Joel Kotkin was the subject of the Journal's Weekend Interview, where he said this about California's progressive ruling class:
The scruffy-looking urban studies professor at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., has been studying and writing on demographic and geographic trends for 30 years. Part of California's dysfunction, he says, stems from state and local government restrictions on development. These policies have artificially limited housing supply and put a premium on real estate in coastal regions.
"Basically, if you don't own a piece of Facebook or Google and you haven't robbed a bank and don't have rich parents, then your chances of being able to buy a house or raise a family in the Bay Area or in most of coastal California is pretty weak," says Mr. Kotkin.
While many middle-class families have moved inland, those regions don't have the same allure or amenities as the coast. People might as well move to Nevada or Texas, where housing and everything else is cheaper and there's no income tax.
And things will only get worse in the coming years as Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and his green cadre implement their "smart growth" plans to cram the proletariat into high-density housing. "What I find reprehensible beyond belief is that the people pushing [high-density housing] themselves live in single-family homes and often drive very fancy cars, but want everyone else to live like my grandmother did in Brownsville in Brooklyn in the 1920s," Mr. Kotkin declares.
"The new regime"—his name for progressive apparatchiks who run California's government—"wants to destroy the essential reason why people move to California in order to protect their own lifestyles."
There's two astonishing things there. First, he acknowledges, not to mention criticizes, California Dems' long-term "smart growth" plans, which are normally discussed only among the more fevered reaches of the California far right. (it's what we talk about when we're not discussing hording gold and flouridation of the water supply). It's a grand conspiracy hiding in plain sight because no one can quite bring themselves to believe that elected officials would have a strategy to shrink the average Californians' living space. Too bad Republicans can't seem to speak with the same candor as Kotkin.
And that brings us to the other astonishment, namely that Kotkin continues to claim to be a Democrat (he says "Truman Democrat"). The man can talk for hours about how progressive politics have ruined the Golden State, and express dismay over how all their egalitarian talk is nothing more than cover for protecting the rich and powerful, yet he still identifies with them. Proof positive that politics is as much tribal, as it is logical.