2020 may be remembered as the year many of the freedoms we had, or thought we had, died or were mortally wounded. It was the year we became subject to arbitrary government decree without recourse.
Time magazine missed the mark by not naming The Government Bureaucrat, Person of the Year.
Naturally, property rights are the subject of primary interest to the readers of this publication. Tenants without any showing of hardship have been allowed to remain in their units with little to no payment of rent.
Eviction rights have largely been eliminated in favor of potential civil claims which in many cases will be worthless and others probably not practical to pursue. California has about 17 million tenants. Assume property owners have claims against ten percent of them; not an unlikely scenario. Imagine the court system trying to handle 1.7 million new cases.
Deadlines for rental obligations have been continually pushed forward from the summer, to the fall, to January 31, 2021. Now there is talk of extending the moratoria to the end of 2021.
Some tenants have legitimate economic hardship occasioned by the shutdown of large swaths the economy by our government leaders. These leaders have become economic referees effectively determining the winners and losers in the Covid-19 economy. They themselves are immune to the hardship they impose on others. As we have seen, they, in fact, often violate the rules they pass. The big winners are businesses deemed essential by bureaucrats. One wag observed that liberal elites consider only nannies and delivery drivers as essential workers. Government employees who continue to receive full pay while many only have to “work” from home are big winners. Dine-in restaurants and their workers are the poster children of the pandemic economic hardship. New York Gov. Cuomo shut down dine-in service while admitting that only 1.43 percent of Covid-19 cases were traced to restaurant dining.
What about the right to a fair trial. There are reasons that eviction attorneys now pursue their cases to a trial by jury. A lawyer said to me recently,” there are two things you don’t want to be in court; and doctor or a landlord”.
What about due process? In a town of 70% renters, Santa Monica housing providers are regulated by elected officials elected by those same tenants.
What about freedom of the press? Are you kidding me? What we need is freedom from the press. In 1440 Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press was largely responsible for the expansion of literacy and freedom of expression. But 2020 saw social media, basically today’s printing press, controlled by a uniform ideological cabal.
I worry by the end of 2021 we will look back at 2020 as “The Good Old Days”.