Alamo Square and the San Francisco skyline in March.
Residents of the New York metropolitan area are used to the general diversity of politically progressive but ultimately reasonable neighbors. In a typical case, a loud call for property tax increases to meet critical community needs is accompanied by a less loud announcement that a family is moving to a place where they can get more housing for their money, coincidentally in a jurisdiction that imposes lower costs on the government. Such transitions can be tricky, and may even need to be explained to neighbors.
Meanwhile, on the left bank, Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle holds a California exit interview with a young couple who have reluctantly decided to move south and east:
A few years ago, Allison Grady and Ernest Brown were looking into where they wanted to live, and Oakland came out on top ….. But they knew they would live indefinitely. You can’t go to a party, house or bar with 20-somethings without the cost of housing being high, said Brown, who chairs the board of the pro-housing organization YIMBY Action. Even though people are having a great time, there is a quiet sense of dread that this party could end at any moment if the rent goes up. The same goes for people who need more space to raise a family. That’s where Grady and Brown are….. They just moved to Atlanta where they can buy a bigger apartment for half the price.
So far so good, but then comes Mr. Garofoli’s bizarre explanation of the event that prompted the move:
According to them, the straw was last year when California voters rejected Proposition 15, which would have increased property taxes on commercial property to help schools and local governments. Because of his refusal, the couple began to doubt that the public school system would ever improve. The decision to underinvest in public infrastructure, which is especially important for families raising children in California, makes (living here) such a hard sell, Brown said.
Leaving California because the Golden State doesn’t pay enough taxes or spend enough money isn’t the answer you’d expect, but the happy couple should still enjoy everything the Peachy State has to offer. When it comes to education, California spends about 15 percent more per student than Georgia, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Department. Looking at total state and local government spending, the center-left fiscal policy shows that California’s spending is significantly higher than Georgia’s. It’s no surprise that the Tax Foundation finds that Californians who emigrate move to a state with a much lower tax burden – California ranks eighth in the country for tax burden relative to income, while Georgia ranks a very strong 41st.
Before leaving Oakland, perhaps the young couple should inform their neighbors of the best government offer in Georgia. Former Georgia residents can only hope that newcomers understand why life is so much easier and cheaper here than in California.
What do residents have to say about Oregon’s flight?
However one chooses to explain it, the people of Oregon will undoubtedly see the withdrawal as an illustration of a new permanent isolation imposed by the government. Sarah Kline reports for The Associated Press from Portland:
While states across the country are lifting restrictions on COWID-19, Oregon is going the other way – and many residents are taking the plunge. A senior health department official is considering extending indefinitely rules requiring shielding and distancing in all areas of government activity. It is proposed to maintain the rules until they are no longer needed to combat the effects of the pandemic in the workplace. Michael Wood, administrator of the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health, said the move was necessary to correct a technical error in state law that requires a permanent rule to prevent existing restrictions from expiring.
If a state law limited the ability of a bureaucrat to impose a state of emergency on the population, how many citizens would consider this essential limitation on state power a formality?
Fortunately, there seems to be no answer to this question, as there was widespread and strong opposition to Mr. Wood’s proposal. Oregon’s disappointment mirrors Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan’s disappointment when a Republican questioned a GOP doctor.
during a hearing last week on Capitol Hill. According to an AP report:
Opponents are also angry that government officials won’t say what level of COVID-19 should be achieved in Oregon, or how many people should be vaccinated to waive the requirements in a state that already has some of the strictest security measures in the country. When do masks become obsolete? On what science are these mandates based, especially now that the vaccine is just days away from launch, said state senator. Kim Thatcher, a Republican from Keizer, near the capital. Companies had to play the policeman with the mask for most of the year. They deserve to be reassured that they are no longer threatened by fines.
That’s right. Mask Cop should be the name of a student group in Eugene, not a requirement for people who want to make a living in retail. Further north, in Portland, who’s to say that shop owners aren’t already challenged enough by the scrutiny of other aspects of their business? The Oregonian reports:
In downtown Portland Friday night and early morning, a group of protesters set fires, smashed windows at businesses, a church and the Oregon Historical Society, and did all kinds of other damage during a devastating protest. Someone also fired multiple shots from a car that was a block away from the crowd of protesters early Saturday. No one was hurt. Police declared a disturbance late Friday, the third time in five days that the agency made such an announcement.
Georgia keeps getting better, however the west coast wants to describe why it moved east.
James Freeman is the co-author of Price: Trump, China, and the American Renaissance.
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(Teresa Wozzo is an editor of The Best of the Web. With thanks to Tony Lima).
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