From The Wall Street Journal:
The Newhall Ranch project near Los Angeles is green but not green enough for the antidevelopment crowd.
By Allysia Finley | Dec. 27, 2015 6:40 p.m. ET
Earlier this month California Gov. Jerry Brown promised to cut greenhouse-gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. This goal will be nearly impossible to achieve with California’s current population, projected to grow by 30% over the next 35 years to 50 million. So ecovangelists are trying to block any economic development that could help support more people.
The Newhall Ranch project in north Los Angeles County, which aims to provide housing for nearly 60,000 people as well as tens of thousands of jobs at stores, schools and recreational centers, is the most recent target. With energy-efficient lighting, comprehensive recycling, bike trails and drought-tolerant landscaping, the 12,000-acre planned community would be a green Levittown. But the proposed development—one of the biggest in state history—has been under siege from its inception in 1994 by environmental activists.
The California Supreme Court recently rejected Newhall’s final environmental-impact report. The court’s legally nebulous decision could delay construction for years—and cast a pall over future development.
The article deals primarily with the roadblocks and lawfare the environmentalists are using to block development, but this telling part at the end:
Green activists have long sought to block new development—and California housing costs are the highest in the country due to the mismatch between supply and demand. The median house price in the Los Angeles metro area is $507,000 compared with $210,000 in Dallas, $290,000 in Miami, $388,000 in Washington, D.C., and $412,000 in New York.
Housing costs have helped to drive middle- and low-income residents out of the state. Newhall Ranch appears to be one more human sacrifice on the altar of the greater environmental good.
The result of this case, and the ones which follow it, ought to be obvious: by reducing the construction of new housing stock while the Pyrite State’s population continues to grow means that the wealthier Californians will be able to have nicer houses, while the riff-raff middle and working classes will be stuck with aging and frequently dilapidated housing, or densely populated apartment buildings. Not only will this make moving into California far more difficult for illegal immigrants, but it will segregate the wealthier folks even more distantly from all of those undesirables. Just because they appreciate the fact that there is someone there to serve them their lattes doesn’t mean that they want to see them in their neighborhoods. The racial segregation in New York City, one of the bastions of political liberalism, has been noted many times before. New York and Los Angeles are the only two American cities which exhibit hypersegregation between whites and Hispanics.¹ Did the GOP carry those two cities in 2008 or 2012?
Now, let’s be honest here: the “ecovangelists,” as the editorial writer for the Journal called them, are not working-class Hispanics, or black Americans trying to scrape by, or white hourly workers. Those people might care about the environment, but they are all facing the more practical and pressing problems of keeping a roof over their heads and food on their tables, and simply don’t have the time to engage in organizing and protesting and filing lawsuits. The ecovangelists at the head of all of this are people, almost all white, who are well-off enough that they aren’t worried about the median housing prices in Los Angeles, and do have the time to push this stuff. If you asked them, why they’d most certainly say that they aren’t racist or classist or sexist or homophobic or whateverist is the biggest concern today; they are good and liberal and oh-so-very-multicultural, and are offended and indignant that anyone would even question that about them.
But what they say doesn’t matter nearly so much as what they do, and what they do is to push policies which have resulted in the good, liberal ecovangelists living in prosperous, often gated, little communities, where they are kept separate from the kinds of people who cut their grass and run their daycare facilities and serve their lunches. Those communities might not be strictly segregated by race, but they are very much segregated by wealth, and that means, de facto, they are segregated by race. A few very successful black or Hispanic families might be welcomed, but the disparate economic results of the various ethnic groups in our society insure that such neighborhoods will remain just as segregated as any Southern town in the 1940s.²
The left might be very supportive of the hard-working immigrants who unfortunately lack documentation, because they are liberals and sympathetic to the plight of the poor. It’s just that they don’t particularly want those people living in their neighborhoods.
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.
¹ – Rima Wilkes; John Iceland (2004). “Hypersegregation in the Twenty First Century”. Demography (Population Association of America) 41 (1): 23–361. ISSN 0070-3370. JSTOR 1515211. OCLC 486373184.
² – A personal note: I grew up in a small town in the South, but the most segregated area I ever saw was New Castle County, Delaware, home of Joe Biden, when I lived there for two years.