Our Overprotected Bureaucracy

The Main Point (MP) that I gathered from This Week’s Reading (TWR) is how hopeless any attempt at historic/environmental/cultural preservation seems amid all of the red tape restricting such attempts. There are so many loopholes that federal agencies and private businesses can use to get out of being held to whatever wishy-washy standards the “light green laws” encourage that it seems like it would be almost impossible to win a case for preservation if you did not have a significant amount of money, time, and connections to help you out. (Even the Rosas, who must have had a fair amount of these resources to be able to take their fight as far as they did, gave up in the end.)

That being said, I wonder if there were no positive examples of cases that have been won by average citizens, or examples where federal agencies have acted admirably, that King could have illustrated. Like Luke, he used only negative examples, so I was left with an overwhelmingly pessimistic feeling by the end of the book. Thus, King’s suggestions in the last chapter for resolving the problem struck me as vague and fruitless. Sure, it would be great for Obama to be able to tell all federal agencies to “clean up their acts” and see instant compliance. However, the reality is that this would involve even more bureaucracy with the appointment of task forces to analyze cases further and “monitor performance,” more training for agencies, etc. I wish that King had left us with an example of a reason to hope, or at least with a more tangible way to challenge the system.

4 thoughts on “Our Overprotected Bureaucracy”

  1. I agree with you Anna, I would have liked King to include at least one positive example. While I intermittently enjoyed King’s witty remarks, the book overall left me rather depressed and his call to action left a lot to be desired.

    I do however, love your abbreviations at the start of your post. Very funny!

  2. Yes, I agree it was rather depressing. I thought the Rosas family was rather amazing, since they came up with two solutions that would limit or stop the blasting of canyon walls, and there would be no need to use bridges and embankments. They suggested running the second track along the same lines as the original track to reduce environmental impact. They also hired a civil engineer, Dr. Kamran Nemati who suggested to put the train lines underground and use a tunnel, which would make the route safer because it would be a straighter route. Also, by using a tunnel the train wouldn’t have to deal with issues like rockslides, or animals wandering on the tracks.

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