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Thread: Sprawl: how do you stop it?

  1. #76
    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner View post
    That's only according to you and your ideas, which do not reflect how local governments actually work, only how you think they should work. I'll take reality over JawsWorld, thanks.
    Actually, this is the reality of communism as it has always been. Even famous Marxist economist finally admitted that it was true with the failure of the Soviet Union.

    Communism cannot work, no matter how hard you wish it to. Without exchange of private property, without market prices, it is impossible to know the value of a good. It is impossible to know how much value you are producing as you consume resources.

    How do you know that your work has created value?

  2. #77
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    How do you know that your work has created value?
    Because my clients pay me.

  3. #78
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    Well i've already been approved to a college for architecture and have scholarships... I love architecture, and I also love urban planning, I want to be able to design buildings as well as cities.

    My idea of a city is generally the same as European cities, and to some degree, like NYC...

    Cities aren't meant to sprawl out, they are meant to fill in, then go up before they go out even slightly. Farms and small towns/villages are for people who want a rural lifestyle, but even those cannot sprawl out.


    A lot of people do not realize the drastic effects sprawl has on inner cities, and they are a bad thing because of what they do to inner cities.

    I also feel very helpless, because at my age, I'm not able to do anything about things like this. Yet what goes on now, greatly effects my future, and no one cares about the effects they have even on my own generation.

    It's really sad how many cities are winning against sprawl, yet my own hometown thinks of itself as a western town, and regional people think of it as being a western town, and it is beginning to model itself after cities like LA... I really wouldn't want to have to move, but if this city becomes a Los Angeles, I would leave in a second.
    Kid...you are putting NYC up on a pedestal like it is an anti-sprawl trophy. Did you know that some people commute in their cars three to four hours to get to their job in Manhattan! That is called SPRAWL!

    You are an idealistic person, which planning desperatly needs, and the educational experience you about to undertake will help you to channel that idealism. Once you complete this vetting process, you will enter the real world. When you get into the real world you will discover that we, as planners, are more of the facilitators of development (good and bad types of development) and not dictators who can tell people how and where they will be blessed to live. There is something in this country called property rights and thank goodness we have them because I would not want to live in a country where the state controls all of a person's destiny.

  4. #79
    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    ah-ha - sorry HCB, but this thread just got hijacked!

    {insert light bulb smilie} now I understand you, Jaws - your premise on government is flawed because government is not a business and it never was set up to be one - we provide a service for the public benefit that serves a common good that the voters decide upon - if the voters say no public transportation, then no public transportation - the public at-large decides what services are provided - so the term value has no meaning because it's the "values" of the municipality that decide what services are provided

    the return is your local (if we are talking about local services) property taxes - they pay for the service - you pay in for a service that you decide upon receiving - that's the exchange - the voters are the consumers
    That's exactly what I'm saying. Government is not set up as a private enterprise, therefore economizing under this system is impossible. Production of capital is impossible.

    They once set up farms that where not set up as private ventures but "for the public benefit" that "served the common good" voters decided upon. The outcome: people starved. The farms could not produce any value.

    We have cities set up to serve the common good for the public benefit. The outcome: they are wrecked. The cities cannot produce any value.

    Big surprise?

    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner View post
    Because my clients pay me.
    Exactly. You can calculate your profitability as the difference between what you spend and what your earn in exchange for your expenditures.

    Communist organizations cannot do that.

  5. #80
    Cyburbian
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    hey jaws, shut your mouth or create a thread pertaining to your discussion. This isn't about how democratic governments are communist in your view. If you want to discuss that, then create a new thread, this isn't the place to do it.

    I've only been regularly participating for a couple days now, and I'm already sick of your anti-democratic/republic rants.

    Moderator note:


    While I agree that jaws should not be hijacking the thread, and that such discussion should be split off to it's own thread (or this one will be closed)....a personal attack is not the way to go about voicing your displeasure. Please do not resort to name calling or personal attacks.


    This shows apx. 57 out of the total 117 homicides in KCMO in 2006 as they are distributed in our urban core... Downtown as defined by the Downtown Council is shown in the red outline.
    Last edited by HeartlandCityBoy; 16 Feb 2007 at 2:23 PM.

  6. #81
    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    hey jaws, shut your mouth or create a thread pertaining to your discussion. This isn't about how democratic governments are communist in your view. If you want to discuss that, then create a new thread, this isn't the place to do it.

    I've only been regularly participating for a couple days now, and I'm already sick of your anti-democratic/republic rants.
    This is about why governments support and subsidize sprawl over the city. Now you have your answer. Communist cities are incapable of economy. None of the great classical cities of the past, London, Paris, Vienna, Rome, Venice, Florence, were communist.

    Democratic government was meant to be about determining the law arbitrating different private property owners. It was never meant to be about determining production. The latter case is called communism, and it has the same outcome as all forms of communism.

  7. #82
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    What were your net earnings last year? What is your return on equity invested?

    Until you can answer that, your budget is wasteful. You are spending but not producing. That's not a personal criticism, it's a systemic flaw of communist organizations. You simply do not know how much value is produced by your spending and cannot know.

    Maybe you're spending too much. Maybe you're not spending enough. There's no way to know unless you have a measure of value. The only measure, other than someone's own personal preferences, is the income your spending generates.
    Actually, with the GASB34 accounting method, we know a lot more than you seem to know. But, cities are not a business, are not allowed to compete with businesses (aside from providing municipal services), and do not turn a profit.

    They set goals based on citizen input and open discussions among elected officials, then set the employees to achieving those goals. That... is not personal preference. It's called the will of the people. No sense trying to explain it further if you just want to go off on one of your communistic rants.
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  8. #83
    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    Actually, with the GASB34 accounting method, we know a lot more than you seem to know. But, cities are not a business, are not allowed to compete with businesses (aside from providing municipal services), and do not turn a profit.

    They set goals based on citizen input and open discussions among elected officials, then set the employees to achieving those goals. That... is not personal preference. It's called the will of the people. No sense trying to explain it further if you just want to go off on one of your communistic rants.
    And that's why it can't produce value. I'm not disagreeing with you. Cities do, in fact, operate this way. As a consequence of this, and informed by the indisputable logic of economics and past experiences with collectivist production, they produce crap and consume capital.

    Everyone keeps asking why are our cities such crap? It's the same as asking why the ministry of shoes doesn't produce shoes that fit. The answer is obvious: because it's a ministry of shoes.

    A good shoe producer does not care about the will of the people. He is not elected. He cares about the preferences of each individual that will do business with him, and does his best to serve those preferences by accumulating and investing capital. Until cities can do that, they will be crap, and there is no way out of the problem.

  9. #84
    Cyburbian
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    If this continues could one of the mods either move the posts to another thread or just lock this? I'll post my other questions in a new thread where people can answer them without the hijacking. So far it seems that this isn't going to stop...

    Moderator note:
    Welcome to the Wonderful World of Jaws. He tends to hijack threads with the exact same rhetoric. - Mastiff
    Last edited by Mastiff; 16 Feb 2007 at 4:46 PM.

  10. #85
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    So, the only way to stop sprawl is though the socialist economics that brought us breathtaking grey apartment complexes? Hmmm makes sprawl look pretty good to me!

  11. #86
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    And that's why it can't produce value. I'm not disagreeing with you. Cities do, in fact, operate this way. As a consequence of this, and informed by the indisputable logic of economics and past experiences with collectivist production, they produce crap and consume capital.
    And, you are again wrong. A city does produce value with both goods and services. Ever flush your toilet? Do you think that's some kind of magical device? Water and sewer are a municipal responsibility in most places. I also think my parks are some very nice places, so don't be calling them "crap." And since the park groundskeeping fairies are in short supply, public works handles it. Police? Fire? Ambulance?

    Oh, I know what you want to say, Jaws... It can all be privatized, right? Well, it's been tried with many of those services, and those companies for the most part went belly up. But I'm sure they just didn't use the proper "jaws method" or somesuch. Know what I say to people who know so much? If you can do all of this, why aren't you rich?

    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    A good shoe producer does not care about the will of the people. He is not elected. He cares about the preferences of each individual that will do business with him, and does his best to serve those preferences by accumulating and investing capital.
    Oh yes, the shoe producer. They don't care about the will of the people at all. That's why the little old man on the corner who could fix a heel or replace a sole is gone, and Nike sell shoes made at slave wages to "the people" for a huge profit. "Each individual" uh huh... like Wal-Mart, who would never sell mass produced goods made in China, no.

    Great arguments, Jaws. I want a city created by Wal-Mart, who answers to no one. What a utopia that would be...
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  12. #87
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Gee i leave you guys for a couple of hours and this is what happens!
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  13. #88
    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    And, you are again wrong. A city does produce value with both goods and services. Ever flush your toilet? Do you think that's some kind of magical device? Water and sewer are a municipal responsibility in most places. I also think my parks are some very nice places, so don't be calling them "crap." And since the park groundskeeping fairies are in short supply, public works handles it. Police? Fire? Ambulance?
    The Soviet Union also had shoes. They were crappy shoes.

    Mastiff the Soviet Komissar says "shut the hell up and be grateful for your damn shoes!"

    That doesn't prove that the shoes are useful, or that we don't pay too great a price of have them.
    Oh, I know what you want to say, Jaws... It can all be privatized, right? Well, it's been tried with many of those services, and those companies for the most part went belly up. But I'm sure they just didn't use the proper "jaws method" or somesuch. Know what I say to people who know so much? If you can do all of this, why aren't you rich?
    Because it's illegal to do it? Isn't that obviously the whole point?

    Private cities were profitable. This is how every great European city was operated. They had to be forcefully expropriated in order to collectivize them. Then these cities went bankrupt at an astonishing pace.
    Oh yes, the shoe producer. They don't care about the will of the people at all. That's why the little old man on the corner who could fix a heel or replace a sole is gone, and Nike sell shoes made at slave wages to "the people" for a huge profit. "Each individual" uh huh... like Wal-Mart, who would never sell mass produced goods made in China, no.
    If the little old man is gone, it is because his customers abandoned him. That means it is YOUR fault, not Walmart's. If you shopped more at the little old man, he would still be in business.
    Great arguments, Jaws. I want a city created by Wal-Mart, who answers to no one. What a utopia that would be...
    Walmart is accountable to every single customer, every single day, in direct proportion to how much Walmart improves their lives.

    That is why people love Walmart and hate the city.


    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    So, the only way to stop sprawl is though the socialist economics that brought us breathtaking grey apartment complexes? Hmmm makes sprawl look pretty good to me!
    Actually, grey apartment complexes, single-household subdivisions and strip malls are the oucome of the same socialist system.

  14. #89
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    The Soviet Union also had shoes. They were crappy shoes.

    Mastiff the Soviet Komissar says "shut the hell up and be grateful for your damn shoes!"

    That doesn't prove that the shoes are useful, or that we don't pay too great a price of have them.
    Do you even read before you start writing this stuff? I said I have good parks... and we spend wisely according to the way citizens expect. I assure you, if you don't do these things, you won't work for the city very long. Soviet komissars didn't have to concern themselves with such trivialities, now did they?

    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    Because it's illegal to do it? Isn't that obviously the whole point?

    Private cities were profitable. This is how every great European city was operated. They had to be forcefully expropriated in order to collectivize them. Then these cities went bankrupt at an astonishing pace.
    Nothing like living in the past... If you really want to try and create a city, I'm sure you could find a place to do it. But you'd rather bellyache. And those "great" European cities were not just a big private enterprise... you know better, too. They were owned by the monarchy, and they ruled over the cities. Just a different form of government...

    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    If the little old man is gone, it is because his customers abandoned him. That means it is YOUR fault, not Walmart's. If you shopped more at the little old man, he would still be in business.

    Walmart is accountable to every single customer, every single day, in direct proportion to how much Walmart improves their lives.

    That is why people love Walmart and hate the city.
    Oh, no no no no! You can't have it both ways! His customers abandon him because they went for the cheaper shoes. Don't blame the customer for leaving.

    And it's obvious you've never shopped at a Wal-Mart. They work on a mass sale idealogy, not a customer oriented one. Go and see for yourself. Standing in a line eight people deep I once yelled, "For Pete's sake, open another register!" It made some grumpy people laugh, but it didn't improve service.

    And people don't hate cities... you do.

    I'm done with you now, I've had all of your nonsense I can take for one day.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
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  15. #90
    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    Do you even read before you start writing this stuff? I said I have good parks... and we spend wisely according to the way citizens expect. I assure you, if you don't do these things, you won't work for the city very long. Soviet komissars didn't have to concern themselves with such trivialities, now did they?
    This whole thread is asking why governments subsidize sprawl. You can't just come in here and claim that you do no such thing and that everything you do is perfectly in tune with what people want. It's just buffoonery.

    Yes, I'm sure you think you do excellent work. Every bureaucrat does. That doesn't mean they produce what people want to have. They produce what bureaucrats want to produce. This is why you believe you do excellent work, you are producing what you want to produce using other people's money. You can't produce what the people expect you to because you have no way of valuing what their wants are.

    People want parks? How many? Where? How big should they be? How many trees should they have? What should they cost? The answer to all these questions, without a market, are all your own arbitrary decisions. You make choices using other people's money. They serve you, not the other way around.
    Nothing like living in the past... If you really want to try and create a city, I'm sure you could find a place to do it. But you'd rather bellyache. And those "great" European cities were not just a big private enterprise... you know better, too. They were owned by the monarchy, and they ruled over the cities. Just a different form of government...
    No, they were owned by landlords, who could freely trade towns and villages on the market. They didn't sprawl. Even today, these cities are the most prized in their respective countries and by foreigners. Democratic bureaucrats have not produced anything that can compete.

    And you know what? Criticize what you want about Dubai, it doesn't sprawl.
    And people don't hate cities... you do.
    This whole thread is asking why people leave the city for the suburbs, with some actual planning professionals coming out as hating the city. How can you just skip over that in order to make a poorly conceived insult? It's not even true that I hate cities. I live in one of the world's biggest.

    You should just stay out of these discussions.

  16. #91
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Yes, Jaws... I have no way to know what people want, so I just do what's best... kind of like a king. Oh wait, perhaps we do surveys and actually ask people? Nah... Let's just let your lords and ladies decide what's best. Here's a bit of news for you:

    No matter what happens... ever... you'll never be king of anything.

    And that seems like what you really want... too bad.

    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    You should just stay out of these discussions.
    You're the one-trick pony. Perhaps you should heed your own advice.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
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  17. #92
    Cyburbian
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    Back to the topic, here is a reply I got from one of the guys running for mayor (the primary is the 27th and the main election is the 27th of March). He so far is the front runner in the election, and hasn't even started his TV campaign yet, and has been endorsed by the local paper.

    I am a supporter of a number of the goals of new urbanism. I live in the Brookside area in a home built shortly after the turn of the century. I am very supportive of preservation efforts and share your concern for the demolition of older buildings to make way for new, less substantial structures.

    Urban sprawl is not good for any metropolitan area for a variety of reasons. As an auditor and teacher of public finance, sprawl is seen as a wasteful trend. It dilutes our funds available for infrastructure maintenance, it is wasteful of our precious petroleum products, it leaves useable housing in the intercity to ultimately be abandoned and it destroys our sense of space and neighborhood. It also emphasizes new construction of homes, roads water mains and sewers, when we should be maintaining the assets we have already constructed. This is just a start of some of the problems with sprawl.

    One of my three major goals is to improve citizen satisfaction with basic city services. Fixing streets, clearing snow quickly, keeping the storm drains from flooding, providing a visible police presence and responding quickly to burglaries or traffic accidents are all economic development activities. If citizens are pleased with their services and have a clean and safe city they will remain in Kansas City and if not they will move to the suburbs. One of my hopes is to increase the population of Kansas City's core by 50,000 residents during my first term. I want to enable the core neighborhoods to become denser through incentives to preserve existing homes and encourage building on vacant lots. Improvement of the curb and sidewalk infrastructure, as Jim Nutter has shown, is critical to this effort. I will find funding to start an effective program of curb and sidewalk replacement. Father Rotert and his housing committee have made recommendations to greatly improve the City's housing division and to address absentee landlords. I will implement these recommendations.

    Another of my three goals is to work toward establishing an effective regional transit system. As you are well aware, this is absolutely critical to implementing some of the major objectives of new urbanism.

  18. #93
    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    Yes, Jaws... I have no way to know what people want, so I just do what's best... kind of like a king. Oh wait, perhaps we do surveys and actually ask people?
    Surveys and "asking people" can never tell you what is the economical thing to do. A survey question doesn't tell you the costs and the benefits of anything that you do.

    People telling you "I want a house in a neighborhood of identical houses" doesn't tell you at what cost they want this. The cost cannot be known by the very nature of the communistic land ownership. People just externalize all their costs onto the city, and that's how you get sprawl.

    No matter what happens... ever... communism will never work.

    The creation and accumulation of capital requires private ownership. There is no other way.

  19. #94
    Cyburbian
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    Oh, and also, the man who is running for mayor wants to move to letting private developers do the developing Downtown, and wants to stop using so much public money in developing Downtown (about $4.5 billion is already been spent, with several hundred million being planned to be spent). Is this a good thing planning wise, or should public money always be available for residential and commercial developments?

  20. #95
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    Back to the topic,
    In support of one of the points you cited, there is a case study of Bakersfield, California concerning sprawl and increased cost of infrastructure/city services: http://www.kernsmartgrowth.com/ (scroll down to Cost of Residential Development: A Case Study of Bakersfield, California ).

    Also, if you can find a way to develop local programs which help support effective alternatives to the tremendous policy bias towards helping people purchase single family detached (aka suburban sprawl) housing, it might make a dent in the problem locally. I believe things will need to change at the federal level and I tend to assume that at some point it will change, what with the whole Hubble Peak and so forth. Laying the groundwork now could put your city at or near the head of the pack when/if the tide turns. Even if the federal government doesn't get its act together and make effective changes in that area, having some local alternatives can make a difference. Over time, that difference can become substantial.

  21. #96
    Cyburbian
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    Is there a short summary of that study somewhere? Is it anti-sprawl or pro-sprawl?

  22. #97
    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone View post
    In support of one of the points you cited, there is a case study of Bakersfield, California concerning sprawl and increased cost of infrastructure/city services: http://www.kernsmartgrowth.com/ (scroll down to Cost of Residential Development: A Case Study of Bakersfield, California ).

    Also, if you can find a way to develop local programs which help support effective alternatives to the tremendous policy bias towards helping people purchase single family detached (aka suburban sprawl) housing, it might make a dent in the problem locally. I believe things will need to change at the federal level and I tend to assume that at some point it will change, what with the whole Hubble Peak and so forth. Laying the groundwork now could put your city at or near the head of the pack when/if the tide turns. Even if the federal government doesn't get its act together and make effective changes in that area, having some local alternatives can make a difference. Over time, that difference can become substantial.
    If you are working from the assumption that sprawl is wasteful and inefficient, then adding even greater economic waste to the problem, which is what the Hubbert Peak does, will not have any consequence over it. Simply put, sprawl does not respond to economic incentives. If politicians actually calculated the costs of their proposals, there would not be a waste problem in the first place.

  23. #98
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    Is there a short summary of that study somewhere? Is it anti-sprawl or pro-sprawl?
    I don't know of a summary, and it was a few years ago that I read it, but my recollection is that it used GIS and economic analysis to conclude that suburban, "green field" developments that required additional infrastructure (such as roads, water and sewer) and an extension of services (like fire and police) to new areas was very expensive for the city and it was economically advantageous to try to give incentives to developers to choose a site within existing services -- especially if there was any debate going on about sites A, B, C. Basically, it's anti-sprawl.

    FWIW, Sriram Khe, PhD, was my professor of economic geography. If I recall correctly, his phd is from USC and is in planning but I believe his background before that is in computers/GIS. He is one of the principle people behind the study (his name appears on the website). I had a chance to discuss it with him some and I think it is a very sound study. I really enjoyed my economic geography class with him. He is one of my "favorite" professors.

    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    If you are working from the assumption that sprawl is wasteful and inefficient, then adding even greater economic waste to the problem, which is what the Hubbert Peak does, will not have any consequence over it. Simply put, sprawl does not respond to economic incentives. If politicians actually calculated the costs of their proposals, there would not be a waste problem in the first place.
    If you read my earlier post in this thread, I am working from the assumption that there is a massive existing policy-based "infrastructure" of tax incentives, lending programs, mortgage guarantees, etc. which were designed post WWII to facilitate a necessary massive housing boom which was aimed at a demographic -- the single income nuclear family -- which was a relatively brief historical anomaly. Unless we suddenly reverse the 50% divorce rate (among other things) and also find a cheap, effective alternative to gasoline, America's current way of life will soon also go the way of the dinosaur. Being a die hard optimist, I would like to think that, sooner or later, someone will Get A Clue and begin dismantling the policy-based infrastructure which so strongly biases american housing choices, even in cases where it doesn't really work for them and they wish there were other viable options but there just aren't -- the operative word there being viable. I would not live the way I do now if it were currently within my means to do something else. Conventional housing isn't my cup of tea and doesn't really work for me for practical reasons which aren't going to simply go away.
    Last edited by Michele Zone; 17 Feb 2007 at 6:36 PM.

  24. #99
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Yes. Back on topic, me included...
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  25. #100
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone View post
    Hubble Peak
    snicker. I have also called it "Hubbard Peak" before.





    As jaws indicated, it is Hubbert Peak.

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