Monday, January 14, 2008

The Crux of the Problem

Another morning in Tucson, another letter in the Daily Star from a pissed-off retiree:
Steam Pump Ranch a money pit
Re: the Jan. 3 article "Keeping gate open at old ranch."
The Steam Pump preservation project is a hole in the desert in which the Oro Valley Town Council is pouring our tax dollars. Most of the people who live in Oro Valley came from somewhere else. I cannot imagine that many people beyond the misguided Town Council have an overriding interest in a decomposing ranch where the caretaker has been forced in live in a "former outdoor barbecue . . . where a hole in the ceiling hints of long-sustained rain damage."
Steam Pump Ranch, funded at $4.5 million, is an example of the Town Council's financial boondoggling, which is dwarfed by the millions of tax dollars they want in yet another bond issue for a huge new park. I urge Oro Valley taxpayers and voters to carefully consider any future bond initiatives in the next election cycle.
Louis Fashion
Retired, Oro Valley

This is a fascinating bit of logic. If the majority of a population came from somewhere else, the history of a place is rendered invalid. Actually, it's a somewhat refreshing departure from the usual logic in evidence in Oro Valley, which can generally be boiled down to no scrap of land shall be left unpaved so long as there is a dollar to be made and the existing inter-Walgreen's distance exceeds 100 yards. You can see the "we're not from here, so screw it" mentality all over the northern end of the Tucson Basin, where thousands upon thousands of acres of the Sonoran Desert ecosystem, and its component wildlife habitats, archaeological sites, historic sites, and pristine scenery have been bladed and built up into a doppelganger of southern California.

Never mind that at least some of Oro Valley's immigrant population (no, not that kind of immigrant; this is Oro Valley, after all, and those people merely work here, shhhhh) is reproducing, given the rate at which elementary schools are popping up all over the northwest, and that those children will technically be "from here" and may even one day develop a curiosity about the history of their home--taxpayer money must be used only for building new roads to accomodate new developments built on top of irreplacable landscapes. Oh, and also for the $172 million that's currently been paid for the town to access Colorado River water, since the metastasizing stucco-and-red-tile housing developments and attendant golf courses are drawing down the levels of the town's wells by over five feet a year.

You may not be from here originally, Mr. Fashion, but you are here now, and you don't get to declare the history, prehistory, or natural history of the Tucson Basin moot simply because it gets in the way of converting Oro Valley to a scaled-down replica of LA, or a scaled-up version of whatever retirement community dreamland was sold to you in a brochure.

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