Saturday, September 02, 2006

Season of the Red Plumeria

The last of the plumerias are always the reds. Our Hawaiian Reds are doing fairly well as you can see, especially after installing a soaker hose and applying just a bit of fertilizer. At one time it was doing so poorly we were tempted to cut off the branches, re-root them, and start all over again. It looks fine to me now!

The reds always flower out at the end of the season, bridging the time between carefree summer days on the beach and the time when we need to knuckle under and get serious about work, school, or both.

All this is a good transition to discussing the comprehensive planning efforts on our Island. I have to be careful because my wife Lori is on the advisory committee, but I don’t think she’d mind me saying a few things, since we both take care of the plumerias, anyway. I’ll be a good boy, I promise.

First, I think people were rather mislead by the comprehensive planning process, which starts with hallucinatory “vision statements” and proceeds to recommendations for how to handle future impacts as the town ages. The sole purpose of having a comprehensive plan is to help guide the town leaders and citizens down a common path in the future. It is a tool, a gentle reminder, and way to anticipate difficulties which could occur down the road. We all know that as successive city leaders are elected, sometimes they do not follow a common path, so a comprehensive plan could provide for some continuity.

At the end of the day, a comprehensive plan helps fashion policies for land use planning and can help set some budgetary goals and objectives. Besides that, it is a fairly useless document, and after all the hoopla many people forget there even was a comprehensive plan – our town has tried several times and the city leaders just said “so what?”

One of the former Aldermen, a guy named Fred, was a swing voter who decided to vote to hire a consultant to draft a comprehensive plan – with the caveat that the consultant also fix up some of the land use ordinances, some of which date back to the early 1970’s. As such, this would give real and concrete results to what is often viewed as being a fairly vague and gassy topic.

We’ll see what happens. Hopefully we have luck similar to our red plumeria here.

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