my bundle of sticks, and it is a taking of that stick.

    However, you can pass a law with mob rule that is also fair and honorable. If the going in claim is that the law is for a public benefit, then the public should be able to compensate in a way such that most people are better off, and no one is worse off.

    What happens in that case is that you buy the right, just like you would water rights, air rights, or mineral rights. And having to pay for it has one very salutory effect: now you pay attention to whether it is a true public benefit or not.

    Otherwise, with no cost involved, you can claim anything. You can claim one persons right to property is greater than anther persons right to the same kind of property. Like large landowners and small.

    RH

  129. re: “I don’t have any problem with new people paying for new infrastructure, except to the extent that existing residents also benefit.

    I’ve said that before, but I believe there is way too much fungible expense being offloaded onto newbies.”

    the new folks ALSO benefit from existing infrastructure that they did not pay for either – right?

    why do you assume that the equation is tilted one way or the other and how do you demonstrate that it is anything more than a simple unsupported opinion on your part?

  130. re: “Newbies can pay their full costs, but if the existing residents haven’t for thirty years, and won’t now, then they have no one to blame for bad infrastructure but themselves.”

    but you are wrong twice RH

    First, from a political viewpoint, the existing residents can choose to NOT pay higher taxes for more infrastructure.

    Second, they may be fine with the current infrastructure level as long as it does not degrade further.

    If there is going to be more growth that will degrade it further and they have a choice at the ballot box to essentially pay higher taxes for growth that degrades the existing infrastructure – what do you think they will do?

    You have no practical solution here.

    the only solution you have put forth is essentially to have a dictator force growth on a locality because as long as people can vote – most will not.

    your solution to “mob rule” is a dictatorship.

    which is not a solution at all.

  131. re: “The constant refrain that growth is responsible for higher taxes and lower quality of life is incomplete, overblown, and at least aprtially wrong.”

    in your opinion RH.. certainly not of the opinion of the folks in Loudoun who threw out the BOS that had your ideas….

    and certainly not in Spotsylvania, Stafford and Chesterfield where the local BOS has been summarily outed because they kept telling people that growth was good and growth would pay for itself and all that happened was crowded schools, congested roads and higher taxes.

    If you want to convince people that their fears are “overblown” – how would you convince them?

    If you tried to use the same argument of the BOS who got thrown out – what would that solve?

    The bottom line is – if you want change to occur – the kind of change you say is desireable – you have to show how it would work – in a way that will be acceptable to voters.,

    Otherwise – you’re back to the dictator idea..except in this case the homebuilders want the GA to pass a dictator-like growth rule and I think even you will admit that this strategy will fail because then it will put the state in charge of determining growth policies.

  132. re: “When I want a new tractor I have to save up for it (tax myself) long before the need for the tractor becomes critical. There is no way the new tractor can pay hundred percent of its expenses from day one.”

    and do you expect others to pay to help you buy your tractor?

    why is your tractor your expense but the infrastructure for a house -not?

  133. re: “It can be legally removed and still be unethical. We violate the constitutional ban on takings all the time.”

    do you mean that elected officials making a law are violating the Constitution?

    If that were true wouldn’t the courts rule it unconstitutional?

    Do you think if the state can legally take your land and give you compensation that you don’t agree with that they cannot legally do other similar things?

    re: “If the going in claim is that the law is for a public benefit, then the public should be able to compensate in a way such that most people are better off, and no one is worse off.”

    How do you determine who is better or worse off?

    Right now you have elected officials who can and are voted out (like Loudoun) and you have an elected state legislature and you have a State and Federal Court system.

    Is it your view that all of these folks have it “wrong”?

  134. “the new folks ALSO benefit from existing infrastructure that they did not pay for either – right?”

    No, not true. The previous owners paid for infrastructure through their taxes on empty land for many, many years. The often told story is that farms (and other vacant land) pay s taxes at more than twice the rate it gets services. But then when services ARE required, we conveniently forget all of that.

    The newbies pay for all of that when they buy the land from the prevou owners.

    Is that a complete story? No, of course not, but neither is the one you are trying to sell. I’m not looking for EITHER too much of one or too much of the other, but I believe the presently observed mantra is seriously wrong, and seriosuly out of balance, both in costs and power exerted.

    RH

    RH

  135. “they may be fine with the current infrastructure level as long as it does not degrade further.”

    But it is degrading. bridges are falling down, water mains are breaking, schools are overcrowded, sewage treatment plants need replacement, and people THINK they can slap the newbies with all the needed repairs.

    The entire new sewage treatment plant in Middleburg is being replaced through proffers from one corporate resident, when clearly the other residents should have borne part of the cost.

    Previously, the lack of additional capacity was used as an excuse to prevent further development, and it would have stayed that way forever, except for new EPA requirements.

    RH

  136. “How do you determine who is better or worse off?”

    If you cannot answer that, then you also cannot make the claim that an activity or police is for the public good, now, can you?

    That question is not a discriminator in determining whether it is right to steal someones property through legal means.

    When you make a voluntary deal, both parties think they are better off. When I deliver hay, I get paid for the delivery, and my customers don’t have to make a trip to the farm.

    If I have to shut down my business because some people object to hay trucks on the road, thenn they are better off (got what they want) and I am worse off.

    Anyone can understand the concept if thy choose to.

    Admittedly, some things are harder to measure and price than others some are more subjective than others. But in the end, everybody’s input is someone else’s output. When the trades are voluntary and transparent the value of the rights is established by the market, just as cap and trade will do.

    Your claim seems to be that YOU are always worse off, because of “bad choices” on the part of other people. In other words, your rights are always worth more thant the rights of “bad people”.

    If you start with the idea of equal rights and willing trades, the the costs and values sort themselves out.

    Practically speaking there are people who figure such things out: the value of recreational fishing, the value of park lands, etc. We need to make their work more transparent and more a a part of the public discussion.

    RH

  137. “Do you think if the state can legally take your land and give you compensation that you don’t agree with “

    Yes, the state can do that, and the reason is that the eminent domain process itself is cynically designed to serve the state and opress the minorities confronted with it.

    There are lists of things that should be done to fix that process. At present the same judges that approve a condemnation also approve the compensation. Compensation should be set by a peer jury. But even if you sue and win a better compensation, the legal costs are yours alone, you cannot recover your (imposed) costs for getting a fair settlement, which you should have had in the first place.

    Proper property rights protections would go a long way to eliminating eminent domain problems. the state would be more wary of undertaking a project, knowing they would hae to pay full costs, but fewer people would object to land being taken, if they were fully and fairly compensated.

    The law demands this, but it doesn’t happen, in fact.

    RH

  138. “you have elected officials who can and are voted out “

    Every four years, and probably on staggered terms. That is small comfort to one guy whose life work and savings has been thouroughly screwed over.

    The goal is to prevent that, not to have to go to the polling booth for vengeance.

    My brother bought property zoned for three houses and three guest houses. It was a lifetime project for him to achieve the properties full value and have something for his kids.

    He got downzoned to one house (the one he lived in) and one guest house. But he had to build the guest house immediately or lose that opportunity as well. He had to borrow extensively to do that, where he would not have on his original schedule.

    Compared to his original plan, what we wound up with was ruination. He is still voting, to little avail.

    This is people’s lives you are screwing around with, on the simple insistence that anything the majority wants is OK.

    I don’t think it is, and you will never convince me that wrong is right.

    RH

  139. “do you mean that elected officials making a law are violating the Constitution?”

    Yes.

    Property is considered as a bundle of sticks, if you take one of my sticks for public benefit without compensation that is a violation of the constitution.

    “If that were true wouldn’t the courts rule it unconstitutional?”

    Not necessarily.

    Although there are a number of cases in which people have sued and won, the process of getting to court is extremely arduous. It was made this way so that people could not get to court and force the issue.

    The Supreme court is loath to get involved in local matters, and the local courts are prone to find for the local jurisdiciton that hires them.

    In theory the teaching is clear, but in case law it has dragged on for decades. In the most egregious cases the courts have pretty uniformly found for the plaintiffs. But in lesser cases, where a partial taking has occurred the results are more mixed.

    Essentially, you can take my sticks one at a time, and there is little ai can do. In the first place each taking is too small to get me to court. In the second place the courts have held that you must take substantially all the value before I’m entitled to compensation.

    In practice, cycnical governments under the urging of environmental leaders have deliberately resorted to getting all they can, just short of triggering a taking. They even publish this as an acknowledged strategy.

    The risk is that the value of that one reaining stick will fall precipitously compared to all that has been taken, and then the “substantially all” situation will be met, triggering massive payments to landowners by the government.

    Overall the trend has been to recognize mnore property rights, with the result that environmentalists are loathe to go to court where they might get a bad precedent. When the Democrats are elected and property rights go out the window, expect to see more cases go to court, and more cases found against the plaintiffs, which wll lead to still more legal, but unethical, takings.

    Until that happens, the (very slow) trend has been toward more compensaton rather than less. The recommendation for floodplain density credits is one example.

    Most communities responded with full or partial density credits, but a few strongly environmentally oriented places took advantage and offered zero density credits for development rights lost in a floodplain designation.

    Then they took advantage of the generally irregular floodplains to inrease the setbak requirements. A setback of 50 feet on a regualr lot till leaes a good bit in the middle. But on an L shaped lot of the same size the setback could eliminate any building. The flood palin designations led to lot of irregualar lots which could easily be “grabbed” without compensation by just changing the setbacks.

    RH

  140. “When I want a new tractor I have to save up for it (tax myself) long before the need for the tractor becomes critical.”

    I don’t think that being deliberately obtuse helps your argument.

    The analogy is that when a community wants a new tractor (infrastructure) they should do what I do, tax myself for it in advance and put the money in a capital expenditure fund for when I need it.

    I expectn to put money aside for my future capital expenditures, and so should the community. But they don’t. Instead they whine that they can;t grow any new crops (citizens) bedause they don;t have a new tractor, and they don;t have any money.

    Then they expect to get teh money out of the new crop (that they haven’t grown because they haven’t the tractor.)

    It is the stupidest kind of circular argument, and I’d be ashamed to be associated with such stupidity.

    RH

  141. “how do you demonstrate that it is anything more than a simple unsupported opinion on your part?”

    I have previously cited studies from several economics and community development departments that show this is the case, in contradistinction to the loud and frequent claims made by AFT and others about growth not paying for itself.

    It is not my opinion, I went out and looked up the facts as presented by both sides, and then i decided which was more convincing.

    RH

  142. I don’t want to see anything out of kilter, one way or another, but I think the deck is stacked against newbies and landowners now. Protecting real estate property rights is only a small part of the overall picture.

    RH

  143. “if they had to choice to build in the floodplain and chose not to because of the risk and higher insurance premiums?”

    If that was the case, cool. But the fact is that floodplains as drewan have very little to do with flooding, just as wetlands as drawn ahve very little to do with being wet.

    (some) People bult in perfectly reasonable places, without a flooding problem, only to be designated floodplain later.

    In some places the floodplain issue has been worked reasonbly, and in others it has been worked cynically.

    I don’t think that deliberately and obviously oversimplifying the problems people face to get some ideological points, wins you many friends.

    RH

  144. “the local BOS has been summarily outed because they kept telling people that growth was good and growth would pay for itself “

    Yup, they lied, just like the people that say growth is always bad and should only be paid for by newbies.

    The BOS deserved to get thrown out, but that doesn’t make the other bed of extremists correct, either.

    Their chickens will come home to roost.

    RH

  145. “If you want to convince people that their fears are “overblown” – how would you convince them?”

    Enough cash usually works. That plus if they find they don’t get to mooch off of open space for free.

    RH

  146. If you can buy the rights to name a species, then youought to be able to buy and sell the right to “pret nar an’thin”

    —————

    “Name a Species, LLC launched its website, nameaspecies.com, offering for sale the right to name newly discovered species. “The public at large can finally participate in the exciting process of scientific discovery – by naming a species!” declares Name a Species Founder, Hunter A. Williams. “While species names have been sold before, never before has naming new species been more accessible or benefited the responsible scientist so directly. Now, in partnership with leading researchers in the sciences, Name a Species affords everyone the opportunity to name a new species and participate in the exciting work of discovery.”

    The new site, nameaspecies.com, already features several species available to be named. People pay for the right to name a species and half of the proceeds go directly to the researchers, so that the scientific process and those who push it forward benefit from these sales.”

    ————–

    RH

  147. “not of the opinion of the folks in Loudoun who threw out the BOS that had your ideas….”

    The Loudoun BOS didn’t have my ideas and they deserved to get thrown out.

    But, they goat thrown out by the same people who were allowed to live there because of the ideas the BOS did have.

    If the people of Loudoun had gotten what they said ethey want before they meved there, then they would be living someplace else, and throwing some other BOS out – for letting themselves in.

    RH

  148. re: “No, not true. The previous owners paid for infrastructure through their taxes on empty land for many, many years.”

    no RH.. THAT is NOT TRUE.

    previous taxpayers did NOT live on empty land. Many lived on already developed property paying for infrastructure that served them adequately as long as they did not have more growth.

    When more growth came and overloaded the infrastructure they already paid for – then who pays for the new infrastructure that they would not have needed except for the new growth?

  149. re: “But it is degrading. bridges are falling down, water mains are breaking, schools are overcrowded, sewage treatment plants need replacement, and people THINK they can slap the newbies with all the needed repairs.”

    you are confusing the issue.

    existing infrastructure that needs to be maintained is not the same as the need for NEW infrastructure because you have more folks who need that new infrastructure.

    Interesting you mention water/sewer because water/sewer repairs are often paid for by the people who use it – and not others.

    and when you move into a new home you have to pay for the new infrastructure to serve your house.

    then once you move in, you have to pay monthly rates for operation and maintenance/repairs …

    the “lack of infrastructure” used an an excuse to deny growth would not happen if the new infrastructure was going to be paid for by the folks who needed it rather than raise the taxes of the folks who have already paid previously for infrastructure.

    you speak of circular arguments..

    this is it.

    you want existing folks to pay for infrastructure for new folks and then you turn around and say it is used as an excuse to deny new growth.

    which is it?

    If a new gated community is proposed that pays for it’s own infrastructure why would you turn it down?

    If on the other hand – a new development is proposed that will need a new school – and to pay for it tax increases will be required on existing residents – why would they agree to do that?

  150. re: “If you cannot answer that, then you also cannot make the claim that an activity or police is for the public good, now, can you?”

    RH – I do NOT have to answer it because I belief the proffer system IS an equitable way.

    It is YOU that says it is not fair and I’m asking YOU how YOU would do it since you think the current system is wrong.

  151. re .”..you also cannot make the claim that an activity or police is for the public good, now, can you?”

    I can and do . I think the current system is correct.

    The burden is on you to prove otherwise and suggest a different, better way.

  152. re: “If I have to shut down my business because some people object to hay trucks on the road, thenn they are better off (got what they want) and I am worse off.”

    if your hay business depends on your truck on the road – then why would you have to shut your business down as long as you obeyed the same rules everyone else has to also?

  153. re: “Your claim seems to be that YOU are always worse off, because of “bad choices” on the part of other people. In other words, your rights are always worth more thant the rights of “bad people”.”

    there is no “bad” or “good”.

    there are rules and laws that apply to us all – equally and that protects everyone’s rights equally.

    I am not responsible for the adverse consequences of choices made by others and neither they for mine and that is fair and equitable.

    Each of us has a responsibility to NOT expect others to pay for us.

  154. re: “If you start with the idea of equal rights and willing trades, the the costs and values sort themselves out.”

    except you are not talking about willing trades at all..

    you’re talking about forcing others to do what you think is right no matter how they feel about it.

  155. re: “Yes, the state can do that, and the reason is that the eminent domain process itself is cynically designed to serve the state and opress the minorities confronted with it.”

    wrong answer RH.

    the reason why is because it IS IN THE CONSTITUTION that the state has that right.

    Are you saying that the Constitution is a cynical document to oppress minorities?

  156. re: “Proper property rights protections would go a long way to eliminating eminent domain problems. the state would be more wary of undertaking a project, knowing they would hae to pay full costs, but fewer people would object to land being taken, if they were fully and fairly compensated.”

    on this we agree and that is why I also support private toll roads.

    but you cannot have it both ways.

    If you don’t want ED for new roads, schools and roads how would you pay for it?

    How would you get a new school built for new growth?

  157. re: “This is people’s lives you are screwing around with, on the simple insistence that anything the majority wants is OK.

    I don’t think it is, and you will never convince me that wrong is right.”

    It’s wrong but this is what happens when you insist that “by right” development not have to pay proffers.

    this is the price you pay.

    if proffers and impact fees applied to ALL development – and infrastructure kept up with growth without higher taxes then you would not have such draconian restrictions.

  158. re: “The analogy is that when a community wants a new tractor (infrastructure) they should do what I do, tax myself for it in advance and put the money in a capital expenditure fund for when I need it.”

    you don’t get it RH.

    The community does not want NEW infrastructure and higher taxes for it.

    get it? they don’t want the growth or the higher taxes to pay for it.

    They don’t mind a reasonable percentage of their existing taxes to pay for improving the existing infrastructure they use but they don’t want tax increases for a “new tractor” that they don’t want or need.

  159. re: “I expectn to put money aside for my future capital expenditures, and so should the community. But they don’t”

    They DO put it aside – for a growth rate of about 2% and as long as they grow at that rate – it works.

    This does not work when the growth rate is 5% and higher…

    it would be like you deciding that instead of saving of for one new tractor every 10 or 20 years that you would need to save up for 5 new ones every year.

    It would bankrupt you…

    and that is the same thing that happens to places that grow at higher rates….

    they cannot afford to borrow enough money to build the schools and so they have to raise taxes to do it.. and that is where folks object.

    they see their taxes going up dramatically NOT for new and improved infrastructure to serve them but for new infrastructure for new growth – most of it – they won’t be using because it will be used by the new folks moving in.

  160. re: “I have previously cited studies from several economics and community development departments that show this is the case, in contradistinction to the loud and frequent claims made by AFT and others about growth not paying for itself.

    It is not my opinion, I went out and looked up the facts as presented by both sides, and then i decided which was more convincing.”

    then why do all of these facts and studies not cause change?

    do you think it might be because many of these so-called studies and facts that you dig up are self-serving pro-development propaganda thinly disguised?

  161. re: “I don’t want to see anything out of kilter, one way or another, but I think the deck is stacked against newbies and landowners now”

    the deck is not stacked.

    if a newbie wants a new home with a new driveway and new granite countertops and new water/sewer and a new school… he should pay for it.

    In fact, if he does pay for it – he will get approved.

    only when he says that he wants all of this stuff for “free” by having existing folks pay for it is he told “no”.

    as long as he wants to pay his own costs – he is free to come.

  162. re: “If that was the case, cool. But the fact is that floodplains as drewan have very little to do with flooding, just as wetlands as drawn ahve very little to do with being wet.”

    I has noting to do with that line is drawn if he intended to be responsible for his own costs – which would include insurance.

    If he wants taxpayers to help pay for his insurance – then they have a right to require him to not put their money at risk.

  163. re: “Yup, they lied, just like the people that say growth is always bad and should only be paid for by newbies.”

    nope.

    when someone says that new growth will cause higher taxes and overcrowded conditions …they are NOT Lying – they are telling the truth.

    and people know this is the truth.

    until growth actually pays for itself – it will remain the truth.

  164. “The community does not want NEW infrastructure “

    That’s what I said in the first place.

    They don’t want new infrastructure, they just want to whine about not having adequate publicfacilities while they let the old infrastructure fall in the river with ten of thier neighbors.

    And unlike the tractor, they don’t want to believe that it will offer them any new benefits that make the taxes worthwhile.

    But at least you are being honest now, the community doesn’t want new infrastructure, they just want stasis.

    All I’m asking is that a reasonable percentage of their taxes go to pay for improving infrastructure. (You can’t really tell who uses what, that is a red herring.)

    Where you fall off the turnip wagon is in saying that 1) there isn’t enough money to even pay for maintenance now, 2)they don’t mind paying something for improving infrastructure, but 3) it has to come out of existing taxes.

    But 4)they don’t mind new neighbors as long as there are no negative interactions or consequences whatsoever an 5) everything is paid by the newbies, including the old broke stuff.

    Since that cannot possibly happen, your whole argument boils down to a fancy convoluted circular intellectual falsehood.

    Let’s just call skinflint reactionary, opposed to any kind of progress, masquerading as environmentalist, what it is.

    Now you can fall back on the “we are right because we have more votes argument”.

    RH

  165. re: “If the people of Loudoun had gotten what they said ethey want before they meved there, then they would be living someplace else, and throwing some other BOS out – for letting themselves in.”

    If the people in Loudoun had paid some of their home price for the necessary infrastructure to support them instead of spending it on an extra 1000 square feet, granite countertops and hot tubs – then growth would not be such an issue that it gets BOS thrown out of office.

    When you charge enough for the infrastructure and you use that money to maintain an adequate quality of life – the arguments against growth go away.

    People are not opposed to growth.

    they are opposed to the adverse impacts of growth – caused – in part by building homes without building the infrastructure that will be needed to serve them.

  166. re: ""The community does not want NEW infrastructure "

    That's what I said in the first place.

    They don't want new infrastructure, they just want to whine about not having adequate publicfacilities while they let the old infrastructure fall in the river with ten of thier neighbors."

    No – they are fine with their existing infrastructure and a modest amount of their taxes going to maintain it and add modest new infrastructure within their current tax structure.

    "And unlike the tractor, they don't want to believe that it will offer them any new benefits that make the taxes worthwhile."

    it's not what they want to believe it's what they get if they pay a lot higher taxes.

    "But at least you are being honest now, the community doesn't want new infrastructure, they just want stasis."

    what they want RH is an IMPROVED community.. with a higher quality of life within the context of reasonable taxes to help pay for modest improvements.

    "All I'm asking is that a reasonable percentage of their taxes go to pay for improving infrastructure. (You can't really tell who uses what, that is a red herring.)"

    A "reasonable" amount of their taxes ALREADY goes for infrastructure.

    The folks who live there RH has the right to decide what level of taxes, infrastructure and growth that they want.

    "Where you fall off the turnip wagon is in saying that 1) there isn't enough money to even pay for maintenance now, 2)they don't mind paying something for improving infrastructure, but 3) it has to come out of existing taxes."

    That's not true at all. Most Communities have enough money to pay for maintenance and they don't mind modest increases to help pay for urgent things but they don't want a big increase in taxes to pay for infrastructure for a LOT of new development. SOME modest development IS welcomed – too much that requires huge tax increases and degrades quality of life is not.

    "But 4)they don't mind new neighbors as long as there are no negative interactions or consequences whatsoever an 5) everything is paid by the newbies, including the old broke stuff."

    Newbies don't pay for old stuff. In virtually no county are the proffer adequate to cover the infrastructure costs in the first place. the existing residents pick up the shortfall.

    "Since that cannot possibly happen, your whole argument boils down to a fancy convoluted circular intellectual falsehood."

    my argument is clear and concise and fair and equitable.

    I would not be in favor of it if it was not.

    "Let's just call skinflint reactionary, opposed to any kind of progress, masquerading as environmentalist, what it is."

    Let's call it a refusal to accept deaf & blind property rights mantras.

    "Now you can fall back on the "we are right because we have more votes argument"."

    Let's fall back on the argument that you cannot raise taxes on folks for something they don't agree with.

    You say that you have PROVED that they should pay for new growth.

    They don't believe you.

    Until you convince them that your arguments are correct – you will fail – over and over.

    If you want to reduce restrictions on your "bundle of sticks" – you have to recognize that other property owners also have a "bundle of sticks".

    You say that when they defend their bundle of sticks that it is mob rule…

    so your answer is to force them to pay whether they want to or not..

    I'll take mob rule guy.

  167. re: “If you can buy the rights to name a species, then youought to be able to buy and sell the right to “pret nar an’thin”

    you want to translate this gobblygook?

    If you were attempting to support free market voluntary quid-pro-quo transactions – I’m with you.

    I’m opposed to you when you try to force people to pay for something they don’t want.

    In your world – you’d force folks to pay for naming a species whether they wanted to do it or not because it would be the “right” of the guys selling the name to make money off of it.

  168. “you’d force folks to pay for naming a species whether they wanted to do it or not “

    No I wouldn’t, where did you ever get that?

    All I say is that if we define property rights so that the right to a spsecies name is defined, then whoever has that right has also the right to sell it, to anyone who wants to buy.

    Likewise we will define the rights to emit carbon and then people can buy and sell those rights. I think everyone has some right to emit carbon, if we don’t, we are in big trouble.

    RH

  169. “and add modest new infrastructure within their current tax structure.”

    Except, we can’t do that. We can’t even maintain what we have within the current tax structure.

    All this says iit is ok to spend money as long as you don’t increase the money you spend.

    It is nonsense.

    And the funny thing is, that now that building is down, jurisdictions are actually concerned that they didn’t see the revenue increases they had planed on due to new construction – even if that occurred within the current tax structure.

    RH

  170. “you cannot raise taxes on folks for something they don’t agree with.”

    When you downzone someone, you are increasing their taxes, and most likely they won’t agree with it.

    Of course you can raise taxes for something folks don’t agree with. That’s why we have revolutions.

    RH

  171. My suggestion is that your consept of rights and no rights, right and wrong, before and after, gets replaced with one of property rights defined for most everything we might argue about.

    Then we can buy and sell those property rights at will, or not. the value of good property rights and basd property rights will be traded until we establish what it is people are willing to do without, and what it is they are not willing to do without.

    You get a carbon allowance. You can live in a big home close to work or a smallhome far from work. But if you want a big home far from work, then you may need to buy carbon credits from someone with a small ome close to work.

    Then that guy, is no longer in a position of feeling put upon because he feels like he is subsidizing long distance SUV solo drivers – in fact, he can make money off of them.

    End of complaint.

    All we have to do is decide how much carbon use we have the right to, and call that a property right.

    And of course, we hqve to be carefule not to let someone come along later and “downzone” our carbon property rights to the point that we can no longer breathe.

    Which is pretty much what has happened to some landowners.

    Get used to it, because it is the wave of the future.

    RH

  172. If you want to reduce restrictions on your “bundle of sticks” – you have to recognize that other property owners also have a “bundle of sticks”.

    One of my bundle of sticks is the right to develop. The mob no longer has that stick becasue they already used it to build their houses.

    RH

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