Monday, December 24, 2007

Gov. Spitzer's Hammer And Sprawlsickle

Judith Enck

Can someone please tell me what "sprawl" means? I've read about it. I've heard about it. And I still have no idea what it is.

Governor Spitzer apparently understands "sprawl." He's created a "Smart Growth Fund" to deal with the "problem." The staffer in charge of the Fund is Judith Enck. Ms. Enck offers her "solutions" for addressing the scourge of "sprawl" in today's Times Union:

"Step one is to focus on state spending, to make sure it does not contribute to sprawl problems. We want to help drive development where we have existing infrastructure. Then we look at how we can assist local governments . . . Our goal is to come up with programs to avoid sprawl without growth, which is what we have now throughout upstate."

Avoid sprawl without growth? What the hell does that mean? I need an Enck-to-English dictionary whenever she starts talking. And who is Ms. Enck to declare "we want to drive development where we have existing infrastructure." The market drives development, not state bureaucrats in the Spitzer administration.

For the uninitiated, Ms. Enck is one of New York's leading anti-business, carbon-counting green kooks. And that's a mild description. Ms. Enck is so militant on environmental issues that she once attacked my former boss, Governor George Pataki, as "out of the mainstream." Even The New York Times editorial page was forced to concede: "Most politicians are fortunate if they’re remembered for one good thing. In the case of Gov. George Pataki, that will almost surely be his work for the environment."

I have a good idea how Judith Enck defines sprawl. Sprawl is whatever Judith Enck says it is. Sprawl is a strip mall that Judith Enck doesn't like because it's not an architectural masterpiece. Sprawl is a private development that dries up a big puddle Judith Enck believes is a wetland. Sprawl is a small business owner who decides to expand by clearing trees that Judith Enck wants to stare at all day long. Sprawl is any job created in New York that doesn't comport with Judith Enck's Marxist flow chart for how jobs should be created.

Last week the Federal Reserve reported upstate New York lost 85,000 jobs between 2000 and 2006. With Governor Spitzer employing anti-capitalist environmental extremists like Judith Enck in a senior capacity New York will continue to lose tens of thousands of jobs.