It's not about Hitler or Mussolini. But it's about fascism, a new kind of fascism.
The new kind of fascism is environmental fascism, and it is springing up (where else?) in California.
The traditional form of fascism features a dictator telling people how to behave. Opponents of fascist governments are locked up or killed. The government controls everything.
Under fascism, taxpayers have no rights. Elections, if they are held at all, are rigged.
Environmental fascism uses the power of government to control land use and transportation.
An aspect of environmental fascism appeared on Sept. 30, 2014. On that date, two regional governmental agencies told Bay Area firms with 50 or more full-time employees that an employee who uses public transportation must have his boss pay for commuting expenses if the employee uses a form of public transportation such as BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).
The program is called the Commuter Benefits Program and was mandated by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). There was never a public vote on the program.
The Commuter Benefits Program requires eligible firms to hire a commuter benefits coordinator to keep track of the expenses of employees who use public transportation.
Another form of environmental fascism is the housing element, a plan to require all 101 Bay Area cities to build more housing -- even if a given community is full.
The law for the housing element was enacted in 1969. The law is being administered by California's Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
HCD's website says: "Housing element law ... mandates that local governments adequately plan to meet the existing and projected housing needs of all economic segments of the community."
The plan for housing elements demands that communities construct housing for low-income people.
If a city refuses to comply with HCD's housing demands, the state can cut off any money the city may want for road repair.
On July 18-19, 2013, the boards of directors of MTC and ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) adopted Plan Bay Area, a scheme that gives MTC and ABAG authority to construct high-rise, high-density housing in the Bay Area's 101 cities. This kind of housing is often called "stack-and-pack" housing. MTC and ABAG are powerful regional governmental agencies in the Bay Area.
According to Plan Bay Area's website: "Plan Bay Area is a long-range integrated transportation and land-use housing strategy through 2040 for the San Francisco Bay Area."
The website continues: "Plan Bay Area makes the nine-county region's first long range plan to meet the requirements of California's landmark 2008 Senate Bill 375, which calls on each of the state's 18 metropolitan areas to develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy to accommodate future population growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks."
The directors of MTC and ABAG are not elected by voters. The directors are selected from a pool of locally elected officials.
Another plan about environmental management was reported in January 2015 in the San Jose Mercury News. The newspaper reported that "state officials have begun to seriously study a plan to replace California's gas tax with a fee for each mile motorists drive."
The Mercury News article continued: "The idea (of a vehicle mileage tax) is far from reality, but it's raising a hornet's nest of practical and political questions, from how government would track the miles to what happens when people drive out of state or on private roads."
So there it is: Government has come up with a commuter benefits program, a housing element and Plan Bay Area. Moreover, in the future, government may mandate a vehicle mileage tax.
The term environmental fascism is strong. But fascism means that unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats can impose their views on taxpayers without the direct consent of the individuals governed. Whatever happened to democracy?
Richard S. Colman is the president and founder of Biomed Inc., a biotechnology, informatics and publishing company located in Concord. He is a resident of Orinda.