Jun 4th, 2003

Forward Into the Past

I don't know exactly what it is about the immediate future and/or minimal amounts of progress that so terrifies so many people, but there are more and more examples of this sort of Luddite behavior around me.

I have, in the recent past, written of my neighborhood and my neighbors' insistence that things remain the way they were 35 years ago when the area was just being developed. In this instance, that means my neighbors do not want city water and sewer lines coming through the neighborhood. They do not want any new housing to be built, except what looks like what's already there. They do not want to see so much as another family move in because they are already unhappy with the traffic in the surrounding 5 blocks.

They refuse to accept the fact that the neighborhood is bordered by two major roadways, which intersect, in fact, at the corner of our street. Nor do they wish to acknowledge that there will be a light rail system built along the north/south artery within the decade. They hounded the state to designate the east/west roadway an historic roadway, thereby preventing it ever being widened, and now they go to zoning hearings and bitch that the east/west road is always backed up at least three traffic lights because it can't handle the amount of traffic on it.

Today I heard from a friend about the dilemma at her sailing club. The city owns the property the club sits on. The city owns the building in which the club is housed. The city owns the basin in which the sailboats are moored. The lease is expiring on all of this and the city wants the club out. Period. The response by the sailors of the club? Let's go down to City Hall and show them the photos from our archives and talk about the past. Let's hire lawyers to fight city hall. (No, they really said that.) Let's force the city to renew our lease. Let's not even look at other possible moorings. Let's get up on our hind legs and complain that nobody respects middle class white people anymore.

Luddites or mere idiots, you decide.