Monday, January 28, 2013

Educating myself on the "Other point of view"

One 'suggestion' given to me after I gave my presentation to the Mound City Council was that I should read, and research opposing points of view. The suggestion seem to be that perhaps I was only looking at the situation Mound was in with a certain point of view.

This bothered me a lot, and I honestly didn't think it was fair, nor true. However, I vowed to take the Mound City Council's suggestions seriously (as I hoped they took mine seriously), and I took a second look at the both the resources I regularly read, as well as sought out other points of view that I honestly have generally ignored, or dismissed as nonsense.

Ok... time to meet and talk about what to do for Mound. "A Place in Mound" is more than just talking... it's about doing. Let's put some ideas together, collaborate, and make Mound a better place.

Tuesday night, I'm going to be at the Mound Caribou at 7PM with pens, paper and looking to DO something. How about you? Come with ideas, and some gumption.

If you can't be there, let me know and I'll keep you in the loop. This is to be the beginning of a beautiful thing!

I first decided to try to find writers and groups that were contrary to many of my regular read like Atlantic Cities, Strong Towns, and the like that I frequently mention. I didn't find anyone regularly writing scathing articles or deeply analytical criticisms of people friendly streets nor more productive land use. Sometimes someone like Joe Soucheray will write a thoughtful article discussing the crazy bikers, and the wasted space of a bike lane, but it's very infrequent, and in the end, their goals are often the same as mine, they just might have some different priorities. That's great. I have always read pieces like this, and will continue to do so.

I then decided to try to read and understand the "Agenda 21 conspiracy" that I've heard about occasionally over the last few years. I have watched several videos and read much in the last couple months and can safely tell you that the City of Mound will not be accepting International Building Codes nor move everyone off the Island to live in a run down apartment building in downtown. These people are scared that the local government is going to not let you use your land the way you want to, and force you to farm in certain ways, and your lives will be tightly regulated. It's really crazy. The people preaching this nonsense can be the same camp of folks who believe the US Government took part in the 9/11 attacks.

Not sure if this is what was meant by the city council, but trying to be open, I have spent some time the last couple weeks reading updates on the ideas of having a "Private Rapid Transit" (PRT) system of transportation. The idea is an older one, I remember reading about it 10 years ago. There used to be a couple of very vocal local promoters of this idea here in the Twin Cities I read about back then. The main idea (with some variations) is that you may not own a car, but an automated one would come pick you up when you needed one, and the computer driven vehicle might pick up another rider or two, and get you to your destination with little or no guidance from you. It's regained some traffic lately since Google has had some success with their computer driven cars. The concept of PRT however is so grandiose, that I have difficulty seeing it being implemented anytime soon, if ever, considering the political, structural, and financial logistics.

Exhausting any ideas on who else I could read, it occurred to me about a month ago that I really didn't have to read "other points of view" to challenge myself and the things that are written on the webpage. We LIVE in the opposing view! I can simply walk my kids to school Monday morning to appreciate streets built for fast cars, and leaving people like my children as after thoughts. I can drive the posted speed limit of 30 MPH, and have the "opposing point of view" impatiently tailgating me all the way up Tuxedo Blvd wanting to drive 35 MPR(or more). I can take my family for a bike ride to church along Shoreline Dr, and have the "opposing point of view" drive by my wife and children as if we weren't there.

The most ironic piece of all this is...my journey to get to this point of view I hold, all started because I was seeking "an opposing point of view".

I will continue to read and contemplate all views that I think are serious about making Mound a better Place. Whether it the streets, downtown, our neighborhoods, or our parks. These all need attention, and often need "another point of view" as we work to improve them.

    photo aplaceinmoundlogo.jpg

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