Sunday, January 10, 2010

NIMBYism Gone Wild

I should have reached that age by now when nothing surprises me. Dealing with the rumors and misperceptions involved in finding a place to build housing for the homeless gives you a pretty close up view of some of the darker sides of our society (and I mean that in several different ways).

Still, I can understand why, no matter how strongly Housing First may be supported in principal, it can be difficult to explain to people that it fits in their neighborhood; that it isn’t a shelter. But an article in Unfair Park on Friday ( makes me wonder if we all haven’t gone stark raving mad.

Now, apparently even vegetables are a threat to property values. One short quote from the Comments sums it all up for me:

We all need to be honest with ourselves. How would you like it if a community garden were placed right next to your home?

Well, I guess I would be scared. You never know when a rampaging zucchini might invade your yard or the pole beans might launch a surprise attack.

Of course, you could always build a wall:

There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.

(From Robert Frost’s Mending Wall.)

I’ve always considered gardeners a particularly unthreatening group of people. Just about as dangerous as fly fisherman or birdwatchers.

Clearly, if I want to keep in step with the times, I need to ramp my paranoia up a few notches. To be honest, my life isn’t all that difficult most of the time, but I can’t quite imagine just how trouble-free you would have to be to worry that someone might be gardening in your neighborhood.

I’m afraid my first reaction would be to try to make friends with the gardeners in hopes one of them might see fit to give me some homegrown tomatoes. Talk about out of step with the times!

I do not understand what has happened to us.

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