Saturday, May 21, 2016
CRAIG EDWARD KELSO, Bernie Sanders Takes National City
Though whatever really was of the Democrat Party nomination for President of the United States has all but mathematically been determined, and Bill Clinton's wife's coronation has now officially turned to making overt, tin-eared statements about having already wrapped up the gig, Bernie Sanders, famed independent who has never held a private sector job in his 70+ years, is just feet away from where I type.
National City, California is an incorporated city to San Diego's south, bordering the famed travel destination. To its immediate east, National City is gutted by a slice of north-south freeway (805), an eye sore that screams poor city planning by anyone's measure, all the while flanked west by the mighty Interstate 5.
National City is tiny (about 60K) in population, but the bedroom community punches above its weight in per capita crime and poverty. Until recently, it had two major distinctions: a Sanctuary City for illegal immigrants (that mayor was summarily thrown out of office in a wide ranging corruption scandal) and the highest sales tax in the state, pushed upon voters by local oligarchs who literally threatened the already unsafe city would grow worse.
It's a bureaucrat's dream city, an American progressive Nirvana. Whereas its coastline should be among the most enviable in all of California, home to luxury hotels and a scenic strip of land to die for, National City has government education annexes, Social Security offices, gigantic single mother welfare campuses, and various social service agencies exactly where its economic sweet-spot would be.
Instead of collecting gaggles and oodles of taxes from uber rich tourists and landowners to pay for world class schooling and roads and public amenities, National City depends entirely upon state and federal tax absorbing agencies to provide the niggardly economic life it enjoys.
Its eastern side, above sea level, is where some private housing remains. Otherwise, the entire city, from top to bottom, is a sea of Section 8 apartment complexes, taco shops, churches.
Demographically, it has a great many schools (more tax absorbing land) all of whom fall way short of basic literacy performance indicators ... but the respective staffs (none live in National City) average about $70,000 a year and dutifully take their incomes to nicer parts of San Diego county. National City is where Mexican immigrants can shop and dine and exist without the bother of learning much English, and where fresh off the boat Filipino immigrants can similarly enjoy their slice of ethnic enclave.
Salaries for just its City Manager and City Attorney near a half million dollars annually, combined, not including benefits and pension, and the schedules for the rest of the city employees is astounding when placed against how the city looks and feels, the bang for the tax payer buck. It's a government mafia town, pure and simple.
The political class preys on National City residents, caring little for long term wealth and quality of life issues. There are never-ending sidewalk projects and odd concrete street and avenue dividers (YOUR CITY AT WORK!). Greenish, yellowish bumps are at odd parts of the city to denote traffic stops. The municipal class understands its clientele is ill equipped to question government employees, and so they take full advantage.
It's lone economic claim to fame is The Mile of Cars, a sucker's bet by nearly any estimation. Easy, Fed-driven negative interest rates have car salespersons pushing depreciation upon first and second generation immigrants looking to one up their fellows to the tune of $20,000 in payments. National City residents can work as mechanics or lot attendants after the vehicles are repossessed.
That the city needs a gigantic enema, a flowery smelling douche to wash out its Ponzi-Scheme economy is really beyond debate. Scrap it all and start over.
It's, in other words, a perfect time for Bernie Sanders. He's coming to an already Democratic Socialist utopia -- no one gets ahead by any real measure, and even the poorest of them are grossly fat. A city built on government cheese knows little else about wealth creation, much less a free society. Sanders speaks to them. Taxes? What are those? Oh, yeah, it's the money we GET BACK at the end of the year. Sure, raise them. Who is making us poor? Apple! Google! Rich people! Billionaires! Those people over there!
All that might've read too cynically, and I didn't mean to overly condemn Bernie's appearance. Who hears of National City anymore? It's great he's coming here. San Diegans might get a taste of the scene I am describing and, who knows, maybe they'll get some great Mexican food or Filipino food as a result! Ironically, maybe Bernie will spawn a half day of free trade economic development!
If I were still teaching, you bet my students would be all on this (and a lot of my former ones are telling me they're going). It's a way for people normally disconnected from politics to get a foot inside. I don't particularly advocate politics (the opposite), but like anything one first has to be literate in at least what is going on before a conversation can be had. Maybe this will be the fire by which a few National City dwellers are pushed into asking serious questions about economics, politics, movements, and the like.
See, I can be optimistic.
Fuck Bernie Sanders.
And I mean it.