31 May 2008

** Reader emails of particular interest **

I've decided to post -- with permission -- several interesting emails from Leisureville readers. (I've gotten a good deal of them and endeavor to answer each and every one.) The emails have come from those who agree with the book, disagree with the book, and most interestingly, from those who have stories to share related to the topic of age-segregation. 

My desire to start a national conversation. The growing popularity of age-segregated living is nothing short of a sociological revolution in our living arrangements. The next several posts will consist of emails that I find particularly noteworthy and important to share.

-- Andrew

 This email is from one of my characters in the book, the Chief of Police for Youngtown, AZ. 

I've completed the book and want to let you know how much I enjoyed it.
It made me see a number of things from a different perspective, such as
Sun City's deterioration -- I never thought about Sun City from the
standpoint that the life of the development was finite. Although I know
that the same is true for a great many other developments and
communities, so why should Sun City be different?

Your conclusions are correct. Sun City residents are aberrant thinkers
when compared with the rest of outside society. Although, I suppose if
everyone around you thinks the same, then it's not aberrant, it becomes
the norm.

An example, the latest controversy: In Sun City's oldest section with
6,203 residents the water (fire) flow is inadequate to meet current fire
fighting standards. As a result of Youngtown's connecting to the Sun
City system, about 2,300 Youngtown residents have the same problem.
Arizona American Water wants to upgrade and pass the cost on to
ratepayers. It would improve emergency fire service for 6,203 people in
Sun City and 2,300 in Youngtown.

Yet, in the Sun City paper, there are constant op-ed pieces from the
heads of various Sun City groups that keep claiming Sun City is being
asked to pay for improvements in Youngtown. The truth is, far more
people in Sun City will benefit. The cost for water will increase about
$1.25 per month per residence (in both Youngtown and Sun City). This
will pay for more fire hydrants and larger mains (which were built at
basically whatever pipe diameter that Webb wanted to use in the 60s when
the system was built and before it was sold to Sun City residents'

I had lunch Monday with a Sun City resident, and the Sun City fire
district chief. I asked the Sun Citian why residents were against the
project. He said "Because we are being asked to pay for Youngtown's
problem." When I gave him the facts, he changed he said words to the
effect "I already paid for community improvements where I lived before I
came to Sun City, I don't want to pay again."
The fire chief spoke up
and told him that the project was going to cost $1.25 per resident a
month. The man replied "I'm against increasing the price of any services
in Sun City."

The fire chief then pointed out that some projects were
for the good of society as a whole,
and that before he got to Sun City,
someone else paid for him. The man answered that he knew that; but that
he is on a fixed income and that if the water company gets this rate
increase, they'll ask for another, then another. He said that if it were
to come to a vote, he'd vote no.

I asked him if he paid income taxes and
he said "yes, a small amount." I then asked him when it was that he got
to vote on whether or not the air force dropped a bomb in Iraq and said
that he apparently had no problem paying for that at about $26,000 per
bomb. He said, "That's different, they're over there protecting us." I
said, "So your OK with someone dropping $26,000 bombs on a foreign
country to protect us; but you're not OK with paying $1.25 more per
month to increase the water flow here so the fire department can protect
your property if there is a fire? "We really don't need it" he said. End
of that particular conversation. As I read the final pages of your book
last night, I said to myself, the conversation was a case in point.

I've always thought that the saying "Ye shall know the truth, and the
truth shall set men free" was an over simplification of "truth". When I
hear that phrase, I respond "No. When someone knows the truth, it
doesn't set them free; instead it creates an obligation to do something
about it."

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