I have three comments to add to the article, The Last Subsidy, by Bob Silvestri.
First, perhaps in the interest of length, it does not mention the growing percentage of taxation that is required to cover the overly generous pension and retiree health care costs that leave fewer and fewer funds to pay for what we’ve long considered essential government services. That has led to a proliferation of fees, tolls, and taxation via regional measures.
It’s impossible to fathom what the once-great-state of California would have become without Howard Jarvis. I shudder to think.
Second, private property rights which indeed go back to the Magna Carta have been the backbone of American prosperity. We fortunately inherited the idea of these rights from the English who colonized North America. The fact is most of the problems south of the Rio Grande stem from the Spanish conquerors’ rule, which gave no such rights other than to a select few noblemen to whom were bestowed enormous land grants.
That created an enormous landless class that some 500 years later is the root cause of illegal immigration: Magnetic North, so to speak. I refer those who doubt this or are skeptical to read Niall Ferguson’s “Civilization,” a must read.
Third, ideally the tech industry would decentralize and create major development centers and secondary headquarters far from the Bay Area.
This may happen over time but for now, unfortunately, in the eyes of young engineers Silicon Valley and San Francisco are powerful magnets; like lights on the porch attracting all insects or chum in the water attracting all sharks. Better to sleep in a $4000/month converted closet one tech bus ride from the Bay Area job than in a roomy $1200 apartment in, say, Omaha.
The tech giants as well as the newbies are the supporters of build, baby, build, driven by top-down planning. And they also are the financial supporters of the pols with the capabilities of “leading” us to top-down planning and the abandonment of local zoning laws. It’s all to their benefit, community and social consequences be damned.
The burden of costs of local services (schools, public safety, and so on) or our fragile water supply aren’t their problem, nor are the effects of gentrification and displacement of long-term residents.
Somehow the tech giants and their little brothers need to put some skin in the sensible development game and its aftermath of increased costs of services.