Wednesday, May 18, 2016

State Overreach And Elmore Road Extension

I've written about how disingenuously I think the term "federal overreach" is often used.

Those who decry federal overreach tend to mean "we want to do what we want and damn the feds" (or often our corporate funders want to do what they want without pesky regulations to preserve the environment, workers' health, or equity).  The idea that they are defending the democratic rights of citizens of the state against an overbearing federal government is proven a joke, when these state officials turn around and forbid local governments from doing what they want.

North Carolina's new and controversial law about bathrooms was specifically aimed at prohibiting Charlotte from recognizing the needs of transgender folks to choose an appropriate restroom.  (And, apparently, it covers a lot of other issues that aren't getting the same attention, like limiting rights to sue over discrimination, and affects minimum wage.)

And in Anchorage, according to a story in this morning's ADN, Rep Saddler and Rep Pruitt have added $18 million to the University budget for "roads."  The University's budget has been drastically cut, but they found an extra $18 million for roads.  (If that link doesn't work, try this one.)

Not just any road mind you, but the extension of Elmore Road - a road that has been resoundingly rejected by all the community councils surrounding the area and in the area.  Over and over again.  A road that DOT has pushed through against what people want.  A road that new mayor Ethan Berkowitz rejected when he came into office.

The only question really out there is:  Who wants this road?   The obvious suspects are contractors.  I suspect the other major culprit here is Providence Hospital which has gotten the state to build a number of other roads in the area that the community did not want, but which makes their property much more accessible.  But there may be others.  But government transparency isn't one of their favorite ideas either.

I call this state overreach, when the state tells local people they have no say in how their communities develop and how that development affects the livability of their neighborhoods.  Well, they have a say, but the power that be just don't listen.  And that's why I think the term 'federal overreach' is just a catchy marketing tool to mask the real intent - we want to do whatever we want and all consequences be damned.  Just like states' rights was used to mask racism during the 1950's and 60's.

No more time today, got lots of work to do on my mom's house before we head home.

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