[This is the addended transcript of my regular KVMR commentary broadcast on 19 April 2017.]
California is, and has been for decades where it matters, a one-party state – the state’s legislature has been dominated by the Democratic Party since 1959. The Democrats have called the tune and run things pretty much as they see fit. In this once rich state, whatever is not working fiscally or socially, they now own lock, stock, and barrel. And with the supermajorities they have in both houses of the legislature, it is clear that the majority of Californians either approve of the state’s downward spiral, or they simply don’t know what’s going on. All of our wounds are self-inflicted. (more here)
California’s cacophony of calamities grows year after year even as our state now finds itself on or near the bottom of the nation’s barrel as more rankings are compiled. We lead the country in everything from under-performing public schools, to the various categories of the poor and destitute, to sky high taxes, and the worst business climate. California companies continue to head for greener pastures taking jobs and tax revenues with them. New companies and plants are started elsewhere, even right next door in Nevada, as long as they don’t have to put up with what this advanced laboratory in socialism has to offer.
Things have gotten so frustrating that there are now active groups on both the Left and Right seeking to restructure the state. People on the right correctly feel that Sacramento has ignored them for decades, and today many of them want to split the state into North and South California. People on the left feel that California’s progress toward socialism is hindered so much by Washington that they want to secede from the Union. The only really happy campers in the once Golden State live in the coastal clusters of millionaires and billionaires.
Today Governor Brown wants the state to solve the housing shortage with more regulations, cynically called “streamlining”, and more subsidies. But it doesn’t have the money. The $4B from bonds to rehab 57K units for low income residents, passed in 2002 and 2006, has been blown away on other more politically expedient needs. Hoping that you don’t remember, the Sacramento mavens are now fashioning a new $3B bond measure for us. They promise this time to really use it to help build some of the 1.5M units still needed to house all of California’s 39M Americans and 2.35M illegal aliens. (here)
In the meantime, by various estimates, this wannabe sanctuary state’s net cost of illegals is over $30B annually, or almost 18% of the state’s budget. The illegals, in addition to tax losses, criminality, and welfare payments, contribute one of eight kids in California’s K-12 schools. The litany of how Sacramento has and continues to mismanage the state’s fisc and impede its economy goes on and on. Here we have only time to scratch the surface of this scandalous saga. And each such report is vigorously denied and papered over by the much louder progressive voices which dominate what we read and hear in our news. (more here)
The takeaway is a leftwing state government that has been running for years with no adult supervision in Sacramento, creating a situation that is well beyond any imaginable point of return. Even KCET reports that, “California’s leaders are not addressing the housing crisis, and are merely professing to help with costly gimmicks that are no substitute for freeing the market to align supply with demand.”
My name is Rebane, and I also expand on this and related themes on Rebane’s Ruminations where the addended transcript of this commentary is posted with relevant links, and where such issues are debated extensively. However, my views are not necessarily shared by KVMR. Thank you for listening.
[Addendum] Our local cartoonist Bob Crabb published an excellent viewpoint on the housing crisis in the 18apr17 Union from where I have filched it for your edification. Great minds and all that 😉
There are many more issues to consider which are part and parcel of California’s considerable collection of calamities beyond housing. But I will post a list of factors here that complement and expand the above commentary.
- A dollar buys less in California than in almost any other state.
- Silicon Valley median household income is $94.5K while the entire state’s median is $61.5K. The national median household income is $54K.
- We are still building the goddam bullet train to nowhere, water tunnels to SoCal, and providing the delta smelt with fresh water that should be stored in new reservoirs, allocated to agriculture, and used to replenish drought diminished central valley aquifers.
- California households number 12.8M with 2.9 members per household.
- According to the government, affordable housing is that which costs less than one third of a household’s take home income (that includes rent/mortgage, insurance, utilities).
- Gov Brown abolished Community Development Agencies as “wasteful and inefficient” to be substituted by his new “by right” (sic) developments which will use the new “streamlined” permitting process that is already opposed by organized NIMBY groups.
- All subsidized housing units must be designed and built in the ‘stack and pack’ formats in urban areas as called for in Agenda21 (q.v.). The new housing units will be in developments that are still subject to all CEQA regs and employ workers at union pay scales.
- CEQA forces developers to pay all mitigations for all factors which conceivably MIGHT disrupt the status quo as defined by bureaucrats.
- Gov Brown’s “streamlining” plan passes on additional environmental and local planning strictures that will make housing developments eligible for $400M of subsidies if developers include 5-20% units built as state defined affordables for low income families. The new units will not be any cheaper than existing unit costs, and may be even more expensive to build.
- For the same house built in California and Texas, the Californian will pay twice as much as the Texan.
- California is essentially broke (the recent surplus was a hoax) and has an overhang of unfunded liabilities in excess of $200B.
- In all likelihood the new $3B bond income for affordable housing will be pissed away in a manner similar to how the last $4B was. The state has a long history of such malfeasance – for example, the gas taxes destined to keep our transportation infrastructure in repair have been reallocated to more visible vote buying programs, and the new additional gas tax and registration fee hikes for road repairs will very likely suffer the same fate.
In sum, Sacramento is populated by crooks, charlatans, liars, and con men (or is it con persons?). Given our voting history and the state’s dominant constituencies, there is no relief in sight.
[20apr17 update] In today’s Union Ms Linda Erdman's op-ed ‘Lining pockets instead of fixing roads’ underlines the points made above. And if you want even more detail of the travesty that the Sacramento scumbags are making with SB-1, check out this revelation (below) from the CA Federation of Republican Women of where the monies will really be spent. With the railroading of this new tax on gas and registration fees Gov Moonbeam again demonstrates that he’s basically a bamboozler having promised to pass no new taxes not put before voters for approval. All of it underlines the standing Rebane Doctrine tenet that government is the likely source of ALL of our socio-economic problems, and should be treated as guilty until proven innocent. Call (916) 445-2841 or go online (here) to contact the governor’s office and demand his veto on SB-1.
Governor Brown still has not signed SB 1 yet, the giant transportation tax increase that was pushed through the legislature two weeks ago. Although just speculation, the reason may be because the legality of the bill has been questioned. Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R, Lake Elsinore) has sent a letter to California Attorney General Xavier Beccera asking for an investigation into the “arrangements” made to trade votes for SB 1. When asked about whether or not bribery was used to secure votes for SB 1, Governor Brown said, “When somebody says, ‘Here is $10,000, I want your vote,’ you got bribery. It’s illegal. When someone says, ‘You know, I think this bill would be better if you included these projects or these ideas or these rules’ we listen, because that’s democracy and that’s openness and that is a compromise spirit that makes democracies work.”
Governor Brown’s idea of openness included drafting a separate bill to include the over $1 billion in side deals for district projects to get around Prop 54’s constitutional requirement that bills be in print and not amended for 72 hours before a vote is cast. SB 132 (Senate Budget Committee) now includes all the pork that was used to wheel and deal the transportation bill. Governor Brown’s idea of compromise included bullying an Assembly Democrat on the Assembly floor to vote for the gas tax when said Assemblyman was on the fence. That Assemblyman, Rudy Salas (D, Bakersfield), was removed from his chairmanship of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee this week, but still does not regret his decision to vote against the gas tax. He stands by his campaign promise, the same campaign promise broken by Governor Brown, to not support new taxes that are not put before the voters for approval.
Speaking of openness, the Governor and Legislative Democrats also promised that the revenue from this tax increase would only be used for roads. But, upon further examination, money is doled out for other projects: $750 million a year for transit, $100 million a year for biking and walking paths, $7 million a year for university research, and more still. Only 5% of the new tax funding goes to reducing traffic and road congestion. You may also be hearing and reading that this is a “ten year plan” or “over a decade” but the truth is that these taxes do not have a sunset. These are permanent taxes, save for a veto by Governor Brown or a legislative repeal. In the spirit of openness and compromise, Governor Brown should listen to voters when we ask him to VETO SB 1! There is still time!