June 20, 2012

California v. Texas: U2 property rights

From my new column in Taki's Magazine:
The struggles of even the best-connected California celebrities to nail down every last one of the permits they need to build on their own property helps demonstrate why differences in topography drive Californians toward voting for environmentalist Democrats and Texans toward pro-business Republicans. ... 
In Southern California, U2 guitarist The Edge (born David Evans) has been battling for a half-dozen years to build five mansions on his 156 acres of ridgeline overlooking Malibu’s Surfrider Beach, an average of one home per 31 acres. His well-heeled neighbors have gone to war to prevent him from taking such liberties with their view. 
California and Texas are the two largest states in the Electoral College, so it’s worth considering the bedrock reasons they vote the way they do. Having lived in both California and Texas, my guess is that their divergent politics are shaped by the shape of their land.

Read the whole thing there.

32 comments:

Wes said...

I think this assigns way too much importance to geography, topography and cliffs. How about the different kinds of White people that lived in both states? How about the larger Jewish influence in Hollywood? Take an issue like guns: Texans have had a much stronger defense of 2nd amendment for as long as I have heard about. Wasn't California known as much more liberal culturally than Texas over 50 years ago, long before real estate exploded in price. Back in the beatnik 50s, couldn't ocean front property be had by a middle class Californian?

There were no beatniks of any great number in Texas. Even in the 60s real estate wasn't that high in Cali yet, and yet a cultural liberal revolution was based there.

Now, there were some very conservative Californians back in the day - but I suspect they were ethnically similar to Texans.

Anonymous said...

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=252259791554732&set=a.165568233557222.35033.136382576475788&type=1&theater

politics today

Robert Holmgren said...

In San Francisco residents of Haight Ashbury objected to a Walgreen's pharmacy. Imagine--denizens of a drug culture objecting to a drug store.

Robert Holmgren said...

In San Francisco residents of Haight Ashbury objected to a Walgreen's pharmacy. Imagine--denizens of a drug culture objecting to a drug store.

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/06/19/asians-pass-latinos-as-biggest-immigrant-group/

"More diversity among newcomers to the American melting pot is a good thing and it’s good to see that the old American formula for successful immigration is continuing to work."

Fu**ing moron! With conservatives like these...

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/maHpMZFBcaw

new music culture

Dahinda said...

" my guess is that their divergent politics are shaped by the shape of their land."

Not to mention that one is populated by generally sane people that origianlly came from the Midwest and the other is populated mainly by hillbillies, with an oversized notion of individualism, that mainly came originally from the hills of Tennesee.

Mike43 said...

Our differences in Texas are cultural. We don't believe in the nanny state government, and much to the shock of out-of-staters, our schools don't provide cradle to grave services.

I was in a meeting with one such parent from Connecticut. When she complained about having to drive to get foodstamps and such, when compared to her previous state where she could apply in the school, I reminded her,"Look out the window, you are not in Connecticut any longer."

She was not amused. And that's our biggest problems in Texas, all these folks who move here for the jobs, climate and living conditions and insist we're doing it wrong.

Ray Sawhill said...

Great piece.

pat said...

I too have lived in both California and Texas - indeed I lived in the Haight during the Summer of Love. But I don't quite get your point about differences in the shape of the land - unless you mean that Texas is so ugly that it isn't worth defending.

Albertosaurus

beowulf said...

Herbert Hoover was a Californian and not a Texan. :o)

"Zoning is a legacy of Herbert Hoover. As Commerce Secretary, he championed the “Standard Zoning Enabling Act” to address “the moral and social issues that can only be solved by a new conception of city building."
http://citiwire.net/columns/hoovers-other-error-making-sprawl-the-law/

I do wonder how California would b different if had a land value tax instead of its crazy Prop 13 pseudo-property taxes.
http://www.prospercalifornia.com/

Dutch Boy said...

The desirable land in California is limited, thus people are vigilant about how its used. In Texas, land is abundant and it mostly all sucks anyway so nobody cares.

Anonymous said...

Wow, looks like the guy with the pimp's knife is going to be the Republican VP nominee.

Matthew said...

Off topic, but any thoughts on the Bloomberg poll which shows Obama now up by 13 points over Romney (53-40) and Romney doing especially worse among white voters?

I'm thinking (well, hoping) that Romney's tepid repsonse to Obama's immigration putsch has something to do with it. It may just be that "wars for Israel, tax cuts for the rich, and cheap labor for bug businesses" doesn't cut it for white voters anymore.

Marlowe said...

Does the band plan to live next door to one another in adjoining mansions?

Horror novelist & film director Clive Barker bought the mansion next to his in Hollywood and left it empty so he wouldn't have any neighbours.

jody said...

lol. if only they were mexican, then they would be allowed to do anything they wanted.

from what i've seen, mexicans are usually not required to follow any building codes, safety regulations, HOA rules, get construction permits, or any of that stuff. i wonder if the health deparment even inspects their restaurants and shuts them down at anywhere near the expected rate. they seem to only go after the asians. we already know the police department is 100% compromised and has one set of rules for mexicans and another for everybody else. that's probably spread to almost every government agency.

the edge has a problem: 300 million dollars in record and tickets sales cannot overcome the fact that he's the wrong race in year 2012 california.

ATBOTL said...

Southern CA was largely settled by people from TX and other old southwest states.

MQ said...

Sorry, but it's crazy to use the California Coastal Commission and Yosemite in an article about how the rules in California are stacked for rich people. The lavish and spectacular public lands preserved in California is one of the major things that made it a middle class paradise for so many years. Try driving Highway 1 and stop by at the numerous, gorgeous public beaches and access points along the way...much of this land was preserved by the Coastal Commission (state parks also played an even more important role, of course). And of course Yosemite is a fantastic public resource. California is full of great landscapes and recreational resources that have been preserved for the entire public to enjoy.

I know Northern CA and the Sierras better than Southern CA, so perhaps things are a little different around LA, but my experience of California has definitely not been as a place where the best lands of the state are preserved for rich people alone.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/movies/andrew-sarris-film-critic-dies-at-83.html?pagewanted=all

pat said...

Yesterday I commented on Lou Cannon's book on the Rodney King riots. Today I want to mention his other book on Reagan's time as governor.

He makes the point that Reagan was in fact the father of environmental protection in California. He stopped the freeways though the Sierras. He had a hunter's reverance for the preservation of the outdoors.

BTW it has always seemed rather silly to me that John Muir made such a fuss about Hetch Hetchy. For those out of state Hetch Hetchy is the sister canyon to Yosemite. Around a hundred years ago San Francisco wanted to dam it and use it as a reservoir. Muir began the modern environmental movement in opposition to that plan. And of course he lost.

That's why San Francisco has such wonderful water. The clouds sail across the Pacific gathering unpolluted moisture and then drop it in a naked granite canyon.

But in the long run it doesn't matter. Hetch Hetchy and Yosemite are glacial canyons. The glaciers will return and just wipe away those pitiful little dams. Hetch Hetchy is a temporary structure.

Of course no one knows when the ice comes back. It seems to be late right now.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

"Why is NIMBYism more powerful in California than in Texas?"

Agree with your answer to that question. A lot of California's natural resources are in the form of natural beauty, specifically mountains and oceans. Unsurprisingly, rich people want to live where they can see those things and will raise hell over any project that threatens their enjoyment of the scenery.

In Texas, there is no scenery. Even better, oil and gas drilling largely takes place in yucky west Texas, so the guys in Dallas, Houston, and Austin getting rich off it don't actually have to look at it. But, lo, recent Barnett Shale drilling has made environmentalists of more than a few Fort Worth residents.

Similarly, I'm guessing Californians who are deeply concerned about the impact of offshore drilling are not that worried about what goes on in Kern County.

Seward said...

"Our differences in Texas are cultural. We don't believe in the nanny state government, and much to the shock of out-of-staters, our schools don't provide cradle to grave services...

...And that's our biggest problems in Texas, all these folks who move here for the jobs, climate and living conditions and insist we're doing it wrong."

- Keep let'in the libs in and eventually they'll get their way.

Anonymous said...

Generally, I agree with you but there are exceptions Austin metro area where housing is a lot cheaper is more liberal than Orange County or San Diego. Probably, Orange County and San Diego had more of a traditon of Republican voters than Austin does. Sailer theory holds for Coastial Calif versus Inland Calif. In Texas the most liberal are the large urban areas like Houston and Dallas and Austin. The other two have more blacks while Austin is for the hip whites even though hispanics grow fast.

Anonymous said...

ctually, Liberals hate Orange County Ca more the major towns of Texas. Why OC has few blacks while Houston and Dallas have a lot. What is interesting is Obama which lost the state of Texas won Houston, Dallas as much as he did San Diego and lost Orange County and Kern in California. The nice burb areas of Texas like in Sugarland and Plano and rural areas help the Republcians while La which is democratic causes Ca to go Democratic because its large. In fact the Inland empire with Orange and San Diego have more population than the bay area. San Diego is more purple these days and actually expensive compared to Texas but housing is cheaper than Orange County to the north.

Anonymous said...

Mexico becoming Mexico Norte would be entertainming...

Dutch Boy said...

San Diego and Orange County were once the westernmost bastions of the Midwest.

Anonymous said...

Obama explains why he hasn't been to Fresno

Anonymous said...

San Diego & adjacent non-agricultural section of Orange County were full of ex-military guys and only the expansion of L.A. turned them enviro-weenie; northern Orange now is metamorphosing into Tijuana. There are parts of Calif that were culturally Midwestern but nobody important likes those parts, so they're allowed to become 3rd-world hellholes, like Bakersfield long ago or San Joaquin County more recently.

The epitome of opportunistic upper-class environmentalism would have to be Santa Barbara (Montecito side) which in the past decade visually & culturally emulates some melange of Cote d'Azur and the Hamptons, yet with even less space. That Reagan ranch you hear about was all the way out in nowhere/Solvang.

Norville Rogers said...

The more things change, the more they hit the exact same political snag. Incidentally it was odd to see Indio & outer Imperial County (read: desert hell) talked up as some counter-culture/slacker alternative scene; I'd feel "overtaken by events" except it's probably baseless realtor/chamber-of-commerce hype, another fine local tradition

Anonymous said...

If North OC is Tj what do you called Baxer County in Texas home of San Ant. Northern OC has some asian arreas unlike San Ant and El Paso and Brownsville. Brownsville is in one of the most Mexicans counties in the US at 98 percent. El Paso has high poverty than Anaheim and its Mexicans are more likely to be born in the US. Texas is just as Mexican as Calif only difference is the white people.

Anonymous said...

Mexicans in TX obviously aren't equivalent. You are really reaching to shoehorn a theory of monolithic pan-Mexican behavior into what Sailer is describing among Calif. cities, which are mainly built on limited-land parcels of the state. And SoCal had practically nobody there, Mexican or otherwise, before World War I.

Republican Revivalist said...

Sailer's analysis is correct, but it is too narrow. Yes topography makes the upper classes of California uniquely vulnerable to property-value ruination caused by new arrivals, but that thesis fails to answer the question of why the California government overall is so large and so poorly managed. The topographical argument only explains why environmental regulation is so stringent. It doesn't rise to the level of explaining the Democrat/Republican divide in Texas and California, or the difference in the size of their governments. Public choice theory does. The larger the government, the more influential groups are able to use their influence to carve out policies that are salutary to their interests. Wealthy Californians are invested in a larger government in all aspects so that they are able to bend government power to their will, and create environmental loopholes that allow them to build their megahomes without the worry that an onslaught of undesirables will be able to do the same.