Whilst adventuring out west I was able to download podcasts from my favorite talk show, Garage Logic. And so, though 2,000 miles away and in the most remote regions of the US, I was still able to hear about the latest stupidity of Minneapolis, this time our newest mayor's desire for Minneapolis to go "zero waste."
Naturally some standard observations and criticism can be made:
1. the municipal left's propensity to blow money on consultants.
2. the blindingly obvious fact that the left has ran out of genuinely good ideas on governance and are instead pursuing the political religion of going green
3. the lack of funds needed to do basic things like pave streets
4. and the poetic justice of the idiot citizens who vote for such idiocy, but get to suffer it
There is more, but the important lesson to take from this is not one of leftists policies turning every major metro into Detroit, but rather one where it pays every potential home owner to step back, clear their eyes and look at cities for what they really are:
Large home owners associations.
I never liked the idea of HOA's because to me it seemed like another layer of unnecessary government. But if you're going to live in a development or a condoplex, HOA's are a necessary evil. However, cities or municipal government are EXACTLY THE SAME THING, just on a larger scale. And just like you would want to investigate who is in charge of the HOA's, what kind of people live in the association, etc., etc., so to do you want to investigate the city you're about to drop $300,000 purchasing a home in.
First, who are your neighbors? Most regular HOA's are filled with boring, law-abiding citizens who live in the burbs or are professionals in the city. Sure they may play music a little loud or perhaps they don't tidy their yard, but in general they are people you can get along with. Contrast that with a major metro area where it is practically guaranteed you have criminals, drugs, racists, dumbass drunkard youth, graffiti artists, all of who are practically guaranteed to be leftists.
Second, because of the city-HOA's populus' propensity to be leftists, you can expect a city council of unimaginable ineptitude to be voted in. All they have to say is the right thing, advocate the rich pay their fair share, beg the state for more money, and spend money on bike trails, art, community centers, and light rail trains. Consequently...
Third, what are your association dues aka "property taxes" like and what is their trend? Again, it is no secret that while living in Minneapolis my property taxes went up 400% in 8 years. If I remember the math right, I was shelling out around $350 a month, up from $90 a month when I first purchased the home. Not only did I not enjoy an increase of 400% in city services, the perpetually increasing property taxes made it so my rental property no longer cash flowed AND consequently drove its value down. I could only imagine what $350 per month would get me in one of the posher suburban developments.
Fourth, if the HOA posing as a city is so poorly managed, are you even going to be able to sell your property if you decide you no longer wish to be a part of that HOA? Ask anybody who had a significant real estate investment in Detroit during the 60's if they got their money back or lost money on their property. The problem people face, especially in large metros, is that home ownership really isn't a benefit, but rather a liability.
The larger point is that no matter how big a city is, when you decide to purchase property within those city limits you are consciously or not joining a "club" or an "association" the members of which consist of the entire city's population. This population, like a HOA out in the burbs, will determine the quality of life you have, not to mention the ultimate financial cost associated with owning a home in that municipality. If the people are high quality people, you can expect quality services, a quality standard of living and low HOA's fees. But if it's the typical vermin that populate our major metros you can expect to pay through the nose for bad roads, crime, people bigoted against conservatives/libertarians, and a perpetuity financial liability that forever will increase, rendering your home worthless. The choice is yours.