Stephen Kessler | Progressives are the new conservatives

By Stephen Kessler :santacruzsentinel – excerpt

While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will dominate our local, national and international reality for some time yet, eventually Santa Cruz will once again be faced, as former councilman Chris Krohn reminded us last month in this space, with the same issues as before. While it’s easy to point the finger at ruthless real estate developers as the source of all our problems, such developers would have no business here if Santa Cruz weren’t such a desirable place to live, which has created a huge demand for housing.

The evolution of the progressive left, epitomized by those of the “Save Santa Cruz” persuasion, into the most conservative force in the political landscape—a mirror image of “Take Back Santa Cruz,” its partner in nostalgia for parochial innocence—is one of our most curious developments. The shared slogan of these groups could be “Make Santa Cruz Small Again.” The supposedly forward-thinking activist sector, headed by such longtime politicos as Krohn and environmental attorney Gary Patton, is riddled with the cognitive dissonance of contradiction.

One such paradox is the demand for a cap on UCSC enrollment, for all the obvious reasons: environmental impact, traffic, insufficient housing, etc. COVID-19 may solve this problem. Yet many of the most avid increased-enrollment opponents are themselves products of the university, as alumni or employees, who have entered the community via that route and are even now toiling under its corporate protection. It is also UCSC students who comprise much of their political base. For politicians of the left to demand a freeze on student enrollment is to ask for fewer votes for themselves in local elections… (more)

I don’t like labels, but the author brings up some interesting concerns. Both sides use similar claims to develop or slow development. It is up to the people to define their own interests and their community. To a large extent relationships will determine the outcome. Science will provide the answers about capacity if people pay attention to them. Right now, social distancing is making the overwhelming argument to slow down and take a pause, but, some people don’t care.


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