Call it the McMansion Death Act of 2006.
It is a more apt name for the Global Warming Solutions Act signed into California law seven years ago.
You don’t have to read between the lines to see that the state mandate to reduce carbon emissions is aimed directly at how most Californians live today. Suburban-style living, with its housing tracts complete with expansive green lawns and dependence on a vehicle even to do routine errands, is clearly in the crosshairs.
And no target is bigger than the McMansion.
Instead of outlawing McMasnions per se, the California Legislation simply said we must do something about global warming and climate change and attached numeric goals to the legislation.
The devil is in the details worked out by non-elected state bureaucrats.
In order to save the world, housing tracts of 4,000-square-foot-plus houses aren’t going to be built. Nor will homes have expansive green lawns. You may also find new homes intermixed with business parks and retail uses and possibly even sharing the same structure.
The Global Warming Solutions Act, known as Assembly Bill 32 in its purest form, is about reducing per capita energy consumption and water use. The expressed intent of the politicians wasn’t to force lifestyle changes on their constituents, but that is the only way that local jurisdictions that are being made into mandatory hatchet men for the state can meet the mandate.
Perhaps you agree with the objective, perhaps you don’t. But there is one thing for sure: Those with the means won’t have to suffer much of a lifestyle change.
Larry Ellison - whose consumption patterns make Tammy Faye Baker look like Mother Teresa in comparison - is a serial buyer and builder of gargantuan, super-sized McMansions.
Homes under 18,000 square feet are considered hovels by the king of Oracle. He buys trophy homes like Imelda Marcos bought shoes. His estates typically encompass more acreage than Woodward Park.
Then there are the big muscle cars, plus jets he has so he can live the Ellison lifestyle.
He definitely has the money to buy and maintain the stuff he has. And personally, who cares?
But is it right that someone like Ellison, just because they have money, can have a carbon footprint that’s arguably larger than the entire City of Manteca while the government forces everyone else to scale back on their consumption of energy and water through the minimization of land use, housing size, and driving?
The rich already get tax breaks and free passes on the rules government imposes on the rest of us.
We will be told the legislation never ordered cities to do what they are being forced to do. They simply had to meet target levels of carbon dioxide reduction. The only way to do that is put in place policies and rules that force lifestyle changes through market manipulation.
The rich, of course, don’t live in neighborhoods of tract homes where the brunt of the greenhouse gas solutions are being focused.
And while it sounds un-American to demand that Ellison and his ilk be mandated to stop over-consuming in order to ease global warming, how is what the government is doing now much better?
They didn’t pass a law per se saying what is coming down the pipe. And certainly local government isn’t mandating that you only drive your car “x” amount of miles or can only buy new houses that are smaller and have tiny yards. But the solutions they are being forced to put in place accomplish the same thing.
The Global Waning solution is yet another example of how the rights of the masses are compromised for the greater good while the rich and elite can still do their thing, including being free to own a dozen estates with massive carbon footprints.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209-249-3519.