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'Caps Set Wrong City Limits'

October 20, 1987

I'm frightened! If Profs. Richard Peiser and Lowdon Wingo are advocating to their students of urban and regional "planning" the same pro-growth philosophy espoused in their specious argument against growth limits (Opinion, Oct. 11), then where will the real planners come from--those who will have the foresight and vision to realize that uncontained growth cannot continue forever, and have the courage to do something about it?

After ticking off some of the problems we already have as a result of too many people in too small a space (too much sewage, overcrowded schools, shortage of imported water--but omitting others: declining quality of life, crime, wasted commuting time, destroyed scenery, to name a few), the authors proceed to argue that we should not only allow the population to expand unchecked, but that we should react to the resulting problems with an enlarged urban infrastructure (higher taxes).

When will our planners realize that there are two sides to the overpopulation/limited resource equation? Rather than demanding more taxes, resources and services for an expanding population, we should be looking at stabilizing our population at a level consistent with the resources and services we already have. After all, there is an absolute upper limit to the number of people our planet can support (ecologists call it the carrying capacity), limited not by money but by the availability of resources (food, water, sewage, power, clean air, etc.).

My hat is off to San Diego and other cities that have the guts to face the challenge of preserving the quality of life for their present and future residents. Now if only our Los Angeles planners would look beyond immediate economic concerns and begin planning for the future, we just might have a city in the next century that resembles the one whose qualities brought us here in the first place.

JULIAN P. DONAHUE

Los Angeles

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