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RG43.2 why does the left lead the crusade against URD?

October 23rd, 2007 by dk

It’s unusual for the left to lead against urban renewal districts? Liberals and progressives usually like urban renewal? But not here in Eugene. Why? Short answer: muscle memory and Sheilaism. Long answer: read on Friday.

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One of these four ideas will be developed into a column on Wednesday to be published in The Register-Guard on Friday. I’m asking you to help me choose between them. Between now and the end of Tuesday, leave comments here or send me an e-mail if you’d rather be more private. Or, at the very least, RATE the idea (and the others) so I know which one people like best. No promises, though. This ain’t American Idol. But I will post an entry on Wednesday to say which one I’m choosing (and probably why.) I plan to do this each week — often by Friday, but always by Monday, so visit often and tell me which idea intrigues you the most. Thanks!

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  • 1 Jennymoose Oct 23, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    “Progressives” in Eugene are, in fact, reactionaries. What change have they ever favored? Name one. If Eugene were preserved in amber as of the date they hit town, or better yet if the clock were turned back to 1900, when we all walked, biked or rode horses and we had “compact urban growth” and no gol’ durned infernal combustion machines, they would be in extasy. It is no surprise they oppose evil chain stores, allowing consumers to decide for themselves if the beloved Bijou and Kiva will survive ‘subsidised’ competition [disconnect: too expensive for the Tango Center, too cheap for Whole Foods] or any other change on West Broadway.

  • 2 DARosenthal Oct 26, 2007 at 10:34 am

    Don, I don’t agree with your “Sheila-ism” analysis re:the WEP. Sure, these groups articulate different reasons for being against the Parkway, but this is response to the pressures of the political marketplace.

    To explain: There are many reasons to NOT build the Parkway, and many mature activist groups ready to work against its construction. They don’t want to duplicate each other’s efforts–it’s a waste of scarce resources, and doesn’t accomplish much. Instead, they divide the labor along issue-lines: some take the environmental degradation, some the sprawl, some the transit issues, some the cost, some the developer interests, and whichever other angle you can name.

    It seems like everybody has their own reason to be against it, but that’s an illusion. Perhaps people disagree about WHICH reason is at the top of the list, but for the most part I suspect they agree on most or all of the points. This is a community of similar (not identical) interests.

    It’s quite natural that a community of interests should have reactionary tendencies. It’s much easier to create reaction than action. I’ll submit a dubious metaphor: The pitcher can’t throw the ball over the fence, but he can throw the ball as hard as possible in the OPPOSITE direction, and the batter then crushes it out of the park. Pitcher acts, batter reacts, and the batter’s result is much more powerful. He had the benefit of the pitcher’s input, of course.

    “Developing downtown” sounds great, and everybody is on board. “Chain stores and Disneyfication” is a different vision altogether, and a powerful pitch at which people can swing. If it’s not what a significant minority want…oh well. Perils of democracy, I guess. Don’t make the mistake of conflating “the people” with “the majority.” The people are an unruly bunch, sometimes.

    So what next? Don’t blame the people. That’s pedantic and counter-productive. The people are your friends. They have to be, or you’ll never get what you want (short of martial law). So change the plan, or change the way you communicate the plan. It’s not everyone’s responsibility to find a solution–just yours, and those like you who care enough to act on this issue . The rest, well, they just have to agree. Or not.