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SG-W:/ Proposal B



	I am astonished at the reaction to Proposal B by some members of
this group and some professors emeritus who are writing editorials for the
newspaper.  These editorials give undecided voters numerous reasons to stay
home or vote no, then lamely conclude that the authors will be voting yes,
despite their grave misgivings about the proposal.

     Proposal B is a political initiative, not a doctoral thesis, and as
has often been said, "politics is the art of the possible".  It seems to me
that the mayor and his advisors carefully examined the failed countywide
open space initiative of 1998 and determined what was the maximum open
space preservation that could likely be achieved in the face of determined,
well-funded opposition from the homebuilders.

	Everyone's pet theory is not included.    I am reminded of a
comment that one of our former school superintendents made:  "Just because
your advice wasn't followed doesn't mean you weren't listened to."

	The proposal is not a panacea, and the mayor and his allies realize
that in-town density, soccer fields, affordable housing, and a plethora of
other land-use issues will remain to be dealt with after Proposal B
(hopefully) passes.




     Here are several excerpts from an email I am sending my friends (I
have omitted a lot of general info about the proposal, which I expect SGW
members are familiar with.

	THIS ELECTION IS ABOUT ONE QUESTION ONLY: WHEN OUR AREA IS
COMPLETELY 'BUILT OUT' 30 YEARS FROM NOW, HOW MUCH GREEN SPACE WILL BE
LEFT? It isn't about affordable housing, soccer fields, or any other
distracting irrelevancies the opposition is dragging into the debate, in a
deliberate plan to confuse and alienate voters.
 	THE CORRECT WAY TO VOTE ON THIS PLAN IS CLEAR: ALL PROGRESSIVES AND
ENVIRONMENTALISTS SHOULD VOTE YES (early and often!) ON PROPOSAL B ON NOV.
4TH. Each generation gets an opportunity to designate choice green space in
our area for preservation. Because of forward-looking responsible citizens
and civic leaders of the past, we have the Ann Arbor city parks, the
Metroparks, and such beautiful state land as Pinckney-Waterloo Recreation
Area in our county. The Greenbelt is our turn. OUR GRANDCHILDREN WILL THANK
US FOR PRESERVING LOTS OF OPEN SPACE AND FARMS AROUND THE MUCH DENSER AND
MORE-POPULATED ANN ARBOR OF THE FUTURE!

	     Most of the claims and implications from the homebuilders
range from misleading to downright false, and their authors are well aware
that they are spreading untruths. For example, the Nov. Observer mentions
(p.25) that the builders' claim that Proposal B will slash current park
funding is "completely false". This is the claim that is on their signs
("Save OUR Parks--Vote No on B). Likewise with the HBA chairman's absurd
claim that the initiative is illegal.

     The builders can't use an honest slogan, like "Sprawl is Good--Vote No
on B", so they are using expensive poll-driven ads that cleverly raise
doubts and confuse voters, so that voters will make a 'safe choice' and
vote NO. There is no positive theme to the No campaign, just a batch of
unrelated (and often contradictory) negative assertions, each one of which
is designed to persuade 50 or 100 voters to stay home or vote no on
election day.

     The builders found out that Ann Arborites are worried about affordable
housing, and they are using this as a wedge issue to split progressive
voters away from Proposal B. Ask yourself: Do you think the homebuilders
are desperately fighting the Greenbelt because it will derail their plans
to build a lot of affordable housing in the townships? A brief drive in the
townships will convince you otherwise....

     If we allow the deceitful campaign by the homebuilders to destroy this
excellent proposal, they will laugh all the way to the bank, immediately
forget about affordable housing, and no other community in Michigan will
even try to designate a Greenbelt, because the builders will be able to
say: "We defeated it in Ann Arbor, so we can defeat it anywhere!"

     But I want to close with a positive vision: This community is a
desirable place to live because of our quality of life: pleasant
neighborhoods, an educated work force working at progressive businesses and
institutions, vibrant and diverse people, beautiful natural areas,
excellent schools. We who are fortunate enough to live here enjoy many
amenities of a small town and of a large city. Proposal B is one small part
(but a vital one) in ensuring that we pass on this quality of life to
succeeding generations.

Please feel free to forward this email to your friends.





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