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SG-W:/ Yesterday's Sustainable Washtenaw meeting

As most of you know, Washtenaw County has kicked off an effort to make our
county a more "sustainable community."  Yesterday was the third public
meeting of the effort, and it was very well attended.  I would guess that
approximately 100 people from all parts of the county were present.  It was
a real who's who of Washtenaw county government representatives, including
the mayor of Ann Arbor, several city council members, representatives from
many townships, State Rep. John Hansen, bankers, educators, nonprofit
representatives, and other prominent members of our community (including
several subscribers to this list).

I wish I could say that this effort shows promise, but after attending three
of these meetings over a period of four months, we aren't exactly making a
lot of headway.  At this point and over the last three meetings, we are and
have been defining terms.  Yesterday, we spent essentially the entire
two-hour meeting coming up with many definitions for "community" and
"sustainable community."

A strategic plan has been developed, but it is so broad and generic that it
looks like something out of a group dynamics textbook.  And that's what it's
been about so far, touchy-feely group dynamics led by a perky meeting

At this rate, there won't be any open space or farmland left by the time
it's decided that we need to do something to preserve our quality of life.

At least there is broad interest in the issue of sustainability, based on
the increasing attendance at these meetings.  I fear that interest will
diminish if more progress isn't made.  A lot of people had to take off a
morning of work for yesterday's exercise.

That's my jaded take on yesterday's proceedings.  Any other attendees like
to chime in?

Jeff Surfus

smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in Washtenaw

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