Water in the American Desert

Barbara Kingsolver, in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (page 4), wrote about living in Tucson, Arizona:

If it crosses your mind that water running through hundreds of miles of open ditch in a desert will evaporate and end up full of concentrated salts and muck, then let me tell you, that kind of negative thinking will never get you elected to public office in the state of Arizona. When this giant new tap turned on, developers drew up plans to roll pink stucco subdivisions across the desert in all directions. The rest of us were supposed to rejoice as the new flow rushed into our pipes, even as the city warned us that the water was kind of special. They said it was okay to drink, but don’t put it in an aquarium because it will kill the fish. She was describing life in Tucson, Arizona.

She and her family subsequently moved to a small farm in Virginia, where they started growing their own food and wrote a book about it.

Priorities for Education

School property tax money is being used for development!

Are the schools in Georgia meeting all expected standards of excellence and thus don’t need the money?

It’s easy to be cynical these days.

Link: Ruling jolts Beltline, other projects | ajc.com

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday that school property tax money cannot be used to finance Atlanta’s Beltline, a stunning decision that casts doubt on the future of dozens of similar projects across the state, including downtown’s Allen Plaza and Atlantic Station in Midtown.

The unanimous ruling is a victory for Buckhead lawyer John Woodham, who in a 2006 lawsuit claimed the Beltline funding mechanism was illegal. He argued that the state constitution explicitly forbids school taxes from being used for non-educational purposes such as the Beltline, a planned loop of transit, trails, parks and development around the city’s core.

The Supreme Court agreed, citing two earlier rulings, including a 1994 decision which held that DeKalb County school tax revenue couldn’t be used to pay for a nearby road project.

"It’s devastating," said Hal Barry, whose company, Barry Real Estate, is the lead developer at Allen Plaza, an eight-block project near the Georgia Aquarium. "To get this kind of a low blow is really . . . I’m speechless. I can’t think it through yet."