Politics

California Republicans Can't Even Do Wrong Right

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Don't hog all the credit, Mark. This blight is bipartisan!

At CalWatchdog, Steven Greenhut catches Republicans "on the side of big government, higher taxes and uncontrolled debt and against property rights, individualism and freedom." His proof? The Assembly GOP's vote last week on Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to phase out redevelopment agencies.

Brown wants to eliminate the state's 400 redevelopment agencies (RDAs). The Republicans – who continue to find new ways to lose in California – have only 27 out of 80 Assembly seats. That gives them no leverage on budget votes, which now require a straight majority rather than two-thirds. But it's still enough to make a difference in emergency budget bills like this one, which do require a two-thirds majority. So during a week in which the Republicans allowed all manner of big-spending budget provisions to go by, how did they do on the one vote that could have helped California property owners and small business people? Greenhut counts the votes:

[O]nly longtime redevelopment foe, Chris Norby of Fullerton, sided with taxpayers and property owners. The rest of the Assembly Republicans voted "no" or didn't vote at all. Had even one of the Republicans joined Norby, the bill would have passed with a two-thirds majority. There may still be time, but the GOP is too busy celebrating that it stopped Brown on this one issue. They put partisanship above their own ideology. They stopped Brown in one of the few areas where Brown was right…

Redevelopment is about everything Republicans claim to loath: bureaucracy, debt, abuses of property rights, big government, excessive land-use rules, subsidized housing and fiscal irresponsibility. In California cities, redevelopment bureaucrats rule the roost and they leave a path of destruction wherever they go. They bully people and impose enormous burdens on taxpayers. The diversion of tax dollars to welfare queens mandates higher taxes, but the GOP sided with the redevelopment industry. They sided with agencies that run up hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-backed indebtedness. They sided with government-directed stimulus programs, albeit local ones rather than federal ones.

The truth is California Republicans do not believe in limited government. They do not stand up for property owners. They are the party of corporate welfare.

It's hard to overstate how grotesque this vote was. Jerry Brown has gone against many longtime supporters on this issue. He has surprisingly brought together support from a coalition of state Democrats, including Controller John Chiang, who is taking a hard look at the day-to-day criminality of the RDAs.

Golden State Republicans, now under the new management of Chairman Tom Del Beccaro, are promising to pay more attention to "the next generation," "minority voters,"  "independents" and "even…Democrats." And here are the Democrats, not even trying to pass off some compassionate-conservative horse pucky or offering a quid-pro-quo for a tax increase, but putting out a proposal that will help all of the above and provide real red meat for fiscal conservatives. And the Republicans can't vote for it.

Here, here, here, here, here and here are more reasons why this vote should have been a slam dunk for the Republicans.

Thomas Sowell looks at the ethnic cleansing of the San Francisco pensinsula and concludes, "Redevelopment exports low-income people and imports high-income people—with no net addition or subtraction of either segment of the population in the country as a whole."

John Stossel notes that the Community Youth Athletic Center case in San Diego will be the first tried under a supposed 2008 reform of California's eminent domain. I was around when the decoy Proposition 99 easily displaced the actual eminent domain reform Proposition 98. There has been no reform of California's eminent domain laws, and if this is where CYAC is putting its hopes, my heart goes out to the young boxers of National City.

And here's Greenhut talking to Reason TV about the rise of the government employee aristocracy: