Thursday, June 17, 2021

NIMBY WARS - Become a More Effective Land-Use Warrior



By Don Amador

June 17, 2021


Back in 2009, I read what maybe one of the best books ever written on the subject of effective grassroots political activism and how groups use the fine art of “political-craft” to achieve their land-use goals.  Given the current number of fierce political campaigns to shut down OHV-related legislation and recreation at Oceano Dunes SVRA and other state and federal riding areas, I want to encourage the new crop of OHV advocates to spend a few bucks to purchase online their own personal copy of NIMBY Wars.

 NIMBY Wars is a must read for all who are involved in land use advocacy. Regardless of your station in the battle for recreational access to public lands, you will benefit from the insights of this book as it succinctly explains the complex world of land use politics and articulates strategies for success.


It was early in my career of OHV land use advocacy (circa 1991) that I had this epiphany, “All land use decisions are political decisions.” Many club leaders, riders, new activists, and seasoned veterans have heard me talk about how important it is for all of us involved in land use advocacy to understand that at the end of the day - ALL land use decisions are political decisions.


Sure, scientific studies, reports, biological opinions, and other criteria are certainly factors in the land use decision-making process. However, the politics of the issue will be the last filter through which any decision must pass.


I have tried to explain (often times unsuccessfully) to those new to the field of land use politics the aforementioned thesis. To the normal person just sitting down with the decision-maker and explaining the facts, pointing out good science, offering a common sense solution, or supporting best management practices should be enough to encourage the decision-maker to make the right call. Unfortunately, those factors have little, if anything, to do with the final decision because the final decision is a political decision.


NIMBY Wars is a literary masterpiece that diagrams the bottom-up approach to grassroots activism and the importance of that local citizen (e.g. voter) or citizen’s group in achieving your objective.


Again, you must order this book if you are involved OHV advocacy, the OHV industry, or want to be involved in or lead, successful political campaigns to champion OHV recreational activities on public and private lands. If you are an experienced land use political professional, it will confirm various concepts and strategies you have employed and teach you new tactics.


If you are a new advocate, it will explain the politics of land use decision-making. If you are in the OHV business, it will explain and highlight the important roles of the professional land use consultant and the local user/leader. If you are a politician, lobbyist, or bureaucrat it will explain the history of land use politics and illustrate why and how you make your decisions.


Read this book! It will make you a more effective OHV champion.

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