Thursday, March 1, 2007

Oregon's Measure 37

I have been amused about the the amount of ink devoted the the Ballot Measure 37 question. Did the voters really know what thy were voting for? Hell no! When do the voters ever know what they're voting for? Many of the folks I talk to base their vote on the looks of the candidate or some 10 second sound bite. Say the current law is unfair and you've got their vote. After all we have to be fair and let people do whatever they want.

If you want to see what the lack of land use planning looks like take a look at the Boise, Idaho area. Housing developments are eating up about 40 acres of prime farm ground a day. Nearly all of the farm ground between Boise and Caldwell(about 25 miles)has been covered with housing.

I have two solutions for the current clamor to allow people to build on the farm ground they have held for years. First, make them pay the difference in property taxes between land zoned for exclusive farm use and land zoned for development. In other words, if they want to value their property at $100,000 per acre or more, then have them pay their taxes on that value for the entire time they have held the property instead of the special tax rate on farm property. My second solution is more nasty. I propose putting a chicken ranch next to any Measure 37 developments. You can grow a lot of chickens on 20 acres, and those long low sheds holding 40,000 chickens each are really rather attractive. Either that or a 7,000 head dairy farm.

One of the complaints I read about in the Boise paper is that the farmers baling hay in the middle of the night to get the dew on the alfalfa to make the hay more palatable to cattle, disturbs the sleep of the folks who wanted to build in the country.

Few laws are fair, somebody is going to be put out by laws and rules made for the majority and even more so by laws made to protect minorities. That's life! Get over it folks! What worked when fewer than a million people lived in Oregon doesn't work when 2 million plus live in the Portland Metro area. Don't even get me started on the lumber companies who took out all the good trees and then shut down their mills and now want to ensure that no trees will grow back by building homes in the forest.

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