The right plan for Kingsdale?

Continental has done excellent work in other communities as evidenced by this photo from their web site. Unfortunately, the proposal they made for Kingsdale does not include the pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined streets with on-street parking, widened sidewalks, or areas for street-side cafes shown here.

by Sue Grant

[UAPA collaborated with Sue Grant to create and publish this story. Sue is a landscape architect, OSU grad and UA resident and has been doing her homework on Kingsdale.]

On January 5, 2009 the new plan for the Kingsdale Regency property was presented at the Board of Zoning and Planning meeting. There were only a handful of community members in the audience. It has been a year since the last plan was unveiled. And the plan before that? Who remembers? Talk about this property has gone on and on for so long that we are all getting tired of hearing about it. We are also getting tired of looking at it, too. And we are tired of the diminishing services that it is providing.

A pivotal point for Kingsdale

More importantly, we are now at a point at which we have never been before – a pivotal one in which we could make the difference between having just ‘something’ happen, and making something really spectacular happen. But it will take more than just a handful of people to make that a reality, more than just a handful to make it so that this is the last time we have to hear about what it is ‘going’ to be, more than just a handful to ensure that instead, in the coming years, we hear about its success.

A talented developer offers less at Kingsdale than for other communities

Make your voice heard at the Kingsdale BZAP meeting

Some very big decisions will be made soon that will impact UA and Kingsdale for many years to come. The UA Board of Zoning & Planning (BZAP) wants to hear from all citizens about Continental's Kingsdale proposal:

Special Board of Zoning & Planning for Kingsdale, Monday, February 2, 2009, 7:00 p.m., Council Chamber. This meeting will be open for public comment.

A very talented developer has come to the table to play the game of turning this crucial piece of land into something – the question is what. Although its roots are local in the Columbus area and they do work here, Continental Real Estate Companies’ expertise has been far reaching in its impact on numerous small and large communities across the country.

Continental Real Estate Companies is no normal developer. They are good and they are creative. This is evidenced on their website. The character of some of their projects is people-oriented, with tree-lined streets, wide sidewalks with sidewalk cafes, and town squares. Frank Kass, of Continental, was even voted a #1 business owner in Pittsburgh with his innovative Waterfront development in Pittsburgh years ago, at a time when others said this unique project could not be done. Upper Arlington is indeed fortunate to have them interested in Kingsdale.

So why, then, is the current proposal for Kingsdale just another version of what currently exists there: another retail strip mall? It is because, as Frank Kass put it in his presentation of the plan on January 5, this plan is all about Giant Eagle and its parking; it is the big gorilla in the room. He even admitted that it isn’t about walking or strolling. The ‘pedestrian experience’ will be walking from your car in a parking lot, to the store, then back to the your car.

Reagan wouldn't recognized this GOP

An op-ed by one of the three founding trustees of the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation that answers, among other things, how fiscal conservatives should look at the bailout:
"How, for example, should conservatives react to stimulus and bailout proposals in the face of an economic meltdown? The wall between government and the private sector is an essential feature of our democracy. At the same time, if there is a dominant identifier of conservatism -- political, social, psychological -- it is prudence.

If proposals seem unworkable or unwise (if they do not contain provisions for taxpayers to recoup their investment; if they do not allow for taxpayers, as de facto shareholders, to insist on sound management practices; if they would allow government officials to make production and pricing decisions), conservatives have a responsibility to resist. But they also have an obligation to propose alternative solutions. It is government's job -- Reagan again -- to provide opportunity and foster productivity. With the nation in financial collapse, nothing is more imprudent -- more antithetical to true conservatism -- than to do nothing."

By that measure Obama's five principles for the bailout sound pretty prudent.,0,653092.story


Reagan wouldn't recognized this GOP

The Gipper may be the patron saint of Limbaugh and Coulter, but he'd be amazed at what's been done in his name.

By Mickey Edwards
January 24, 2009

In my mind's eye, I can see Ronald Reagan, wearing wings and a Stetson, perched on a cloud and watching all the goings-on down here in his old earthly home. Laughing, rolling his eyes and whacking his forehead over the absurdities he sees, he's watching his old political party as it twists itself into ever more complex knots, punctuated only by pauses to invoke the Gipper's name. It's been said that God would be amazed by what his followers ascribe to him; believe me, Reagan would be similarly amazed by what his most fervent admirers cite in their desire to be seen as true-blue Reaganites.

Infrastructure: It's Job 1 to Americans

The LATimes has some interesting poll results and maybe not what you'd expect in an op-ed from Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

A poll finds near unanimous support for rebuilding.

By Frank Luntz

January 23, 2009

I'm a pollster and political consultant associated with Republican causes: the Contract with America, the "death tax" and, of course, ending wasteful Washington spending. So why am I behind the new stimulus legislation -- the biggest spending bill ever to be considered by Congress? Maybe because when it comes to some things -- crumbling schools, overcrowded highways, an ineffective energy system, clean-water facilities that don't clean water and trains and planes that are always late -- we're all on the same side.

Last month, I conducted a national survey of 800 registered voters on their attitudes toward infrastructure investment. It was commissioned by Building America's Future, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials -- chaired by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg -- formed to support infrastructure investment.

The survey's findings were unlike any other issue I have polled in more than a decade. Iraq, healthcare, taxes, education -- they all predictably divide and polarize Americans into political camps. Not infrastructure.

Consider this: A near unanimous 94% of Americans are concerned about our nation's infrastructure. And this concern cuts across all regions of the country and across urban, suburban and rural communities.

Massive outlays a necessary tonic that leaves behind painful debt

Remember this statement?
“...And we can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits, even if the economy softens. The projections for the surplus in my budget are cautious and conservative. ” [President Bush, Remarks, 3/27/2001]
Or this one?
“[O]ur budget will run a deficit that will be small and short-term.” [President Bush, 01/29/2002]
The deficit has now grown to $37,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. From an AP analysis story:
It's hard to believe that just eight years ago -- as President Bill Clinton was leaving office and Texas Gov. George W. Bush was preparing to be sworn in -- there was a projected $5.6 trillion 10-year budget surplus. Both Clinton and Bush talked of using part of it to retire the national debt by the end of the decade. Instead, the bursting of the technology bubble, big Bush tax cuts, the Sept. 11 attack, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, increased spending on homeland security, a mild recession in 2001 and the current financial meltdown intervened.

Bush has successfully defended anti-terrorism policies

Good piece of new analysis about how Bush has been quite successful at defending his torture and wiretapping policies using procedural barriers to prevent lawsuits.

Sadly, Democrats in Congress have thwarted efforts to restrain Bush's policies:
"Nonetheless, Bush's anti-terrorism policies have not been blocked by the courts or Congress. When the Supreme Court struck down Bush's use of special military trials at Guantanamo on grounds that he had no legal basis for creating them, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act to authorize the trials.

When critics claimed the National Security Agency was violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by intercepting calls without a warrant, Congress passed a law to authorize such wiretapping. The same measure also granted legal immunity to telephone companies that had cooperated with the administration.

Bush's tenure has been particularly frustrating for civil libertarians. They had believed that when the government violated the Constitution, someone could go to court and challenge it. But it's not clear that truism is still true.",0,5295760.story?track=ntothtml

Cutting Worker Costs Key To Automakers' Survival

A good story netting out the domestic auto industry labor problem:
"The current per-hour employee cost for U.S. automakers is around 50 percent higher than the costs for their foreign counterparts. The difference, however, is not simply a matter of hourly wage. As it turns out, the real wage discrepancy mostly comes down to retiree benefits."
Unfortunately, it's hard to find any recent reporting about why Detroit can't build cars that people want to buy.
NPR's Talk of the Nation had a good discussion about all of this.

Traditionally Republican Columbus suburbs trending blue

From the Columbus Dispatch: 'GOP's grip on county suburbs slipping':

"Reynoldsburg went for Barack Obama on Tuesday, the first time in recent memory that the reliably Republican suburb turned to a Democrat for president.

Obama took Franklin County by winning nearly 100,000 more votes than John McCain did, powered by the huge margins piled up in Columbus precincts. But Obama also was aided by once-staunchly Republican suburbs that are becoming more politically diverse and shifting to Democrats, an analysis of Franklin County elections data shows."

Republican divisive political tactics and out-of-touch policies that we saw so much of in this election cycle are taking their toll in UA as well:

"In Upper Arlington, Bush defeated Democrat Al Gore by almost 5,000 votes in 2000. Four years later, Bush's victory margin dropped to 2,718. On Tuesday, the suburb went Republican by 886 votes.

Voters choose a candidate "more for what they see the issues are; party loyalty may be getting less firm," veteran Upper Arlington City Manager Virginia Barney said.

Barney said her city shares more similarities with Columbus neighborhoods such as Clintonville and Victorian Village, which leaned toward Obama, than with Hilliard, Grove City or Marysville, which stayed strongly Republican in Tuesday's election."

Red Sex, Blue Sex

The “sexual début” of an evangelical girl typically occurs just after she turns sixteen.

The highest divorce and teen pregnancy rates are in red states, the lowest in blue states. Margaret Talbot digs beneath the numbers to wonder, why do so many evangelical teen-agers become pregnant?

[T]he red-state [abstinence] model is clearly failing on its own terms—producing high rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, sexually transmitted disease, and other dysfunctional outcomes that social conservatives say they abhor. […]

For too long, the conventional wisdom has been that social conservatives are the upholders of family values, whereas liberals are the proponents of a polymorphous selfishness. This isn’t true, and, every once in a while, liberals might point that out.

America’s dominant political divide:

Social liberals in the country’s “blue states” tend to support sex education and are not particularly troubled by the idea that many teen-agers have sex before marriage, but would regard a teen-age daughter’s pregnancy as devastating news. And the social conservatives in “red states” generally advocate abstinence-only education and denounce sex before marriage, but are relatively unruffled if a teen-ager becomes pregnant, as long as she doesn’t choose to have an abortion.

We hold these truths

Signed, sealed, delivered


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