Posts Tagged ‘growth’

New Times

9 February 2010

Dear J-

The Lunar New Year is coming up this Sunday; it was one of those really big-deal holidays for us growing up, but without the same sort of community and peers now it’s going to turn out to be another Sunday this year, in keeping with the way we celebrated most of our holidays. We have some anxiety over what we think figgy should learn as an early language, to say nothing of culture, but our ancestors — Koreans and Shandong Chinese — are remarkably close, culturally, and to be fair to both, we’d have to end up teaching her both or none. So the easy way out is none.

One of the things that I should learn about is all the superstitions that surround the holiday; like other traditions, there are proscriptions (how early is it safe to wish people a happy new year?) and other things you’ve got to do, like eat noodles in your new clothes and hand out packets of money to children (not sure if that last one is something like Charlie Bucket’s grandparents’ gifts or to show how prosperous you are). It’s one thing to make a mistake, and another to repeat a mistake out of cultural ignorance, especially when you’ve been raised in it.

Even though the timing changes each year (the so-called Chinese calendar is on a lunisolar system, whereas the usual Gregorian calendar and its 365.24 days per year is strictly based on where we are around the sun), I’ve always liked the time when it usually falls, a few weeks after midwinter, when you can see the signs that the earth is ready to start wakening from its yearly hibernation. Here in Southern California, at the tail end of a couple weeks of rain, the hills are as green as you could ask for, fresh with low growth and hinting at wildflowers in the desert, new start promising new hope.



Prop 13

26 March 2009

Dear J-

Sick — again — and so I’ll limit myself to big words and simple thoughts.  Perhaps there’s blame enough to go around with water woes; one of the points I brought up before was that every new development has an excellent chance of being approved, and I believe the reason is Prop 13.  Prop 13 limited the annual rate of property tax rate adjustment.  Rather than allocating resources as needed, cities and counties seemed to keep spending at a pre-Prop 13 rate, reasoning that new construction — and the correspondingly higher assessed value — would make up the difference.

Well, growth without end has had other consequences:  sprawl, limited resources, and limited available land (you used to be able to put up power plants where needed, but no one wants a substation next to the house these days), all of which apparently escaped the modern planner/developer.  So now we’re stuck; we need growth to fuel the local governments, but it’s unsustainable, isn’t it?