California Drought Caused by Jerry Brown’s Policies?

Some guy named Joel Kotkin plumbs new depths of stupid. After acknowleding that California really is suffering an actual drought — although he won’t blame climate change — he writes this —

Like many Californians, [Brown] recoiled against the sometimes haphazard and even ugly form of development that plowed through much of the state. Cutting off water is arguably the most effective way to stop all development, and promote Brown’s stated goal of eliminating suburban “sprawl.” It is typical that his first target for cutbacks this year has been the “lawns” of the middleclass suburbanite, a species for which he has shown little interest or tolerance.

There are a lot of things that could have been done better, but let’s talk about the several years in which Republicans blocked California from doing anything but rot. I liked this part, too:

But it’s not just water that exemplifies the current “era of limits” psychology. Energy development has always been in green crosshairs and their harassment has all but succeeded in helping drive much of the oil and gas industry, including corporate headquarters, out of the state. Not building roads—arguably to be replaced by trains—has not exactly reduced traffic but given California the honor of having eight of the top 20 cities nationally with poor roads; the percentage of Los Angeles-area residents who take transit has, if anything, declined slightly since train-building began. All we are left with are impossible freeways, crumbling streets, and ever more difficulty doing anything that requires traveling.

Developing green technology doesn’t count as “developing,” apparently, and building rail doesn’t count as improving transportation infrastructure. We must not be allowed to diverge from fossil fuels and internal combustion engines. And I’m not sure how you can blame rail development for a decline in transit use if the rails haven’t been developed yet.

See David Atkins at Washington MonthlyDear Conservative Concern Trolls: California Will Be Just Fine, Thank You. 

Joel Kotkin over the The Daily Beast has a has scribbled out the millionth version of the “California is Dying” article—a genre of conservative wishful thinking that turns out to be hilariously wrong every time it is written. For years the story was that California would become the next Greece: hopelessly in debt, unable to pay its bills, with an exodus of taxpayers. That turned out to be bunk, of course: all the state needed to was a 2/3 Democratic supermajority and a Democratic governor, and the state’s fiscal situation was rectified almost immediately.

The new opportunity to concern-troll California with big business propaganda comes with the drought. The drought has become the platform from which the conservative complaint machine hits all its favorite targets: Silicon Valley and Hollywood elites, environmentalists, immigrants, and public works (especially transportation.) Republicans who wish they could turn California into Texas want the state to divert rail funding into building more freeways, drain the wetlands to support oil fracking and big agriculture, and close down the borders so that racist whites will feel a little less uncomfortable. They also want to build lots and lots of desalination plants, and blame progressive policy for the widening income inequality gap that sets the wealthy coast apart from the poorer interior.

The truth will out.