liberty & Joe Sixpack. ................. 0 9 / 0 4 / 2 0 0 0

I was at a neighbor's Labor Day party last weekend. He's a decent guy -- his dog comes over once a week for play time with ours, because he only has one. Poor Harley gets lonely! Very much a "Joe Sixpack", a regular guy in the 'burbs -- belongs to the pipefitter's union, has three cars in various states of restoration, one of them quite impressive. So the subject came up of the election, and he averred as to how, as a union member, he was obliged to vote for Gore. I told him I couldn't stand either of the big party hacks, and preferred to vote Libertarian. Even if Harry loses, as he probably will, I at least won't have the sudden urge to take a shower after I leave the polling booth.

Some time passed, and the subject moved to the house he owns across the way in Westminster, inexplicably zoned R-1. I asked him what that meant, and he explained that you could only have one house on it. He wanted to make it a duplex -- get it zoned R-2 -- but the city wouldn't let him. This was pretty amazing, seeing as how Orange County is suffering from the severest housing shortage in my memory. Now, Dennis is a pretty easygoing fellow, but he was clearly irked that, in the face of Wal-Mart having been given the green light for a major development just the other side of Trask, the city wouldn't let him put a measely second house on his own lot. Well, such are local politics, I told him, and left it at that.

The funny thing was, I later thought, that -- well, here's this union guy, right, who's voting for the soon-to-be-President Gorebot and his Highly Motivated Team of Trained Fascists, and probably making payments (whether he knows or likes it or not) to Gore's campaign through his union dues. Yet what he doesn't know is this: Al Gore is in favor of federal zoning committees. Yup. And if he thought building that add-on was tough when his opponent was some schmuck at the city planning office, well, wait'll he sees what the Gore-man has in mind.

This is what makes me mildly optimistic for the future of the country: as it gets wealthier, people may -- may -- actually wake up and occaisionally smell their self-interest. And I think for Dennis, and maybe a lot of other regular guys like him, federal zoning laws just aren't part of that.

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Last modified: Sun Sep 10 03:30:26 PDT 2000