Tim Kaine’s Excellent Idea


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unday was an awful, cold and rainy day so I ended up on the sofa reading The New York Times by the fire with my German Shepherd who wasn’t feeling well.

Imagine my surprise when I turned to the magazine and saw Old Virginny mentioned in “The 9th Annual Year in Ideas.” Among the great idea snippets such as putting artificial sound machines in hybrid cars so you can hear them coming and prevent accidents was the state being praised for severely limiting cul-de-sacs from future subdivision development.
The real estate development complex loves cul-de-sacs because they can be touted as safer for parents of young kids and lots on them sell at a premium. But critics, the Times notes, say that they “funnel cars onto clogged arterial routes and restrict access to neighborhoods when emergency vehicles need to respond.”
The Times credited Gov. Tim Kaine with pushing the pioneering legislation through. Future subdivisions need a new level of connectivity and if developers don’t go along, the state, which provides 83 percent of road services, will cut back on things such as maintenance and snow removal.
We wrote about this in “The Road to Ruin” series on this blog. So, it is nice to see that the state is getting some attention for being forward looking rather than the opposite, which is all too often the case. The Times says that other states are likely to follow Virginia’s lead.
Peter Galuszka

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92 responses to “Tim Kaine’s Excellent Idea”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    I'm concerned that this measure, since it's received very little press, could easily get reversed or effectively gutted next year if the new governor or some other elected official promised a supporter to do so.

  2. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Good post. This is one of Tim Kaine's good ideas. I think that Kaine will be remembered positively for seeking ways to address traffic congestion that don't require building and spending more (although he did also push for higher taxes). I'm hoping that McDonnell will be equally as creative in this regard, although I'm not holding my breath.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    "great idea snippets such as putting artificial sound machines in hybrid cars so you can hear them coming and prevent accidents "

    Been there done that.

    The artificial sound machine for my Prius is a full volume recording of a Harley.

    Prevents a lot of accidents, but unfortunately it comes at the cost of several heart attacks.

    You do realize there is an actual bill in the Senate to put cell phone jammers in all cars.

    RH

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    This is step one of the twelve step process.

    Somewhere down the line comes the step where you require cut throughs in existing cul de sacs.

    But those places sold at a premium price because they were on a cul de sac. Who will compensate the owners when what they bought is no longer?

    RH

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    "But critics, the Times notes, say that they "funnel cars onto clogged arterial routes and restrict access to neighborhoods when emergency vehicles need to respond."

    Here is a prime example of a policy crying out for measurements of effectiveness.

    The state is going to implement this policy based on some claimed social benefits, which are going to come at a cost to developers who won't be able to sell those premium lots, and homeowners who will miss out on the additional appreciation of their high vqlue lots, and the county budget which won't collect taxes on the premium values.

    Now, I have two subdivisions with 200 home each, one has a few cul de sacs and one doesn't. These homes reputedely are respoonsible for X vehicle trips per day.

    Why would I think that the subdivision with cul de sacs sends MORE vehicle to clog the arterial routes? My guess is that the number of cars from each subdivision that wind up traveling the arterials is more or less the same.

    Furthermore, I'd guess that more cut throughs means more intersections onto the arterials and those intersections increase the danger on the arterials and reduce the flow, making them MORE clogged, not less.

    A subdivision with one outlet to the arterial probably has a light to keep traffic in the subdivision and let them out a bunch at a time.

    A subdivision with four outlets probably can't afford the cost of four lights at $120,000 apiece. Either you don;t get the lights and you have more uncontrolled,dangerous, intersections or you do get the lights, costs go up, and the artery has traffic signal sclerosis.

    —————————–

    We can easily measure the response times for emergency vehicles in grid street areas vs cellular street areas.

    ——————————

    So, even without putting a price on these claimed benefits we can pretty easy test to see if they are true.

    We can pretty easily estimate the costs. whtever the costs are, if the benefits don't actually result then there is no point to this exercise, at least not as far as the stated argument for it goes.

    ——————————-

    Probably what will happen is that cul de sacs will get built anyway, some of them for environmental reasons like you can't run the street through a wetland or stream bed (This is the case for many dead end streets in Vienna). This will give the state an excuse to deny VDOT services, which will be covered by a new and unofficial government called an HOA, which will lack many of the protections that real governments are obliged to provide to their citizens.

    —————————–

    The stated benefits may or may not exist, but the stated consequences of reduced VDOT services are pretty likely to exist.

    TC = PC + EC + GC

    Total costs = Policy Costs (costs to the builders, homeowners, and county minus savings to state VDOT) + External Costs (either positive or negative changes to arterial traffic conditions) + Government Costs (monitoring and enforcng the policy, probably lawsuits, and +/- changes in emergency veicle response time).

    ——————————

    Anyone still think this is a good idea?

    RH

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    My guess is that the sum of costs to individuals on this are greater tahn the sum of savings to the government.

    This winds up being a new tax applied capriciously only to certain residents, which is unaccountable because it is off of state books and on the books of the HOA.

    The public benefits of this are zilch. The traffic on the arterials won't change appreciably, unless it gets worse on account of more curb cuts. The money VDOT "saves" will get spent on something else, and there will be no benefit to the public which still has to pay for road maintenance. This is changing who writes the checks, not who is providing the deposits to cover the check.

    RH

  7. " A subdivision with one outlet to the arterial probably has a light to keep traffic in the subdivision and let them out a bunch at a time."

    that's the problem.

    Every subdivision wants it's own light and when you multiply that by dozens and hundreds – the main road no longer functions as a arterial but rather an endless series of traffic signals – for everyone who lives there and everyone else who is trying to use that road to get somewhere else.

    So you have all these lights, each one with one or two cars waiting… and then stopping the main flow.

    What VDOT is trying to get them to do is to SHARE a traffic that has 5-8 cars waiting rather that 4 lights with 2 each waiting.

    The single entrances also cause a lot more congestion as people may be essentially "circling" the interior parcel to get to it's one entrance.

    You're a bit low on the cost of these signals which now days run several hundred thousand especially if they have to be integrated into timed sequence system.

    VDOT is basically saying that if you have multiple entrances, they'll pay for the signals and they'll maintain the internal roads but if you don't wait multiple entrances, then you're essentially a private development.

    VDOT (and most other DOTS by the way) call this access management:

    “The way to manage access to land development while simultaneously preserving the flow of traffic on the surrounding road system in terms of safety, capacity and speed.”

    In other words – the roads belong to all others also including those that live in townhouses, apartments, and non-cul-de-saced homes.

    VDOT does a good job of explaining it at:

    http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/resources/AccessMRegsStandardsMArterialCollectorWebsite.pdf

    so cul-de-saced streets impose costs on others who pay for highway capacity – which is lost when every subdivision entrance wants it's only signal.

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    I think this is a great idea. when i used to work in the suburbs, to grab lunch at the shopping center adjacent to the office park you had to make you had to move the opposite direction of traffic and make a u-turn. there was no way to cut through the office park to shopping center. Hopefully, in about 10-20 when everything is knocked down an rebuilt workers will be able to get lunch from shopping centers without making left turns onto traffic.

    i work downtown now though.

    it might help to know i live in richmond.

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    I think this is a good policy. In developments where almost every street is a cul-de-sac that have only one entrance the state today is essentially maintaining private streets.

    This policy says that developments must have connections between them so that when someone in development A wants to go somewhere that is on the otherside of development B they can drive through development B to get there. Whereas today they would have to drive out of development A to a major highway and drive around development B. This increases traffic.

    Those of you from Richmond imagine if the Fan district had one way in and one way out – lets say on Broad street. Traffic on Broad street would be horrible. However the additional connections allow traffic to disperse.

    Also if you take a look at the vdot website, it appears as if this policy has exceptions for terrain and environmental conditions.

  10. there is an interesting concept known as "Official Maps" where in the Comp Plan – a county can designate future road connections and one of the things that it allows is the preservation of these future corridors.

    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+15.2-2233

    http://www.virginiadot.org/vtrc/main/online_reports/pdf/90-TA1.pdf

    so the bottom line here is that localities have had the authority to lay out future streets (that connect) but have chosen not to ….

    … because (in my view) they were fine with VDOT doing it since VDOT was totally financially responsible for the subdivision roads

    ….. unlike 46 other states where the locality bears that responsibility through property taxes….

    so the counties DO have the ability to plan connecting roads – and until Tim Kaine and 3202 … they were content with VDOT paying…

    Now that we do have 3202 and VDOT is basically out of money – each new subdivision road is going to be a conscious cost issue….

  11. Only Larry could write this …

    "so the bottom line here is that localities have had the authority to lay out future streets (that connect) but have chosen not to ….

    … because (in my view) they were fine with VDOT doing it since VDOT was totally financially responsible for the subdivision roads

    ….. unlike 46 other states where the locality bears that responsibility through property taxes….

    so the counties DO have the ability to plan connecting roads – and until Tim Kaine and 3202 … they were content with VDOT paying…

    Now that we do have 3202 and VDOT is basically out of money – each new subdivision road is going to be a conscious cost issue…."

    So, I don't pay property taxes? Or, the property taxes are standardized and collected by the state at the same rate and valuation in each jurisdiction?

    Isn't this more like the truth …

    All the monsy goes to Richmond and Richmond squanders it?

    Once you sieze control of everything you have to take responsibility for everything. Our General Assembly and governor just can't come to grips with that.

    The question of the Fan district in Richmond seems misplaced. I guess I could ask what would happen if K and M Streets in downtown Washington were cul-de-sacs. Of course it would create traffic havoc. But the cul de sac situstion is much more prevalent in traditional suburbs than urban cores. Shouldn't you be looking at Henrico County if you are looking for cul de sacs in the Richmond area? My guess is that you'd find plenty.

  12. Sending taxes to Richmond is exactly what the localities lobby in favor of when they say this "roads are a state responsibility and the "state" is not adequately funding transportation".

    It's no secret that 400 miles of new roads are added every year – and the vast majority of them are subdivision roads and local arterials that serve them.

    See.. Groveton says the problem is sending money to Richmond. We actually AGREE.

    Don't send the money to Richmond. If you need more, tax more locally and the local voters will hold you accountable for how you spend that money – at least more so that they can when the money disappears through the Richmond rathole to VDOT.

    Why not let the localities take over this responsibility and let the locality pay for it with local taxes and let VDOT tend to the bigger state-level roads as is done in 46 other states?

    In fact, this is how it is turning out because about 80% of Va citizens don't want their gas taxes raised and yet this same 80% will vote yes for local transportation referenda.

    Let the localities spend the money for new traffic signals for new subdivisions and then let them figure out how to fix the local arterials that are then chock-a-block with traffic signals such that those roads can no longer function as useful roads.

    This is not a "Larry" concept unless you want to believe that 46 other states do it the "Larry" way.

    It's the other way around. The 46 other states do this right – in my view – and it's time for Virginia to do it right.

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    "Every subdivision wants it's own light and when you multiply that by dozens and hundreds – the main road no longer functions as a arterial but rather an endless series of traffic signals -"

    And if you have more cut throughs don;t you wind up with more intersctions on the arterials, and not fewer?

    I just think this is on of those problems that needs to be looked at on an individual basis and not as another stupid policy.

    Remember, we shifted from a grid pattern to a cellular pattern fo a reason.

    RH

  14. Anonymous Avatar

    " you had to make you had to move the opposite direction of traffic and make a u-turn. there was no way to cut through the office park to shopping center. "

    Or you could just walk across the parking lots.

    This is a good example of a necessary and desirable cut through, but it would cost the offcie complex and the shopping center each a couple of parking spaces. But, I think this is a different kind of example from cut throughs through a housing development.

    RH

  15. Anonymous Avatar

    "Once you sieze control of everything you have to take responsibility for everything. Our General Assembly and governor just can't come to grips with that."

    Bingo. This is the central problem with central planning.

    The flip side of this issue is that those subdivisions that get stuck with private streets pay for roads in general AND for their "private" roads separately. Anyone who lives in a prior subdivision gets a free ride.

    Expect this to result in more gated communities.

    RH

  16. re: cut thrus.

    no.

    think about this in terms of four subdivisions each with it's own entrance and none of them connected to each others.

    Now you connect them to each other and you have TWO entrances.

    So each parcel of land surround on all sides by roads only needs two entrances instead of one for each separate development.

    entrances that are right-in – right-out are fine also.

    it's the entrances that people want to turn left at – across 4 lanes or they want/need a median cut through – or a signal that are the problems.

    This who area is called "access management".

    It's practiced quite heavily in the other 46 states.

    It's not a one-size-fits-all approach.

    It looks at any area in terms of traffic generation then attempts to develop access that is managed as a group of coordinated curb-cuts and signals.

    We all take this for granted for a shopping center.

    Imagine a shopping center where every business wanted it's own entrance.

    You can actually see this in some areas where they don't manage access.

    In more urbanized places, limited a shopping center to one or two entrance is standard practice because there would be carnage … without it…

    Many older strip shopping centers are still configured this way.

    even the owners of the shopping center want it… in most cases.

  17. " Or you could just walk across the parking lots"

    sometimes. other times it is not easy.

    losing ONE parking space per development to result in one less traffic signal is an easy calculation especially if the traffic signal is not paid for by the development owner.

    That's why the law is being changed to say that as a condition of approval – you WILL provide an access point – period.

  18. Anonymous Avatar

    "the "state" is not adequately funding transportation".

    It's no secret that 400 miles of new roads are added every year – and the vast majority of them are subdivision roads and local arterials that serve them."

    The states are not adequately funding transportation: we are adding new drivers and more cars at a faster rate thna we are adding roads to serve them. And that is ignoring the (mostly false) argument about individual people driving more.

    It matters not one whit that 80% of people are opposed to a gas tax. It isn't the state's responsibility to worry about what people want. The problem the state has to consider is whether the people will be better off spending money on better roads and other transportation.

    The answer might come down either way, but whatever it is the facts should be clearly stated. "our assessment is that saving $300 million a year on gas taxes will cost the state $600 million a year in lost time, envirionmental damage and wasted fuel."

    Or vice versa.

    The reason that 80% are opposed to additional fuel taxes is that they have already been oversupplied with roadways: they are not experiencing major congestion, and they don't see how it harms them.

    Just like the people with cul-de-sacs already accepted by VDOT, they are free riders.

    The state has an obligation to TRY to treat people equally, and that means providing them with more or less equal levels of transportation services and more or less equal taxation.

    RH

  19. Anonymous Avatar

    " Or you could just walk across the parking lots"

    sometimes. other times it is not easy."

    Precisely my point: it is a case by case matter, not one for another stupid policy.

    RH

  20. think of the rationale behind limited access highways.

    it's much more difficult to get approval for an entrance on a limited access highway if the parcel also has access to an internal road that has a connection to an existing access point.

    it's the same basic idea.

    If you allowed any/all curb cuts to an interstate highway – you'd ruin the road for it's original purpose.

    The same kind of issues apply to local roads.

    In years past, localities would ask for bypasses but then they'd put curb cuts on the bypasses .. and then come back and ask for another bypass to replace the original one that no longer provided throughput.

  21. Anonymous Avatar

    "So each parcel of land surround on all sides by roads only needs two entrances instead of one …"

    Isn't that what I said, more entrances, not fewer?

    RH

  22. " It isn't the state's responsibility to worry about what people want."

    it is when the folks in charge are elected.

    The 80% opposition is not an "FYI".

    It's a " If you are running for governor and you say you'll increase the gas tax – you ain't going to win".

    got it now?

    You can put it to a referenda and as I have pointed out many times here – local referenda often pass – and regional referenda – sometimes – depending on how specific the planned uses of the funding are.

    You may have noticed that the Supreme Court of Virginia put the kabash on the idea of having regional taxes for transportation without the approval of those that would pay the taxes.

    funny thing about that… isn't it?

    care to retract your statement about "it don't matter what people think"?

  23. Anonymous Avatar

    "it's much more difficult to get approval for an entrance on a limited access highway if the parcel also has access to an internal road that has a connection to an existing access point.
    "

    Isn;t that what I said? you are arguing aginst yourself.

    Youhave a "limited access" development, It already has an internal road that provides access to an arterial. Now you are arguing for another entrance, claiming that will free up the arterials.

    It makes no sense, as a policy.

    It does make sense in some instances. Say you have a large subdivision on one arterial. Eventually a new arterial is built behind it, which supports new attractions such as shopping or jobs. Rather than have everyone drive far around it would make sense to provide a back door to the new arterial, but the people in that subdivision will fight it tooth and nail.

    Which is why local funding solutions won't work. That will boil down to simply denying development, which is what this is really about anyway.

    RH

  24. " In years past, localities would ask for bypasses but then they'd put curb cuts on the bypasses .. and then come back and ask for another bypass to replace the original one that no longer provided throughput. "

    and VDOT would say " sure.. we'll just put it on the list (of roads that could not be funded without an increase in taxes)".

    If those localities that crapped up their original bypasses had to come up with the money for the new bypass via local taxes – they might not be so hot to give curb cuts on the existing bypass.

    when you separate the land-use decisions from who has to pay for the transportation consequences – this is what happens.

  25. " Isn't that what I said, more entrances, not fewer?"

    let's make this more clear.

    It's how many entrances are needed per how many parcels are served.

    Two entrances to serve 4, 5, 6 parcels verses one entrance PER parcel.

    multiple parcels SHARE entrances just as we do with shopping centers.

  26. Anonymous Avatar

    it is when the folks in charge are elected.

    That is a different problem. Don;t confuse the two.

    Once they are elected they have an obligation to represent everyone equally.

    We seem to have forgottent that, and we allow eople to believe that just bcause they foted for Charlie or donated to his campaign that they now get preferential rights.

    That beleif is unethical and unhealthy and it leads to corrupt government. If we are to complain about corrupt government we need to realize that it is OURSELVES who promote the corruption.

    It starts with beliefs like yours.

    RH

  27. " Which is why local funding solutions won't work."

    tell me again why local funding won't work….

    who should pay instead?

  28. Anonymous Avatar

    "It's how many entrances are needed per how many parcels are served.

    Two entrances to serve 4, 5, 6 parcels verses one entrance PER parcel."

    You are changing the argument, Larry. I think the original conversation refers to situations like the one in the picture. What we are talking about is cut throughs in major subdivisions. Cutthroughs that may allow better access to jobs and shopping and reduce travel distances.

    But the way this is presented and probably going to be applied, it is nothing but a hidden tax increase – on the new guys. The quest to reduce expenditures will result in bad traffic decisions, preciseley because, rather than actively looking for the "right" decision, we are going to make a political one.

    RH

  29. Anonymous Avatar

    Anyway yuslice it you are still arguing for more entrnaces not less.

    RH

  30. "Once they are elected they have an obligation to represent everyone equally."

    and they do and they act as they promise in their campaigns for votes.

    Anyone who votes differently than the way they promised usually gets a "term limit".

  31. Anonymous Avatar

    "Once they are elected they have an obligation to represent everyone equally."

    and they do and they act as they promise in their campaigns for votes.

    Anyone who votes differently than the way they promised usually gets a "term limit".

    —————————–

    If, once elected, they are representing everyone equally, as you claim, then how can they promise differently in their campaign?

    Who would vote for them and expect them to act any other way than equally and fairly unless they expect to get better treatment than the next guy?

    People who vote that way are aiding abbetting and expecting to have corrupt and unfair government.

    The WANT government that does not act in the best interest of everyone, and that is what they get.

    RH

  32. Anonymous Avatar

    "tell me again why local funding won't work…."

    It won't work because there is not enough money, not a big enough base to build a pool large enough to get anything done. The sixteen mile purple line is going to cost (upward from) $1.68 Billion. No locality can raise that kind of money.

    A local subdivision is not going to vote to provide the money to run a new access raod through it.

    It won't work for the same reasons APF won't work: there is no guaranteed provision of or plan for the eventual provision of services or roads. It immediately turns into a means of simply keeping the new guys out.

    RH

  33. Anonymous Avatar

    "If those localities that crapped up their original bypasses had to come up with the money for the new bypass via local taxes – they might not be so hot to give curb cuts on the existing bypass.
    "

    —————————–

    You have lost me. You are the one arguing in favor of Kaines plan, which will mean MORE access points.

    RH

  34. Anonymous Avatar

    " when you separate the land-use decisions from who has to pay for the transportation consequences – this is what happens."

    Nonsense.

    Transportation is everyone's problem. Land use is pretty much a problem for the land owner.

    If you think that you can solve your transportation funding problems by simply preventing land use, then all you are proposing is a new tax on undeveloped (and soon to be undevelopable) land. You are shifting the burden not fixing the problem.

    If you think the way to solve ransportation problems is by controlling land use, then the thing to do is buy the land.

    If you think that is too expensive a prospect, then you have just proven to yourself that paying for tansportation fixes is the less expensive option.

    RH

  35. re: representing "equally"

    another of your misanthropic perceptions guy.

    who decides what is 'equal'?

  36. " If you think that you can solve your transportation funding problems by simply preventing land use, "

    land development is NOT ENTITLED to unlimited transportation infrastructure improvement.

    Transportation infrastructure can be done much more expensively than necessary; for instances building new roads because the old ones were not configured for efficient throughflow.

    but most importantly – is that ANYTHING that is built NOT with tax money derived from local taxpayers is is not done near as careful or frugal.

    When land-use decisions are done and local people have to pay for infrastructure there's going to be more pressure to not build in ways that causes the need for more expensive infrastructure than is necessary or affordable.

    One really excellent way to let things get out of hand – is to expect the folks in Richmond to pay for your infrastructure needs.

    Sure they'll promise to build your roads but will they?

    Well.. it turns out they won't.

    and it's because 80% of the folks who pay the taxes don't want their taxes going to Richmond to fund some other localities transportation needs.

    This is why those same folks will agree to local taxation via referenda – IF THEY KNOW what the projects are.

    That means their local government is going to find it most uncomfortable to ask for tax increases to subsidize land development.

    That's also by the way guy – how the EXISTING land-owners DO PAY their fair share while requiring the newcomers to pay their fair share also.

  37. Anonymous Avatar

    land development is NOT ENTITLED to unlimited transportation infrastructure improvement.

    Existing owners of developed property are neither ENTITLED to appropriate benefits from undeveloped property.

    Six of one and half dozen of the other.

    Otherwise known as fair and fair.

    No one is ENTITLED to claim more than they are willing to give in return.

    RH

  38. Anonymous Avatar

    for instances building new roads because the old ones were not configured for efficient throughflow.

    ————————-

    You gonna hold undeeloped landowners responsible for that?

    RH

  39. Anonymous Avatar

    ANYTHING that is built NOT with tax money derived from local taxpayers is is not done near as careful or frugal.

    ——————————–

    Careful and frugal is important, but it is not everything.

    Which is better, spending $10 per citizen with a $1 annual return or $40 per citizen with a $5 annual return?

    RH

  40. Anonymous Avatar

    When land-use decisions are done and local people have to pay for infrastructure …..

    ———————————

    When land use decisions are done, and people are falsely led to believe that they are paying for something, then bad decisions will be made.

    What do you say to the guy who has been paying taxes on vacant land for decades, for infrastructure he never received, when his chance finally comes and he is denied.

    He paid for other peoples infrastructure for decades, but when it comes time to return the favor, he gets voted down simply because he is outnumbered.

    Your argument is a selfish lie and a falsehood, through and through. If we had proper accounting of public expenditures, that would be obvious.

    RH

  41. Anonymous Avatar

    Sure they'll promise to build your roads but will they?

    Well.. it turns out they won't.

    —————————–

    Of course they won't, as long as morons think they will be better off with toll roads or other per mile charges.

    Of course they won't if we won't give them the money.

    We will still spend the money, one way or another: it is a question of whether we spend it wastefully on lost productivity and pollution or whether we get something useful for what we spend that we can send forward for our children to use.

    It is not your roads, it is our roads, and it isn't just roads, it is transportation in general. Just because you are retired, you assume roads are not necessary.

    RH

  42. Anonymous Avatar

    and it's because 80% of the folks who pay the taxes don't want their taxes going to Richmond to fund some other localities transportation needs.

    ———————————-

    Sure. They already have their transportation needs. They will keep their money at home and not spend it on local needs, either. They won't have any local needs because with local transportation funding being their own responsibility, they will bottle up land use to avoid spending on transportation.

    This isn't about funding some other areas transportation needs, it is about funding any transportation needs other than your own.

    Which the state has already graciously provided. God forbid you should ever return the favor.

    RH

  43. Anonymous Avatar

    That means their local government is going to find it most uncomfortable to ask for tax increases to subsidize land development.

    ——————————–

    Then they should find it equally uncomfortable to allow undeveloped land to subsidize, schools, roads, wildlife habitat, clean water, and the value of neighboring property.

    RH

  44. Anonymous Avatar

    the EXISTING land-owners DO PAY their fair share while requiring the newcomers to pay their fair share also.

    ——————————

    No they don't actually.

    And neither were they required to pay additional amounts when THEY were the newcomers.

    How many times have you heard someone stand up in a public meeting and exclaim "We moved out here because it was so nice here: inexpensive and undeveloped. We have to sop it from becoming like the place we left."?

    Well that is very easy to do, if you do not want the land eveloped, all you hae to do is raise the money to buy it, and then not develop it.

    Building roads and schools will look cheap by comparison. That is the little fact your argument overlooks. What your argument boils down to is simply a license to steal, no more and no less.

    RH

  45. new folks pay for the new infrastructure that is needed.

    Existing folks pay to maintain the existing infrastructure and also pay to upgrade roads that did not originally require new comers (them) to pay.

    This is what referenda do. They pay to upgrade/improve existing roads that have become overburdened from growth.

    The fact that we used to not charge newcomers – is why we now have referenda to catch up AND what newcomers NOW ..DO have to pay when they come.

    It's a fair system that assigns the costs to the folks who cause the need for the infrastructure – and because we do charge new folks – it makes it easier for folks who own undeveloped land to develop it.

    Without proffers – land development would be restricted/denied much more frequently and especially if every time someone wanted to develop property – the existing folks had to pay for the infrastructure required.

    So we charge the developer with proffers – and he passes those costs on to the folks who buy the developed property.

    It works this way virtually 100% across Virginia and across this country.

    VDOT has standards that dictate what kinds of infrastructure will be required to mitigate a new development and the localities typically tell the developer to build the infrastructure that VDOT is requiring.

    I don't know of a single place where every time land is developed that they send the infrastructure bill to the existing taxpayers.

    Do you?

    You know.. have you considered that if you were correct on this – that you would be able to give some examples of what you advocate?

    or do you consider the whole system to be wrong?

    Let's say you are correct.

    How would you go about changing the current system?

  46. Anonymous Avatar

    "It's a fair system that assigns the costs to the folks who cause the need for the infrastructure – and because we do charge new folks – it makes it easier for folks who own undeveloped land to develop it."

    This is completely an utterly untrue and backwards. Nothing about this statement is supportable with fact or numbers.

    RH

  47. most jurisdictions and state legislators are okay with it – right?

  48. Anonymous Avatar

    "So we charge the developer with proffers – and he passes those costs on to the folks who buy the developed property."

    ——————————–

    This is not true. It is completely wrong.

    Studies shaow that about half of the cost of proffers is forwarded to the new buyers and the other half is deducted from the price paid for land.

    Since the landowners are less likely to sell at the lower price developers require in order to be competitive, less land is available for development.

    This is the real reason for having proffers, not to get the money for infrastructure, but to prevent development.

    Preventing development, in turn raises the value of existing homes, which is an additional reason for having high proffers.

    This is nothing but a bunch of selfish old farts who have rationalized a way to enjoy the benefits of their own developed lots, snag much of the benefit of undeveloped lots, increase the value of their homes, and stick it to the "new guy".

    By changing the rules after they got their cabin in the woods, they are stealing from those who might have planned to follow in their footsteps and now cannot.

    I've been on both sides of this particular ditch and close enough to it tell you what a sewer it is. It stinks almost as much as your idea of what the truth is with regard to what is fair and equitable.

    You might be able to pawn this crap off on other people, but I will never believe a word of it, because my experience is so different.

    In four different locations I've seen people who developed early get rich and those who were more conservation oriented (or just didn't develope for some other reason)get screwed.

    This isn't even about sticking it to the newcomers, it is about sticking it to people who have been your neighbors for decades.

    It is about changing the rules and stealing the value out of other people's pockets just as a common thief would do.

    Merry Christmans

    RH

  49. Anonymous Avatar

    most jurisdictions and state legislators are okay with it – right?

    Most people are idiots, right?

    They think they can get ahead of the game if they give the government permission to steal from (other) people (for now).

    Talk about short term profits.

    Sure, they are OK with it. As long as you have enough votes you can make it legal to steal, or own slaves, or rape women of the other race.

    It is still wrong.

    RH

  50. scrooge you are…. shame

  51. well.. what would the land be worth if they could not get the rezone?

    so .. you're saying the land is worth less if they do get the rezone but have to pay proffers?

    The way I see it.. the land is worth MORE than it would have been if they get the rezone approved.

  52. Anonymous Avatar

    Look I don't have any thing against proffers. What I object to is false accounting of what the benefits of proffers are and what the costs of proffers are, along with false accounting of the costs of growth and he benefits of growth.

    Your statements fly in the face of published studies and reports, and they fly in the face of my own experience and observations.

    And yet, despite these published, apparent, and observable facts and experience your beliefs are widely held, and as far as I can figure out, mostly wrong, wrongeheaded and hurtful.

    Just last week the headlines in the Fauquier Democrat were two stories about the planning board turning down proposed developments.
    Rapes and murders were on the inside pages.

    I'd submit that if you get to the planning board and they turn you down, then the people writing and explaining the regulations have not done their job. The system is not transparent fair and predictable.

    It's got to where you can't build anything unless you have grid streets, housing over the shops et. etc. Whether or not it makes any sense in some locations. and none of this si written in the regs, it has just become th epreference of some on the planning board. " We are going to turn you down because you didn't bring us the rock we want to see.

    This kind of behavior stikes me as patently crazy and wasteful to boot. But we don't care if it is wasteful because we think it is only the developer's money.

    But we still want it to be "our" kind of development. Except we won't give youthe density to make new urbanist principles work. So in small rural towns you will gbet the worst of both worlds: fisrt you have to drive to get there, and then you have to walk up stairs.

    —————————

    Same with cut throughs. I have no problem with them. What I have a problem with is fuzzy thinking and bad policy.

    RH

  53. Anonymous Avatar

    well.. what would the land be worth if they could not get the rezone?

    ——————————–

    I dunno, what would it be worth if they had not been downzoned six times previously?

    The question shoud not be what would it be worth given some permssion.

    The question should be how much can we make it worth.

    How can we get the greatest increase the value to the developers, the owners, and the community for the smallest respective costs?

    Thsi should be a cooperative enterpricse and not an adversarial one.

    RH

    RH

  54. since the proffers are essentially quid-pro-quo exchanges for more dense, intensive zoning – that will make the property more valuable then what it boils down to is an agreement in exchange for higher profits an agreement to provide some of the additional infrastructure that will be needed as a result of the higher density and use intensity.

    As long as the proffers actually go for improvements at that site (as they have to by law) then it benefits the property owner more so than if they just exercised their by-right rights.

    These arrangements are codified by the code of Virginia – which means that legislation was written, commented on by all parties including developers, then voted on by a majority of legislators who did hear from their constituents and signed by the Governor and validated by the courts after challenges made.

    In other words – all parties, including a good number of property owners agreed to the legislation that enabled proffers – including – by the way – Til Hazel and many other developers.

    because.. at the end of the day, rezones ARE conditional and require negotiated agreements from both the property owner and the local government (which represents all property owners who pay taxes for infrastructure).

    If it was as bad as you say it is – then a substantial number of people would be opposed to it – and changes made.

    As it stands, there have been for the last two years (and ongoing) legislative efforts to do away with proffers and replace them with mandatory impact fees – which will, in fact, be for the same purpose – infrastructure.

    In my area – if a traffic signal is desired – the applicant has to pay for it these days – as well as right-in/right-out lanes and left turn lanes on the mainline (if certified as needed by VDOT).

    All of these costs are borne by the developer and/or the folks who subsequently buy or lease the land from the developer.

    The county has a standard policy. Taxpayers will not pay for this stuff and if the developer wants to develop, and these things are needed, he has to pay – just as he has to pay for water/sewer hookups.

    It's fair and equitable in my view and it's the only viable way to get localities to consider approving rezones to higher densities and more intensive uses – both of which require higher levels of infrastructure.

  55. cooperative rather than adversarial?

    right. In exchange for higher/more intense use – you agree to help mitigate the impacts.

  56. Anonymous Avatar

    Equally as you agree to pay for the benefits.

    RH

  57. we don't pay folks to not develop land any more than we pay people not to pollute.

    there is no right to pollute and no right to develop.

    Both of those activities require approval and that approval is based upon the ability of the applicant to demonstrate to the satisfaction of those granting approval (other property owners represented by elected government) that the benefits or their proposed activity exceeds the impacts.

    The applicant is free to claim "opportunity lost" or that his gains will exceed the losses/impacts to others but the decision is not made based on the claims of the applicant.

    Those who want to pollute or develop have always made that argument – that their activities will be an overall net benefit to everyone and they are free to make it – but ultimately the decision belongs to others – not them.

    The applicant – has to PROVE – to the satisfaction of those who would be impacted that HIS gains (his opportunity realized) will not come at the expense of those is not "balanced" by impacts to others who not only do not gain, but they lose.

    your idea seems to be that if his gains exceed their losses ( that in your big equation – the net gains exceed the net losses) that it is a net gain to society.

    Buy the approval for your equation does not come from the applicant nor his claims.

    the burden is on the applicant to prove to others that his opportunity realized will not come at their expense.

    If he cannot do that – then he will not gain their approval.

    the bigger point here is that – from the get-go – he does NOT have the RIGHT to go forward without approval.

    It's NOT a unfettered RIGHT.

    IT's totally CONDITIONAL.

    This is why much development in not a "right" but instead actually requires a CONDITIONAL Rezone and why for the same reason, releasing a waste effluent from your property onto other properties (which includes publically-owned air and water property) that, again, the applicant needs a CONDITIONAL PERMIT – which can be revoked – and is – if it is violated – no matter what you may claim about opportunity lost.

    and pollution laws themselves can result in the non-renewal of an existing permit if more information is developed that indicates that the "equation" has changed and that impacts are higher than originally believed.

    so you are correct about your equation – it's accepted as valid in the bigger scheme of things – but society as a whole gets to decide the inputs to it – not any individual who want to make their own claims that society won't accept.

    Calling this "stealing" presumes that the individual is always telling the truth and the folks not agreeing with him are always lying and that's quite a presumption without any real proof.

    but then of course, if you start off believing that you have bundle-of-stick "rights" that you really don't have – then I can see how you get way off track from that point on.

    I think that is your main problem here.

    you start off essentially presuming that you have a right – that you really don't have.

    None of us do.

    and our laws say the same thing.

    before you can put a discharge pipe on your property, before you connect a road on your property to a public road, before you put up a building, you must obtain approval – from what amounts to – other people – all of them represented by elected government.

    and this gets back to "Tim Kaine's Excellent Idea" and whether or not the state has the right to require a development to meet rules – as an explicit condition of approval.

    The State can give and the state can take away – legislatively – legally – and, actually, it does so – every January when it meets.

    To argue that this legislative process is "illegal" or "stealing" is a bit silly….

    what would you replace this process with instead?

  58. Anonymous Avatar

    we don't pay folks to not develop land any more than we pay people not to pollute.

    —————————

    Actually we do both of those things.

    When we require pollution controls those controls become part of the cost of doing business which winds up in the price we pay for goods.

    This is how we pay people not to pollute.

    At present we pay people not to develop land by offering low taxes for land use. If we think we have too much development or not enough car pooling it is because we are not paying enough for the behaviors we desire.

    Before long we will begin to see payments of CO2 offsets and some countries already pay landowners for "environmental services" in order to help them not develop their land.

    RH

  59. Anonymous Avatar

    there is no right to pollute and no right to develop.

    ——————————

    Of course there is.

    You will argue that we can shut down Kepone or DDT and we "pay nothing" for that.

    But you would not think that this is a model we can apply to the economy generally. We can have zero pollution and shut everyone down. We will have no goods and no income to buy them with.

    About that time government will come face to face withthe hard reality that there is a limit to how much regulation they can apply.

    The government cannot enforce a zero pollution or zero development law and stay in business as a government. At some point people will take their rights back, and so the extent to which government cannot regulate pollution or development is also the extent to which we have rights to pollute.

    You have no right to demand that someone else pollute less than you do. And since you will pollute a finite amount and you will buy goods from manufacturors who pollute, then you must grant others an equal right to do the same.

    RH

  60. Anonymous Avatar

    Both of those activities require approval and that approval is based upon the ability of the government to enforce the law. The government cannot enforce a law that allows zero pollution and zero development.

    This has nothing to do with what the neighbors think.

    RH

  61. " When we require pollution controls those controls become part of the cost of doing business which winds up in the price we pay for goods."

    they do not receive payments to keep them from polluting.

    They are REQUIRED to install equipment that will contain the pollution – and the COST of that IS passed on to the consumer.

    If you contemplate a business that will pollute – no one will pay you to not go into that business.

    so we won't pay you to NOT pollute.

    If you do go into business and there is pollution and you are required to mitigate it – then the costs of doing that can be passed on – just like ANY cost of doing business.

    But if the product you produce cannot compete on the market – you go out of business and no one will pay you because you want to stay in business and save money by not using the pollution restriction processes.

  62. " We can have zero pollution and shut everyone down."

    but we don't. We allow pollution for some things but not others.

    but it's NEVER – ZERO POLLUTION across the board.

    " You have no right to demand that someone else pollute less than you do. And since you will pollute a finite amount and you will buy goods from manufacturors who pollute, then you must grant others an equal right to do the same."

    that's exactly right – and the way we do this is with elected government that passes laws that apply EQUALLY to everyone.

  63. " The government cannot enforce a law that allows zero pollution and zero development.

    This has nothing to do with what the neighbors think."

    wrong on both counts.

    there are pollutants that are not allowed at all – ZERO.

    and it has EVERYTHING to do with neighbors because the neighbors are the one that elected the government that said that some pollutants have ZERO approval.

  64. Anonymous Avatar

    "The applicant is free to claim "opportunity lost" or that his gains will exceed the losses/impacts to others but the decision is not made based on the claims of the applicant."

    Exactly.

    It is made based on the "claims" of other people who have no burden of proof for supporting their side of the argument.

    Without an equal burden of prooof you can never expect to have equal rights, which means that people and property are not protected equally. It means that government is not doing it's primary job, and instead it is aiding and abtting the process which allows mob rule to steal from the minority.

    At present all this is perfectly legal, as you point out.

    Slavery was once legal, too, and it was still wrong. What we are doing now is just as wrong and no amount of staking out the environmentally sensitive high ground is going to make it morally or ethically correct.

    Sorry, but I would rather be an honest polluter, providing people with the most goods for the lowest cost (including the cost of pollution) than be a lying, cheating, stealing, unethical, pig headed environmental ignoramus.

    If we have to cheat and steal to get what we want out of the environment we will never have a strong environmental movement that is honored for its integrity and its values.

    RH

  65. " If we have to cheat and steal to get what we want out of the environment we will never have a strong environmental movement that is honored for its integrity and its values."

    well.. we do have a strong environmental movement based on the laws that we have compared to other countries although the Europeans are even tougher on a lot of substances that we still tolerate.

    I know of no where in the entire world where your ideas are accepted and put into practice – unless you can point me to them.

    Can you explain why – no where on the planet do they recognize and accept what you are espousing?

    You and EMR both have a similar approach to this.

    You both have strong beliefs in what is right and what needs to be done – but neither of you accept the idea of a Democratic Governance and both of you seem to want some superior being to make the rules.

    But even in those places in the world that do have de-facto dictators, again, unless you can show me, none of them approach pollution the way that you espouse.

    Usually, it's some big company that is allowed to pollute by being in cahoots with the dictator..or even Democratic governments.

    Remember bhopal?

    500,000 people were exposed to the gases.

    25,000 died and were compensated at 800.00 each.

    did these people "pay" Union Carbide to not pollute?

  66. Anonymous Avatar

    but we don't. We allow pollution for some things but not others.

    but it's NEVER – ZERO POLLUTION across the board.

    ——————————–

    And why is that? It is because we recognize that the right to pollute is a kind of property that has value.

    When we grant a permit we are allowing the holder to incur some costs of pollution prevention which he passes on to his customers and we are allowing him to cause us to incur certain other costs.

    We are incurring those costs because he is using our common property which is the environment.

    When we grant a permit it is equivalent to granting a deed for certain property. And since (we claim) that the environment belongs to all of us by granting that deed to pollution property the government is selling something that belongs to us.

    Whatever amount of pollution we agree is allowable, we all have equal rights to, and we should all get equal benefits from. Which is precisely what the environmental regulations say: no person or group should bear an undue burden due to the enforcement or lack of enforcement of environmental regulations.

    I do not have the right to force you to pollute less than I am willing to pollute, and simultaneously I don't have the right to poison you any more than I am willing to be poisoned.

    But neither one of us gets to set the rules so that the other side has the burden of proof. that is just stealing, one step removed.

    It's wrong.

    RH

  67. Anonymous Avatar

    there are pollutants that are not allowed at all – ZERO.

    ——————————

    Precisely my point. We put those companies out of business.

    We cannot put everyone out of business. Therefore we MUST allow pollution, and I have the same right to benefit from it (stay alive and in business) as the next person.

    At some level ther IS a right to pollute and the cost comes at the expense of the environment, which (we claim) is everones birthright: we own it, an pollution is the price we get for selling it.

    RH

  68. Anonymous Avatar

    the neighbors are the one that elected the government that said that some pollutants have ZERO approval.

    ——————————-

    Government, once elected has an obligation to protect everyone equally. As long as we allow our neighbors to believe they thay own the government they elected, for the purpose of stealing form us, no one is safe from anything.

    RH

  69. " When we grant a permit it is equivalent to granting a deed for certain property. And since (we claim) that the environment belongs to all of us by granting that deed to pollution property the government is selling something that belongs to us."

    Do you know WHY it's called a PERMIT?

    Do you know what that permit has an expiration date on it?

    Do you know why that permit can be modified unilaterally?

    " But neither one of us gets to set the rules so that the other side has the burden of proof. that is just stealing, one step removed."

    and we don't.

    All of us elect a government that represents all of us and they do that role.

    and the way they implement it is with Permits – not deeds.

  70. " Government, once elected has an obligation to protect everyone equally.

    and that's exactly what they do.

  71. Anonymous Avatar

    but neither of you accept the idea of a Democratic Governance

    —————————–

    I do not accept the idea that Democratic governance means mob rule is allowable. Democratic Governance means precisely that: each person has an equal right ot vote, they have an equal right to be protected, and an equal right to seek life, liberty and happiness.

    That requires a certain amount of pollution, and therfore I have the same right to it as the next person, and the same right to be protected from it as the next person.

    I do not have the right to make him bear the burden of proof, one way or the other.

    RH

    RH

  72. Anonymous Avatar

    "you seem to want some superior being to make the rules."

    ——————————–

    You keep saying that and I keep telling you that is not true. All I expect is for both sides to have the same rules and the same burden of proof.

    RH

  73. Anonymous Avatar

    " Government, once elected has an obligation to protect everyone equally.

    and that's exactly what they do.

    ——————————–

    How is that the case if I have to prove that what I want is not harmful to you but you do not have to prove that what you DON'T want is not harmful to me?

    How is that equal protection?

    RH

  74. " That requires a certain amount of pollution, and therfore I have the same right to it as the next person, and the same right to be protected from it as the next person."

    "Mob Rule" is how we elect the President, Congress, the Gov, and State Government.

    Get over it.

    There is no better system – none that you've espoused.

    you just gripe about this one.

    "I do not have the right to make him bear the burden of proof, one way or the other."

    You have to have a PERMIT to pollute.

    That means you have to meet the requirements of the permit.

    The Government does indeed have the right to put the burden on you.

    Most of us want it that way.

    I don't want you deciding what is acceptable or not.

    I want someone who represents me making that decision.

    You'll find that the vast majority of people feel the same way.

    You have to prove to me that what you want to dump is acceptable to me.

    and the vice versa works the same way.

    That's the way our system works.

    and as far as I know – it's the way it works pretty much aroun the world – the only difference being the substances that are allowed or not.

  75. Anonymous Avatar

    So I go hire an expert who says this will cause 500 more cars a week, and you hire no one but you claim 500 cars is "too much".

    RH

  76. "equal protection" – for BOTH of us – against the other guy – making his own decisions about what is "acceptable" or not.

    you just don't have that right.

    that right is owned by the person who may be impacted by your pollution.

    you don't have the right to pollute.

    I keep telling you this.

    It's this way around the world.

    Not one place subscribes to your view.

  77. re: 500 cars – this is why you have a government who represents BOTH of you.

  78. Anonymous Avatar

    "Mob Rule" is how we elect the President, Congress, the Gov, and State Government.

    —————————-

    And once they are elected they have the same obligation to each of us, whether we voted for them or not. No matter how large the majority majority is or what it does, does they cannot make slavery or stealing right.

    WE have checks and balances that specifically say that they cannot do anything they like. No person has to bear an undue burden due to the enforcement or lack of enforcement of any environmental law.

    If I live in Penssylvania and natural gas well drilling poisns my well, then I'm entitled to have clean water brought in. And the well drilling company will charge you for doing that in the price of gas they sell.

    Yoou are allowed to pollute so that you can heat your home and I am allowed to be paid for the pollution in the form of water delivery.

    RH

  79. Anonymous Avatar

    re: 500 cars – this is why you have a government who represents BOTH of you.

    If they represented both equally, then both would have the same burden of proof.

  80. Anonymous Avatar

    There is no better system – none that you've espoused.

    The market is how we decide what things are worth. We should all own our share of allowable pollution. If we pollute less than that amount we can sell our remaining shares to the highest bidder.

    That is what we really do now, but people like yourself are not willing to recognize the facts. As a result we have built this elaborate and expensive environmental charade that claims there is no right to pollute and (simultaneoulsy) that polluter pays to pollute.

    RH

  81. Anonymous Avatar

    The Government does indeed have the right to put the burden on you.

    Most of us want it that way.

    —————————

    So that you can use the power of government to steal from others.

    That is why you insist on asymmetric property rights, asymmetric burden of proof, and asymmetric protection from others.

    And you think that is hwo we get "equal" protection, and lowest overall costs.

    All I am arguing for is equal protection: equal access to the economy and the environment. what you are arguing for is various ways to stick it to the new guy or the other guy.

    RH

  82. Anonymous Avatar

    I don't want you deciding what is acceptable or not.

    ——————————-

    I'm willing to give up my right to decide precisely as much as you are willing to give up your right to decide.

    RH

  83. Anonymous Avatar

    What I'm telling you is that we can agree on how to decide an argument without deciding the outcome.

    You are not even willing to discuss such a thing because you don't care about the process, you care about the outcome. That means you want to "win" at someone else's expense.

    RH

  84. Anonymous Avatar

    You have to prove to me that what you want to dump is acceptable to me.

    ——————————

    But you do not have to prove that putting me out of business is acceptable.

    You get to live and I don't. You call that equal protection and I don't.

    RH

  85. " And once they are elected they have the same obligation to each of us, whether we voted for them or not. "

    and I think they do.

    They listen to the public when they make rules and the rules they make are subject to the courts and laws.

  86. " If they represented both equally, then both would have the same burden of proof. "

    and they do just that – by law.

    if you feel that you are discriminated against, you can have the law make the decision and/or appeal to Congress to change/update the laws.

    how else would you have this decided?

  87. Anonymous Avatar

    I believe that if we are to be good environmental citizens we need to be good citizens.

    That means not asking for more than we are willing to give, and not taking more than we are willing to pay for.

    You believe in mob rule and stealing under the misnomer of democracy.

    I believe we will have a better environment at less cost if we treat it like businessmen, and if we treat it, and protect it as if it was private property.

    You believe you have the right to make any kind of claim you feel justified, based on 1960's era corporate rabble rousing.

    I used to feel the way you do, but after a few years in the business of environmental protection and remediation, I woke up. Now I just feel sad and sorry that there are so many like you. People who are so blinded by rhetoric, preconceived notions, and agenda driven politics, that they cannot look around them and observe what is actually happening.

    You don't think that I have elucidated a path to proper environmental prtection, but that is only because you are too busy arguing against me to hear what I have to say.

    Eventually, my ideas will win out, because they make sense. Just today the District of Columbia made it mandatory that owners of buildings over 200,000 square feet have them surveyed for energy efficiency. I imagine that the rules for measurment will be consistent. The results will be published in a readily available database. Prospective tenants will know that THEY are the ones that will pay for inefficient buildings.

    Naturally, they wil have other considerations, such as location and access to transit.

    But the bottom line for this initiative is that more neutral klnowledge will be made available to the market, and the market will make good decisions.

    No doubt, some owners will try to cheat. But the end result of this will still be better conservation, based on market conditions.

    California has a similar law, but the reuslts are kept more private. This is a real first for the District, and whoever is responsible for champining this policy is to be commended.

    Despite your proteststaions that I am a lunatic, I suspect we will see more of this style of conservation. EMR once said I was "almost alone" in my opinions, but here we see evidence that what I have been taught, and what I have observed as fact is finally floating to the surface.

    Lately, conservatives haven't had much to complain about. Many aspects of Americans' personal behavior have changed in recent years. Crime is down. Teenage pregnancy is down. Drunk driving is down. Abortion is down. Americans are growing more concerned about personal responsibility, as conservatives have narrowly defined that term. And much of the supposed 'deviance' that conservatives have anguished about for a quarter century has been waning.

    And yet, cheating is everywhere. By cheating I mean breaking the rules to get ahead academically, professionally, or financially or environmentally. Some of this cheating involves violating the law, some does not. Either way, most of it is by people who, on the whole, view themselves as upstanding members of society. Again and again, Americans who wouldn't so much as shoplift a pack of chewing gum are committing felonies at tax time, betraying the trust of their patients, misleading investors, ripping off their insurance company, lying to their clients, and much more.
    Americans seem to be using two moral compasses. One directs our behavior when it comes to things like sex, family, drugs, and traditional forms of crime. A second provides us ethical guidance in the realm of money, property, and environmental protection.

    I believe we can do much, much better, and you believe we have a system that works because it is efficient at legally stealing.

    RH

  88. Anonymous Avatar

    " And once they are elected they have the same obligation to each of us, whether we voted for them or not. "

    and I think they do.

    ——————————–

    I think we can do a lot better.

    RH

  89. Anonymous Avatar

    One reason I think we can do a lot better is that so many believe as you do: if your guy wins, then you own him, and he owes you, preferentially over others.

    I think that is wrong.

    RH

  90. re: cheating

    I call it gaming the system and I see it as NOT a reason for allowing more of it.

    We need to close the loopholes, and need to call to account those who do game the system.

    but stopping people who would pollute without permission is not gaming the system.

  91. Anonymous Avatar

    "We need to close the loopholes, and need to call to account those who do game the system."

    That is why you need a market for pollution.

    ———————————

    CO2 is well on its way to being classified as a pollutant, even though it is nontoxic and essential to life.

    Still, we have a pretty good idea of how much CO2 the planet can tolerate without tripping an irreversible condition. Not perfect, but good enough to put some boundaries around.

    So we know how much CO2 the planet can carry and how many people are on it. If the environment belongs to everyone then everyone has an equal right to its CO2 carrying capacity. or its capacity for any other pollutant for that matter.

    Maybe that works out to 20,000 tons per person, to start with. so we issue chits worth that much production every year. Your use of the environment becomes your property and the chits are your deed. We charge taxes on carbon use that that can be paid for with the chits, and we pay fees to those that sequester carbon for more than a year, also payable in chits.

    Some Bedouin Noads will have very little use for their chits but Al Gore will probably run out before the end of the year. He can buy chits from the Bedouins, and he is free to pollute (Create CO2) as long as he is able and willing to buy chits.

    We already do this with Sulfur, and fishing rights, and water rights. There is nothing new here.

    But your property is limited at 20,000 tons, because the carrying capacity is limited, and if you have 4 children you will wind up with 4000 tons each.

    If the power company wants to stay in business, they will have to buy a lot of chits.

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    The only problem with this is that people like you would have to shut up complaining about pollution. Pollution would be property that is protected the same as your homw and your care are protected. Like other property it would be in limited supply, but available to be bought and sold.

    Those willing to pay the most would be those that can produce the most valuable goods for the least amount of pollution, The ratio of GDP per ton of pollution would soar.

    But, just like other measures of efficiency this efficiency would not lower the amount of pollution produced: you would just get more goods for the same pollution.

    As long as the polluton generated is below the threshold of damage (within the carrying capacity of the planet), who cares? You have a sustainable system and everyone has an equal opportunity to profit from it.

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    That isn;t the case now. There is always a demand for more stringent requirements: setting the carrying capacity lower and lower in a futile and wastteful attempt to get to zero pollution. And the reason that demand exists is that the people doing the demanding don't have to pay the costs that their demands cause. they are stealing.

    You make honest people out of them by giving them a chit for 6 oz of Mercury emissions. If they want to reduce Mercury emissions, then they can organiize chit burniing parties and throw their property away.

    But the power company will be advertising to buy chits so they can stay in business. The power company will have to balance the cost of chits against the cost of mercury removal. And the people who have the chits may have to sell them so they can pay their electric bill.

    If the power company invents the perfect mercury stripper, the chits will be come worthless, and the problem is solved.

    That is my system, equality, environment and economy all in dynamic balance and kept that way by market trading of both fixed and intangible values.

    RH

  92. Anonymous Avatar

    What is going on in Copenhagen is that poor people and rich people are haggling over how many chits they will get.

    RH

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