Take tech rich San Francisco, where decades of tolerance for even extreme deviant behavior has helped create a city with more drug addicts than high school students, and so much feces on the street that one website has created a “poop map.” In Southern California’s far more proletarian city of Los Angeles, we have a downtown filled with overbuilt, overpriced apartments and is, like Baltimore, being overrun with rats. A UN official last year compared conditions on the city’s Skid Row to those of Syrian refugee camps.
One would think such nasty problems would spark something of a political rebellion, as seen in previous decades with the rise of successful, pragmatic mayors — Bob Lanier and Bill White in Houston, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg in New York, and Richard Riordan in Los Angeles. But so far, at least, many of today’s big city mayors seem more interested in bolstering their “resistance” bona fides than governing effectively.
Los Angeles’ Eric Garcetti, for example, speaks enthusiastically about his own “green new deal” and turning the city into a transit Valhalla even as blight and homelessness expand inexorably. The mayor is less rhapsodic about practical things that people actually need, such as decent roads, reliable water supply or electricity.
Economic growth generally is not much of a priority for the woke urban political class. In New York, Rep. Ocasio Alexandria Cortez’s allies succeeded in driving Amazon’s new headquarters out of her district. Meanwhile her socialist comrades in Seattle have helped persuade the on-line giant to relocate more of its employees out to a massive new building in the suburb of Bellevue while the Emerald City hosts a rising homeless population.