Jul 28, 2014

The High Cost of Non-Representative Government

noise_pollution A few months back, Savage Lake residents and (possibly) other Little Canada residents received a notice that the city would be ignoring the noise ordinance so that construction on the massively unnecessary I35E boondoggle could “progress” unimpeded by law, reason, or conscience. The city council and city management can do this sort of thing because some of those folks barely qualify as residents, let alone victims of their discriminating decisions.

noise_pollution2 It doesn’t take long to discover how much this construction damages Little Canada home prices. From every antle, Roseville prices are consistently higher, except immediately along Gervais Lake. In fact, if it weren’t for the pricy Gervais Lake properties, Little Canada real estate would more resemble St. Paul’s market than any of the more prosperous suburbs.

The first thing any prospective home buyer says when they step into most of our backyards is “How do you stand all that noise?” If I35E were an urban airport, the state would have to provide us with noise abatement resources; special windows, improved wall and roof construction techniques, and even financial considerations for those whose property values have been damaged by the airport traffic. Freeway construction, on the other hand, appears to be an uncontrolled Big Brother pork barrel party with no restrictions, regulation, or obligation on anyone’s part.

Niosh_OshaNoiseLimits Contrary to uninformed popular belief, OSHA standards are not intended to protect workers from health injuries. Their real purpose is to provide protection from liaSbility for employers. It is common audiologist and scientific knowledge that the outdated OSHA standards have been replaced with NIOSH’s current recommendations. Currently, my backyard exceeds OSHA standards for factory noise safety. Regardless, there seems to be no concern for the health of Little Canada residents; physically or economically. In a participatory democracy, you would hope that would result in a complete overthrow of our current city government in the next election. It’s pretty obvious that Minnesota voters do not have enough energy or gumption to participate in their government. Personally, I’d vote for anyone opposing any of the standing City Council. In fact, I have written-in my own candidates in every election since

To be clear about this, the adverse health effects of noise pollution are not only well known, but they were identified in the 1950’s. One of the reasons Americans have not been up in arms about this aspect of our degraded quality of life is one of the effects of noise pollution is called “learned helplessness syndrome.” In fact, for many urban voters this might be the reason that rural areas tend to have a higher election turnout than urban areas; providing those places with a greater governmental clout than their populations and economies warrant. So, thanks to noise pollution, our kids are getting dumber and less healthy and energetic, adults are sicker and unmotivated to improve their environments or properly care for their children,

This is one of the many places where our status as “consumers” overwhelms our rights as “citizens.” The rights of the state, the county, our city government, and the corporation raking in construction profits blows city residents and our quality of life out of the water; literally. In the last 18 years, there haven’t been many things that have motivated us to leave our Little Canada house, except the freeway noise. It has exponentially grown worse over the years and is now intolerable. I’m sure there is reason to hold out some hope that the noise barrier, if ever built, will abate this mess somewhat, but at my age that won’t be soon enough. It would be interesting to learn what compensation the city received for the noise regulation allowance and even more interesting to know why the people most affected by this construction received nothing for their suffering.

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