California Wildfires Ignite New Funding Battles with DC Lawmakers

ca-wildfires.jpg

As California continues to throw good money after bad and baste in the fires of its own Gehenna, the White House has threatened to cut off emergency aid (FEMA) to residents displaced by the recent forest fires.

The state’s mismanagement of past funds has put it in the situation it is in today. Rather than patch the hole in the sinking ship the state would rather bring in a larger sump pump to evacuate the water. The water in this case is actually its fire maintenance budget and the sump pump represents more FEMA funding.  read more »

Forced Upzoning is Bad Policy, But Here's How We Can Mitigate its Impacts

California_State_Capitol_Building.jpg

A number of bills in the legislature would attempt to “solve” the state’s housing challenges by overriding local municipal zoning ordinances and statutorily allowing developers to build up to Sacramento-mandated levels of density.  The most notable of these bills is SB50, which has no provisions to make any of the housing built affordable, but espouses a “trickle-down” theory which suggests that market-rate (i.e. luxury) housing will “filter” down to create more affordable housing.  read more »

California's Man-made Power Outages

californias-man-made-power-outages-800x533.jpg

Californians are mired in a conundrum of conflicting goals to accommodate its growing population, its growing number of registered vehicles, the need for more housing to accommodate its growth, and the unrestricted growth of its forests where much of the housing is encroaching.  read more »

Three Studies That Show Density Doesn't Determine Car Travel

street-rail-at_Boni_Pioneer_Woodlands_Mandaluyong_City.jpg

Recent research sheds new light on the critical issue of the link between car travel and urban density. Conventional planning wisdom has it that increasing development density bestows benefits, most importantly that of reducing driving. This effect seems almost self-evident: more compaction, shorter distances, lower VMTs. Peter Newman and Jeffrey Kenworthy’s (1989) Cities and Automobile Dependence reinforced this intuitive assumption with their extensive and in-depth study (1986) which effectively sealed the case for thirty years.  read more »

Climate Stalinism

San_Francisco_Youth_Climate_Strike_March_15_2019.jpg

The Left’s fixation on climate change is cloaked in scientism, deploying computer models to create the illusion of certainty. Ever more convinced of their role as planetary saviors, radical greens are increasingly intolerant of dissent or any questioning of their policy agenda. They embrace a sort of “soft Stalinism,” driven by a determination to remake society, whether people want it or not—and their draconian views are penetrating the mainstream.  read more »

Organic Urbanism is the Cure for New Urbanism

lead-munger-place-historic-district.jpg
This early 1900s house, after the neighborhood had been rezoned for apartments, declined in value to $7,000 in the 1970s. Being rezoned single-family brought decades of revitalization that raised the value of neighborhood homes like this one to $700,000.

New Urbanism is like a virus. For 50 years it keeps coming back in mutated forms. It needs a cure.  read more »

The Slaughter of the Tech Unicorns

Capitol_Hill_tech-influence.jpg

Big tech grows up, get treated with overdue suspicion, and aims to get boring.

After nearly two triumphant decades marked by an unprecedented accumulation of both wealth and power, our tech oligarchy seems to be running out of luck. Newly issued IPOs—Uber, Lyft and Slack—are losing values at breathtaking rates, while others in the on-desk circle, such as the once widely anticipated We, are headed back to the bench.  read more »

Greater Los Angeles Area Growth Tanking and Dispersing

la-population.jpg

For decades, there has been substantial dispersion of population in Greater Los Angeles (Los Angeles combined statistical area or CSA), as the suburban areas outside the urban core have dominated population growth. The latest population estimates by the US Census Bureau confirm the continuation of that trend. But something has changed. In recent years the Los Angeles CSA has experienced an unprecedented slowing of growth. The little growth has occurred has been dispersed away from coast, especially from Los Angeles and Orange counties to inland Riverside and San Bernardino counties.  read more »

Energy to Synergy: the Policy Plight of Resource-Dependent Cities

dubai-skyline-by-trey-ratcliff.jpg

The Green New Deal, an ambitious US congressional resolution introduced in 2019 that met substantial political pushback and failed to gain official approval, proposed among other things to provide housing, health care, and jobs via an economic stimulus package targeting green technology.  read more »

Media Meltdowns and Political Polarization

CNN_sues_White_House_to_regain_access_for_reporter_Jim_Acosta.jpg
President Donald Trump rebukes CNN reporter Jim Acosta during a news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 7, 2018. Bloomberg photo by Al Drago

The mainstream media increasingly appears much like the classic tale of the boy who cried wolf so often that when the wolf showed up no one believed him.

Similarly, since the bust of the Mueller report, and the evaporation of countless other “blockbuster” exposés, the media’s credibility in the ongoing impeachment saga is now widely doubted, even if this time they may actually be right about presidential misdeeds.  read more »