I know, I know. Reading the comments is not usually advisable. But in this case I am asking you to make an exception. I wrote about the rally for full-spectrum housing last week. I recommended the Sun coverage.
Now here are some comments.
If you read all five comments, you'll see these points emerge.
- Columbia has plenty of affordable housing already.
- Why doesn't Western Howard County have affordable housing?
- Affordable housing = subsidized housing = drug dealers.
- It is necessary to have an influx of high-end housing to balance the market.
- Affordable housing will turn Columbia into Downtown Baltimore.
They are not the same thing. And I'm sure there are plenty of conversations to be had about Section 8 housing. This just doesn't happen to be one of them.
Now, as for me, I don't truly care whether the people at the rally were James Rouse's people or not. But I do care that, when people advocate for housing for teachers and first responders, that somehow translates to drug dealers and low-lifes. I mean, really. Are you telling me that your neighborhood will spin into a vortex of decline once more police, firefighters and teachers move in?
Full spectrum means filling in the gaps. If we become a community with only the very rich and the very poor, then we will be broken. A community like that cannot sustain itself. That is what we should fear--a weak foundation that cannot support vibrant community life. This is not merely some touchy-feely liberal issue. It's hard economics and we need to pay attention.
What would Columbia be like if we made more room for teachers, first responders, plumbers, contractors, nurses...
A "hell-hole"? I think not.