Sunday, December 20, 2015

The American Dream: Look for it in Jackson Hole....................... China - by By Clarice Feldman

In China, we can see in one small development, called Jackson Hole, a community on the outskirts of Beijing, how ubiquitous and desirable is the American Dream -- to many people if not to our urban planners and political elites.
Traveling about in Audis and Land Rovers, to timber-framed houses, the inhabitants have formed their own communities, something difficult in the congested, more state-controlled city.
’America represents wilderness and freedom, and also a big house…The United States is cool…’ Communist Party edicts and conservative commentators have sought to demonize so-called Western values like human rights and democracy as existential threats. Even if the menace is seldom identified by name, the purveyor of such threats is widely understood to be the United States.
But the campaign has done little to dampen popular enthusiasm for foreign ideas and products. American universities remain the top destination for students seeking an overseas education, and Chinese consumers largely shun homegrown brands, making the Buick Excelle, the Volkswagen Jetta and the Ford Focus among the top-selling cars here. Imported holidays like Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day continue to gain traction among young consumers.
Jackson Hole, China, like the frontier towns Tocqueville wrote of, even has a nondenominational church and more than a hundred affinity clubs. Its residents even love backyard barbecues and flock to all you can eat buffets, the former presently being targeted by the totalitarians at the EPA and the latter the horrid example of our gluttony to the kale and tofu crowd.
Just as some Chinese sample with pleasure the delights of American-style suburban life and the freedom cars have given them, Americans are seeing a push by planners and pols in the opposite direction.
Take a look at Pagedale, Missouri, where the government’s insatiable desire for more revenue -- revenue most likely wasted on foolish projects, has beset its citizens with what George Will has dubbed “a steady blizzard of capricious fines”.   
Pagedale residents are subject to fines if they walk on the left side of a crosswalk; if they have a hedge more than three feet high, a weed more than seven inches high, or any dead vegetation on their property; or if they park a car at night more than 500 feet from a street lamp or other source of illumination; or if windows facing a street do not have drapes or blinds that are “neatly hung, in a presentable appearance, properly maintained and in a state of good repair”; or if their houses have unpainted foundations or chipped or aging layers of paint (even on gutters); or if there are cracks in their driveways; or if on a national holiday -- the only time a barbeque may be conducted in a front yard -- more than two people are gathered at the grill or there are alcoholic beverages visible within 150 feet of the grill…
In a similar vein, cities larger than Pagedale -- Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., to be specific -- are at work to make their own roadways impassible for private cars and the federal government is using your tax money to impose this pattern elsewhere………..

Maybe cities applying for these funds could hire the streetcar geniuses in D.C. or the Metro transportation board which has run our fine subway system into an unsafe, expensive, unreliable disaster.
I happen to think the best transportation systems arose organically, taking into consideration the needs of the people and their goods to move efficiently and cratering existing thoroughfares to accommodate the 1% who can and choose to bike around cities is madness. Let me know when you see public officials biking to work in D.C. or L.A. Send me the pictures of them taking public transportation to work and shop. In the meantime, I’m asking Jackson Hole, China for some brochures.