‘Medicare for All’ would require obesity laws

Bad news for actors like John Goodman and other “heavyweights”.  If they get their way and we have Medicare for all—they lose their private doctors, choice of hospitals and maybe even health care—until they reach the weight government wants them at.

“Proponents of “Medicare for All” often point towards European nations with universal healthcare systems to prove that single-payer could work here. The global ramifications of inevitably immolating our medical research and development aside, there’s just one, massive elephant in the room that progressives love to ignore: obesity.

At 36.2 percent, the American obesity rate is the 12th-highest in the world and first among OECD countries. Of every European nation with universal healthcare, only the United Kingdom (27.8 percent) and Hungary (26.4 percent) come within 10 percent of the American obesity rate.

I guess cigarettes will be outlawed (but you will still be able to smoke pot which is ten times more toxic and cancer producing than a Marlboro.  Government will control the amount of meat you can eat—some Democrats want to outlaw cows!  Freedom, not in a society with Medicare for all—it will be used to kill jobs, industries and quality of life!

fat people

‘Medicare for All’ would require obesity laws

by Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner,  2/15/19

 

Proponents of “Medicare for All” often point towards European nations with universal healthcare systems to prove that single-payer could work here. The global ramifications of inevitably immolating our medical research and development aside, there’s just one, massive elephant in the room that progressives love to ignore: obesity.

At 36.2 percent, the American obesity rate is the 12th-highest in the world and first among OECD countries. Of every European nation with universal healthcare, only the United Kingdom (27.8 percent) and Hungary (26.4 percent) come within 10 percent of the American obesity rate.

In Germany, France, Portugal, and Sweden, the national obesity rates are 22.3 percent, 21.6 percent, 20.8 percent, and 20.6 percent respectively. And in Denmark and Italy, fewer than 20 percent of people are obese.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has also compared us to South Korea and Japan, two nations where fewer than 1 in 20 are obese.

In a private healthcare system, premiums account for individual health statuses, but within a voluntary risk pool, providers don’t place many heavy demands on lifestyle choices. If you’re paying for yourself, you have the right to live as you please. But the moment the public has a stake in your healthcare, it has a stake in your health.

It seems impossible for any real iteration of “Medicare for All” to succeed without massive amounts of regulation on lifestyle and health choices, or even effective obesity taxes. If the public owns the risk pool of “Medicare for All,” then voters will surely demand to mitigate risk as much as possible.

The country under single-payer will make former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda taxes and food-nannying look like child’s play. Everything from your sugar consumption to your alcohol would become a matter of public regulation, and the public would not only have the power but also the moral right to regulate how people live.

Of the 2.6 million deaths in the U.S. per year, 300,000 are caused by obesity. It’s one of the single greatest drivers of avoidable healthcare spending, costing the country around $200 billion annually.

Progressives may call this fat-shaming. But it’s really just public health and economics.

 

North Orange County homes sales dropped 10% in ’18: 19 trends to know!

Los Angeles and San Fran had a 20% drop in home sales.  Orange County is doing “much” better—only a 10% drop in home sales.

“Last year saw the fewest Orange County homes sold since 2014 and the 8.6 percent drop in sales vs. 2017 was the largest year-over-year percentage decline since 2007. Key culprits in the slowdown include higher mortgage rates; economic uncertainty; not to mention that homeowners seeking a new residences couldn’t unload their old home.”

Jerry Brown was right—the California recession is here.  When will  the rest of Sacramento admit it?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image14115451

North Orange County homes sales dropped 10% in ’18: 19 trends to know!

Prices increased in 11 of the 13 ZIPs in Brea, Buena Park, Fullerton, La Habra, La Palma, Placentia and Yorba Linda as sales rose in just two.

By Jonathan Lansner,  Orange County Register, 2/18/19

Homebuying in Brea, Buena Park, Fullerton, La Habra, La Palma, Placentia and Yorba Linda fell 10 percent in a year with the steepest countywide drop in sales in 11 years.

Last year saw the fewest Orange County homes sold since 2014 and the 8.6 percent drop in sales vs. 2017 was the largest year-over-year percentage decline since 2007. Key culprits in the slowdown include higher mortgage rates; economic uncertainty; not to mention that homeowners seeking a new residences couldn’t unload their old home.

Here’s what my trusty spreadsheet told me when looking at house-hunting patterns at the neighborhood level in 2018 vs. 2017.

CoreLogic found these 19 trends in 13 ZIP codes covered by the Orange County Register’s North County News weekly …

  1. Purchases: Home sales totaled 4,695 vs. 5,202 a year earlier, a decline of 9.7 percent.
  2. Who’s up: Prices increased in 11 of the 13 ZIPs as sales rose in 2 ZIPs.
  3. Countywide: $725,000 median selling price, up 5.8 percent. Orange County sales totaled 35,020 residences, existing and new, vs. 38,310 a year earlier, a decline of 8.6 percent. Prices rose in 75 out of 83 Orange County ZIPs and sales were up in 16 out of 83 ZIPs.

Here is how prices and sales moved at the community level …

  1. Brea 92821: $697,000 median, up 4.8 percent. Price rank? 48th of 83 Orange County ZIPs. Sales of 397 vs. 464 a year earlier, a decline of 14.4 percent.
  2. Brea 92823: $807,500 median, up 6.0 percent. Ranks 27th priciest of 83 ZIPs. Sales of 102 vs. 143 a year earlier, a decline of 28.7 percent.
  3. Buena Park 90620: $575,000 median, up 2.2 percent. Ranks 66th priciest of 83 ZIPs. Sales of 365 vs. 447 a year earlier, a decline of 18.3 percent.
  4. Buena Park 90621: $570,500 median, up 6.6 percent. Ranks 67th priciest of 83 ZIPs. Sales of 280 vs. 298 a year earlier, a decline of 6 percent.
  5. Fullerton 92831: $615,000 median, down 0.8 percent. Ranks 61st priciest of 83 ZIPs. Sales of 293 vs. 277 a year earlier, up 5.8 percent.
  6. Fullerton 92832: $567,500 median, up 8.9 percent. Ranks 69th priciest of 83 ZIPs. Sales of 174 vs. 158 a year earlier, up 10.1 percent.
  7. Fullerton 92833: $600,000 median, up 6 percent. Ranks 63rd priciest of 83 ZIPs. Sales of 500 vs. 572 a year earlier, a decline of 12.6 percent.
  8. Fullerton 92835: $741,000 median, up 4.4 percent. Ranks 34th priciest of 83 ZIPs. Sales of 342 vs. 397 a year earlier, a decline of 13.9 percent.
  9. La Habra 90631: $540,000 median, up 5.7 percent. Ranks 73rd priciest of 83 ZIPs. Sales of 621 vs. 638 a year earlier, a decline of 2.7 percent.
  10. La Palma 90623: $712,500 median, up 5.6 percent. Ranks 43rd priciest of 83 ZIPs. Sales of 126 vs. 128 a year earlier, a decline of 1.6 percent.
  11. Placentia 92870: $655,000 median, up 4 percent. Ranks 54th priciest of 83 ZIPs. Sales of 507 vs. 528 a year earlier, a decline of 4.0 percent.
  12. Yorba Linda 92886: $815,000 median, up 2.5 percent. Ranks 26th priciest of 83 ZIPs. Sales of 689 vs. 838 a year earlier, a decline of 17.8 percent.
  13. Yorba Linda 92887: $830,000 median, down 2.1 percent. Ranks 24th priciest of 83 ZIPs. Sales of 299 vs. 314 a year earlier, a decline of 4.8 percent.

Sign up for The Home Stretch newsletter. Get weekly housing news on affordability, renting, buying, selling and more. Subscribe here.

Plus, three more countywide trends found in 2018 vs. 2017 …

  1. Single-family-home resales: 20,934 Orange County sales vs. 23,022 a year earlier, a decline of 9.1 percent in the period. Median: $775,000 — a rise of 4 percent in the period.
  2. Condo resales: 9,232 sales vs. 10,265 a year earlier, a decline of 10.1 percent in 12 months. Median: $505,000 — a rise of 6.3 percent in a year.
  3. New homes: Builders sold 4,854 residences vs. 5,023 a year earlier, a decline of 3.4 percent in 12 months. Median: $942,000 — a rise of 11 percent in a year.

 

Audit Finds Signs of Fraud in New Mexico House Race–California Also?

What?  Democrats involved in voter fraud—with absentee ballots?  Anybody in California shocked?  While this happened in New Mexico, it could easily happen in California.  Though absentee ballot harvesting is legal in California, there is absolutely no chain of custody of the ballots.  As we found out in Orange County the California law does not stop illegal aliens from filling out and collecting absentee ballots—though it is impossible to tell if all the ballots were properly turned in.

“A new audit report obtained by The Daily Signal alleges a “concerted effort” to push for absentee votes where New Mexico voter ID laws are not enforced. It also points to potential fraud in applying for absentee ballots, and says a significant number of absentee ballots were time-stamped after the 7 p.m. deadline election night.

The report was prepared for the losing Herrell campaign by Full Compliance Consulting LLC and Herrell campaign lawyer Carter B. Harrison.

Herrell’s campaign is not contesting the outcome of the 2018 contest, but sought the review based on its concerns that extra votes appeared to pour in.

“Extra votes poured in”—just like in California.  But, in California the California Republican Party refuses to challenge the lack of chain of custody or any election.  In North Carolina the Democrat Party did and stopped a Republican from being seated.  Where is the leadership in California?

vote fraud

EXCLUSIVE: Audit Finds Signs of Fraud in New Mexico House Race

Fred Lucas, Daily Signal,  2/15/19  

Three weeks after her razor-thin election, Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., attends an office lottery for new members Nov. 30 in the Rayburn House Office Building. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

An audit of absentee ballots suggests fraud may have occurred in one of the closest House races in the country, The Daily Signal has learned.

Democrat Xochitl Torres Small squeaked by Republican Yvette Herrell in the final results of the Nov. 6 election.

On election night, Herrell declared victory in the race to represent New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District. But as more votes were counted, Torres Small secured the win.

The roughly 3,500-vote victory for Torres Small—out of about 200,000 cast in the southern New Mexico district—relied heavily on absentee ballots from Doña Ana County, the largest county in the district, including the Las Cruces area.

A new audit report obtained by The Daily Signal alleges a “concerted effort” to push for absentee votes where New Mexico voter ID laws are not enforced. It also points to potential fraud in applying for absentee ballots, and says a significant number of absentee ballots were time-stamped after the 7 p.m. deadline election night.

The report was prepared for the losing Herrell campaign by Full Compliance Consulting LLC and Herrell campaign lawyer Carter B. Harrison.

Herrell’s campaign is not contesting the outcome of the 2018 contest, but sought the review based on its concerns that extra votes appeared to pour in.

Torres Small spokeswoman Jennifer Lee did not respond to phone and email inquiries from The Daily Signal for this story.

Torres Small, 34, who was sworn in Jan. 3, replaced retiring Rep. Steve Pearce, a Republican who was re-elected by 26 points in 2016.

The House seat has been held by a Republican for all but one term since 1968.

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, won the district by 10 points over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The report says the consulting firm reviewed about 12,000 requests for absentee ballots, 8,577 outer envelopes for absentee ballots, and hundreds of rejected applications from Doña Ana County.

“There were not enough irregularities in Dona Ana County alone to alter our race (though local races could have been altered),” Harrison, the Herrell campaign lawyer, told The Daily Signal in a written response. “But if other counties were to be found to have similar irregularities, the race certainly could have been altered by them.”

On election night, media outlets called the race for Herrell, 54, who has been a member of the New Mexico House of Representatives since 2011.

But well after midnight, Harrison said, the office of New Mexico’s secretary of state informed the Herrell campaign of 4,000 absentee ballots in Doña Ana County still to be counted, which would not have flipped the race to Torres Small, who previously had not held elective office.

However, the state informed the campaign of another 4,000 absentee votes that had been counted but not tabulated, which was enough to change the outcome.

The report says nongovernmental groups “are almost certainly engaging in at best aggressive—and at worst fraudulent—procurement of absentee ballot applications.”

This would have involved an outside group that requested a large quantity of absentee ballots on behalf of others, possibly without their knowledge.

Fully 25 percent of the people who purportedly requested absentee ballots from the Doña Ana County clerk didn’t mail them back, according to the report.

That is more than twice the statewide average for unreturned absentee ballots. To receive an absentee ballot for mailing back, a voter first must send in an application providing a reason why he or she can’t vote in person on Election Day.

“This is suggestive of the possibility that someone was submitting absentee ballot applications for Democrats and those deemed likely to vote for Democrats,” the report says, adding:

Also consistent with potential absentee ballot-application fraud is the apparently high rate of applications rejected for incorrect Voter ID or for submitting duplicate applications, i.e., where the same voter purportedly applies twice for an absentee ballot.

In 2016, a presidential year, 17.5 percent who had absentee ballots from Doña Ana County didn’t mail in the ballots, a percentage almost identical to the statewide rate and slightly above the comparable counties of Bernalillo and Chaves.

However, in 2018, the statewide rate of unreturned ballots was 12.1 percent, and comparable counties were below the statewide average.

“In the 2018 election, there was a concerted effort to encourage absentee voting,” the report says, adding:

The numbers cited above, both with regard to the steep increase in total absentee votes cast as well as the high number of unreturned ballots, cannot be explained any other way. Much of this effort may have been perfectly lawful, but the 25 percent non-return rate indicates such a high rate of ‘unawareness’ on the part of those who supposedly requested the ballots that it is possible there may have been fraud in this area, as well.

Harvesting absentee ballots would be a fourth-degree felony under state law if applications were altered, Harrison said.

The legal case against mass procurement of absentee ballot applications could depend on whether forgery occurred, said Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative at The Heritage Foundation

“It depends on whether the organizations [filled out applications] themselves and forged the signatures of the voters, or did they go to the voters and say, ‘Would you like an absentee ballot?’, and help them with that,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal.

Sometimes, absentee voter fraud is easy to spot, he said.

“If on Election Day, a candidate wins 60-40, but all the absentee ballots are 90 percent for the loser, that doesn’t make any sense,” said von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department lawyer. “Absentee ballots usually have the same proportion as votes on Election Day. If they don’t, that’s a possible clue that something may have been done.”

The report also found that 577 absentee ballots in the New Mexico race were time-stamped after the 7 p.m. deadline.

“We do have strong concerns about those ballots. The statute is clear: No ballots may be accepted after the deadline,” Harrison said.

The report cites some instances of unusual addresses for absentee voters, noting:

—5 envelopes that provided a registration address that did not match the absentee register.

—25 envelopes that listed 845 N. Motel—the county clerk’s address—as the registration address.

—49 envelopes with no registration address provided.

—23 envelopes with a P.O. Box provided instead of a registration address.

Regarding the state’s voter ID law, the report contends that “there is no convincing basis … to exempt absentee ballots from the same requirements that are mandatory for all other methods of voting.”

Previously, New Mexico required the signature of a witness as well as the voter on an absentee ballot. However, in 1993, the state Legislature passed a law removing that requirement.

The report notes that as a result, absentee ballots need only the voter’s signature.

“Today, however, the name, address, and year of birth fields are the Voter ID, and it makes no sense not to verify that information, as is required for every other type of voting,” the report says. “The removal of the second signature eliminated the crucial element in confirming the voter was who he or she claimed to be, but replaced it with the new ID standard.”

Neither the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, which oversees elections, nor the Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office responded to inquiries about the situation.

“We do not require photo ID in New Mexico, but we do require voters to provide their name, address, and year of birth,” Harrison said, adding:

This law was ignored with the absentee ballots in Doña Ana County. More generally, if absentee voting is going to be converted from a backstop form of voting for out-of-town or bedridden voters to something that independent groups try to promote through mail and on-the-ground canvassing, then there frankly needs to be more attention given to security—and more attention given to the operation of those groups.

 

City Attorney Outlines Impacts on Santa Barbara of State Housing Legislation

Santa Barbara, where socialists are the conservative political faction, has come to realize that soon they will no longer be able to control the pristine values of housing and commercial property that they have imposed on the people.  Instead, the State of California has begun the process of taking over housing policy from the city.

“The state’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment allocates units to each county, which then breaks it down by cities and income levels. The Santa Barbara County Association of Government’s report for the 2014-2022 period outlines a goal of building 11,030 new units countywide — with 4,099 of them in Santa Barbara.

As of the end of 2017, the City of Santa Barbara had issued permits for 667 units, or 16 percent of that goal, Ostrenger said.

Planning Commission chairwoman Lesley Wiscomb pointed out that the laws are forcing cities to move away from more subjective guidelines, and that Santa Barbara decision-makers will need to find ways to meet the RHNA numbers while keeping Santa Barbara special.

Imagine 7-8 story apartment buildings on State Street—that could be the decision of Sacramento imposed on the socialist paradise.  Want overcrowding?  It is MANDATED by Sacramento.  The good news is that this will force the elitists of this coastal town to leave California—and imposed their socialism and elitism on other States and communities.  As for Santa Barbara, it is only a matter of time before it looks like San Fran—homeless and human feces everywhere.  Thank you Sacramento—led by a former Mayor of San Fran.

Housing apartment

City Attorney Outlines Impacts on Santa Barbara of State Housing Legislation

With laws ‘basically designed to strip local control,’ city planners are working to create objective design standards for development projects

 

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk , 2/16/19

 

Santa Barbara city planners will spend the next year creating objective design standards for development projects in response to the package of state housing legislation that then-Gov. Jerry Brown approved for California in 2017.

Assistant City Attorney Tava Ostrenger presented a breakdown of the legislation’s local impact to the Planning Commission on Thursday and said it was “basically designed to strip local control.”

The intent of the legislation is to boost housing development and affordability, streamline development, and increase accountability and enforcement of cities’ and counties’ housing goals.

The state’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment allocates units to each county, which then breaks it down by cities and income levels. The Santa Barbara County Association of Government’s report for the 2014-2022 period outlines a goal of building 11,030 new units countywide — with 4,099 of them in Santa Barbara.

As of the end of 2017, the City of Santa Barbara had issued permits for 667 units, or 16 percent of that goal, Ostrenger said.

Planning Commission chairwoman Lesley Wiscomb pointed out that the laws are forcing cities to move away from more subjective guidelines, and that Santa Barbara decision-makers will need to find ways to meet the RHNA numbers while keeping Santa Barbara special.

Some zoning and design standards are subjective now, and city staff and planning commissioners will develop objective standards for multifamily housing projects.

The code amendments and design standards will be reviewed by the Architectural Board of Review, the Historic Landmarks Commission, the Planning Commission and the City Council.

“We want to get this done in a year,” Ostrenger said.

The code states: “If a project complies with ‘objective’ general plan, zoning and subdivision standards and criteria, including design review standards, the city cannot reduce its density.”

The “objective” standards are defined in part as involving no personal or subjective judgment by a public official.

State Housing Legislation Changes

The Housing Accountability Act amendments passed in 2017 declare that “California has a housing supply and affordability crisis of historic proportions. The consequences of failing to effectively and aggressively confront this crisis are hurting millions of Californians, robbing future generations of the chance to call California home, stifling economic opportunities for workers and businesses, worsening poverty and homelessness, and undermining the state’s environmental and climate objectives.”

California has an unmet housing backlog of nearly 2 million units, and must build at least 180,000 new units a year to keep up with growth through 2025, according to the text of the legislation, which was introduced by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley.

Its goal is to curb the ability of local governments to deny housing development, reduce its density (the footprint, number of units or bedrooms, etc.) or otherwise render it infeasible, Ostrenger said. The changes also give courts more authority to order project approvals and make cities pay fines if the project applicant succeeds in challenging a denial.

While the Housing Accountability Act changes are about growth and increasing density, Senate Bill 35, introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is all about speed, Ostrenger said.

Statewide, 337 cities have not met their RHNA numbers, including seven in Santa Barbara County (all but Carpinteria). They’ll be affected by SB 35’s streamlined review process for qualifying residential projects: multifamily infill rental and for-sale housing; and mixed use with two-thirds residential space.

Design review for SB 35 projects must be completed within 90 days for projects with fewer than 150 units. They have affordability requirements, have to be built with prevailing wages and require less parking than usual (a maximum of one space per unit).

SB 35 has a lot of exclusions, however, including in the Coastal Zone and mobile home or RV parks. Notably, the projects cannot require demolishing any rent-restricted units or housing that has had tenants within the past 10 years.

Senate Bill 72, introduced by state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, describes state enforcement options, including civil actions if jurisdictions are inconsistent with their housing elements, such as the state’s lawsuit against the City of Huntington Beach.

It gives teeth to the new legislation, Ostrenger said: “I call it the watchdog provision.”

Planning Commission Response

Commissioner Sheila Lodge asked what communities are expected to do if the local Housing Authority has no funding, or no developers come forward with project proposals for the required units.

“What’s a city supposed to do?” she asked.

“Build houses,” Ostrenger said.

Lodge added that the state would probably not penalize the city if it was moving in the right direction, with objective standards that allow projects and don’t reduce density.

Commissioner Jay Higgins commented after the presentation that Santa Barbara and California are in this position because of a “collective inability to keep up with the times” and a culture of opposing projects or putting up obstacles to them.

“It’s simply based on, we call it compatibility, other people call it — it’s just NIMBYism,” he said. “It takes different forms, even up here, with commissioners some more than others. Frankly, it’s hard not to tinker with projects but there’s also just not wanting to approve projects, period.

“And so that’s a huge cultural phenomenon that’s not going to be corrected in 180 days, or 30 to 60 days; and now there’s a gun pointed to our head to approve these projects.”

He said the city needs to talk about improving the culture of the application review process, starting with City Hall.

Commissioner Mike Jordan said that with the current process, different people can have different interpretations of the same part of a project. The city needs a system of customer service and processes that comply with state requirements and “get us where we want to go as a city,” he said.

Lodge, who served as mayor from 1981 to 1993, wrapped up comments by saying that California has “bemoaned” the housing crisis and water shortages since the 1930s, and that housing needs will continue as long as Santa Barbara remains a desirable place to live.

The city is “hemmed in between the mountains and the sea,” and these changes won’t be the answer to all housing issues, she said.

As an effort to encourage developers to build smaller, more affordable rental housing units, Santa Barbara in 2013 implemented the Average Unit-Sized Density Incentive Program. It will last eight years or, more likely, until 250 new units are built in the high-density residential or priority housing overlay areas — whichever happens first.

There are 151 completed units for high-density/priority housing overlay areas and 35 finished for medium-high density areas.

As of January, there were 640 net new units in the pipeline for high-density and priority housing areas, 201 net new units for medium-high density areas, and 240 net new units for “affordable” projects, according to the city. That includes projects that are pending, approved, have building permits issued, or have been issued certificates of occupancy (completed).

Any application for new units that has been deemed complete before the program expires can keep being processed under the incentive program.

 

Socialism Has Already Hurt America

On a daily basis in California you see the results of socialism—highest housing costs, highest poverty level in nation, failed government schools which are used for indoctrination purposes, not education.  Government lies—look at the refusal of Sacramento to build dams though the people voted for water bonds.

Think our elections are honest?  They how do you proved that the absentee ballots collected by illegal aliens for the November 6 election were actually turned in.  Socialism does not allow for honest elections.

“When Democrats say “socialism,” says Krugman, they really mean “social democracy”—a market economy with a social safety net and use of the tax system as an equalizer.

The issue really isn’t how we technically define socialism. The issue is really the extent to which we are free.

What difference is it really if a firm is privately owned, but the government has vast latitude to regulate what it does? Or if a private firm pays me but government taxes away a large chunk of what I earn?

Venezuela is, of course, the extreme case. Total collapse as result of political despots taking over everything.”

That is the direction the Democrats are heading—will we vote in Venezuela style socialism?

aoc

Socialism Has Already Hurt America

Star Parker, Daily Signal,  2/15/19

Star Parker is a columnist for The Daily Signal and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education.

President Donald Trump was principled and politically astute to address, in his State of the Union, the horrors taking place now in Venezuela, and then to declare:

“Tonight we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”

Venezuela is indeed a poster child for what happens when a nation’s economic machinery falls under political control.

Over the last five years, per The Wall Street Journal, Venezuela’s economy shrank by 35 percent and poverty tripled from 48 to 87 percent.

According to Gallup, 71 percent of Venezuelans say they can’t afford food, 47 percent say they can’t afford shelter, just 15 percent say they are satisfied with the availability of quality health care, and 35 percent say they are satisfied with their standard of living.

Thirty-six percent of Venezuelans—51 percent of those between 15 and 29—say they would leave the country permanently if they could.

But if it is so clear that socialism is a formula for economic disaster, why does the idea still conjure up support?

In a Gallup poll of last year, 57 percent of Democrats, compared to 16 percent of Republicans, say they have a “positive view of socialism.”

Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman says it’s semantics.

Krugman mocks Trump, saying that “there is essentially no one in American political life who advocates such things” as government control of industry, as is the case in Venezuela.

When Democrats say “socialism,” says Krugman, they really mean “social democracy”—a market economy with a social safety net and use of the tax system as an equalizer.

The issue really isn’t how we technically define socialism. The issue is really the extent to which we are free.

What difference is it really if a firm is privately owned, but the government has vast latitude to regulate what it does? Or if a private firm pays me but government taxes away a large chunk of what I earn?

Venezuela is, of course, the extreme case. Total collapse as result of political despots taking over everything.

But socialism is not like good wine, which, in moderation, might not hurt and might even be beneficial.

Every step in which economic freedom is cut back bears costs.

We see what is happening now, as the U.S. economy surges back to life as a result of cutting back regulation and taxes.

But our nation has not totally escaped the Venezuelan phenomenon.

America has entire communities in distress for the same reasons that Venezuela has fallen apart—political control over economic affairs. Life in our poor communities is in the grip of socialism, not capitalism.

Government housing, government health care, government schools, government welfare programs.

There are 31 million people living in areas of high economic distress, now designated as “opportunity zones.” The average poverty rate in these zones is 28.7 percent. The average household income is 40 percent below the national average, and 36.5 percent of prime-age adults are not working. Fifty-six percent of these 31 million are nonwhite minorities.

The president’s new opportunity zone initiative, providing tax incentives to direct investment capital into these neighborhoods, aims to change realities with the same passion that the president spoke against socialism for the rest of the country in his State of the Union address.

How do countries wind up going in the wrong direction?

British playwright George Bernard Shaw captured it when he said, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”

Political demagogues tap into the frustrations of those who are struggling, or tap into the ambitions of those who long for power, and sell them Hollywood dreams—and lies—of a better life. Once they convince them to turn over power, the nightmare begins.

Life has no shortcuts. Freedom, hard work, and personal responsibility are the one and only path to prosperity.

 

Frustrated by government’s slow response, Californians are serving homeless neighbors themselves

Government is the cause of unemployment, homelessness and poverty.  By law, by regulations by red tape, people are not the priority—control and power is the goal.

“Consider the SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition in Los Angeles. What started as a band of neighbors who wanted to get to know their homeless neighbors on a first-name basis has grown into one of the strongest advocates for the homeless in its corner of the city, between downtown L.A., Hollywood.

For the past two years, SELAH volunteers have visited the same homeless encampments every other weekend. None of the group’s core volunteers are professional homeless service workers.

“We wanted to give a way for neighbors who wanted to help their homeless neighbors a pathway to do that regularly,” said Nithya Raman, a co-founder of the organization.”

Churches and non-profits always do better than government agencies.  They act quicker and respond to the real needs of people, not the regulatory rules published by those who care more about government than people.

Homeless hungry food

Frustrated by government’s slow response, Californians are serving homeless neighbors themselves

By Matt Tinoco, KPCC , 2/13/19

 

Sidewalk shantytowns are as iconic as palm trees in California these days. Though state and local governments are finally spending billions on the homelessness, they’re not moving fast enough.

That’s the case argued by a new generation of homeless advocates in California.

As inequality increases and encampments sprout in virtually every city statewide, some Californians are taking it upon themselves to address the pressing needs of homeless people in their neighborhoods—doing the work they think government should be doing, but isn’t.

They’ve gotten to know their homeless neighbors, and they’ve started pushing for the government to move faster and reconsider how it’s addressing what a United Nations report in September 2018 called a “cruel and inhumane” humanitarian crisis.

Though one in eight Americans is a Californian, one in four homeless Americans live in the Golden State. It’s not because of an inviting climate or easy access to public aid.

Stagnant wages and escalating housing costs force people to the street. California ranks 49th in the nation in housing units per capita, and about 30 percent of the state’s renters spend more than half their income on housing, according to researchers at Harvard University.

For these residents, the California Dream of an affordable middle-class paradise has dissolved. Hundreds of thousands flee for lower cost states. Those who can’t afford to move become homeless, driving their neighbors to action.

Consider the SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition in Los Angeles. What started as a band of neighbors who wanted to get to know their homeless neighbors on a first-name basis has grown into one of the strongest advocates for the homeless in its corner of the city, between downtown L.A., Hollywood.

For the past two years, SELAH volunteers have visited the same homeless encampments every other weekend. None of the group’s core volunteers are professional homeless service workers.

“We wanted to give a way for neighbors who wanted to help their homeless neighbors a pathway to do that regularly,” said Nithya Raman, a co-founder of the organization.

At first, that meant donating blankets, food, socks and other items that homeless people need to survive outside. As volunteers returned to the same encampments week after week, they developed deeper friendships. While they try to help them navigate Los Angeles County’s byzantine homeless services complex, they come face to face with the system’s inability to meet the immediate needs of most people living on the street.

“We realized there was a real need to not just do the outreach and get to know people and connect for services, but to advocate for more services within walking distance of most of the encampments here,” said Raman.

In the neighborhoods SELAH serves, there is nowhere for homeless people to go if they want to access public services. If a homeless person calls and asks where to go, they’re typically referred to access points that take more than two hours to walk to.

Opening, or at least helping to open, a service center somewhere in the area nearby is one of SELAH’s primary goals.

Billions are Available

Around California, Los Angeles is typically held up as a role model for how to address homelessness. Its voters approved a pair of landmark ballot measures in 2016 and 2017 that raise nearly $5 billion for homeless housing and services.

Following Los Angeles, Santa Barbara County voters raised their taxes to pay for homeless services in November 2017. San Francisco voters passed Proposition C in 2018, and Santa Clara County voters re-upped a sales-tax that funds anti-homelessness programs. Alameda County and San Diego County are eyeing similar initiatives in 2020. And voters statewide signed off last November on $6 billion of state money to subsidize the construction of housing for poor and homeless Californians.

At 2018 also saw direct investment by the state for the first time, after years of pawning off homelessness as a local issue. Then-Gov. Jerry Brown authorized $500 million in grants for cities and counties through the Homeless Emergency Aid Program.

Now, Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing to do it again. His first budget proposal outlines another $500 million in grants for cities and counties to develop and execute local plans to address homelessness.

“We want modern emergency shelters,” said Newsom at his budget keynote address. “I have been a housing first person, but the severity of this crisis with the unsheltered requires urgency [and] a new version of emergency shelters”

For years, the “Housing First” model is how government has conceived of treating homelessness: Give homeless people keys to a home with a door they can lock, and then work with them to get a job, healthcare, and whatever else they need after they are stably housed.

The model works, but it is dependent on having housing available.

That’s a tall order in infamously housing short California. While tens of thousands of people are being moved from the street to permanent housing, there are hundreds of thousands in need.

“We are housing people. We are getting people off the streets. But there’s always an influx, and it’s not an influx of people coming here from somewhere else. It’s people from here who are losing their housing, and stumble, stumble, stumble, now they’re on the street,” said Dorit Dowler-Guerrero, another SELAH co-founder, herself a low-income housing provider. “We’re doing a damn good job of getting people housed. What we are not doing a good job of is preventing people from becoming unhoused.”

The vast majority of homeless people in California are longtime residents deprived of housing by poverty, social isolation and misfortune. In Los Angeles County, where about 53,000 people are homeless on any given night, two-thirds of those on the street have lived in the county for more than 20 years, according to the most recent demographic survey by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

In Alameda County in 2017, every homeless person who service providers helped find housing was offset by two more who became homeless for the first time, according to the county’s continuum of care.

All of this has advocates clamoring for a shift in the status-quo: for local, county, and state governments to treat California’s homelessness crisis more like an emergency than a problem that can be addressed by connecting homeless people to permanent housing one at a time.

“The money’s there, but we need the hard infrastructure,” said Mel Tillekeratne, who operates a nonprofit, The Shower of Hope. His organization contracts with local governments to provide public showers in about a dozen locations around Los Angeles County. Besides operating as pop-up access points for homeless services, street-oriented services like public showers provide basic sanitary services that are otherwise unavailable to people on the street.

“We need to roll out bridge housing, we need more mobile showers, we need more safe parking sites,” he said. “It’s disappointing that in such a progressive city there’s this mentality that we can send people away to somewhere else without recognizing that these are Angelenos who were priced out of their own homes and are now on the street. We need to address homelessness in a way that meets people’s needs without thinking they’re going to disappear.”

He does this through his nonprofit by converting trailers into mobile showers, and parking them for hours at a time in service-poor parts of the Southern California.

“We get a person every day who hasn’t showered in a month,” he said.

As much money as there is floating around in the homeless services sector, Tillekeratne says it’s slow to actually reach the people in need.

Growing frustration from all sides

Advocates aren’t the only ones questioning the status-quo. Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin, the city’s chief accountant, is asking similar questions as he watches voter approved money accumulate unspent in city accounts while encampments mushroom up. “We have to find a way to use the money more expeditiously and efficiently,” said Galperin.

The money he’s referring to, supplied by a $1.2 billion dollar bond measure voters approved in November 2016, has largely been earmarked to build 10,000 units of supportive housing — homes for people who in another era would have been institutionalized.

But building new housing takes time. Even now, more than two years later, not one unit of housing funded by it has been completed. That has Galperin asking if the money would be better used a different way, one that more immediately addresses the humanitarian crisis on the city’s streets.

Galperin’s office is early in the process of auditing the city’s use of voter-approved money for homeless housing. He expects to complete it later in 2019.

“The number one priority has to be to find a way to get people off the street, to relieve some of that suffering and the many problems that we see happening on our streets because of the crisis of homelessness.” said Galperin. “Building units that we’re not going to see for years and years is not working.”

Newsom’s activist agenda fits historic trend

Gavin Newsom is a socialist—always was—always will be.  His proposals to raise taxes, take away local control of zoning and housing, his effort to take over education and health care—no one can accuse him of trusting taxpayers and families to control their lives.

“And now we have Gavin Newsom, who voices the most ambitious agenda of any governor in the post-World War II era.

In his State of the State address, Newsom ticked off issue after issue he intends to address and presumably resolve, including the housing crisis, economic inequality, climate change, homelessness, educational deficiencies, aging, Alzheimer’s, Internet privacy, medical access and costs, and workforce displacement.

Good luck. He’ll need it. Activist governors haven’t been terribly successful since Warren and the elder Brown.

Unlike previous Democrat and Republican governors, the Newsom activist agenda takes away rights from businesses and local government.  He prefers unelected folks making decisions.  Will he over reach?  Will the Republican Party respond to the challenge to freedom?

newsom

Newsom’s activist agenda fits historic trend

By Dan Walters, CalMatters,  2/17/19

There has been, by happenstance, a cyclical pattern in the mindsets of California governors in the post-World War II era and Gavin Newsom fits it to a tee.

We tend to alternate between activists who want to shake things up and more passive governors who are happy with incremental changes.

The syndrome dates back to Earl Warren, a Republican who held the governorship for more than a decade before becoming chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1953.

Warren was the archetypical Tory reformer, who sought to modernize and rationalize governance of a state that was experiencing rapid population and economic growth.

Republican Lt. Gov. Goodwin Knight, who succeeded Warren, was much more passive, spending much of his six-year governorship feuding with his party’s right wing and losing a 1958 bid for the U.S. Senate.

Successor Pat Brown, a Democrat, essentially embraced Warren’s approach, pushing for big public works, such as a state water plan, and more highways, colleges and universities.

Brown also presided over an expansion of state welfare and health programs, civil rights protection and other liberal causes that sparked a backlash among voters, who rejected Brown’s third term bid in 1966 and elected actor Ronald Reagan.

While Reagan talked big change, not much did change on his watch, thanks to a stalemate with a Democratic Legislature.

Pat Brown’s son, Jerry, was next, coming in with an agenda of social change, such as collective bargaining rights for public employees and farm workers, and environmental issues. However, Brown became distracted by Potomac Fever, running for president (twice) and the U.S. Senate.

Voters not only rejected Brown’s 1982 Senate bid, but elected a polar opposite, Republican George Deukmejian, as governor, with just two major objectives – building more prisons to lock up more felons and keeping a lid on other state spending – and succeeded in both.

However, he failed to recognize an immense socioeconomic wave that broke over the state in the 1980s – high population growth from immigration and a new baby boom, and a coincident transformation to a post-industrial economy.

Pete Wilson, who defeated Brown’s 1982 Senate bid, continued Republican control of the governorship in 1990, but he was a sharp contrast to Deukmejian.

Wilson sought to be a Tory reformer in the Warren mold with an ambitious agenda he called “preventive government,” dealing with issues before they became crises. However, he largely set it aside to manage an unprecedented wave of natural and human-caused disasters.

Passivity returned to the governor’s office in 1999 in the form of Democrat Gray Davis, whose failures to confront budgetary and energy crises led to his recall in 2003, and the simultaneous election of another Republican actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger promised to shake up what he described as an insular and ineffective state government, but mostly failed when voters rejected his package of reform ballot measures in 2005.

Jerry Brown returned to the governorship in 2011 but was, for the most part, very modest in his ambitions and very cautious about taking on battles with low chances of success – more like Deukmejian than either his father or his earlier self.

And now we have Gavin Newsom, who voices the most ambitious agenda of any governor in the post-World War II era.

In his State of the State address, Newsom ticked off issue after issue he intends to address and presumably resolve, including the housing crisis, economic inequality, climate change, homelessness, educational deficiencies, aging, Alzheimer’s, Internet privacy, medical access and costs, and workforce displacement.

Good luck. He’ll need it. Activist governors haven’t been terribly successful since Warren and the elder Brown.

 

Are California’s unions dying? Membership falls to 14-year low

This is a trend?  Will the Janus decision and smarter workers refusing to pay bribes to radical political organizations finally means dishonest, socialist unions are declining in California?

“Last year, union ranks statewide thinned by 86,000 — a drop of 3.4 percent. Organized labor in only 17 other states fared worse. This union dip in California came despite a 2.1 percent jump in all jobs statewide in 2018.

As a result, 14.7 percent of California workers were union members, the ninth-highest share nationally. That’s down from 15.5 percent in 2017. By the way, No .1 for union penetration is Hawaii at 23.1 percent; next is New York at 22.3 percent, then Washington at 19.8 percent.

But union slippage is not just happening in California. Nationally, union membership fell 0.5 percent in 2018. Labor’s slice of workers dropped to 10.5 from 10.7 percent in 2017.

Unions have been sub-committees of the Democrat Party—except the use blackmail and extortion to get contracts and “membership”.  Janus could force the unions to turn honest.

Unions2

Are California’s unions dying? Membership falls to 14-year low

California union ranks statewide thinned by 86,000 — a drop of 3.4 percent in a year.

By Jonathan Lansner,  Orange County Register, 2/12/19

California’s labor movement didn’t have a swell 2018 and shrinking membership could be bad for your wealth, union fan or not.

Two blows hit organized labor last year. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can’t force government workers to pay union dues, and overall membership statewide fell to a 14-year low.

Unions here and across the nation are dealing with an increasingly hostile environment for growth. Penny-pinching bosses fight hard against unionized workplaces. And workers, scarred from the Great Recession’s mass layoffs, seem more concerned about having any job vs. one with bargaining power.

I filled my trusty spreadsheet with new union data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and UnionStats.com and found that California remains organized labors’ top state with 2.4 million members in 2018. But that was the lowest count since the economic boom days of 2004.

Last year, union ranks statewide thinned by 86,000 — a drop of 3.4 percent. Organized labor in only 17 other states fared worse. This union dip in California came despite a 2.1 percent jump in all jobs statewide in 2018.

As a result, 14.7 percent of California workers were union members, the ninth-highest share nationally. That’s down from 15.5 percent in 2017. By the way, No .1 for union penetration is Hawaii at 23.1 percent; next is New York at 22.3 percent, then Washington at 19.8 percent.

But union slippage is not just happening in California. Nationally, union membership fell 0.5 percent in 2018. Labor’s slice of workers dropped to 10.5 from 10.7 percent in 2017.

Much like the nation, California’s unionized hotspot is government-related work. Public-sector union membership statewide was 1.24 million last year — No. 1 nationally. But that, too, was down — off 9.2 percent in a year that saw statewide government jobs overall fall by just 0.7 percent.

Still, 50.3 percent of California government workers are union members, down from 55 percent in 2017. Nationally, union membership in government jobs dropped 0.7 percent in 2018; labor’s slice of all government workers fell to 33.9 from 34.4 percent in 2017.

A bright spot for California unions was 3.7 percent growth in private-industry membership to 1.16 million — again, No. 1 nationally. Union growth in this niche even topped a 2.6 percent hiring pace in the overall private sector.

But the labor movement holds a tiny slice of those working for private employers — 8.3 percent are unionized in California compared with the national average of 6.4 percent.

California unions grew at the factory with manufacturing membership at 121,900 — No. 2 nationally — up 22.8 percent in a year. Unions hold 7.6 percent of statewide factory jobs vs. 9 percent nationally.

But unions slipped at California construction sites with membership falling 8.9 percent to 143,700 in 2018 (yes, No. 1 nationally). Statewide, 15.9 percent of construction workers were unionized vs. 12.8 percent nationwide.

The bottom line is unions have become a fairly unpopular option for California labor.

As recently as 2008, unions saw their cyclical high — 18.4 percent of jobs statewide. Then came economic meltdown. Post-recession, jobs growth has been outside of union territory.

California bosses added 1.5 million jobs — 10 percent — between 2008 and 2018. In that same decade, unions lost 335,000 members, a 12 percent decline.

Compare that divergence with the previous 10-year period which saw California bosses adding 1.6 million jobs (or 12 percent growth) between 1998 and 2008. In that same period, union membership grew by 586,000 jobs or 27 percent.

I know many folks don’t like the concept of collective bargaining and some of the limits unions can put on workplace flexibility. But at the same time organized labor has lost its muscle, wages have stagnated and benefits pruned.

According to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, California union pay was 13 percent above similar non-union workers. Union workers were 37 percent more likely to be offered health insurance by their employers and 31 percent less likely to be part of a family receiving public assistance.

Or ponder what my spreadsheet tells me: In 1998-2008, California’s median household income grew at a 3.3 percent annual rate. Since then, just 2.2 percent.

 

Global Warming News: California Officials Warn Skiers to Stay Home, Too Much Snow

The Grapevine was closed yesterday and parts of the day before due to snow.  Redding had a massive snow fall, killing off Internet service to most of the area.  Happily, California has received a great deal of rain and snow this year—too bad the Democrats refused to abide by water bond measures and refused to build needed dams.

“Weather forecasters are predicting snow storms in northern Arizona this weekend. And in some parts of Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming, road crews are clearing avalanches that closed highways and doing operations to prevent more slides.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has a white paper on its website that warns the western United States will suffer drought and reduced snowpack, even as strong snowstorms hit in the northwest U.S. and above-normal rainfall measurements in southern California have been recorded so far this year.”

I heard this group may be forced to changed its name—the new name?  “The Union of concerned Junk Scientists”—if they want to be honest and accurate.

Sierra Mountains Snow

Global Warming News: California Officials Warn Skiers to Stay Home, Too Much Snow

Breitbart, 2/18/19

Ski and snowboard fans may have to make plans to stay inside over the Presidents Day three-day weekend instead of taking to the slopes as state officials warn there is too much snow to be cleared making mountain roads dangerous.

Mammoth Mountain, a popular ski resort, is just 5 inches short of 30-year snowfall record for February.

The Daily Mail reported:

The storm was expected to dump between 3 and 6 feet (1 to 2 meters) of fresh snow in a region where some ski resorts reported getting 3 feet (1 meter) since Thursday. Officials warned of avalanches in the greater Lake Tahoe Area, where heavy snow and high winds were expected through Sunday.

Chains were required for travel in many other parts of the towering Sierra Nevada.

“All avid skiers are itching to get out on the mountain, but the roads are pretty treacherous right now,” Kevin Cooper, marketing director for Lake Tahoe TV, said in the Mail report.

“State Route 267 is so deep that plows can no longer plow. They have ordered up a large blower to try and clear the pass,” Placer County sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Scott said in a tweet with a video.

“The storms heavily damaged – and in some places destroyed – parts of roads leading to Idyllwild and other mountain communities about 100 miles (161 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, but access was not cut off,” according to the Mail.

“We’re discouraging tourism and snow play up there this weekend,” California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Terri Kasinga said.

Weather forecasters are predicting snow storms in northern Arizona this weekend. And in some parts of Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming, road crews are clearing avalanches that closed highways and doing operations to prevent more slides.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has a white paper on its website that warns the western United States will suffer drought and reduced snowpack, even as strong snowstorms hit in the northwest U.S. and above-normal rainfall measurements in southern California have been recorded so far this year.

 

Socialism Kills Jobs—NYC Restaurants and Amazon

You better visit New York City soon if you are looking for world class food—instead of hot dogs from a street vendor and pizza made in sloppy places.  Thanks to tax and unemployment policies long time, well known world class restaurants are forced to close in New York.  This is a lesson being learned in Seattle—will California cities face this soon?

“Like thousands of others, my son Luke recently left New York after 16 years to return to our Colorado mountain community. The cost of living, the filth, the notorious New York attitude, the nanny-state tax-and-spend politics, and the decrepit subway all played a part. There was also its war on the Second Amendment — despite a Colorado concealed carry permit, a New York City long gun permit, and that, as an armorer, he equipped filmmakers with firearms, Luke was denied a pistol premise permit. Perhaps that was his last straw, but for his mother and me it was the shuttering of restaurants where, after camping on the sofa in his basement apartment, we splurged for excellent meals. Most of the worthwhile restaurants are gone. Time to leave.”

The idea of higher taxes, more employment mandates and regulations are killing jobs and businesses.  Progressives in Washington, New York and Sacramento are working hard to make the United States and California, another Venezuela.

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Get out of New York, all the good restaurants are closed

by William Perry Pendley, Washington Examiner,  2/16/19

 

Like thousands of others, my son Luke recently left New York after 16 years to return to our Colorado mountain community. The cost of living, the filth, the notorious New York attitude, the nanny-state tax-and-spend politics, and the decrepit subway all played a part. There was also its war on the Second Amendment — despite a Colorado concealed carry permit, a New York City long gun permit, and that, as an armorer, he equipped filmmakers with firearms, Luke was denied a pistol premise permit. Perhaps that was his last straw, but for his mother and me it was the shuttering of restaurants where, after camping on the sofa in his basement apartment, we splurged for excellent meals. Most of the worthwhile restaurants are gone. Time to leave.

The first to go was Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro, listed at 2 Park Ave., but really around the corner and down darkened 32nd Street. A short distance from Luke’s Murray Hill residence, its “playful twists to classic French brasserie dishes” drew a reviewer’s praise, but we went for cheese and dessert fondues, massive cheeseburgers, and creative desserts. We were delighted when, in late 2015, it announced a move to a larger location south on Park Avenue. Sadly, in spring 2017, three months before its grand reopening, it filed for bankruptcy, the victim of construction and architectural issues and a purported $3 million debt in unpaid rent.

Next was legendary (since 1937) Carnegie Deli, north of the theater district on Seventh Avenue. It was touristy, noisy, and crowded, and real New Yorkers preferred Katz’s on Houston, but its corned beef and pastrami, especially in the famed “Woody Allen” (I added Swiss cheese), could not be beat. The New York media relished the intrigue that led to its closing: rumors of an affair, a stolen recipe, a nasty divorce, and the illegal siphoning of natural gas for most of a decade. We discovered its death spiral one night after seeing the Broadway play, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” when we arrived to read its “temporarily closed” sign.

Primehouse, a high-end steakhouse at 27th and Park, was a worthy, celebratory splurge, right after renting a new apartment, always a Herculean crap shoot in New York, or moving an 80-pound tabletop and an apartment full of furniture up four flights of stairs, or a birthday. We never ate steak there because its cheeseburgers were delicious and colossal, but everyone packed in around us did, along with ample wine and drinks. Thus, we were shocked one day to walk up and find it closed. According to a waitress at an affiliated restaurant, despite the constant traffic and high prices, it could no longer afford Manhattan’s ever-escalating rent.

We found a worthy replacement, an “upscale steakhouse” in nearby Gramercy, BLT Prime New York. There we did dine on the steaks, which were excellent, as were the fries, onion rings, macaroni and cheese, and revolving, creative-but-hearty desserts. It was less noisy than its midtown cousin, where expense account hedge fund types enjoyed themselves a little too much. Sadly, last month, returning to New York City, we learned that days before Christmas it closed “due to ongoing construction and scaffolding,” an ubiquitous feature of New York City buildings, and the “prohibitive costs of rising New York City rent.”

Undaunted, we always have our favorite site of celebratory meals, including birthdays, weddings, and graduation — the Blue Water Grill on Union Square. Made famous by a Coen Brothers movie, “Burn After Reading,” it was excellent for more than a decade before as a “warm, jazzy American restaurant.” It featured seafood (the raw bar was extensive, but the Ginger-Soy Lacquered Chilean Sea Bass was my favorite), an excellent filet mignon, and creative specialties all topped off for us by the hard-to-find chocolate lava cake. As we readied our reservation, we learned it closed New Year’s Day, unable to afford a $2 million annual rent increase.

A few favorites remain. The Doughnut Plant in the Chelsea Hotel, “the best doughnuts in the world,” was a breakfast locale despite dingy, decades-old scaffolding that turned it into a cave. Serendipity 3, in an Upper East Side townhouse since 1954, decadent desserts, such as the “Frrrozen Hot Chocolate” and towering sundaes, was perfect for after dinner if we made month-in-advance reservations or timed our arrival to avoid the three-hour wait. For dinner, there is delectable Hometown Barbeque in Brooklyn.

On reflection, should I be devouring doughnuts, or scoffing three-scoop hot fudge sundaes at all, or savoring Western BBQ in the Big Apple?

It was great while it lasted. I feel sorry for visitors embarking on the foodie search we began nearly two decades ago, but I empathize with the young men and women now displaced from restaurant jobs, between auditions and dreams, because of what has happened to New York City. Given the daily developments from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, it will only get worse.

William Perry Pendley (@Sagebrush_Rebel) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is an attorney and author of Sagebrush Rebel: Reagan’s Battle with Environmental Extremists and Why It Matters Today.