In my last column, I admonished Sacramento Democrats for failing to: introduce a single-payer health care system, repeal Costa-Hawkins and the Ellis Act, reform Proposition 13, fund a green jobs program and create a bill that requires white men to apologize for their privilege.
Since then, Sen. Ricardo Lara introduced a single-payer bill, which Sen. Scott Wiener tells me he supports. Assemblymembers David Chiu and Rob Bonta introduced a bill to repeal Costa-Hawkins. To paraphrase Margaret Mead, never doubt that a cranky Jewish comedy writer can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
This means cities could extend rent control for the first time since 1995. A lot of the alleged problems with rent control — which the fake landlord front group the Small Property Owners Association complains about, like rich tenants who make more than their landlords — flow from rent-controlled units being a scarce and shrinking precious resource over which tenants must claw each other’s eyes out. This is why my organization, Small Property Owners for Reasonable Controls — a political action committee of insignificant landlords — supports expanding rent control on behalf of 100 percent of mom-and-pop landlords.
The federal government could make it easy for states to pass single-payer health care by allowing states to combine Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and other federally funded health plans, under the single-payer system.
Without using existing federal funds, the state has to figure out how to pay for it. Since an enormous amount of health care dollars are squandered on marketing, monopoly, waste and administrative overhead, simply taking the profit part out of health insurance could save enough money to fund the entire health care system for everyone in California.
Since essentially all the job growth in America is in gig-economy jobs without health care, a single-payer system allows people to keep driving Uber without infecting their passengers with smallpox.
The next step is to build undeniable political pressure to pass both the Costa-Hawkins repeal and single-payer to scare the other side off going to the ballot to overturn them — and to figure out who will sponsor reforms of the Ellis Act, Prop. 13, green jobs and making white men apologize for their privilege.
Opposition to President Donald Trump has been a catastrophe for democracy, but also for political rhetoric in San Francisco. Everyone gets to make any argument in terms of calling for unity to resist Trump:
Mayor Ed Lee: “How dare you ask me to follow through on my promises to regulate Airbnb when Trump is in cahoots with Russia?”
Progressives: “How dare you ask us to wait six months for the budget process to fund immigration attorneys, because emoluments?”
“Unity in resisting Trump” is the liberal “letting the terrorists win.”
The Robert F. Kennedy Democratic Club changed its name to the United Democratic Club. There was a big dust-up at the Democratic County Central Committee over the politics of the group, but for a band of hot-blooded millennials, I don’t like it because “United Democratic Club” is the most generic name possible. The other Democratic clubs have names that might indicate to the casual observer what they’re about. Toklas. Bernal Heights Dems. Richmond Dems. “United Democratic Club” may as well be called “[Your Club Name Here] Democratic Club.”
Some people are tired of thinking about politics, which is understandable. They say, “It doesn’t affect me. I’m not an undocumented immigrant, or Muslim, or a legal immigrant, or a woman, or a union member. I don’t owe student loans, drink water, breathe the air, leave near rising seas or burning forests or bursting dams or use any public service that requires regulation to function safely. I’m healthy and am confident that I will never get sick. I don’t read news, go to protests, and am not currently being shot at. So why should I get involved in politics? What does it have to do with me?”
Nato Green is a San Francisco-based comedian and writer. Seem him live for Verdi Wild Things Are at the Verdi Club on Thursday, March 9.