Ukiah’s business park purchase: more dumb growth?


June 28, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

In its Editorial Opinion, Sunday, June 28, 2009, the Ukiah Daily Journal calls our city’s purchase of vacant retail and commercially zoned land in the Redwood Business Park a “smart move.”

The Op-ed goes on to support the opinion by stating “The bottom line for the city’s residents is the potential for tax revenues that land represents. Vacant it represents nothing. Bundled and sold or leased for a major retail project it has the potential to increase annual property taxes by between $7 million and $11 million and bring in new sales taxes of $1.7 million… The question is whether the economy revives enough in the next couple of years to lure a major big box chain to construct a new store in Ukiah.”

This seems like nothing but dumb growth based on dumb oil, and we would expect a newspaper owned by some distant conglomerate to be supportive of the same old crap that wants to monitize every last bit of the commonwealth (“vacant it represents nothing”) which is destroying nature and community. That statement, in and of itself, pretty much sums up the moral and financial stupidity that has gotten us into the  environmental disaster that we share. And despite allegedly being our source of important news, does our local newspaper  know what’s really going on in the world?

We renew our call for local entrepreneurs to purchase the UDJ so it is locally-owned with responsive ownership that gives a damn for something other than its own bottom line.


Every increment of added population, and every added increment of affluence invariably destroys an increment of the remaining environment.

We hear a lot today about “smart growth,” as though “smart growth” was the magic key to the achievement of sustainability. A central ingredient in “smart growth” is regional planning; regional planning encourages more population growth, and population growth is unsustainable. It is thus clear that “smart growth” can’t solve the problems.

“Smart growth” destroys the environment. “Dumb growth” destroys the environment. The only difference is that “smart growth” destroys the environment with good taste.

That in itself is a worthwhile goal, but one is still destroying the environment. It’s like booking passage on the Titanic. If you are dumb, you go steerage. If you are “smart” you go first class. But either way, the result is the same.

Smart growth is a means of making unsustainability as pleasant as possible.

– The above statements by Albert A. Bartlett
Professor Emeritus of Physics
University of Colorado, Boulder, CT

But we’ll wait and see for now. We have some smart, caring people on our City Council, community planning volunteers, and city staff, and we’ll see how they respond over the coming months to the continuing saga of financial, social, and environmental collapse. None of us can forecast how that will evolve, and I, for one, will place my trust in our local progressive citizens whom our leadership is listening to.


See also Wendell Berry’s 17 Rules for a Sustainable Economy

… and No Growth is the Smartest Growth