Thursday, August 16, 2007

Santa Barbara's Light Blue Line

You know how some issues get City Council halls overflowing? I've seen it happen over siting a jail in a city, over hosting a tent city, over almost anything residents are a little frightened or a little worried about. It is almost always a good thing when an idea galvanizes a community enough (pro or con) that a lively conversation ensures. Democracy at work and all that.
My dad sent me one of those from Santa Barbara, California. Now, if you've never been there, Santa Barbara is the kind of place you imagine when you think of an oceanfront utopia. It's got beautiful beaches, history, well-kept lawns, a University, an old California Mission, excellent restaurants and shopping, and growth has been managed so tightly housing costs keep most normal human beings out of town except to visit. Every time I've been there (visiting), there's been a wonderful art show on the water.
There is also now a proposal to paint a light blue line around town to show sea level after the Greenland ice-sheet melts. I think this is a brave and smart move. But like most other decisions about global warming, there are valid concerns. For example, do property values go down on the seaward side of the blue line? Will it become a tourist attraction and is that good or bad? Will it be more expensive to remove than to apply?
I'm sure it will be a conversation piece. It looks to me like a vivid reminder of what we might lose if we stay complacent. A lot of beach and a lot of a major coastal highway appear to be on the seaward side. There are pictures here.
The line is not painted yet, and I don't know if it's going to be or not - Santa Barbara is still having a conversation. I hope they do paint it, and if they do, I'll probably try to go visit. After all, Santa Barbara is one of my favorite towns anyway.
I think I can take the train.

1 comment:

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