I am angry and heartbroken tonight.
By a 4-4 vote, the Borough Assembly just failed to pass Ordinance 2010-09, which would have created two new zoning types: a “retail hot spot” and a “supporting commercial district”. These new zones — which would have been merely codified, not even applied — were one of the key governmental tools for encouraging businesses to invest in quality retail building downtown. And now it’s fucked, thanks to Michael Dukes, Matt Want, Natalie Howard, and Joe Blanchard — none of whom owns a god-damned square foot in downtown Fairbanks. (According to the FNSB Assessing property database.)
I can’t get into the particular arguments the detractors used — I’m too heartbroken right now — but I do want to thank Assembly members Nadine Winters, Diane Hutchison, Karl Kassel, and Mike Musick, for their “yes” votes, as well as Mayor Luke Hopkins for putting the ordinance forward, David van den Berg of the Downtown Association for his ongoing work with downtown business owners and the revitalization effort, and everyone who testified in favor of the proposed ordinance, including the near-unanimity of downtown business owners who supported it.
No doubt the detractors are comforted by their free market and anti-government ideology. My curse on them is that all their cars break down, and then they can see how much they like their WalMart shopping and their living out on Chena Fucking Hot Springs Road.
It’s enough to make me want to ditch this Borough, this un-community, for a place civic-minded enough to say, “We will take these restrictions on ourselves and impose them on others who may sometimes be unwilling, because public will is sometimes more important than some individual jackass who might want to stand in the way of 100% consensus” — and then to torch this fucking place on my way out. (Please understand, I do not mean the “torch this place” thing literally. It is an expression of my disappointment and my feeling of hopelessness for Fairbanks’s future.)
Vivat communitas! Stadtluft macht frei!