The nimby doesn’t deserve the bad rap. In fact, some say they’re needed to protect our environment and communities from developers who don’t have the public’s best interest in mind.
“Nimbyism” is a term that has been used to describe people who oppose development in their own neighborhood. However, the term has recently been used to refer to those who oppose development in general. The nimbys are getting a bad rap.
Elias, Thomas D.
Rarely has a large group of Californians been subjected to a more unjustifiable barrage of insults and assaults than the horde of “NIMBYs” — people who may support new projects but “not in my neighborhood.”
Al Fonzi is an [email protected] independent opinion writer for The and Paso Robles Press.
NIMBYs have killed liquefied natural gas projects pushed by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Gas, thus saving California consumers billions of dollars in rates they otherwise would have paid for generations for unneeded and dangerous gas imports.
They’ve stopped prisons from being built in cities, sending murderers, rapists, burglars, and other criminals to remote places where they’re less likely to hurt anybody than if they escaped into congested areas.
We’re going to get through this together, Atascadero
They prevented motorways from passing through the state’s greenest (and most costly) residential areas.
They now often oppose the construction of permanent supportive housing for the formerly homeless in local communities, claiming that such projects typically result in an increase in crime. They’ve also forced towns and counties to clean up or remove homeless encampments, which are commonly set up under motorway bridges.
Whether their actions were flawed or beneficial to all law-abiding Californians, they drew criticism and eventually spawned the formation of a rival group known as California YIMBY (yes, in my backyard), which is largely funded by developers who essentially want a license to build whatever they want, wherever they want, without regard for the cost to the mental or financial health of anyone living in the area.
Today in Berkeley, alleged NIMBYs have received a lot of criticism. Following a court judgment in favor of a homeowners organization named “Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods,” the academically selective UC campus in Berkeley claimed it would have to admit more than 3,000 fewer students than intended for the next academic year.
In this spectacular town vs. gown battle, the homeowner group won a verdict that some fear may compel the University of California’s onetime flagship institution (UCLA is now better rated and attracts more candidates) to reduce its anticipated enrolment.
Residents basically argued that adding thousands more students may result in a new generation of homeless students or drive up rents to the point where present residents would be compelled to leave. They also complained that putting thousands of additional students in off-campus accommodation would cause nighttime noise issues for nearby neighbors.
They also triumphed in California courts at every level, thanks to a legislation known as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Some of the state’s main newspapers and television stations dubbed them “reactionaries,” “backward,” and “selfish” as a result of their actions.
Meanwhile, after taking a closer look, something that perhaps should have been done before the neighborhood group went to court, the Berkeley campus concluded that things would not be so drastic after all: it turns out that a thousand or so of the new enrollees can take classes online wherever they live, others can wait six months before enrolling, and no one needs to be denied an education, as critics of the so-called NIMBYs all the way up to a dissenting state Supreme Court recently claimed.
NIMBYs, in fact, had previously supported several campus expansions but were opposed to this one because UC did not create new quarters for its incoming students. Yes, it was intended, but the campus conveniently failed to consider all of the consequences of its ostensible growth on the surrounding neighborhood, and no building was planned in any event. The neighbors are therefore being blamed for campus administrators’ inability to take care of necessary business and preparedness.
However, at an age when YIMBY claims SB 9, a new law it helped get through the Legislature last year, would simply enable homeowners to convert their single-family houses into duplexes, bashing NIMBYs is politically right. That isn’t true: the 2021 legislation provides for at least six new units on almost every single-family property in the state.
Politicians also find it easy to decry “NIMBYism” if their policies are shown to be hurtful to a large number of Californians. Not unexpectedly, hundreds of today’s politicians, including the governor, have benefited greatly from political contributions from developers and labor unions eager to expand wherever they can.
As a result, the present anti-NIMBY craze is often bogus. Californians who are well-informed must learn to see through it.
As an example:
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- bad rap or bad rep