May 31, 2007

Greg Travis tries to move the goalposts

Greg Travis, husband of Monroe County Council member Sophia Travis, whines and cries that the Brown County Commissioners were "fundamentally unconservative" when they voted to approve a rezone so Club Story can be built.

The problem with Travis' main premise is that it is basically a goalpost-moving operation. Modern conservatism is about much more than simply preserving the past, and Travis knows it. Two of the most influential people in the modern conservative movement are Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, who moved conservatism (and the Republican Party) closer to an ideology that embraces property rights, individual liberty, limited government, the free market, and (with regard to national politics) federalism.

It is with modern conservatism that allowing Dan Bright to build what he wishes on land that he, not Brown County government, owns. Conservation of nature does not have to be inconsistent with the construction jobs that will be needed to build Club Story or a business opportunity for Dan Bright. Allowing some scenic town homes to be built does not mean that a Super Wal-Mart is going to be built in the middle of downtown Nashville next year.

Not surprisingly, the neighbors were against the plan. It is hardly unusual for surrounding property owners to oppose a development if they think it will harm their property values or cause them some sort of inconvenience. My church was forced to find a different location for a new building because surrounding property owners were strongly opposed to a church building on the "goat farm" (which is not a farm any more and has no goats) on the south side of Bloomington.

This does not mean that the Brown County Commissioners were negligent in their duty to "represent in what they believe to be the best interests of the public", nor does it mean that (as Travis so cynically implies) that they were bribed by campaign contributions. It simply means that two of three Commissioners made a decision based on what they felt was best, based on their philosophical leanings. That some people have a different opinion on land use policy than what Greg Travis thinks best is not an indication of negligence or moral failing, and it is highly uncivil to suggest otherwise.