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Published May 22nd, 2013
Letters to the Editor


In 2006, when America's population was approaching 300 million (now approaching 320 million) and California's population was about 36.5 million (now over 38 million), I was in Bellingham promoting The Population Fix. From the audience, a consultant to Pacific Northwest municipalities said he'd never met a mayor of a small town who didn't want to be mayor of a large town, a mayor of a large town who didn't want to be mayor of a small city, or a mayor of a small city who didn't want to be mayor of a larger city.

"Is Moraga Unsustainable" in May 8, Lamorinda Weekly reminded me of him. As power-hungry politicians (a redundancy) create bunches of bumbling bureaucracies telling us where to work, where to live, and how to live, one wonders when the public will recognize the pain of self-inflicted wounds created by perpetual population growth. Experience from China and India suggest when U.S. population reaches 750 million.

California's governor wants a tunnel transporting water under the Sacramento Delta. Definition: "delta--a usually triangular alluvial deposit at the mouth of a river," i.e., he wants to build a river under a river to fill more swimming pools in semiarid Southern California. He also wants to build a "high-speed" railroad to transport people between the civilized and uncivilized parts of the state. Combine the projects and save money! Pipeline companies transport multiple commodities through single pipelines. Let's transport water and people through a single tunnel!

Extreme? Not as extreme as adding 25 to 30 million people and 2.5 to 3.0 million people to U.S. and California populations every decade. Unfortunately, as a neuroscientist specializing in the psychology of numbers explained, the largest number the average person--including, apparently, the average Moraga civic leader--can intuitively understand is "7." "For me," one "leader" says, "it's all about funneling federal funding toward established urban areas . . ." Right, it's not about stabilizing the population and protecting solitude and the environment. It's about absorbing dollars from taxpayers in other states. With such self-serving "solutions," no wonder we're in such serious trouble.

Thanks, Lamorinda Weekly, for defining ABAG, CCTA, MTC, OBA, and PDA. Here's one you can add to your list: OPT-US. Its mission statement is, "To enable Americans to determine America's optimal population." Don't bother looking for it on the Internet. It doesn't exist. But it will . . . when America's population reaches 750 million and California's population reaches 90 million. In the meantime, don't forget to ABAG your MTC with your PDA.

Edward C. Hartman

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