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'Developers' Point Man'

May 08, 1988

Your interview on slow growth with Lusk Co. executive Donald D. Steffensen ("Developers' Point Man," May 2) was very revealing, both for what it said and what it left unsaid.

For example, he concluded the interview by claiming that "you can't control economic expansion in an area without negative effects."

The only negative effect he cited in the interview (except for his own self-interest) was that "people who build the houses also buy groceries and cars."

He must be a little naive if he believes that the majority of construction workers can afford to live in the areas affected. Any business produced for local merchants would be temporary, as in an oil boom area like Texas. And we can all see what happens when the boom is over.

When he says that "certainly we are strong believers that there are still some rights that go with private property," Steffensen does not indicate any awareness of the social consequences where there is a conflict between property rights and the rights of individuals to live in a clean environment.

Everything he says indicates a definite bias toward the rights of property owners.

The whole argument is in the tradition of the Old West, with the battle between the settlers and the landowners, brought into the 1980s.

Luckily, guns are no longer the law, at least in Orange County, but the landowners are still able to retain power through the money they are able to contribute to the politicians who make the decisions.

And in making decisions regarding land use, one does not hear reports of politicians accepting such contributions disqualifying themselves on the ground of conflict of interest.

DENNIS MADISON

Laguna Beach

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