I grew up in San Francisco when Herb Caen, the famed columnist, was still calling it “the City that knows how.” Right now, the only thing it seems to know how to do is self-destruct, with the ultra liberal Ninth Circuit aiding and abetting:
A federal appeals court gave San Francisco the green light Wednesday to require employers to help pay for health care for uninsured workers and residents, and it signaled that it is likely to uphold the city’s groundbreaking universal coverage law.
A three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed San Francisco to enforce its law and extend coverage to all uninsured adults while the city appeals a federal judge’s decision striking down a key funding provision.
That provision requires large and medium-size companies to offer insurance to their employees or pay a fee to the city for the cost of their coverage. The court said the city probably would win its argument that U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White was wrong when he ruled Dec. 26 that local governments lack the power to force employers to contribute to a health care program.
That the ruling allows the law to take effect during the city’s appeal is unusual. Generally, appellate courts refuse to allow enforcement if a lower court has found part of a law invalid. In this case, however, the appeals court said it was granting San Francisco’s request for an emergency stay of White’s ruling because the city had a strong argument and because of consequences for people who cannot get health coverage.
“Otherwise avoidable human suffering, illness and possibly death will result if a stay is denied,” Judge William Fletcher said in the 3-0 decision.
Just last week, yet another small law firm that I know of left the City. The cost of doing business there was just too high, and the firm escaped to the more congenial suburbs.
I find what’s going on in San Francisco very sad. San Francisco always had a reputation for bohemianism, and it was certainly always more liberal than the rest of America — a reputation in which it gloried. Nevertheless, it was also a very civil city, with hallowed traditions and a strong sense of its own history. It’s not the same anymore — and this isn’t just my sense, but the sense I share with other San Franciscans, some much younger than I. It’s gotten dirtier and shabbier. The politics have gone from liberal to aggressive, with attacks against the military normative, not just on the streets, but in the political process. (See here and here, for example.) It’s also a City that is slicing its own throat economically. It’s one thing to be liberal politically. It’s another thing to make business so prohibitively expensive that business simply leaves.
Thinking about it, San Francisco no longer has a quirky West Coast American charm. It’s gone European. It’s white, it’s aging, it’s heavily taxed, it’s dirty, it’s hostile to the American military, it’s attempting to be gun free (although, possibly, not for much longer) and I’m glad I don’t live there anymore.