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Mining . . “who are working for the reconstruction of American society from below.” The few press reports from. the Madison conference \(in The Nation, The New Republic and The Progressive, stressed the uniqueness of the event. Panelists commented with wonder that they had actually learned something at the conference. The Progressive said the conference suggested “that a quiet revolution has begun in America.” The Texas conference was likewise impressive. It wasn’t the size of the conference; it was the spirit. The gathering included a variety of people from the left Houston Controller Leonel Castillo, Zavala County Judge Jose Angel Gutierrez, Garland Ham of the United Auto Workers, Chuck Caldwell of AFSCME, representatives of Austin Community Television, farm workers, La Raza party members, radical excons, someone from the New Mexico Public Interest Research Group, Emma Lou Linn of the Austin City Council, ACORN \(Association of Community Organizations for Worth/Dallas, people from the Austin food co-ops, political science professors, people interested in .energy alternatives, people involved in mental health projects, students On this panel, a sociologist from Santa Barbara, a county commissioner from Pipkin commissioner from Austin compared war stories on their various efforts to limit growth. The star of the panel was Richard Applebaum, a sociologist from the University of California who has been in the vanguard of city planning in Santa Barbara. As Applebaum explained, Santa Barbara, with a population of 73,000, is approximately 25 percent Mexican-American and has a large university community and a lot of retired folks. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a wealthy town by California standards. Santa Barbara used to be controlled by downtown business interests \(the city’s recent history is in many ways similar to Auconstituencies in the making. In 1969, the infamous Santa Barbara oil spill goaded many citizens into environmental activism, and then a group of students burned down the Bank of America. In the early Seventies, the focus shifted to the less volatile arena of electoral politics. A liberal-radical coalition won four of the seven city council seats in 1971. The new council hired a nationally-known consulting firm to do a study of city planning and lots and lots of individuals active in Austin city politics. National resource people included Sam Brown, Berkeley City Councilwoman Liona Hancock, Derek Shearer of the California Public Policy Center, a couple of IPS fellows, energy writer Jim Ridgeway, Rich Applebaum of UC Santa Barbara, and others. IPS paid for a couple of plane tickets and Texas Papers \(the regional sponsor, who is, as far as the Observer can tell, Mary Sanger of Austin and the volunteers she few people for transportation ; but most of the conference participants paid all their own expenses. And, as if to underline the moral seriousness of the meeting, the campus housing for participants was vacant monks’ cells. \(How strange to come to roost in a tiny little cell after a Saturday night of dancing and For a gathering primarily composed of activists from the civil rights and anti-war movements, the participants spoke with surprisingly quiet voicesvoices subdued by age to some extent, but more importantly by the complexity of the issues at hand. Elecseems to have been a humbling experience to the radicals and populists who came to San Antonio. Most of them had some idea where they want to go politically, but they were all anxious to share clues on how to get there. This story will be primarily a compendium. of clues and observations supplied by the various speakers at the workshops attended by the Observer. alternatives, but Applebaum and the progressives weren’t at all sure they wanted their city planning done by a group of professionals who had no commitment to Santa Barbara. Applebaum said that such firms often have ties to developers and that sometimes they don’t do as conscientious a study as local people might want. A group of Santa Barbara residents \(including Applebaum, architects, mathematicians, lawyers, and set up their own Planning Task Force because they thought they could do a better job than the national firm. Their low budget work was so impressive that the city ended up hiring them to do the growth study. “Our position was that planning should be done by locals,” Applebaum explained. “Such a study is itself political. These things are usually technical, but we started out to write the study in English and we succeeded. The conduct of the study was seen as a model as much as the conclusions of the study,” he said. While planners generally assume that growth is inevitable, Applebaum and his group insist that growth doesn’t result from anything natural. It results from decisions like the city’s decision to put a college ‘in the town or to grant a zoning change for a new shopping center. Any generator of employ ment causes growth, Applebaum said, and growth in turn requires a costly escalation of city services. The Task Force learned that for every student that enrolled in UC Santa Barbara, two people came to the Santa Barbara area to live. The Task Force looked at seven different growth scenarios, from a very rapid rate of growth to no growth at all, and they traced out the implications of each. Then they used neighborhood fact books and slide shows to educate people in various parts of the city about the planning choices they will have to make. The group studied disasters, for example. Applebaum said they discovered that most of the city’s intensively zoned areas, the areas zoned for apartments, turned out to be on the fault line. \(Somebody in the workshop insisted that the scientific way to plot a fault line in California is to locate all the hospitals and schools and nuclear ‘reactors . and then developed information on the legal and economic ramifications of growth. And the Task Force investigated various means of limiting growth. One way, Applebaum explained, is to limit jobs. . Chamber of Commerce types traditionally argue that a city must grow, if for no other reason than to provide jobs for the poor. They studied employment patterns in 115 , cities that matched Santa Barbara in certain respects and discovered that growth actually has no impact locally on the job supply. They found no relation between a city’s size and its unemployment rate. A second way to limit growth is by limiting the housing supply. The trouble is, Applebaum said, if you limit the housing supply during a period when new jobs are being created, the result will be a rapid increase in rent, which really will hurt poor people. He said the Task Force has set up a group to study low income housing and to try to design growth limitation policies that will not discriminate against the poor. “Wide open growth has had its day in Santa Barbara,” Applebaum said. There is currently a moratorium on expanding the county’s water supply, which limits growth to some extent. No one, not even the business community, is talking about unlimited expansion for Santa Barbara now. But the future of the city is still up for political grabs. Applebaum said that the “growthers,” including agricultural interests, downtown businesses, the banks, and the newspaper, are allied under the banner of the “Friends of Santa Barbara,” and they’re spending big money to influence local elections. The liberal-progressive coalition recently lost an important referendum allowing Exxon to build one of the largest off-shore oil rigs in the world in the Santa Barbara Channel. Exxon spent $200,000 and won the referendum by 800 votes out of 80,000 cast. “Money talks in elections. You can buy elections, and we’re worried,” Applebaum said. “We’re real worried.” December 26, 1975 3 Local Planning for Controlled Growth