One of my favorite bumper stickers reads “Stop Continental Drift.” Today, there are more than 332 million Americans, but only 535 members of Congress. If you think any of these 535 people are working to turn your country into a woke dystopia, what do you do? Drive to Washington, walk briskly to Capitol Hill, and give them a piece of your mind? Or stroll over to the White House and interrupt Joe’s nap?
Obviously, you have about the same chance of achieving anything that way as you do of stopping continental drift.
But there is a place where you can tell your elected officials and non-elected bureaucrats exactly what you think.
Yep, it’s city hall. It’s also your local school board, water district, and any other place where people do things so dumb, intrusive, and dangerous that federal and state officials only dream of doing them. A few examples:
- Telling a local deli owner how many poppies he can plant on his patio.
- Opening a homeless shelter that makes beer runs for its guests. With your tax money.
- Letting local felons know it’s OK to steal up to $950 worth of Tide Pods. Every day.
Those are actual decisions made by such entities as the City of Cotati Planning Commission, the Seattle Downtown Emergency Service Center, and San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Across the country, there are thousands more examples that are just as egregious. But most conservatives focus so intently on national politics that they overlook the correctible wrongs in their own backyards.
Some of these wrongs are merely annoying and intrusive. Others involve wasting your tax dollars. The worst threaten the safety of you and your family.
Here are a few areas where you are likely to spot this kind of petty tyranny in your local community:
The war on cars. This is a favorite of progressives in towns of every size. When you see buzzwords like “vibrant, walkable downtowns,” “urban infill,” “bicycle-friendly,” or “traffic calming,” these positive-sounding terms always lead to the same thing: Cutting four-lane streets down to two, then installing bicycle lanes, speed bumps, and expensive roundabouts. The goal is to make driving so unpleasant that you’ll start riding a bike, taking public transportation, or walking.
Insanely woke zoning abuses. Zoning gives cities much more than the power to keep gas stations from popping up on Park Avenue. Zoning lets local governments impose nearly any mandate they like. I’ve personally seen an unelected city planner tell a local deli owner that, of the dozen flowers permitted for his patio, he can only plant three California poppies. And in always-predictable Berkeley, the city council banned the installation of gas cooktops in all new houses, condos, apartments, and restaurants. Only electric cooktops, which are more than twice as expensive to use, are now legal.
Bloated salaries and pensions. Conventional wisdom once said that people who took city jobs were trading a reduced income in return for job security. Those days are long gone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, the median hourly wage for local government workers was $26.94. That’s 40 percent higher than the median hourly wage for all Americans: $19.14. In Illinois alone, 84 municipal managers were paid $180,000 or more: a salary higher than that of 45 U.S. governors.
And their pensions? Nearly one-third of baby boomers who are close to retirement age have between nothing and $25,000 set aside. Compare that to most city and county workers: After working 30 years, they can retire at 50 or even younger, and receive up to 90 percent of their highest annual salary. For life.
Serious threats to your safety. School boards routinely allow teenage boys who identify as teenage girls to use the women’s bathroom, opening the door for heterosexual boys to commit crimes ranging from voyeurism to rape. The most famous incident happened in Loudon County, Virginia, where a father whose daughter was raped in a school bathroom was arrested for complaining about it at a school board meeting.
Defunding the police and replacing them with social workers is a tragically flawed practice. In Thayer, Illinois the problem with this approach was made clear when Deidre Silas, an investigator with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, responded to a call of possible child endangerment and was stabbed to death.
But the worst threats come from the super-squishy district attorneys in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City. Their soft-on-crime policies have resulted in uncontrolled shoplifting, organized thefts on high-end retailers and railroad cars, and massive spikes in carjackings and homicides.
Fortunately, even in liberal cities, people are saying enough is enough. In San Francisco, District Attorney Chesa Boudin faces a recall election in June because citizens finally took notice, then took action.
So I encourage you to take a good look at your own city or county, find out what’s wrong, and then do something about it. If common sense can prevail in ultra-liberal San Francisco, there’s an excellent chance it can in your town, too.