Eber | California’s “Cats Cradle” is upon us


By Richard Eber, California Political News and Views 

“In this world, you get what you pay for.” So said Kurt Vonnegut in his epic tale Cat’s Cradle. This novel chronicles global destruction caused by the stupidity of man. A similar scenario seems to be unfolding in California with the social engineering plans of the legislature to create their own version of utopia.

S.B 50 sponsored by Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) is the latest incarnation of SB-827 which failed to pass in the last legislative session. The purpose of this bill is to build more affordable housing.  This would be done by ignoring local and country government agencies zoning laws to spur development. It is believed the State would step in with plans to build large projects that would take care of presently ignored residents including the homeless, poor, and lower middle class segments of society.

Most of this construction would take place in congested urban and suburban areas.  However, this definition varies from big cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco vs. bedroom communities near these heavily populated metropolitan areas. Large population centers don’t seem to care so much of the impact of SB50 as their congestion levels have already reached the saturation point. Those residing in the suburbs, still clinging to their single family homes, might feel differently

With Weiner’s legislation where current zoning laws can be ignored is determined if planned developments are within a half mile of a mass transit station or a quarter-mile of frequently used bus stops in job rich areas.  Decision making on defining these zones would be made by unelected State agencies rather than those who live nearby.

Local jurisdictions would be able to modify these decisions as long as they remain consistent with the guidelines of SB-50. As such residents in close proximity to the new zoning regulations will be allowed to be involved in Hopson’s choice decisions (The firing squad or lethal injection) in determining what will be built

Much like the wacky characters in Vonnegut’s novel, there is little consideration being given by Scott Weiner and his cohorts on what effect their plans might have on the life style of current residents. The ends justify the means is all that counts in this “Build it and they will come” world of these progressive day dreamers.

Nowhere do they consider the effects of density discounts given developers to construct more affordable housing.  They don’t take into account where overnight guests will leave their vehicles when visiting some these apartments that provide only .5 parking spaces per household.  It is thought under SB-50 buses and bicycles will be the preferred form of transit.  Such a notion is quite a leap of faith as there is no indication, at least in the suburbs that such a change of life style is how people of all economic classes wish to live.

This is but the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the impact of new construction being geared to public transportation use, also to be considered is how will people do shopping without use of cars?  Will folks be pushing shopping carts around like the homeless to carry large items?  If automobile use is restricted by parking spaces at dwellings and around shopping centers, how can retail businesses survive?  Will big ticket items have to be sourced by businesses such as Amazon damaging merchants close to home? How would such a buyer evolution impact local employment?

What effect will all the new residents have on local government services such as police, fire, and the schools?  Will there be adequate funds available with local government to provide all the expansion that will be needed to be done without increasing property and sales taxes?

Are there adequate water supplies for new residents especially in areas where rationing is in effect much of the time? Will there be enough parks and recreational facilities for the influx of new residents without affecting the quality of these services for those who currently live in these communities?  Is it practical for kids to take buses to little league and soccer practice?

With all of these people being packed in like sardines, how will this affect the crime rate? This is especially true in projects which plan to place those of differing economic classes in the same developments. Even more basic, do the wealthy, middle income, and the poor wish to reside in the same buildings?  What case studies back up such an outlandish notion except for Marxism?

A major part of SB-50 is preventing so called gentrification. This has neighborhoods dominated by ethnic or religious, or color changing over a period of time because of economic and cultural factors.  Historically, in the United States gentrification has been part of a pattern of inner city evolution as immigrants have moved up the social ladder. Now such movements are being discouraged by local governments using rent control and tenants rights to ward off what has traditionally been referred to as “progress.”

Yet to be determined in SB-50 are the long term effects on communities from construction of what is commonly referred to as Stack and pack housing. As has happened in other government projects in the past will the housing inventory built with the support of SB-50 become the ghettos of tomorrow?  If so who will be responsible for the added costs to society tied into dealing with them 20 years up the road?

Has Scott Weiner or the other major sponsors of SB -50 ever wondered if most people want to live in these communities they plan to create.  While the life style they are trying to emulate has great appeal to techies, millennial, single, young, and possibly Seniors, is this the family life that composes the American and California dream?  Are we to believe families who have the economic means will want to continue living in crowded housing with limited lifestyle options?  Guess again Gavin and your socialistic associates who want to impose their way of living on others.

Is there any indication that the concept of working near where you live will be the sole determining factor in defining who resides in a given community? This assumption which comprises the foundation of SB-50 is fundamentally flawed.  Family and friends play a major part of where people want to live.  Perhaps this does not matter in creating housing for primarily undocumented immigrants in major cities; but not necessarily for folks who have resided in the same area for a long period of time.

Those who support AB 828, SB 2923, and now SB-50 argue that their vision is the direction society can move to deal with the consequences of global warming, climate change, the ozone, etc… For non-progressives, their conclusions aren’t exactly settled science.  While the platitudes the left peddles on paper may sound good, they lack the “where’s the beef” proof most people want before surrendering their lives to the whims of “Big Brother”.

Unfortunately, in California today, opposition to soon to be Governor Newsom, Toni Adkins, Kamala Harris, Scott Weiner and virtually the entire legislature is nil and void. Local government is in the process of becoming impudent in dealing with whims of progressive-socialists.

Unless civil disobedience persists as has happened recently in France, Californians will have to take their lumps until the Republicans or some other credible opposition emerges. Don’t hold your breath. Kurt Vonnegut’s vision may soon be upon us.a

Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.

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