San Francisco is earning a growing reputation for more than just its unmatched tech sector – for critics, the city stands as a profound example of the damage ultra-liberal policies can do.
After 20 years of envelope-pushing changes to grow government and ease law enforcement, the once-shining City by the Bay has turned into a place where:
Property crime runs amok
An online map is needed to track human feces on city streets
Discarded syringes are common sightings
Public urination is so widespread it has damaged subway elevators and escalators, building walls and power poles
Opening statements began Thursday in the corruption trials of six former city council members of Bell, California, who are accused of receiving exorbitant salaries for no work and turning taxpayer money into a personal "piggy bank," officials said. The six former council members are named in a 20-count complaint accusing them of misappropriating about $1.2 million in public funds.
California’s cities have been going bankrupt left and right over the past few years. But what is it actually like to live in a bankrupt city? A new New York Times profile of post-bankruptcy San Bernardino paints the picture, and it isn’t a pretty one: plummeting home prices, dead animals left to rot in the streets, and, most troublingly, gang violence on the rise again as the police force trims down to a skeleton crew. -Walter Russell Mead's Blog
Democrat, Liberal, Government, Incompetence, Oops
Personal finance website WalletHub has released its rankings for the worst big cities in the country and found that several high-profile places are at the bottom of the list when it comes to city management and operating efficiency.
One thing every big city has in common are major roadways, traffic, and a reputation for pollution. In those fields, California cities were found to be the worst in the country. In road quality, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Fremont, Oakland, and San Francisco all tied for the worst streets in the U.S.
As for air pollution, WalletHub says Huntington Beach, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Bakersfield, and Riverside have the dirtiest air in America.
Liberal, Crime, Violence, Immigration, Assault, Murder
Judicial Watch announced today it obtained records from the San Francisco County Sheriff’s Department revealing that violent crime in the Bay area has skyrocketed since 2011, with the number of arrests for murder up 55%, and the number of arrests for rapes up 370%... In 2013, the San Francisco’s Sheriff and City Council expanded San Francisco’s infamous illegal alien sanctuary policies. The City changed policies and passed an ordinance that required San Francisco law enforcement to ignore most U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers.
Liberal, Degeneracy, Oops, Waste
Concerns about San Francisco's decaying light poles were ignited Monday night after one corroded by urine toppled onto a car, narrowly missing the driver. The three-story-tall lamp post at Pine and Taylor streets snapped around 6:30 Monday and landed on a nearby car, almost crushing the driver.
Liberal, Incompetence, Financial, Oops, Debt
A judge accepted the California city of Stockton's bankruptcy application on Monday, making it the most populous city in the nation to enter bankruptcy. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein said the bankruptcy declaration was needed to allow the city to continue to provide basic services.
Even among California cities that have declared bankruptcy, San Bernardino stands out as extraordinary in its own right: Its city officials had been lying about the city’s fiscal condition for nearly 20 years. A new Reuters piece explains how the city continued to raise wages and benefits for public employees long after it became clear that these moves were putting it on the road to a budget meltdown and making it the poster child for blue model decline. -Walter Russell Mead
Democrat, Hypocrisy, Character, Greed, Corruption
Former San Diego mayor Maureen O'Connor has admitted in federal court that she misappropriated $2 million from her late husband's charitable foundation due to a gambling addiction in which [she] won more than $1 billion but lost even more over nearly a decade. O'Connor was the Democratic leader of California's second-largest city from 1986 to 1992. The two-term mayor was elected San Diego's first female leader after eight years on the City Council.
Liberal, Government, Incompetence, Financial
Bankrupt San Bernardino, California, voted on Monday to present a plan to a bankruptcy judge that seeks to balance its budget through deferring payments to the state's public employee pension fund and to the city's bondholders. San Bernardino's council passed the plan after the judge overseeing its request for bankruptcy protection demanded an orderly budget be filed in court by Friday, November 30.
Government, Incompetence, Financial, Brilliance, Oops, Waste, Debt
When 10,000 citizens of Stockton, California sang along with Neil Diamond at the opening of their city's shiny new concert hall it seemed like the good times would roll forever. It was 2006 and local officials were happy to pay the musician $1 million in taxpayers' money to perform Sweet Caroline as they rode high on the back of a turbocharged housing market... "I have nothing personal against Neil Diamond but that was just a huge waste of money," said Ann Johnston, the current mayor charged with cleaning up Stockton's financial mess.
Union, Government, Incompetence, Financial, Brilliance, Greed, Debt
The man in charge of the biggest U.S. city ever to file for bankruptcy is clear about the root of the crisis. It was a decision that gave firefighters full healthcare in retirement starting on Jan. 1, 1996, said Bob Deis, the city manager of Stockton, California. At the time, the move seemed cheaper than giving pay raises sought by unions, officials involved in the decision said. When other Stockton employees demanded the same healthcare deal in following years, the city agreed. Deis, who signed Stockton's bankruptcy filing last Thursday, slammed the decision to provide free healthcare to retirees as a "Ponzi scheme" that eventually left the city with a whopping $417 million liability.
But cars didn’t shape our existence; cars let us escape with our lives. We’re way the heck out here in Valley Bottom Heights and Trout Antler Estates because we were at war with the cities. We fought rotten public schools, idiot municipal bureaucracies, corrupt political machines, rampant criminality and the pointy-headed busybodies. -P.J. O’Rourke
Democrat, Liberal, Crime, Union, Government, Incompetence, Degeneracy, Financial, Economy, Greed
On close examination, the city’s decades-long journey from prosperous, middle-class community to bankrupt, crime-ridden, foreclosure-blighted basket case is straightforward—and alarmingly similar to the path traveled by many municipalities around America’s largest state. San Bernardino succumbed to a vicious circle of self-interests among city workers, local politicians and state pension overseers. Little by little, over many years, the salaries and retirement benefits of San Bernardino’s city workers—and especially its police and firemen—grew richer and richer, even as the city lost its major employers and gradually got poorer and poorer.
Editorial, Government, Incompetence, Financial
Despite its good intentions, San Francisco is not leading the country in gay marriage. Despite its good intentions, it is not stopping wars. Despite its spending more money per capita on homelessness than any comparable city, its homeless problem is worse than any comparable city's. Despite its spending more money per capita, period, than almost any city in the nation, San Francisco has poorly managed, budget-busting capital projects, overlapping social programs no one is certain are working, and a transportation system where the only thing running ahead of schedule is the size of its deficit.
Liberal, Tax, Government, Incompetence, Waste, Regulation
San Francisco's much-heralded "social justice" requirements for city contracts are costing local taxpayers millions of dollars a year in overcharges, according to workers in departments ranging from the Municipal Transportation Agency to the Department of Emergency Management.
In one case, a Muni worker said the city paid $3,000 for a vehicle battery tray. Such parts can be found online for $12 to $300, depending on the type of vehicle.