When I was in junior high, my dad and several colleagues took a contract position with the New York Transit Authority. My parents made the decision that my dad would spend two years in the city during the week and return to our home in Upstate NY on the weekends. The city was no place for children in their estimation.
Occasionally we would visit the city to see the sights. During those visits, there was a dirty smell that assaulted my nostrils, I encountered countless “bums” as they were called and saw sections of the city that looked like war zones though my young eyes when we traveled to see the city sites. When my cousin and I decided to leave my dad’s Brooklyn Heights residence one evening for some Hagen Daaz, we were sternly chastised when we returned. After dark, it was simply not safe for two teen girls. It was something we would never have considered in our upstate home.
My dad finished his contract and we never went to the city again. I didn’t really care if I ever did.
A few years later we relocated to the Bay Area. Even then we located 30 miles south of dad’s job in Cupertino to find housing that was affordable for a family of five. That translated into over an hour commute up 101. Morgan Hill had one stop light and farms bordered the south end of town. You had to go to San Jose to find a mall.
I could drive and my friends and I routinely went into San Francisco for concerts and other events. We ran around Golden Gate Park and Haight Ashbury with minimal concern. The city was clean and felt safe. We visited Chinatown and the Wharf that were always bustling and full of interesting things to do.
I had moved back east and down south by 2003. I traveled to Newark often for business. During those trips, we brought supervisors from all over the country in for training. Many had never been to the city. As a trainer, I became the activities director too and took the attendees into the city one evening during the week.
New York did not match my memory. Times Square did not smell filthy. There were not hookers and “bums” evident on the street. I didn’t feel the need to clutch my purse as close and we had a blast going to the Hard Rock Cafe, ESPN Zone and eating dinner at Sardi’s. The effects of eight years of Rudy Guiliani and broken windows policing were still evident. I actually looked forward to those trips and found a few hours in the city exhilarating.
A few years later, my husband and I took the kids to visit my brother and his family in the Bay Area. We went to San Francisco to show them the sights, and a certain seediness had started to creep in. There were people sitting against buildings passed out in broad daylight. There was more trash. People didn’t seem as open or friendly as I remembered. We spent the rest of our time in Petaluma and Bodega Bay. One day in the city was enough.
There is an app that you can download that will tell you where people are defecating in the street in San Francisco. There are also more homeless people than high school students in the city. Homelessness has reached crisis levels up and down the coast. There is an outbreak of typhus in LA and there was one of hepatitis A in San Diego. These are diseases of poor sanitation and infestations. Housing prices are so out of sight, there are flotillas in the bay where people live because they can’t afford rent and shelters are at capacity.
Gavin Newsome, the new Governor is calling the homelessness situation a “national disgrace”. And he is taking the progressive route to a solution. He’s throwing money at it and developing a task force to come up with more government programs to tackle the problem. Sweet jobs for his unelected donors no doubt.
He also wants tech companies to help build affordable housing. Kind of like the mill towns during the Industrial Revolution. Tell me again whose policies hearken to the past? Of course, it is also possible people have forgotten that history. He may see it as a revolutionary idea.
In New York, Mayor Bill DeBlasio is unengaged and in a delusional run for the Democratic nomination after rolling back just about every reform installed by Giuliani. You can now pee on the street, petty crimes are not addressed and broken windows tactics are over. It has declined to the point that the rats are taking over.
Of course, the problem is being blamed on gentrification and climate change. Great excuse for more government programs and policies like “No Meat Mondays”, right? It won’t be long before you see the same disease outbreaks there have been in Los Angeles and San Diego.
The Real Problem
It’s not hard to see. Just look at the ideology of those in power in these crumbling metropolises. Big government, high taxes, regulations on everything including housing and attacking the scourge of steak and plastic straws. Yet these cities are not able to keep up with the most basic needs for sanitation and public health.
California has been under single-party control since 1999, except for the term of nominal Republican (at best) Governor Terminator. San Francisco has had Democrat mayors since 1964. Los Angeles had had them since 1966 with the exception of eight years under Republican Richard Riordan.
Add California’s practice of run-off elections where it is often two Democrats running against one another after the primaries and their ballot initiative activity and the results are easy to see. The state is the closest thing we have to direct democracy, or mob rule. And the result of Democrats running against one another has been a stark shift to the left. Now with the practice of ballot harvesting, and I really don’t see how the state will right itself unless there is a complete collapse.
Likewise, New York state is now under single Party control. For 10 years out of the last 13, Republicans managed to hold a slim majority in the Senate, but not enough to prevent a leftward lurch. The city had a brief respite under Guliani before politically schizophrenic Bloomberg took office. But eight years of leadership under a genuine Republican since 1970 was not enough to create a change that could not be undone.
These same progressives, so far removed from the liberal Democrats I grew up with, want to shove their policies down your throat. They are trying to destroy the electoral college through interstate compacts on the popular vote and increasingly call to abolish it. After ruining the Senate through direct election, they now see that chamber of Congress as problematic. DIRECT PROPORTIONAL DEMOCRACY FOR EVERYONE! Because it works so well in California.
They also want you to pay for their policy disasters. Just look at the proposal of Kamala Harris in her Rent Relief Act. It is tailored to subsidize the high cost of living areas at the expense of the entire nation. The hypocrisy of wealthy coastal progressives is so bad, even some on the left are starting to take note accusing them of a “not in my backyard” philosophy. Which actually seems to ring true.
Maybe that is why a healthy portion of the country looks at these hot messes and just shakes their heads. There is nothing to moderate these deep blue areas from spinning further out of control. And as they become increasingly unliveable, net migration out of them will only go up.
And that my friends, is how red states turn purple.