JACKSON: Berkeley Is Opening The Manhole Of Absurdity In California

KERRY JACKSON PACIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE

 

Keeping up with the foolishness in California is not difficult. Just look to Berkeley, home of the University of California’s flagship campus. The city continues to go where no other has gone before, deep into pure Blue State madness.

Writing last year in National Review, Alexander Nazaryan and Alexandra DeSanctis said, “Berkeley has been living its own truth for the last half century, sailing ideologically away from the landmass of America like those two ships headed into the shimmering gap of the Golden Gate.” No one should be surprised it remains “equivocal in its assessment of Stalin.”

Berkeley was the first city to “ditch” Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day; the first to tax sugary drinks; the first to blackballbusinesses involved in building the border wall; and the first “to launch meat-free Green Monday.” Earlier this year it passed an ordinance considered “the most ambitious municipal legislation in the U.S. aimed at reducing the use of single-use disposable foodware.”

It is a city driven by left-wing “values” hosting, and greatly influenced by, a university filled with faculty and students who are also sailing away from mainstream America.

What happens in Berkeley, though, unfortunately doesn’t always stay there. Its progressive ideas have a way of filtering out to other cities.

In a stark expression of its political dementia, Berkeley has gone to war with natural gas, becoming the first municipality in the country to outlaw gas connections in new homes by a unanimous vote of the city council. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, “natural gas infrastructure in new buildings” will be violations of city law. From that point forward, says the San Francisco Chronicle, “all new single-family homes, townhomes and small apartment buildings” can useonly electricity, a significantly more expensive energy source than natural gas.

Berkeley was the first city to “ditch” Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day; the first to tax sugary drinks; the first to blackballbusinesses involved in building the border wall; and the first “to launch meat-free Green Monday.” Earlier this year it passed an ordinance considered “the most ambitious municipal legislation in the U.S. aimed at reducing the use of single-use disposable foodware.”

It is a city driven by left-wing “values” hosting, and greatly influenced by, a university filled with faculty and students who are also sailing away from mainstream America.

What happens in Berkeley, though, unfortunately doesn’t always stay there. Its progressive ideas have a way of filtering out to other cities.

In a stark expression of its political dementia, Berkeley has gone to war with natural gas, becoming the first municipality in the country to outlaw gas connections in new homes by a unanimous vote of the city council. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, “natural gas infrastructure in new buildings” will be violations of city law. From that point forward, says the San Francisco Chronicle, “all new single-family homes, townhomes and small apartment buildings” can useonly electricity, a significantly more expensive energy source than natural gas.

Though second to none in pursuit of meaningless policy, Berkeley was likely inspired by a state law that provides “a third gender option on the state driver’s license, identification card, and birth certificate,” which took effect in 2019.

Berkeley certainly occupies a class of its own. But this is California, and the foolishness is decentralized. In Sacramento County, for instance, residents are being reminded that zoning codes have virtually criminalized car repair and maintenance on residential property. News of what appears to be a warning that a crackdown is coming has naturally caused some concern.

“This is deeply troubling,” writes Jason Torchinsky. Only “terrible people … sad, tedious people” would make such a law, he says, the sort who “won’t rest until the world is slathered in boring grayscale crossovers.”

“That’s not a world I want to live in,” says Torchinsky, “and that’s why these laws need scrutiny and pushback.”

It’s the world Californians live in, and until there is more “scrutiny and pushback,” the limits on liberty will only get tighter.

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute, a nonprofit group advocating for limited government.

open manhole and repair of roads


 The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.



The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.


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