Saturday, September 9, 2017

Will Assemblyman Marc Levine Vote NO on SB2 and save Marin taxpayers?





TO: Members, California State Assembly

FR: California Land Title Association
American Resort Development Association
California Business Properties Association
California Escrow Association
California Mortgage Association
California Pool & Spa Association
California Taxpayers Association
Community Associations Institute California Legislative Action Committee
County Recorders’ Association of California
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
National Federation of Independent Business
United Trustees Association

RE: SB 2 (ATKINS) – OPPOSE (as amended August 29, 2017)

The above-listed groups, while sympathetic to the need for more affordable housing in California, strongly oppose SB 2. Recent amendments do not address the fact that this is a regressive tax on the middle class.

SB 2 will result in exponential increases in recording fees/taxes paid by those consumers who can often ill afford it:

As shown in the attached matrix that specifically delineates the documents that must be recorded under law. While all California consumers will have to pay these new recording fee/taxes, it is our opinion that these new fees/taxes will have the biggest impact on the following consumers:

 Senior Spouses Recording Documents After the Loss of a Spouse:
(Increase from $36 to $261)
 Low Wage Contractors, Laborers, Suppliers, and Employees Recording Mechanics
Liens Seeking Reimbursement:
(Increase from $26 to $176)
 Low-Income Homeowners Refinancing Their Loans:
(Increase from $102 - $327)
 Struggling Homeowners Modifying Their Loans to Avoid Foreclosure:
(Increase from $43 to $268)
 Struggling Homeowners Redeeming Their Delinquent Loan Just Prior to
Foreclosure:
(Increase from $56 to $375 or more)
 Custodial Parents Recording Child Support Liens Seeking Delinquent Child
Support:
(Increase from $13 to $88)

SB 2 will also dramatically increase costs to other recording consumers and businesses:
As also shown in the attached matrix, other consumers and businesses will be affected as well with
significant increases in recording fee/taxes:
 Lot Line Adjustments to Resolve Property Line Disputes: (Increase from $36 to $261)
 Construction Loans:
(Increase from $128 to $353)

SB 2’s illogical and arbitrary exemption from imposition of the new SB recording fee/tax will result in confusion about when it should be charged:

Proposed subsection 27388.1 (a) (2) creates an exemption from the imposition of the affordable fee recording fee/tax that will result in confusion as to when the new recording fee/tax will be imposed. It reads as follows:

(2) The fee described in paragraph (1) shall not be imposed on any real estate instrument, paper, or notice recorded in connection with a transfer subject to the imposition of a documentary transfer tax as defined in Section 11911 of the Revenue and Taxation Code or on any real estate instrument, paper, or notice recorded in connection with a transfer of real property that is a residential dwelling to an owner-occupier. (Emphasis added)

This awkward language highlighted above will create confusion and inconsistent imposition of the new affordable housing recording fee/taxes that would be imposed by 
SB 2. This point is best made with the following examples:

 Recording of a reconveyance or release: Under current law, once a homeowner has
paid off his or her mortgage in full, a “reconveyance” is subsequently recorded to provide
notice that the debt has been paid off.

Since this document is nearly always recorded AFTER the original batch of documents are
submitted by a consumer, lender, title or escrow company or consumer for recordation, it is uncertain whether this document would be excluded from the recording fee/tax. On the one hand, it should be excluded as related to the previously-recorded transfer. On the other hand, the reconveyance document does not refer to the previous sale transaction and would more likely be treated as subject to the additional $75 fee, and there may be more than one reconveyance document. Other release documents may also be recorded on a delayed, post-purchase recording basis such as releases of liens, each at an additional cost of $75. Uncertainty about this would likely result in unevent treatment among the 58 county recorders. Further, without this certainty and in an environment where escrow and title companies must report to the buyer’s new lender the exact amount of costs, a later added cost is not allowed.

 Determination of Residential Dwelling, Owner Occupier: The majority of documents
recorded in a real estate transaction rarely if ever indicate that the property in question is residential and/or owner occupied, thus making this determination difficult at best and
impossible at worst in terms of consistent application throughout the state.

Thus, the arbitrary exemption language will make it difficult to impose SB 2 in a consistent, fair, and non-capricious manner.

SB 2 should be amended to focus on Governor Brown’s stated goals to address affordable
housing:
The signatories of this letter strongly support the Governor’s publicly stated goals of cutting red tape, delays, and unnecessary expenses to housing construction that would make housing more affordable to all Californians.
We believe SB 2 should be rewritten to specifically target those obstacles to more affordable housing within our borders.

For these reasons, we strongly OPPOSE SB 2.
cc: The Honorable Toni Atkins
William Weber, Consultant, Assembly Republican Caucus

SB 2 Fee impact for California Recording Transactions
(Fees are calculated based on the average number of pages for type of document using the base statutory maximum calculation of $10 for the
first page and $3 for each additional page. Fees will vary by county and specific transaction.)
Transaction Document Name Current Fee SB 2
Refinance Deed of Trust $49 $124
Assignment of Rents $10 $85
Request for Notice of Default $10 $85
Subordination Agreement $13 $13
Substitution of Trust $10 $10
Reconveyance $10 $10
Total $102 $327

Foreclosure
(Cured by the
borrower)

Notice of Default $13 $88
Notice of Trustee’s Sale $10 $85
Rescission of Notice of Default $10 $85
Rescission of Trustee’s Sale $10 $10
Total $43 $268
Mechanics Lien Notice of Mechanics Lien $16 $91
Release of Lien $10 $85
Total $26 $176

Lot Line
Adjustment

Lot Line Adjustment $16 $91
Deed (from Party A to Party B) $10 $85
Deed (from Party B to Party A) $10 $85
Total $36 $261

Construction
Loan

Construction Deed of Trust $49 $124
Notice of Completion $10 $85
Deed of Trust (conventional) $49 $124
Substitution of Trust $10 $10
Reconveyance $10 $10
Total $128 $353

Child Support
Lien

Lien $0 $0
Lien Release $13 $88
Total $13 $88

Death of a
Spouse

Affidavit of Death $13 $88
Trust Certification $13 $88
Deed $10 $85
Total $36 $261

Friday, September 8, 2017

Marinwood CSD Reveals Illegal Government Contracting



August 31, 2017 Marinwood Fire Chief reveals a "pattern and practice" of ignoring legally required "RFP Government Contracting" practice at the Marinwood CSD.  In 2016 the fire department ordered a $500,000 fire engine that arrived 3 months late with equipment problems requiring $50,000 in change orders and service delays. The vendor was not penalized. The law requires government notice of purchasing above a certain amount in a sealed bid format. This helps assure the best bid price for the taxpayers. 

At issue is the Fire Department "Martha Stewart" kitchen makeover where the Marinwood CSD has REFUSED a $25,000 donation so that it can spend $60,000 of taxpayer funds for a kitchen remodel. An initial estimate has the total cost for cabinets at $4000 yet the district wants to spend FOURTEEN TIMES the amount. The preferred contractor has two sons in the fire service and a personal relationship with one of the Marinwood CSD board members. '

At this special meeting, the Marinwood CSD DID NOT POST THE MEETING 24 hours in advance as REQUIRED BY LAW. When confronted with photographic proof they did not comply they IGNORED it. 

Legal action will be needed to stop routine corrupt practices of the Marinwood CSD as they have no shame or sense of decency.

Why would the Marinwood CSD REFUSE a $25,000 gift that could fully pay for a new kitchen?

How easy Voter Fraud is without Voter ID. (This is N.H. but what about CA?)



Four years ago, James O’Keefe released a video which showed how easy it would be for people to vote in New Hampshire using the names of deceased people. As a result of that video, New Hampshire changed its voter ID laws. Project Veritas Action revisited New Hampshire during Tuesday’s presidential primary election and again showed how easy it is to cast fraudulent votes with the new law fully in place. In this new video, multiple election officials and Bernie Sanders presidential campaign staffers offered advice to journalists using hidden cameras about how to circumvent the law.

Editor's Note:  California voter fraud is a huge issue and will likely be a major political battle in the coming years. Sensible vote id laws are needed to protect the integrity of our democratic process.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

How retirees suffer after cities go Broke

HERE’S HOW LOYALTON RETIREES ARE DOING AFTER SEEING THEIR PENSIONS SLASHED

It’s time to check in with the retirees of Loyalton, California which recently became the first to see their pensions slashed by CalPERS because of the city’s inability to pay.
“I’m scared to do anything. I’m scared to spend much money,” said John Cussins who oversaw the town’s water and sewer systems for 21 years. “I guess worst comes to worst, we’d even have to sell our property and try to go to some low-income housing deal.”
Cussins used to receive $2,500 a month. Now he has to make do with $1,000.
Cussins and Loyalton’s three other retirees are not alone. On July 1, CalPERS slashed pensions for the East San Gabriel Valley Human Services Consortium by 63%. Retirees of the Niland Sanitary District could be next.
Though their trajectories differed, all of these municipalities got to where they are in part because of the large termination fee CalPERS levies against governments that leave the system. During Stockton’s bankruptcy case, the judge called this termination fee a “golden handcuff” and “poison pill” that keeps cities in the system even when they’d rather leave.
“It’s a joke,” said former Villa Park Mayor Rick Barnett. “You’re trapped.”
Things could soon get worse for Loyalton’s former employees.
Loyalton City Council members told CalPERS officials in November that the city would directly reimburse retirees for the pension money they lost — $5,000 a month for all four retirees combined.
But that promise may be short-lived. The City Council has been providing those supplemental payments since CalPERS sliced the city retirees’ pensions, and it has voted to continue those payments until November. After that, the payments may be reduced — or cut off entirely…
“I don’t know where we’re going to get the money unless we start selling crap off,” [Mayor Mark Marin] said. “What’ll end up happening is that we won’t be able to pay our obligation and the retirees will come back with a lawsuit. The only way they’re going to get any money is if they take property. It’s a Catch-22.”
Marin now says the city should have just remained in the CalPERS system. It would have been cheaper that way.
For the four Loyalton retirees caught in the middle, there are bitter feelings about the way the city has handled everything.
“The City Council went overboard. They got all this money back from the insurance and started spending everything. Then, later on, they cut our retirement,” said former City Hall office manager Patsy Jardin. The council “promised me it wouldn’t cut my retirement,” Jardin added. “They promised me.”
Loyalton’s mayor acknowledges that the city should have never made promises it couldn’t keep, starting with the approval of generous pension benefits it would be unable to endure down the line. But he sees the entire ordeal as part of a larger, statewide problem -- of a pension system that is fundamentally unsustainable.
“There are people who made $200,000 a year and they’re drawing $200,000 in retirement,” Marin said. “How’s that going to work?”

Sewer fees could leave us up to our necks in tax hikes

Sewer fees could leave us up to our necks in tax hikes


AP Photo/Rich PedroncelliState Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, pumps his fist in celebration after his storm water bill was approved by the Assembly, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif.

By SUSAN SHELLEY | letters@ocregister.com | Orange County Register
PUBLISHED: September 3, 2017 at 12:00 pm | UPDATED: September 3, 2017 at 2:07 pm


Sometimes, California’s laws are like a guillotine on a timer.

By the time the blade drops, everybody who set it up has made a safe getaway.

To illustrate, consider four different laws that did their damage long after the perpetrators moved on, and a brand new one that’s likely to raise rents and perhaps tax Californians right out of their own homes.

In 1999, the Legislature passed and Gov. Gray Davis signed Senate Bill 400, which increased the pensions of state workers, even those already retired. At the time, everyone was told it would cost taxpayers nothing because the pension fund’s investment returns would easily pay for the higher benefits.

Then the blade dropped. In 2016, the tab for state employee pensions was $5.4 billion, more than 30 times what the state was paying before SB400 took effect. Today the state faces crushing pension debt that’s deep into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

In 2006, the Legislature passed and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 32, which included a requirement to lower the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Regulators had the idea to raise money by auctioning permits to emit greenhouse gases as part of a “cap and trade” program. The new expense for manufacturers, utilities, refineries and truckers was passed through to consumers, who today pay $1 per gallon more for gasoline than the national average, 30 percent higher electricity rates, and don’t even ask about the price of tomatoes.

In 2008, the Legislature passed and Gov. Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 375, which was intended to reduce “sprawl” and “vehicle miles traveled.” This law made it more difficult and expensive to build new housing in outlying areas. In 2016, California lagged behind 28 other states in new housing creation, while rents have been bid up by the surge of people who, under different government policies, might be homeowners in new communities.

In 2011, California lawmakers cut the reimbursement rate that the state pays doctors who treat Medi-Cal patients, but that didn’t stop them from expanding the Medi-Cal program under the Affordable Care Act. In the last four years, about 4.5 million Californians were added to the rolls of the safety-net health insurance that’s called Medicaid in the rest of the country. There are now about 13.5 million people on Medi-Cal, one-third of the state’s population.

But there was no corresponding increase in doctors who accept Medi-Cal, and the number of emergency room visits has gone up, not down, as more people became insured. A lawsuit just filed against the state charges that the shortage of providers is discriminatory against Latinos, who are now the majority of Medi-Cal enrollees, according to the suit. The newly formed California Future Health Workforce Commission says that by 2025, the state will have 4,700 fewer primary care doctors than needed.

The latest guillotine-on-a-timer is SB231, by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, which passed the Assembly on Aug. 31 by one vote. It redefines “sewer” to include stormwater, “correcting” a 2002 court ruling that said local governments can’t impose taxes or fees for stormwater projects without voter approval. Now they can, according to the bill. It will be easy to add huge new annual fees to property tax bills, and rents will go up, too.

SB231 now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.

By the time the blade cuts your throat, he’ll be out of there

Susan Shelley is a columnist for the Southern California News Group. Reach her at Susan@SusanShelley.com and follow her on Twitter: @Susan_Shelley.

Think Rationally via Bayes' Rule

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

First Amendment, Class and Prejudice . Insane Clown Posse March

Marinwood CSD "Martha Stewart" Fire Kitchen meeting



The Marinwood CSD holds a "special meeting" on August 31, 2017 but fails to properly notify the public.  The lead contractor is a personal friend of a board member with two sons in the fire service .  The bid is for $54,280  for a tiny 10' x 10' kitchen.  It is roughly ELEVEN TIMES the estimate for cabinets and better than TWICE the cost of the previous estimate.  The Marinwood CSD fails to follow Government Contracting law and lies about the notification of the meeting.

Idocracy-"Electrolytes" (Another lesson for people who believe mindless B.S.)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Unexpected Side of Slum Life



Life in favelas, or slum cities in Brazil, are often portrayed as some of the bleakest in the world. Faced with difficult hardships, many residents of Rocinha, Rio's largest slum city, are rising up and building better lives for themselves and each other. Not long ago, this incredible city was composed of little more than wooden shacks; today it's a thriving community built on top of an intricate labyrinth of housing, businesses and utilities.

"Property Owners, hand over the profits"

At Habitat III, a Rethinking of the Urban Development Paradigm

The concept of “value capture” surfaces as a possible path to more equitable growth.


Ecuador's President Rafael Correa is pictured on a screen as he speaks during the opening ceremony of the UN Habitat III conference in Quito. (Guillermo Granja/Reuters)

QUITO—The United Nations global cities summit, Habitat III, began with long security lines under a bright Andes sun, and ended in song. The musical group Nick Horner Family performed “City of Dreams” on the final day of the conference that drew some 40,000 participants. A little more than an hour before, the New Urban Agenda—a manifesto intended to guide the future growth of cities worldwide—was officially adopted.
But as attendees flock to the airport to go home, what actually was accomplished? What happens now?
Among the many takeaways, Habitat III may very well have given birth to a land use revolution. Many participants, as well as the president of Ecuador, are calling into question the historic financial model of city-building, where government provides the streets and other infrastructure, and private landowners and developers take it from there. In the process, one of the hottest topics at the summit has emerged with unlikely celebrity: value capture, where the private sector must acknowledge that an array of government actions—from a zoning change to putting in a light rail line—prompt huge increases in property value.
Ecuador President Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado, an economist by training, started the bidding early on at the conference by proposing legislation to curb real estate speculation. If a landowner purchases a plot of land for $100, and sells it five years later for $500, he or she would only be able to realize a 7.5 percent price appreciation under Correa’s proposal; the rest would essentially be confiscated by the government. You can think of it as a more extreme version of President Obama’s admonition that “you didn’t build that”—that the bulk of increases in value, plusvalía in Spanish, are the result of public investments framing the land, and thus should be recaptured.
Correa’s concept is not actually a pure version of value capture. Elsewhere in Latin America, land-based financing mechanisms takes other forms, such as “betterment contributions” or developer exactions providing funds for urban development at the front end. In São Paulo, Brazil, landowners begin with a floor-area-ratio of 1. If they want to build anything more, they must purchase certificates traded on the stock market.
In yet another form of value capture, government may increase the building envelope in growth areas in return for more affordable housing provided by developers—a version of the “density bonus” that has been deployed in the United States. But otherwise the concept is the same: when government sets zoning that will ultimately benefit the private sector, the private sector must give something back.
Value capture has a long history, going back to Roman times in the construction of infrastructure such as aqueducts. The framework was in place in the Philippines in the colonial era as far back as the 16th century, and was inherent in redevelopment plans for Paris in the 19th century. The 19th century political economist Henry George, who advocated a single tax on land or land value tax, spelled out how real estate owners were enjoying a windfall by being smart or lucky enough to purchase land near a train station, for example.


Thousands of pedestrians gather downtown for a lighting and chromalithe exhibition on a catholic church, as part of the UN Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador. (Guillermo Granja/Reuters)
Today, value capture is in relatively wide use in Latin America, Asia, and Europe, and is beginning to gain traction in the United States. Transportation officials in Massachusetts, confronting cost overruns in the extension of the Green Line through Somerville, have floated the idea of having the private sector pay for new stations along the new corridor, recognizing that transit-oriented development will be enormously profitable. Land is already more valuable along the route of the line, in many cases in industrial areas that have been rezoned for mixed-use development.
In Dallas-Fort Worth, the proposed rail line known as the Cotton Belt is predicated on a similar framework: that private development benefitting from the infrastructure should contribute to the public works in the first place. Australia is also wading into these waters, with the prime minister calling for a gear change in how major urban infrastructure is financed.
A backlash to all of this has already begun, starting with a critique that value capture is a new kind of tax on private landowners and developers. Complex questions about property rights are also being raised—what it means to own land, a commodity in fixed supply.
But it was striking how often value capture came up in the sessions of Habitat III. In a way it’s no surprise. The basic premise of the conference was how global cities can accommodate huge increases in population in the coming decades. In the current paradigm, downtowns are densifying, while unplanned and irregular growth sprawls out at the periphery. There’s a clear need for infrastructure, housing, and amenities such as parks and open spaces in these growth areas, but the question is how to pay for all of those things. Local governments are charged with the responsibility, but don’t have many options. In most cases, cities are severely constrained by national governments on how they can raise revenues.
The concept of value capture is embedded in the New Urban Agenda, and UN-Habitat executive director Joan Clos sprinkled in references to it in his many official remarks, including at a press conference on how the media covers Habitat III issues. He called on journalists to explain how urban planning and urban design increases property values in the process of urbanization. “Who is explaining that?” he said.
Does it sound a bit radical, to change the paradigm of urban development going forward? It’s not revolutionary enough for some, who led protests outside Habitat III and organized parallel alternative gatherings urging more action to improve conditions for the urban poor. Amid the camouflage fatigues and cocked berets of the soldiers around this city, and the progressive impulses of the Latin America region, the concept of value capture may be the most conservative revolution in city-building at hand.
Editor's Note: Honestly, socialist schemes like this could ignite civil unrest. It is counter to the traditions of western democracy and property rights enshrined in the Constitution.



The Green Gentry's Class Warfare

Fixing California: The Green Gentry’s Class Warfare





Historically, progressives were seen as partisans for the people, eager to help the working and middle classes achieve upward mobility even at expense of the ultrarich. But in California, and much of the country, progressivism has morphed into a political movement that, more often than not, effectively squelches the aspirations of the majority, in large part to serve the interests of the wealthiest.

Primarily, this modern-day program of class warfare is carried out under the banner of green politics. The environmental movement has always been primarily dominated by the wealthy, and overwhelmingly white, donors and activists. But in the past, early progressives focused on such useful things as public parks and open space that enhance the lives of the middle and working classes. Today, green politics seem to be focused primarily on making life worse for these same people.


In this sense, today’s green progressives, notes historian Fred Siegel, are most akin to late 19th century Tory radicals such as William Wordsworth, William Morris and John Ruskin, who objected to the ecological devastation of modern capitalism, and sought to preserve the glories of the British countryside. In the process, they also opposed the “leveling” effects of a market economy that sometimes allowed the less-educated, less well-bred to supplant the old aristocracies with their supposedly more enlightened tastes.


The green gentry today often refer not to sentiment but science — notably climate change — to advance their agenda. But their effect on the lower orders is much the same. Particularly damaging are steps to impose mandates for renewable energy that have made electricity prices in California among the highest in the nation and others that make building the single-family housing preferred by most Californians either impossible or, anywhere remotely close to the coast, absurdly expensive.


The gentry, of course, care little about artificially inflated housing prices in large part because they already own theirs — often the very large type they wish to curtail. But the story is less sanguine for minorities and the poor, who now must compete for space with middle-class families traditionally able to buy homes. Renters are particularly hard hit; according to one recent study, 39 percent of working households in the Los Angeles metropolitan area spend more than half their income on housing, as do 35 percent in the San Francisco metro area — well above the national rate of 24 percent.


Similarly, high energy prices may not be much of a problem for the affluent gentry most heavily concentrated along the coast, where a temperate climate reduces the need for air-conditioning. In contrast, most working- and middle-class Californians who live further inland, where summers can often be extremely hot, and often dread their monthly energy bills.


The gentry are also spared the consequences of policies that hit activities — manufacturing, logistics, agriculture, oil and gas — most directly impacted by higher energy prices. People with inherited money or Stanford degrees have not suffered much because since 2001 the state has created roughly half the number of mid-skilled jobs — those that generally require two years of training after high-school — as quickly as the national average and one-tenth as fast as similar jobs in archrival Texas.


In the past, greens and industry battled over such matters, which led often to reasonable compromises preserving our valuable natural resources while allowing for broad-based economic expansion. During good economic times, the regulatory vise tended to tighten, as people worried more about the quality of their environment and less about jobs. But when things got tough — as in the early 1990s — efforts were made to loosen up in order to produce desperately needed economic growth.


Inovate, Invest and Inspire is our motto here at Bridge Housing.
 When you invest in our subsidized housing you get invited to party with the "swells" HERE.
But in today’s gentry-dominated era, traditional industries are increasingly outspent and out maneuvered by the gentry and their allies. Even amid tough times in much of the state since the 2007 recession — we are still down nearly a half-million jobs — the gentry, and their allies, have been able to tighten regulations. Attempts even by Gov. Jerry Brown to reform the California Environmental Quality Act have floundered due in part to fierce gentry and green opposition.

The green gentry’s power has been enhanced by changes in the state’s legendary tech sector. Traditional tech firms — manufacturers such as Intel and Hewlett-Packard — shared common concerns about infrastructure and energy costs with other industries. But today tech manufacturing has shrunk, and much of the action in the tech world has shifted away from building things, dependent on energy, to software-dominated social media, whose primary profits increasingly stem from selling off the private information of users. Servers critical to these operations — the one potential energy drain — can easily be placed in Utah, Oregon or Washington where energy costs are far lower.


Even more critical, billionaires such as Google’s Eric Schmidt, hedge fund manager Thomas Steyer and venture firms like Kleiner Perkins have developed an economic stake in “green” energy policies. These interests have sought out cozy deals on renewable energy ventures dependent on regulations mandating their use and guaranteeing their prices.


Most of these gentry no doubt think what they are doing is noble. Few concern themselves with the impact these policies have on more traditional industries, and the large numbers of working- and middle-class people dependent on them. Like their Tory predecessors, they are blithely unconcerned about the role these policies are playing in accelerating California’s devolution into an ever more feudal society, divided between the ultrarich and a rapidly shrinking middle class.

Ironically, the biggest losers in this shift are the very ethnic minorities who also constitute a reliable voter block for Democratic greens. Even amid the current Silicon Valley boom, incomes for local Hispanics and African-Americans, who together account for one-third of the population, have actually declined — 18 percent for blacks and 5 percent for Latinos between 2009 and 2011, prompting one local booster to admit that “Silicon Valley is two valleys. There is a valley of haves, and a valley of have-nots.”

Sadly, the opposition to these policies is very weak. The California Chamber of Commerce is a fading force and the state Republican Party has degenerated into a political rump. Business Democrats, tied to the traditional industrial and agricultural base, have become nearly extinct, as the social media oligarchs and other parts of the green gentry, along with the public employee lobby, increasingly dominate the party of the people. Some recent efforts to tighten the regulatory knot in Sacramento have been resisted, helped by the governor and assisted by the GOP, but the basic rule-making structure remains, and the government apparat remains highly committed to an ever more expansive planning regime.

Due to the rise of the green gentry, California is becoming divided between a largely white and Asian affluent coast, and a rapidly proletarianized, heavily Hispanic and African-American interior. Palo Alto and Malibu may thrive under the current green regime, and feel good about themselves in the process, but south Los Angeles, Oakland, Fresno and the Inland Empire are threatened with becoming vast favelas.

This may constitute an ideal green future — with lower emissions, population growth and family formation — for whose wealth and privilege allow them to place a bigger priority on nature than humanity. But it also means the effective end of the California dream that brought multitudes to our state, but who now may have to choose between permanent serfdom or leaving for less ideal, but more promising, pastures.




Joel Kotkin is executive editor of NewGeography.com and Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, and a member of the editorial board of the Orange County Register. He is author of The City: A Global History and The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050. His most recent study, The Rise of Postfamilialism, has been widely discussed and distributed internationally. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

FABLE: BELLING THE CAT

BELLING THE CAT

THE MICE once called a meeting to decide on a plan to free themselves of their enemy, the Cat. At least they wished to find some way of knowing when she was coming, so they might have time to run away. Indeed, something had to be done, for they lived in such constant fear of her claws that they hardly dared stir f rom their dens by night or day.

Many plans were discussed, but none of there was thought good enough. At last a very young Mouse got up and said:
"I have a plan that seems very simple, but I know it will be successful. All we have to do is to hang a bell about the Cat's neck. When we hear the bell ringing we will know immediately that our enemy is coming."

All the Mice were much surprised that they had not thought of such a plan before. But in the midst of the rejoicing over their good fortune, an old Mouse arose and said:

"I will say that the plan of the young Mouse is very good. But let me ask one question Who will bell the Cat?"


It is one thing to say that something should be done, 
 but quite a different matter to do it.

[Illustration]

Bathrobe sessions