On May 12, President Barrack Obama issued a 116-page set of recommendations entitled the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The Department of Justice says “the recommendations provide meaningful solutions to help law enforcement agencies and communities strengthen trust and collaboration, while ushering the nation into the next phase of community-focused policing.”
Given that so much unhappiness has been occurring involving policing, there will be clamor to implement this perceived panacea. But, have other Federal programs been panaceas? Are your children thriving in school with Common Core? Have you seen an end to neighborhood segregation with the Fair Housing Act? Are your kids safer thanks to the War on Drugs? Has the Student Loan Program made college affordable to your children? Did the paramilitary equipment supplied by the Federal government to your local police end unrest?
Plan Bay Area1 has two land-use components: Priority Development Areas (PDAs), located along transit corridors, are where 80% of Bay Area’s population is to live and work. Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs) are designated open spaces.
Because San Francisco has several significant Priority Development Areas, we at the Libertarian Party of San Francisco have been focusing on that component of Plan Bay Area. However, Priority Conservation Areas suffer from the same central planning micromanagement and resulting negative consequences as do the PDAs.
Therefore, we offer here a brief and clear Fact Sheet on PCAs.
Plan Bay Area seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place. Legislators envisioned the Plan as an ambitious regional transformation of population and transportation patterns. Environmentalists and affordable-housing activists hailed its establishment on July 2013. Today, cities find themselves facing consequences as they try to implement the Plan – and offering solutions that are sure to generate even more consequences. Unfortunately, such consequences have a way of reaching into everybody’s wallet.
Libertarians are of the opinion that government creates problems for which it then creates solutions, and the solutions always result in more government control and less individual initiative. Examples abound, but let’s just look at two of Mayor Ed Lee’s recent proposals.
1. Short terms rentals
Property owners got tired of the yards-long list of rental regulations and ventured into short term rentals, which until recently thrived as agreements between willing participants. That’s over.
On July 2, 2015, Mayor Ed Lee announced the creation of the new Office of Short-Term Rental Administration and Enforcement, “funded in the Mayor’s FY 15-17 budget, to create a ‘one-stop’ shop and centralized location to streamline applications for the City’s short-term rental registry and more aggressively coordinate complaints and enforcement of the City’s short-term rental regulations.”
Simple private agreements between willing participants in a business arrangement have morphed into yet another “streamlined” bureaucratic maze.
2. Support for Small Businesses
On June 15, 2015, Mayor Ed Lee announced $6.7 million over the next two years to “expand services for small businesses and strengthen neighborhood commercial corridors.” Services will include a long laundry list of “technical assistance, access to capital, business counseling, loans, physical improvements to storefronts, and capacity-building.”
Maybe City taxpayers would better benefit if government just got out of the way and saved $6.7 million.
Cancelling out one objective with another is what government does best!
Thank you to the volunteer team that staffed the annual Libertarian booth at Pride, June 27 and 28, 2015. We are grateful to Outright Libertarians, other Bay Area Libertarian Party chapters, and Golden Gate Liberty Revolution for continuing their collaboration with the LPSF on San Francisco Pride. Members of the team gave it their all, talking to hundreds of people, giving numerous World's Smallest Political Quizzes, distributing a pile of liberty literature, and – most importantly – listening to what folks wanted to say. So what did we hear?
We heard from the many who cannot fathom how a libertarian social order would work. It won’t, as long as a belief prevails that the best model is one of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” So we ask, “Do you see a similarity between our culture of wealth distribution and that of the former Soviet Union, or that of Greece today? One is gone, and in the other there is great suffering.”
We heard from some who are beginning to see the drawbacks of big government, mostly thanks to major revelations such as the practices of the NSA, but are finding it difficult to see alternatives to “necessary government benefits.” Although we try our best to explain that these “benefits” translate into detrimental consequences and that the private sector is the best source of prosperity for everyone, we realize that it is difficult to let go of assistance once obtained.
We heard from the already Libertarians who are glad to see our booth. Our appreciation for their stopping by is limitless. Some simply dash over to say hello. Others stay and chat, about their feelings on libertarianism or about what they are doing back home to promote liberty. Of the latter group, we especially enjoyed our chat with a young woman from Calaveras County, who is determined to convince a handful of liberty-leaning colleagues of “Liberty on the Rocks” to follow up discussing with organized activism.
We always come away from our Pride outreach certain that we made a dent on the statist model. Whether that dent is very small, as in the case of the folks who pick up pin-back buttons or stickers and are aware of our warmly saying “thank you for stopping by,” or the dent is a little bigger, such as with near converts who after heartfelt talks leave their email address.