Brickbats

Brickbat: It's Never Temporary

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The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, responsible for regional transportation planning and financing in California's San Francisco Bay Area, has voted to make permanent telecommuting practices adopted to reduce the spread of coronavirus. "There is an opportunity to do things that could not have been done in the past," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a member of the commission. The plan would require  "large, office-based employers" to have at least 60 percent of their employees working from home on any given workday.

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  1. Once the tyrants get a new power they are loath to give it up. I’m afraid many ‘laws’ like mask wearing, reducing the amount of people allowed in some businesses and such are here to stay.

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      1. ShopRite seems to have more than 60 percent of their workforce working at home already.

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  2. A commission responsible for regional transportation planning and financing can make a rule requiring “large, office-based employers” to have at least 60 percent of their employees working from home on any given workday? That’s an amazing imposition on businesses, and doesn’t even require a vote by the state senate and assembly? Is there any limit on the commission’s power? Can they ban businesses entirely, etc?

    1. Can’t they just order 60% of the employees to move closer to their work?

      1. Why not just order them to have 100% of their employees work from home on *every* given workday? Oh your business is retail? Too effin’ bad! We need this. For the roads.

      2. The end goal is to have employee barracks and mess halls co-located with businesses so no one has to travel at all, except members of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and politicians of the correct party.

        1. The end goal is to have employee barracks and mess halls co-located with businesses so no one has is allowed to travel at all

          Minor correction, but it’s an important distinction. You’ll have no say in the New Normal.

          You will comply or be destroyed. Resistance is futile.

        2. You’re assuming incorrect parties will be tolerated?

        3. And the employees can buy what they need from the company store (now called Amazon), paying just a small fee to the company mailroom to have it delivered to them.

          1. After the franchise wars all restaurants are Taco Bell.

            All stores are Amazon.

            All phones/plans are NSA-Google.

        4. the irony is that if they just stopped zoning and planning all together, employees would be living closer to work. right now Silicon Valley has clusters of 6 to 8 story office buildings with huge parking lots, that (used to) fill up with workers Mon-Fri from 9-6, then set vacant at nights and on weekends. no restaurants, shops, or residences anywhere near. there should be restaurants and shops on the ground floor, apartments/condos above that, and office space higher up. then people could take their elevator to work and walk to lunch or get groceries or hang out at bars and coffeeshops before stumbling home.

    2. of course an unelected regional transportation planning commission can’t shut down businesses. you need an unelected county level health officer for that.

  3. Ha, and at first I thought this rule was only being applied to the commission and its staff.

    1. No, no, no. They get swank new offices.

        1. And 60% less congested commutes.

          1. And a 10% raise in the form of a work-on-site differential.

          2. No doubt they’re also factoring in air pollution, the cost of road repair and upkeep, fewer police and emergency with fewer accidents, etc. It’s just a gift that keeps on giving. Just think of how much taxes will go down!

            Wait, why are you all laughing?

  4. I wonder if they have considered the implications for company incorporation, office location, and employee location, and what it means for their tax base?

    If companies have to have 60% remote workers, they can incorporate and have headquarters anywhere, including out of state.

    If employees don’t have to go into an office, they can be anywhere, including out of state and out of country.

    Subject to timezone differences, of course. The biggest problem I have found is trying to coordinate with people more than 3-4 time zones away. 10 or 12 hours is a real impediment.

    Silicon Valley’s strength comes from all those people in one small area. IFFFFFF remote working can survive 60% remote workers, the need to cram everyone into Silicon Valley drops like a rock.

    I don’t think these clowns have considered any of what they are asking.

    1. To be clear: I don’t think they will succeed. Lawsuits and the practical limits of reality will prevent this from working. I only marvel at their incredible lack of foresight.

      1. Lack of foresight is one of the main requirement for becoming a bureaucrat. The other question is, what will they do with all the mostly empty commercial real estate that results from this mandate? Being California, I doubt they would allow it to be used/converted to housing…

        1. The bottom will fall out of that commercial market, property tax revenue will drop like a rock, much faster than income taxes will drop from employees moving out of state, or from companies relocating.

          1. Leading to the need to raise taxes on “the rich” to make up the difference.
            There are no unintended consequences to socialists.

            1. don’t worry, the wealth tax legislation has already been drafted.
              and the reparations board has been established, to help distribute the new revenue.

        2. The other question is, what will they do with all the mostly empty commercial real estate that results from this mandate? Being California, I doubt they would allow it to be used/converted to housing…

          They might be stupid enough to think they can mandate that it be converted into “free” housing for all the homeless. Instead of letting them shit on the sidewalks in downtown San Fran they can just go shit all over the place in the now abandoned commercial buildings. So long as they’re out of sight and out of mind so the good little limousine liberal progtards can go on living in blissful ignorance in their little proggie utopia bubble.

      2. Why even bother with lawsuits? The rule is unenforceable. You don’t know who’s working where, nor from where.

        1. Yup. What are they gonna do? Show up at the office and count the number of people? Multiply by 1.5 and tell them that number of people work remotely. If you really want to fuck with them, 1/3 of your employees are 100% remote, 1/3 are 50% remote, and 1/3 are 100% in the office and that you rotate the three groups every quarter. And don’t even get me started on the satellite office out in Fresno!

          1. Everyone in San Fran knows that no one wants to work in Fresno.

          2. voluntary compliance is all the rage here

      3. I only marvel at their incredible lack of foresight.

        And they wonder why their “five year plans” always fail so spectacularly.

      4. Just think of the extra buracrats they would have to hire to ‘police” these companies to confirm they are abiding by the laws. then of course there will be government handouts to companies so they can by every home employee a computer and then the government will have to increase internet accessibility as in more infrastructure. its a win win if you work for the government anyway

    2. They’re also going to lose the landlords who’ll realize it’s unprofitable to maintain office buildings as real estate investments in their municipality.

      Without landlords and occupied offices, a whole host of taxes won’t be paid. Building and health inspectors won’t issue annual occupancy reports and collect fees. Kickbacks won’t flow from renovations and new construction. Lobbyist donations will cease.

      This policy is doomed to fail.

  5. Cool. Will they be telling 60% of tourists to stay home, too?
    “Time dated visas will be issued to anyone wishing to enter the Bay Area. Heavily armed agents will patrol SFO and turn back any illegal tourists.”

    1. BUILD THE WALL!

      1. Who needs ancient technology like walls when you’ve got dozens of local companies willing to help you use remote biometrics?

  6. What cities does that include? Will the nearby cities prosper because of this?

    1. They have no real authority to call for this, nor any way of enforcing it. It is virtue signaling, like having Berkeley ban nuclear weapons from the city, which they did decades ago.
      They run busses and possibly BART, so perhaps they could check IDs before allowing passengers to enter.

    2. Well, we know that the Oakland mayor is a member of the commission and a quick glance at Wikipedia says the commission “was created in 1970 by the State of California, with support from the Bay Area Council, to coordinate transportation services in the Bay Area’s nine counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma” so I would have to guess that it covers many cities within the greater metropolitan area.

      1. yeah, pretty much the whole Communist Bay Area. tech workers are already fleeing to Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, etc.

      2. “Coordinate transportation services” doesn’t seem to carry any authority to compel businesses to make specific personnel decisions. Nor did I find, in a couple minutes of searching, anything to indicate that their authority has expanded to include such in their scope.

  7. “There is an opportunity to do things that could not have been done in the past,”

    This was the objective all along.

    1. Please stop this ride. I want off

      1. The only way off is in a straight jacket after you start shooting people. If you still choose to get off, please do the rest of us a favor and make sure you shoot the driver.

    2. Exactly. “There is an opportunity to do things…” And use “systemic racism,”: “environment,” “pandemic” or a “mass shooting” as a vehicle for your real agenda.
      Otherwise we will never see the Star Trek future of progressive dreams, where everyone has to get with the program and obstacles like the Constitution are whittled away to nothing.

      1. /nerd on

        Star Trek had a Federation which ran off a charter. Its Star Fleet operates by strict guidelines. It’s hardly a place without rights and liberties guaranteed in writing.

        /nerd off

  8. “Josefowitz tried Wednesday to amend the mandate to allow for walking to work or taking transit, but opponents said any delay to the plan could cause the commission to miss a key funding deadline or fall short of targets for reducing emissions.

    “If we start amending this plan at this late hour, do you have any rabbits in your hat that’s going to get us to the finish line?” asked Jim Spering, a commission member from Solano County, north of the bay. Commission staff said they had no such rabbit”

    Ah, so it’s about the money. And magic

    1. hey, we can reduce air pollution by destroying the local economy! and secure our funding!

    2. It’s also about adding things at the last minute, and then saying that those things can’t be changed, because such changes would be at the last minute:
      “Though a broader project planning for 2050 has been in the works for months, the work-from-home mandate was a late addition and came before commissioners only two weeks ago, said Nick Josefowitz”

  9. We’re here to take your wealth for tax day.

    I have no wealth because I’m in commercial real estate.

    What do you mean? Give us the cash or we send in your friendly government leg breakers.

    You told people to stop sending their workforce to the office. That caused a drop in commercial property values when no one needed it. So I have no wealth.

    We’re glad we solved that landlord problem. *starts leg breaking *

  10. I can’t wait for the official Metropolitan Transportation Commission “guidelines” on diet and fashion.

    1. Well white is racist, and black [if you are not a POC] is appropriation, so it’ll be beige. Have fun blending in.

  11. What really concerns me is how willing so many are to relinquish even fundamental freedoms [in MI freedom of association comes to mind, even with one’s own family, never mind travel] in return for a false sense of security. And the willingness with which so many engage in ratting out those who don’t. Those decrying these things are literally becoming voices in the wilderness. I fear the future does not bode well for liberty, and by the time we cross the proverbial Rubicon I think it will be too late to take it back without a high degree of violence.

    1. the Rubicon was crossed back in March

      1. Well it was January of the year 49 BCE, if you want to split hairs.

  12. There’ll be no need for the Metropolitan Transportation Committee to implement this using regulation.

    When all the cars are self-driving and hooked into the mandatory traffic control net, it will just be code. And the MTC will obviously be writing the code.

    1. Actually it will be Ford, Chryslus, Toyota, Mercedes, etc. that will be writing the code. I know the people writing the code, they are not the government. While government will have a hand in some things, just like the government sets safety and emissions standards, it’s not going to be government writing the code that gets this all to work.

      The idea that government can flip a switch and 60% of the population will automatically be working from home is conspiracy fantasy. Except maybe in China. But we are not China nor will we ever be.

      Doesn’t mean the Karens are the MTC aren’t dreaming of it, but dreams aren’t real.

      1. Actually, it would be far simpler and far more doable, for the MTC to control the FastTrak system. And stuff like that HAS been talked about. Because they can mandate the use of FastTrak and stuff, but they are NOT in the position to nationalize all the automobiles and manufacturers.

      2. that’s an easy fix. just require cars sold in California to have a California kill switch. the private companies then write code that disables your car 5 days a week.

      3. OK, of course you’re right that MTC won’t be writing the code on your car. They won’t even be writing the national standards for the code, when such standards are made mandatory.

        However, I’m fairly confident the national standards will include a required remote shutdown feature at multiple levels (no entry to particular areas, no starting a trip, stop at the next convenient safe point, outright immediate stop). And the MTS will have some level of access to those features. That’s the code I’m talking about.

        1. As an example, the government does not write the code on your smartphone. But they do mandate that there be a non-blockable presidential alert feature.

          They’ll have even stronger safety justifications when it comes to cars.

  13. When do they start handing out waivers for favored companies? And when do companies start using “loopholes” to get around this, like maybe breaking up their office into smaller work units? Tomorrow?

    1. Government office workers still need to show up and clock in as usual. Rules are for other people, just like gym closures are for other people.

      1. It’s understood that government workers can’t sit at home doing nothing. They have to be in the office to really waste everyone’s time.

        1. My job used to take me to a federal office building.

          First time I walked through there I was shocked. Wasn’t jaded yet. A good half of the people were standing around talking. Most of the rest were literally asleep at their desks. I didn’t see a single person doing anything remotely resembling work. What was really odd was the way they’d greet each other. They’d hold up a number on their fingers. I was like what the… Turns out it was the number of years they had left until they got their pension, at which point they’d get another government job and double-dip. It’s sickening if you think about it, so I try not to.

          1. even the lefties are getting worried about the pension obligations. they will soon consume most of the budget. hence the need for federal bailouts.

    2. I can’t wait to see what loopholes the big tech companies come up with, and the ways the government will manage to screw things up for other parts of the economy by trying to close those loopholes.

  14. Politicians think that since they can do all their “work” from home, so can everyone else.

    The Intarwebs and other technology means not as many people need to do the daily commute into the city, but that does not negate the reason that firms exist. “Big offices” exist because people need to communicate in close proximity. The wheels of office productivity are greased when you can ask Sally in the next cubicles for the latest TPS report figures, rather than having to schedule yet another WebEx meeting where half the time is spent getting WebEx working. Or ping her via Skype4Bidness and hope she sees the tiny orange dot blinking.

  15. be fun to see which court has to strike it down

  16. And their legal authority to make such a rule is what, precisely?

  17. Proof democrats are authoritarians jackasses and should be removed from power.

  18. When people work from home its easier, less personal and safer to fire them.

    back before internet i would go and meet all the consultants needed. and we would talk create real relation ships and discuss pluses and minus of a project and come to an understanding. Now its send a pdf and now it this or nothing and no relation ship or discussion of the day like weather and family. it is not as good as it used to be and that is not a good thing since people grow from relation ships even in business it forms community that we are trying to absolve and possibly for nefarious purposes. if you have no community you have no one to understand or reason to protect from government over reach. I think this is a real issue that needs expanding on

  19. Isn’t Libby Schaff the one who essentially told a black man he cannot hang a rope from a tree because of the trauma it causes him?

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