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robertogreco : secession   4

California Über Alles | Ann Friedman
"It’s tempting to interpret the waning economic prospects and cultural relevance of rural America as an inevitable consequence of casual bigotry. If these people were just a bit more forward-looking—more accepting of immigrants and gay people, more interested in new technology—then maybe people like me would stay put. And maybe those states would still be attracting employers. Maybe there would be TV shows and movies set there. Maybe they’d even be drawing in transplants rather than hemorrhaging the best and brightest of each generation. Oppressive state laws can drive people away; in several states, for example, major businesses have scuttled investment plans in response to anti-LGBT legislation. The Associated Press found that North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill, passed last year, will end up costing the state at least $3.76 billion over twelve years in canceled business.

Yet in the end, this vision of culture-wide economic payback for the politically backward interior is as much a fantasy as the notion that Trump can bring back manufacturing jobs. The real reason that jobs have disappeared from large swathes of the country has more to do with neoliberalism than with social issues. Broadly speaking, California is a winner in this system. Most other places in America are not.

The Golden State has long contained some of the richest zip codes in the country, but it’s increasingly becoming a state where only the wealthy can build a decent life for themselves. This is apparent in places like Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights, where my friend flies his rebel flag but rising housing prices are breaking up the Latino community that’s called the neighborhood home since the 1950s. Zoom out the lens, and you can see that it’s not just a local issue: since 2011, housing prices across the state have gone up 71 percent. That’s had real consequences. Between 2007 and 2014, more people left California than migrated here. Leading the exodus were people without college degrees—in other words, the same demographic that’s credited with delivering Trump a landslide victory in red states.

The hard truth about liberal secession fantasies is that California is not a place where progressive policies enable everyone to become successful. It’s a place to which people move to enjoy their success when they’ve beaten the odds elsewhere. As Kendrick Lamar reminded us, people come to California for “women, weed, and weather”—not decent wages, affordable education, and accessible health care.

Ruiz Evans’s case for secession rests on the claim that Californians’ “views on education, science, immigration, taxation and healthcare are different” from those prevailing in much of the rest of the country. This is certainly true when you look at polling on the issues. But when it comes to policies and outcomes, California’s unique values are less apparent. To take just the first example on Ruiz Evans’s list, California’s per-pupil spending on K-12 education has declined for years, falling well below the national average. In this realm, California is comparable to states like Florida and Texas—even though California also boasts some of the highest-performing high schools in the nation. This is not a sign of our more progressive views on education; it’s an indication that the state is deeply segregated along lines of race and class."



"The heartland isn’t monolithically conservative. My home state of Iowa split its Senate seats for decades, electing both a liberal member and a conservative one, and many of the midwestern states that delivered Trump the Electoral College have a similar history of mixed representation. Now that Trump is going to fail to deliver on his promises to improve the economic prospects of the people who voted for him in these states, the time is ripe for liberals to put forth an economic agenda that rests not on racial fearmongering but on guaranteed access to health care, fair wages, education, and affordable housing.

And as it turns out, these needs are every bit as acute in California as they are in Iowa. To move toward a true majoritarian liberal strategy means we must challenge more than a few ingrained narratives about American politics. It means rejecting the fallacy that California is a liberal utopia, a place where we coastal transplants can enjoy the moral high ground over our high school classmates who remained in our hometowns to raise their families. It also means dispensing with the opposite fallacy: that those who stayed behind have some sort of shopworn dignity that the rest of us lack.

And this is because, ultimately, division helps Trump advance his agenda. It keeps Republicans firmly in control of state legislatures and the House. So we must resist the urge to smugly turn our backs on the glum spectacle of the self-inflicted economic immolation of Trump country. We must keep it together. If you had a choice about where to build your life, you now have an obligation—not to move back to your beleaguered homeland, but to stay engaged with it. And if you hope to maintain any genuine sort of moral high ground in your adopted state, you have an obligation there, too: to work to make its policies align with your beliefs.

This is not, as Rich suggests, as simple as adopting Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip rhetorical style. Nor is it a question of luring venture capitalists to rural Ohio—where, in all likelihood, they would bring the same mounting inequality and diminished returns that have made Silicon Valley a fortress of paper wealth. It’s a matter of supporting candidates who share our values and have a track record of actually getting them enacted in policy. That’s a hard thing to prove when Democrats are not in power. But as I write these words, opinion polls show that Bernie Sanders is the most popular political leader in the country. Surely that suggests an opportunity to build on the best parts of his 2016 platform and to get behind other Democrats who are known for supporting such policies. There are several, like Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren, who enjoy a cross-demographic appeal. The time is also ripe to capitalize on the fiasco of Trumpcare and place single-payer health reform back on the table. Similar opportunities will surely present themselves on other issues, from education reform to infrastructure investment, as the president fails to deliver on promises to his base. The trick will be to continue to frame these issues as nationwide problems that we all have a stake in solving.

Those of us who have the economic freedom to migrate to pursue better jobs and a broad range of economic opportunities are the ones who bear the greatest burden for bridging the country’s internal geopolitical divides. Believe me, I understand the temptation to separate yourself: it’s true that I am different from the people I grew up with who chose to stay in Iowa. Part of that difference is, now, an economic and cultural advantage. So I have a dual responsibility: to see that California actually makes good on its professed values, and to ensure that those values incorporate the rest of America. Refusing to rationalize elite neglect is the real rebellion."
california  politics  policy  economics  work  labor  inequality  annfriedman  2017  education  healthcare  segregation  progressivism  class  race  classism  racism  homeless  homelessness  housing  donaldtrump  division  us  secession  siliconvalley  democrats  highereducation  highered  property  proposition13  elitism  migration  freedom  values  exclusion  inclusion  inclusivity  berniesanders  sherrodbrown  elizabethwarren  singlepayer  livingwage  affordability 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Neighborhood Nazis
"Critics deride communities represented by homeowner associations as walled-off worlds where the well-heeled can collectively ignore problems like crime and fiscal despair. Many association members consider their rules repressive and needlessly complex. Nonetheless, these community organizations continue to spring up in unprecedented numbers. This privatization of government functions raises a host of vexing societal questions.

'I call it secession by the successful,' says Evan McKenzie, a political scientist at the University of Illinois and author of Privatopia (Yale University Press, 1994), a book dissecting the blissful illusions associations proffer. 'When we think about citizenship in our communities, we think of some concept of rights and responsibilities. But common interest developments encourage secessionist mentalities. They give people a variety of incentives for not seeing themselves as belonging to their city or county, since they belong to associations that provide services such as recreation centers, swimming pools, and parks. Meanwhile, those cities and counties shrivel from neglect.'

Elitism exacts another price as well: Associations exert more control over their members' lives than do any municipal, state, or federal entities. They may mandate how many hours a day you may keep your garage door open, whether you can build a pool in your backyard, what kind of shrubs get planted out front, and how high your flagpole can be. Assuming that flagpoles are allowed.

In short, they are not refuges for renegades.

In their early stages, homeowners' associations are run by developer-appointed boards of directors, usually made up of builders working on the development, with one or two homeowners added to the mix. The boards, in turn, hire outside companies to handle daily management chores, and to act as buffers between themselves and agitated residents.

As a rule, appointed board members get most of the votes -- typically about three votes per lot in the project. Homeowners usually receive one vote per home, no matter how many people live in the house.

This formula allows developers to retain control of the property through the association until the community is nearly complete, or up to some preset date. The association is likewise guided by a set of codes, covenants, and restrictions -- known as CC&Rs -- signed by every home buyer. The CC&Rs remain in effect long after the developer turns the board over to homeowner-elected officers and departs. At that point, elected representatives maintain the rules, which typically can be overturned only by a 'supermajority,' or 75 percent of homeowner votes.

Under board tutelage, community parks are established, recreation centers are built, swimming pools are maintained, and architectural consistency is imposed, all financed by membership fees. Associations also lobby state and local governments on a variety of issues, including land zoning decisions and tax relief for services they already provide, like garbage collection, and they've won many struggles. In New Jersey, for example, a recent referendum banned double payment for services.

Problems arise from the associations' contradictory roles. On the one hand, they operate as governments. On the other hand, they're still private concerns and thereby not subject to constitutional guarantees like free speech. The courts consider membership in them voluntary -- akin to joining the Elks or Kiwanis -- although many new homes come with associations attached.

'People who buy into them do give up a large part of their rights as citizens,' McKenzie says, adding that associations don't always wield their power wisely. The gradation of enforcement exercised by civil authorities is lacking, he says. 'For example, if you cross an empty street in the middle of the block and a cop sees you, will he give you a fine? Probably not.'

Associations aren't as flexible: 'Boards feel it's their mandate to enforce every rule every time. And they tend to be made up of people who have some desire to hold power over their neighbors. The situation can create neighborhood Hitlers."

[Printable version: http://www.utne.com/print.aspx?id={60089ED4-89BF-40FE-8917-39A05ACA1221} URL includes those curly brackets, so cut and paste to get there.]

[Referenced on page 307 of Landscapes of Betrayal, Landscapes of Joy, by Herb Childress
http://www.sunypress.edu/p-3177-landscapes-of-betrayal-landscap.aspx ]

[See also Robert Reich's "Secession by the Succesful" (1991) http://www-personal.umich.edu/~gmarkus/secession.html
and http://alternativeperspective.blogspot.com/2006/06/meritocracy-secession-of-successful.html
and http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Youth,+crime,+and+cultural+space.-a020562409
and Evan McKenzie's "Common-Interest Housing in the Communities
of Tomorrow" (.pdf) http://tigger.uic.edu/~mckenzie/comoftom.pdf ]

[This relates to the Silicon Valley secessionist attitude that has been raging lately:
http://danhon.com/2013/10/21/your-grim-meathook-future/ ]
evanmckenzie  privatopia  homeownerassociations  hoas  rules  seccession  secessionbythesuccessfull  economics  power  control  gatedcommunities  elitism  property  government  secession  1995  timvanderpool  politics  policy  class  society  zoning  exclusion  restrictions  herbchildress 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Cascadia (independence movement) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Cascadia (commonly called the Republic of Cascadia as a full name) is a proposed name for an independent sovereign state advocated by a grassroots environmental movement in the Pacific Northwest of North America. This state would hypothetically be formed by the union of British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington. Other suggested boundary lines also include Idaho (all or parts), western Montana, Northern California, parts of Alaska, and parts of the Yukon. This type of "federation" would require secession from both the United States and Canada. The boundaries of this proposed republic could incorporate those of the existing province and states."
cascadia  canada  independence  alaska  us  secession  california  britishcolumbia  bc  politics  history  geography  activism  washingtonstate  oregon 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Jefferson - The 51st State - Northern California / Southern Oregon - A State of Mind
As advertised on our drive north: "Day by day, evidence piles up demonstrating that California government is not only broken, it has become destructive to our future. The recent failure of the Legislature to negotiate a budget, in the direst of circumstances, is just another straw on the camel’s already-broken back.
california  government  oregon  politics  secession  jeffersonstate  jefferson  micronations  stateofjefferson  libertarian 
june 2007 by robertogreco

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