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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 14, 2014 / 14 Iyar, 5774

The Height of Utopianism

By Thomas Sowell




JewishWorldReview.com | A political battle that is shaping up in San Francisco has implications for other communities across the country.

The issue that will be on the June ballot is whether voter approval shall be required to change the height restrictions on buildings along the San Francisco waterfront. Like so many other political issues, this one is being debated in runaway rhetoric bearing no resemblance to reality.

Former San Francisco City Attorney Louise Renne, for example, says that "the people" own the waterfront and therefore should be "consulted." Really? Can one of "the people," who supposedly own the waterfront, decide that he wants to sell his share of it and pocket the money?

As for being "consulted," how many of "the people" — who have lives to lead, careers to pursue and families to take care of — are going to study the economic and other complexities created by height restrictions?

What we are really talking about are little coteries of self-righteous busybodies, who have been elected by nobody, wrapping themselves in the mantle of "the people," in order to oppose elected officials, who have been elected precisely in order to give such issues the professional attention they deserve, in a system of representative government.

Height restrictions have serious economic implications that are not immediately obvious to those who do not look beyond rhetoric about "saving" this or "preserving" that.

In a place with very high land prices, such as San Francisco, the difference between building a ten-story apartment building and being restricted to building a five-story apartment building can be a big difference in what rent will have to be charged, when there are only half as many renters to cover the costs of the land.

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When a city cannot expand upward, its growing population must expand outward. That means far more commuter traffic, from ever greater distances, to get to work in the city.

Anyone who has seen the huge amount of traffic clogging the bridges into San Francisco, as early as 6 o'clock in the morning, will understand that such repercussions exact a price that goes beyond money to time lost in traffic and lives lost in traffic.

None of these hidden costs of height restrictions is likely to be noticed, much less weighed, by those who speak or hear self-indulgent rhetoric about how the waterfront is a "treasure" that needs "careful and attentive stewardship" by the voters, as a San Francisco Examiner editorial put it.

And just how many of those voters — "the people" with jobs, homes and families to look after — are going to have time to carry out this "careful and attentive stewardship"? Does anyone seriously believe that most people have time to be poring over maps, reports and statistics about the San Francisco waterfront?

Is not the whole point of representative government that you cannot run a city, much less a state or a nation, as if you were having "town meeting democracy" in some little New England village, where virtually everybody knows everything that is important to that village?



Nothing is easier than to rhapsodize about the waterfront as "a public resource beyond compare." But, however impressive the San Francisco waterfront may be, no resource is "beyond compare."

Comparing — weighing one thing against another — is what rational decision-making is all about. Exempting what some segment of the population wants from the process of weighing alternatives is what rhetoric-driven political stampedes are all about.

Ms. Renne's assertion that those who own the waterfront should be the ones to make decisions about it is an argument for a policy the opposite of what she advocates.

Constitutionally protected property rights, which have been seriously eroded by judicial "interpretation," were meant to keep many decisions out of the political arena.

It is not that individual waterfront property owners will get together to make such decisions. Instead, market processes can make property owners "an offer they can't refuse," based on how much other people want their property, in order to build whatever there is a real demand for by others. And we will be spared rhetorical flourishes.

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