The government already constrains and controls every aspect of our lives by regulating our wealth, income, taxes, investments, etc. The results are a matter of record. It is absurd to claim that “only government can solve our problems” yet there are those who erect signs in support of landmark designation and would sacrifice our property rights to the gods of a government bureaucracy in hopes of achieving utopia and paradise. The philosopher George Santayana warned “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Arguments and pleas for landmark designation for the Broadway Flushing area reveal an antipathy for “change” and have little to do with “historical preservation”. Proponents cite dozens of homes they consider “unsightly” and “ugly eyesores” but cannot provide one address of a “contributing historic site” that would justify restricting the property rights of 1,300 homeowners.
Neighborhoods, like everything else in life, evolve and change. If zoning and building codes are violated by corrupt inspectors and contractors and un-enforced by an incompetent building department, how will usurping the property rights of every homeowner solve this problem? This is akin to confiscating everybody’s car keys to prevent speeding. Why not enforce zoning and building codes and prosecute the violators? Have the homeowners been frightened into believing that the only alternative to landmark designation is a “McMansion” or a “McDonald’s” on every corner?
The character and “sense of place” that distinguishes our neighborhood consists of many elements. Among them are the increasing number of local store front signs, ads, and posters that are undecipherable to most residents. In the interest of “preserving our neighborhood”, perhaps we should instead consider landmarking the English language.