Thursday, July 20, 2006

Revolting Developments

The LA Times discusses the ongoing boom in Antelope Valley, an arid high-desert basin outside Los Angeles. This is an “upscale” housing boom, they say…so much so that one enterprising fellow is making his fortune by going door-to-door with Picasso prints. Better yet, prices are low enough that nonmillionaires can afford the new and improved American dream: a bathroom with a flat-screen TV.

The article is four pages long. Apparently, that was too short for a discussion of water availability, despite the fact that it takes only three words to sum up the situation: there isn’t enough. The region has “severely overdrafted” its groundwater, resulting in serious land subsidence (you may recall the sinkhole that appeared in one of the space shuttle’s runways at Edwards AFB). Supplemental water comes from a branch of the California Aqueduct, which sits atop one of the most hazardous sections of the San Andreas Fault (as does the hellishly congested Antelope Valley Freeway, whose link to Interstate 5 has collapsed twice so far).

One “solution” could be a reservoir in Antelope Valley, near the town of Sites:

It…would flood 14,000 acres of grassland and oak woodlands, jeopardizing habitat for dozens of threatened or endangered species, and produce water laden with metals and other pollutants, including methyl mercury, from the valley's soil, Evans said.
These are surely noteworthy issues for those considering a move to Antelope Valley. But the LAT article mentions water exactly once, and then only to praise the building of a new water park. To be fair, it does mention the area’s increase in crime, as well as its ever-growing pollution and traffic woes. But overall, the article comes across as a promotional tool for regional developers, especially given its shamelessly manipulative closing image:
Later, he and "Boo-Boo," as the boy is called, will have dinner together. Cross hurriedly consumed his steak burrito. The sun was setting, and he did not want to waste the sweetest part of the day: their evening walk.

"This is when we talk and dream," Cross said.
(Photo by Matt Jalbert. In addition to the linked essay, you may want to check out his fine blog Exuberance.)


juniper pearl said...

six bitter posts before friday! somebody's gone on a bit of a bender.

Phila said...

somebody's gone on a bit of a bender

Q. "Why are you hitting yourself in the head with that hammer?"

A. "Because it feels so good when I stop."

juniper pearl said...

i knew a girl in high school who sometimes wouldn't wash her hair for a month at a time, because when she finally did it felt so amazing. and it's like that a bit, since you get to bathe in the rainwater of hope at the end of the week, but i agree that there must be a lot of pain involved as well. thank you for fighting the good, self-wounding fight for us.