Saturday, November 15, 2003

Local Accountability

Steve Verdon has already taken a rip at this Kevin Drum post, but I have a few things to add.

Drum cited an LA Times article which contained this:
"Today's passage of my job protection amendment is a victory for the thousands of families in Missouri, and across the nation, whose jobs were threatened by California's attempt to force-feed the nation dangerous new regulations without concern for job loss or safety," Bond said.
That's exactly right. If the rest of the country doesn't have the pollution problems CA does, then why should they be forced to adopt the same solution?
The amendment, approved on a voice vote, represents a major setback for the state's strategy for fighting the smog that continues to plague Southern California despite half a century of pollution-control efforts, state officials say.
And that strategy is clear. CA wants to keep their natural advantages with climate and surroundings without suffering the downside. If they can make sure that all of the rest of us suffer the same way then they can cancel out the economic impacts. So instead of looking for local solutions (remember "think globally, act locally"?), they try this self-serving nonsense and then claim that the rest of us are bad guys for not being pushovers.

So what's a local solution? Ban transit unions from going on strike, so they keep more cars off the road. Tax the crap out of gasoline to see if that has any impacts on the margin. Locate the heavily polluting cars and get them off the road - they might be amazed at how much difference this would make. Or just ban the small gas-powered devices that they would otherwise regulate.

What, we can't do that! Then politicians would be offending people who can vote them out of office instead of dumping problems on voteless corporations in other jurisdictions far away. Transit worker unions would throw a fit. And residents would be bearing the true costs of living in the area - faced with those finally, they might decide that a bit more smog isn't so bad after all, or that they'd really rather live somewhere else.

Some people will suffer health impacts. I propose that they relocate, just as they might from Denver's altitude, Buffalo's snow, Arizona's heat, Louisiana's humidity or Montana's emptiness. IMO proposing that we change LA to suit their problems is just as asinine as trying to change the other situations I mentioned. It might even make sense to relocate the vulnerable with public funds if the net cost will be cheaper than alternatives.

LA has been bullying the Southwest for a long time about water issues and the like. Now they're going national, acting like a bunch of spoiled children and trying to make this into a partisan issue. Let's put them back in their place.

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