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October 31, 2008 [ More archived home pages here ]

Fairness in the Material World


The above image, Scorpio's Autumn is also available as a Desktop Background

Today's song is Spirits in the Material World by The Police, released in 1981.

While Sherry has been in Chicago all week visiting and playing Grandma, I'm presently reading the 1994 book, Material World: A Global Family Portrait, by Peter Menzel. The author and photographer traveled to 30 households around the globe, spending about a week with each family, gathering information and taking pictures. The book presents a snapshot of living conditions and relative wealth for each of those families.

I'm half-way through the book and find it fascinating how different families lived in other parts of the world I will likely never visit. In most families there are common parts I can relate to with respect to family unity matters. In most other ways the cultural and religious perspectives those interviewed held stand in stark contrast to my own perspectives of the world.

The book is already over fourteen years old. I wonder what those family stories would be all these years hence? Perhaps the current global economic climate will negatively impact their lives? There is apparantly no easy way to find out about the current status for the majority of those 30 families.

We Americans are fortunate we have ways to cope with economic slowdowns that are nowhere as disruptive of as living conditions can be in other parts of the world. Some of those families in the book were already living on the edge of despair back in the early 1990's. Too bad their follow-up stories aren't on the web for review to see how they have fared since.

This book points out how in a global sense we have the most basic needs in-common with one another. It is the more complex aspects of societies that separate us in various ways and bring complications to mutual existence. I believe Peter's efforts helps prove goodness is a basic part of most of humanity.

Maybe if the United Nations project that brought this book to life could be recreated every ten years with new families and put on the web for free access, we could have the opportunity to develop a more realistic view of ourselves and the world around us?

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Only a few more days until the big election of 2008. I wonder if this will be the largest voter turnout in many decades? I still haven't decided whom to vote for for President, but I will know by the time I enter the voting booth on Tuesday. With the gap narrowing (as it always does) in the polls, maybe a last minute remark by one of the two major candidates may convince me? That's the power we Independents have over candidates. Too bad more Americans didn't commit so early in the race. We might have better policies to look forward to the next four years.

Here is San Marcos, California, the supporters and opponents of Prop. O continue to argue the cause. The Mayor, City Council, developers and seemingly everyone interested in large growth of a small city are on the side to defeat democratic oversight by the population at-large.

Even in the face of threatened severe water cutbacks for the state, developers want to build high-density projects here putting further strain on the ecosystem. Is there no end to their lack of concern?

It is my opinion, the almighty dollar drives their desire to make every available land space a location for large projects. They are not interested in the building out of the remaining spaces for development as the original Growth Plan envisioned. Instead, they prefer to end-run that voter approved plan by seeking Exemptions for their building projects by a few people on the City Council voting in their favor.

If Prop. O fails to pass, maybe the Exemption portion in the Growth Management Plan for San Marcos should just be repealed. It doesn't seem to matter when Exemptions are handed out like candy on Halloween as has been the case in recent time. Why not just make that sham official and codified into law?

I'm voting Yes on Prop. O to keep San Marcos' growth sensible by enabling the majority of voters to approve Exemptions. It's better that way because the majority of voters approved the Growth Management Plan. It's not a departure from the intent, it logically follows the intent. This Prop. O Campaign (PDF) explains the rational for voting Yes very well. The next paragraph is about the recent news coverage for Prop. O.

In the local newspaper, several articles have appeared about Prop. O. Here are the links and how I commented to that article:

It will be interesting to see if the citizens of San Marcos gain the same right to growth management by controlling Exemptions as citizens of other San Diego county cities have. While the San Marcos Mayor and City Council paraded officials from other cities who oppose the Prop. O concept, they forgot to be fair-and-balanced and bring in officials from cities that do approve of the the Prop. O concept.

In some of the other San Diego city councils that now have voter-approved Exemptions, the particular City Councils stayed neutral on the voting process for their own propositions. That's the way it should be.

Here in San Marcos, the elected officials haven't remain neutral. It seems to me they don't trust our own judgements to decide on our city's future. They want the ability to have three or four people decide on an Exemption process regardless of what the affected community wants and they use their power in office to enforce that perspective during this campaign. Does that seem fair to you?

Our local elected officials just don't see how fairness is a big part of democracy and that's their failing. Hopefully on election night Prop. O passes and they will have no choice but to see how fairness works.

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Wow, even big companies see how important fairness is when the democratic process works. Maybe there is hope for San Marcos elected officials someday after-all?

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My brother-in-law, Bob, made the news in his local when he sold his coin collection and donated the proceeds to a library fund.

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My friend, Gary Plazyk, is performing at the Tenth Annual Dark Morris Dance on Saturday, November 1, 2008 in Chicago.

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Found on the web links for October 30, 2008 [ Link since removed ]

Don


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