Playing With Politics

A Blog on Law, Politics, Planning, Development, and Other Vices


Posted by Roobs on July 15, 2011

CNN reported on the state of California back on June 27th.  The report was somber, claiming that California’s ills are the cause of some basic woes, such as the housing crisis and the loss of jobs and our infamously difficult to run state legislature.  It does, nevertheless, do a poor job at actually analyzing what is actually causing many of California’s ills.  Enter a new blog called “CiviLogica”.  The inaugural post of this new blog takes on CNN’s report and identifies how they got it wrong.  But the post also does an excellent job of reviewing the underlying issues that face our great state.  Here is a quick clip from the post but I definitely recommend you link over and read the full post for yourself.

Recounting the net loss of California residents to other states, the article next considers the very real and ongoing crisis of California’s middle class. It rightly places some blame on the cost of housing, but punts on the question of why housing costs so much in the first place. What the article fails to explore is how the high cost of California housing is in large part a product of downzoning, NIMBYism, tax policy, and sprawl-type models of development. California’s most economically successful urban centers have been rendered unable to keep pace with their commensurate housing demand because of low-density zoning and the unremitting difficulty of building infill housing. In addition, by increasing the relative attractiveness of sales taxes as a revenue stream, Prop 13 has discouraged residential development for over 30 years. Meanwhile, sprawl has lead to increased land, infrastructure, and service costs, thus contributing to both higher housing costs and the loss of California’s farm and wild-lands. In apparent ignorance of this obvious cause, the piece mourns the loss of Orange County’s orchards to drab, monotonous housing tracts, but then fails to consider the alternatives. It bemoans long, smoggy commutes, but doesn’t pause to wonder why so many people have to drive or what can be done about it. This avoidance of deeper issues is something of a pattern.

Visit the site: CiviLogica


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