Policy

In California, the “Jungle” Is Predictable

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One doesn’t expect the unexpected in California elections. A progressive Democrat will become governor; Dianne Feinstein will return to the Senate yet again; and so on. Nuances still matter, particularly at the congressional level, in part due to the “jungle primary” system, but nothing much has changed. Statewide, the ideological die, at least for now, is cast.  read more »

Brownout

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Jerry Brown’s long political career will likely end in January 2019, when the 80-year-old’s second stint as California governor concludes. In the media’s eyes—and in his own mind—Brown’s gubernatorial encore has been a rousing success.  read more »

French President Takes on Socialized Trains

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They say Millennials are rejecting capitalism and are drawn to socialism. It’s hard to imagine why, as nearly all the problems they face are caused by bad government policies, not selfish entrepreneurs.  read more »

Trump’s Opposition To Unrestricted Globalism Might Prove a Historical Necessity

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Let’s stipulate that Donald Trump is a vulgar, ignorant and often reckless narcissist. Yet he also may well prove a historical necessity, someone who, intentionally or not, has rendered apart a bi-partisan consensus well past its usefulness.  read more »

Amtrak in Turmoil

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The Antiplanner isn’t alone in suggesting that hiring an airline executive to run Amtrak is a bad idea (at least for Amtrak). Last week, a former Amtrak official (who wishes to remain anonymous) sent a letter to Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen asking that former Delta CEO Richard Anderson be fired from his current job as CEO of Amtrak.  read more »

Poverty is Worse than Sprawl: California's Housing Affordability Crisis

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Rent control supporters in California recently announced that they have enough signatures to qualify a state proposition to remove limitations on municipalities to control rents. Their purpose is to improve housing affordability in the nation’s most unaffordable state. However, should the proposition pass, the net effect is likely to be less new rental housing, as investors are likely to flee the market, as they routinely have before.  read more »

New Localism and Old Institutions

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Last week I posted an article talking about the maturity curve, or the lifecycle arc from incubation to growth to maturity to decline that applies to so many things. And this weekend my review of Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak’s book The New Localism was published in the New York Times Book Review. These two items are related.  read more »

Giving Common Sense a Chance in California

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In California, where Governor Jerry Brown celebrates “the coercive power of the state” and advocates “brainwashing” for the unanointed, victories against Leviathan are rare. Yet last week brought just such a triumph, as a legislative committee rejected an attempt by San Francisco state senator Scott Wiener to take zoning power away from localities in areas within a half-mile of a bus or train stop.  read more »

Shovel Ready

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Many years ago I remember a television commentator saying more Americans have outhouses than computer connections. This was in the early days of dial up modems. He seemed to suggest that household computers were little more than Japanese video games, which was actually true at the time. Well, thirty years have passed and this afternoon I received a package for one of my neighbors. Evidently he ordered a shovel on the interwebs.  read more »

Nashville’s Hopeless Rail Transit Proposal

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Nashville is the 36th largest metropolitan area in the nation, having long since passed historic Tennessee leader Memphis. Nashville was the 10th fastest growing major metropolitan area in 2017. At the current growth rate Nashville will reach 2 million residents by the 2020 census and seems likely to pass slower growing San Jose soon after.  read more »