In a superficially lofty July 8 essay, David Gray, a Penn State vice president, explained why the university can sell with a clear conscience a crucial water filtering area to a rapacious, locally unconnected real-estate developer.
Gray’s argument follows exactly the argument I, as a small child, offered my mother: “They all do it.” She replied, as I recall, “If they all jumped off the bridge would you do it, too?”
Here’s Gray’s phrasing: “ If you explore this website ... you will discover that much of the developed land in State College has a similar density of karst features as the Whitehall Road property, with fewer protective measures.” In short, we’ve been cavalier before so we can continue. It’s the argument of a kindergartener and just as false now as it ever was.
Gray also worries for us that, given a general change of mind hereabouts, the Toll Brothers might sue Penn State (and, presumably, any Ferguson Township supervisor with the gumption to resist them). Let me suggest that it takes an actual, provable loss for one to sue.
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John Swinton, State College