Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Berkeley Kicks Out Its Poor

Berkeley has come up with a plan (Hot debate ahead on Berkeley's energy plans, Carolyn Jones, Chronicle Staff Writer, Saturday, April 18, 2009) to rid itself of poor homeowners and earn the applause of Liberals for “fighting global warming.” When Berkeley mandates that all homes meet strict energy standards, at a cost per home of $33,800 or more, poor homeowners will be forced to sell out and move away. Wealthy buyers will benefit from the forced sales, and the poor sellers’ homes will have lost value equal to the cost of compliance with the new standards. The poor will be forced to sell their homes at lower values, in effect paying the costs to meet the new standards for the wealthy buyers.

What a deal! Berkeley upgrades the economic status of its residents, increases its property tax base, and becomes the darling of global warming activists. Berkeley’s greenhouse gas reductions will be less than the increase from a new Chinese coal-fired plant in its first week of operation, but as with all liberals, it’s the gesture that counts.

UPDATE: Just after I posted this, I found a new Chronicle report that Berkeley was having second thoughts about the wording of their 145-page Climate Action Plan (Berkeley councilors: Home upgrades not required). Apparently Berkeley now is saying that the word "require" in its plan should be replaced with "set a goal." That's a welcome and unexpected sign of sanity on the part of some Berkeley politicians, but it leads me to wonder what that does to "The Plan." The obvious answer is that it pretty well voids it, since the things that Berkeley says are essential to meet its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emmissions by 80 percent won't be happening.

But the poor of Berkeley are not out of the woods yet. There still may be compliance costs - the sum of $10,000 was mentioned - required when the "home is sold or remodeled."

But most at City Hall agreed that Berkeley will continue to aggressively crusade for environmental improvements.

"We're not backing off this," Marks said. "We're very certain we're going to have to get there."

I'm very certain that Berkeley is not going "to get there" by backing off their "Plan," but then again I'm absolutely certain that Berkeley wasn't going to accomplish anything anyway, no matter if they shut Berkeley down completely. Certainly there must be at least one person in Berkeley who will tell the rest that Berkeley is an unmeasurable blip in greenhouse gas emmissions. Even if Kyoto had been totally implemented successfully, the reduction in global temperatures would have been an unmeasurable 0.07 degree Centigrade. Somehow the Senate was bright enough to recognize that and voted 95-0 to not ratify Kyoto, even with Bill Clinton and Al Gore as President and Vice-President.

However, I'm sure that Berkeley will declare its "Climate Action Plan" a complete success, because to liberals, it's the gesture that counts.

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