How Not To Run A City (Hint: Don’t Elect Democrats Beholden To Unions)


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San Bernardino, California is a case study in how not to run cities. The main takeaway from this story is not to elect Democrats (or any politicians) who are beholden to the unions. It would be funny if it weren’t so serious. The story is like one of those awful movies where you know what’s going to happen, and you wonder why they make the characters so stupid because anyone with half a brain could have seen it coming.

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When this sun-drenched exurb east of Los Angeles filed for bankruptcy protection in August, the city attorney suggested fraudulent accounting was the root of the problem.

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The mayor blamed a dysfunctional city council and greedy police and fire unions. The unions blamed the mayor. Even now, there is little agreement on how the city got into this crisis or how it can extricate itself.

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“It’s total political chaos,” said John Husing, a former San Bernardino resident and regional economist. “There is no solution. They’ll never fix anything.”

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Yet on close examination, the city’s decades-long journey from prosperous, middle-class community to bankrupt, crime-ridden, foreclosure-blighted basket case is straightforward — and alarmingly similar to the path traveled by many municipalities around America’s largest state. San Bernardino succumbed to a vicious circle of self-interests among city workers, local politicians and state pension overseers.

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Little by little, over many years, the salaries and retirement benefits of San Bernardino’s city workers — and especially its police and firemen — grew richer and richer, even as the city lost its major employers and gradually got poorer and poorer.

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Read the whole thing, and share it, if for no other reason than to try to prevent it from happening elsewhere. Oh wait, it already is, in cities all over the USA. The same cities that tilted the election to Obama.

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