Five months ago, Michael Shellenberger wrote a book titled “San Fransicko: How Progressives Ruin Cities.” Written from the perspective of someone who previously advocated and campaign vociferously for lower criminal penalties – especially on drugs and drug use – the book takes aim at ways that progressive policies on homelessness and crime have led to significant urban decay.
I mention this because (1) I just finished the book and encourage you to read it too and (2) a new proposal from the State Assembly is yet one more example of what Shellenberger attacks in his book.
Specifically, Assembly Member Buffy Wicks out of Oakland (who also sits on the legislature’s “vaccine working group”) introduced a proposed CA Constitutional Amendment that would require a 10-year funding commitment dedicating 5% from the state’s general fund (more than$10 billion annually) to some combination of promoting affordable housing and ending homelessness.
She justified it by saying: “Gavin Newsom has demonstrated unprecedented leadership in responding to this call. Now, it’s the Legislature’s turn to take bold and ongoing action to commit the resources needed to solve them.”
Ok, let’s just take a step back.
In May 2021, Newsom trumpeted his proposal to spend $12 billion toward homelessness. CA had spent more than $13 billion in the prior three years.
Despite these enormous monies spent, the number of homeless rose by 31% in CA between 2010-2020, but declined 19% in the rest of the U.S. Despite representing 12% of the population, CA contains around half of all homeless in the country.
Justifying throwing money at the issue because Gov. Newsom has shown “unprecedented leadership” is just about as tone deaf as a legislator can be. The man was Mayor of San Francisco and now Governor of California. Homelessness is dramatically worse everywhere he has led.
Look, I don’t know the answers – but it doesn’t seem like the “experts” in Sacramento do either. If anything, the dramatic increase of homelessness in our state shows that current state policies aren’t working. And throwing billions at bad policies isn’t the solution.
(Thanks to @gregmayphotography for today’s pic!)Resources:· AP (2/11/2021) “ Audit: California should track homeless spending, set policy” https://apnews.com/…/california-coronavirus-pandemic…· CA Legislative Analysts Office (2/9/2022) “The Governor’s Homelessness Plan” https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4521· Buffy Wicks twitter thread – https://mobile.twitter.com/Buf…/status/1507508489546989569· City Journal “Homelessness Is Not About Housing” https://www.city-journal.org/review-of-san-fransicko-by…· San Fransicko – https://www.target.com/…/san-fransicko-by…/-/A-83850272