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Growing Pains

April 08, 2001

Re "Grow Wisely," Ventura County editorial, March 25.

Again we have an editorial promoting the challenge of how to accommodate an increasing population in Ventura County without negative impacts upon our fragile natural resources and the quality of life we owe future generations.

Does someone really know how to do this? Does someone even know the level of population and development that are sustainable into the unknown future?

This editorial says, "When good public policies are in place--and adhered to--the population can increase, the economy and tax base can grow and the levels of public services and cultural offerings can rise with few negative effects." This may work OK until a level of growth is reached where the increased revenues of a larger community no longer compensate for the increasing costs of necessary environmental protections, of providing water and electricity and of maintaining public safety in a more tightly packed community.

We seem to know how to grow. We know how to provide business incentives. We know how to promote our good weather, our high quality of life, our natural beauty, our schools. But do we have any idea how to stop growing? Do we have any idea of how to create and maintain a stable population base, provide adequate affordable housing, good-paying jobs and a community in which our children can afford to live?

We need to develop government policies that direct market forces toward stable and sustainable communities rather than to promote an unending cycle of expansion.

There is no long-term solution to our growth crises short of finding ways to stabilize our population.

Where is the government and public dialogue that will lead to a sustainable Ventura County?



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