By, Mimi Steel, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views, 7/21/13
On July 18, 2013, the city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. On that same day, just before midnight, a group of unelected, regional bureaucrats in the San Francisco Bay Area voted to follow the same path the led to Detroits’ deterioration and eventual destruction when they voted to implement the Sustainable Communities Strategy under the name of Plan Bay Area (PBA). PBA is a 25 year plan that combines housing, transportation, and land use for all 9 counties and 101 cities in the Bay Area. It is a top down, central plan that will force the future development to be high density housing near mass transit, all in the name of saving the planet through the magic elixir of “sustainable development”. It was approved through the arrogant conceit that governments can predict the future and that a handful of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats can make decisions 7-9 million people in the Bay Area.
Detroit once had a thriving industrial base, the best in the world. Yet through a series of misguided policies they killed the goose that laid the golden egg. Through regulation and taxation, they drove businesses and productive taxpayers out of the area. The greedy politicians in conjunction with greedy union thug leadership, wrote labor contracts that were financially irresponsible. The city officials in conjunction with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) implemented wealth redistribution policies such as affordable housing schemes. One party rule left these policies virtually unchallenged for 50 years, yet despite the obvious deterioration, there was no course correction to the disastrous “Progressive” policy missteps.
The parallels between Detroit and the SF Bay Area-Silicon Valley are disturbing. The San Francisco Bay Area relies heavily on the high tech industry of Silicon Valley. Yet businesses are starting to leave the area because of the high taxation and regulations. Even long established technology companies are choosing to expand outside of the Bay Area. Potential employees are reluctant to relocate because of the high cost of housing which is only going to get worse. Unemployment in the area is high. The roll of dependents who cannot compete for good, high paying jobs is increasing so those with high paying jobs are being taxed to subsidize the gardens, housekeepers, and nannies of the elites. Plan Bay Area will only accelerate the pace of the rot. The Plan purports to bring in more jobs and improve the economy. The bureaucrats never got the memo that government does not create jobs, government does not invest. Government just spends and in the case of Plan Bay Area, the spending will be focused on high density housing where most people don’t want to live (remember Casini Gardens in Chicago) and mass transit systems like light rail that no one wants to ride. The anti-business attitude is astounding in an area that once was the jewel in the crown of high technology innovation.
The whole premise of Plan Bay Area is that a handful of unelected bureaucrats can predict the future for the next 25 years and plan for it. When private, taxpaying citizens got involved in the process and started raising objections to the waste and fraud that the Plan represents, the bureaucrats dismissed them and ignored their comments. Several groups enlisted that aide of three credible think tanks (Cato Institute, Pacific Research Institute, and Demographia) weighed in against the Plan. Yet the tone deaf bureaucrats approved the Plan. They are looting the future to provide for the present.
SF Bay Area buckle up. You are on the way to becoming Detroit. Congratulations