Thomas Sowell

 Then there was an impassioned little speech by another current resident about "privacy issues," spiced with a reference to the Constitution of the United States, which apparently guaranteed privacy, though the Founding Fathers somehow forgot to say so. 

 Because the condos facing his house would be two stories high, having windows from which people could see him was apparently considered a great imposition. Presumably the gentlman has shades on his own windows that could provide privacy and he did not have to do anything out in the yard that he did not want neighbors to see.

 Yet the commissioners seemed to think that there were too many windows in the plans for the condos, or windows in the wrong places. That would have to be changed to get their votes.

 Both the commissioners and the neighbors are in a position to impose high costs on others at no cost to themselves. Self-indulgence is virtually inevitable under these condiitons.

 All this self-indulgence is taking place in northern California, where "affordable housing" is a political mantra -- and a practical impossibility, due precisely to blithely piling on costs to anything that the pols would deign to allow to be built.

 Collective decision-making has had such a bad track record around the world that, by the end of the 20th century, even socialists and communists were turning more decisions over to the market. But apparently the word has not yet reached San Mateo.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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