Sacramento

Why Can't California Create Viable National Leaders Anymore?

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Once upon a time, Hollywood and California seemed to be leading the country, for better or worse, with outsized public figures and sometimes compelling, or at least entertaining, ideas.

California politicians like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan achieved national power, establishing the primary strands of conservative thought.  read more »

SB50: the More Real Estate Speculation and Free Air Rights Bill

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SB50, the controversial Sacramento bill that would take zoning rights away from local communities, has been dubbed by its author, San Francisco State Senator Scott Wiener, as the “more homes” bill, but it would be much more appropriate to title it the “More Real Estate Speculation and Free Air Rights Bill.”  read more »

California's Inept Central Planners

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Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Legislature and the state’s bureaucracy claim to be addressing the state’s much discussed “housing crisis.” But rather than improve the state’s awful affordability crisis, the policies being enacted are precisely the wrong medicine, more akin to witch-doctoring than a scientific curative.  read more »

California's Low-wage Jobs Crisis

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Media, the political class and policy wonks have identified the “housing crisis” as California’s existential challenge.

Yet, in reality, more critical may be a “jobs crisis” that is condemning ever more Californians to permanent low-wage purgatory.

Viewed in aggregate, California employment growth in the past decade has outperformed the rest of the country, although the state lags its prime competitors Utah, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Nevada. In more recent years the state has remained ahead of the national average, although clearly losing momentum.  read more »

California Preening: Golden State on Path to High-Tech Feudalism

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“We are the modern equivalent of the ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta. California has the ideas of Athens and the power of Sparta,” declared then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007. “Not only can we lead California into the future . . . we can show the nation and the world how to get there.” When a movie star who once played Hercules says so who’s to disagree?  read more »

Unsustainable California

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The recent rash of fires, like the drought that preceded it, has sparked a new wave of pessimism about the state’s future. But the natural disasters have also obscured the fact the greatest challenge facing the state comes not from burning forests or lack of precipitation but from an increasingly dysfunctional society divided between a small but influential wealthy class and an ever-expanding poverty population.  read more »

The Expanding and Dispersing San Francisco Bay Area

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This decade has witnessed an unprecedented expansion of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area (the San Jose-San Francisco combined statistical area or CSA), with the addition of three Central Valley metropolitan areas, Stockton, Modesto and Merced. Over the same period, there has been both a drop in the population growth rate and a shift of growth to the Central Valley exurban metropolitan areas.  read more »

Even Before the Blackouts, Most Californians Considered Leaving

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For virtually all of its history from statehood in 1850 to 2000, California was a magnet drawing households from the rest of the United States for better lives. Indeed, in a nation that had its "American Dream," California had its own "California Dream."  There was no Oregon dream, despite its mountains , seashore and proximity to California, nor was there a Maine or South Carolina dream.  read more »

Of Niche Markets and Broad Markets: Commuting in the US

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The six transit legacy cities - mostly urban cores that grew largely before the advent of the automobile - increased their concentration of transit work trips to 57.9% of the national transit commuting, according to the 2018 American Community Survey. At the same time, working at home strengthened its position as the nation’s third leading mode of work access, with transit falling to fourth. The transit commuting market share dropped from 5.0% in 2017 to 4.9% in 2018.  read more »

Is California About to Clobber Local Control?

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The gradual decimation of local voice in planning has become accepted policy in Sacramento. The State Senate is now considering two dangerous bills, SB 35 and SB 167, that together severely curtail democratic control of housing.

SB 35: Housing Accountability and Affordability Act (Wiener)  read more »