Recently, GAYLA completed its annual three-day training in Sacramento for its youth spokespersons, which culminated in Queer Youth Advocacy Day demonstrations held at the state capitol.
Efforts to end alleged bullying against gays, install transgender bathrooms, overcome what’s described as discrimination and allow gay marriage make headlines not only in California but nationwide.
From afar, I’m watching California address LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) issues with amazement. I applaud whomever is responsible for the public relations campaign that has, within only a few years, vaulted the LGBTQ agenda into the spotlight.
Because I’ve been unsuccessfully promoting an issue for nearly 30 years that will lower the quality of life for every Californian, their children and their grandchildren — overpopulation — I envy the LGBTQ lobbying triumphs. Environmental groups that promote sensible growth have had less success in drawing attention to population and made even less progress at promoting activism than pro-LGBTQ organizations.
Most Californians oppose bullying and discrimination in all its forms. But it’s safe to say that LGBTQ issues have less direct effect on most Californians than relentless annual population increases. Every time a Californian gets into his car, he pays the price for the more-than-doubling of the states population since 1970, to its current 38 million.
According to the annual INRIX Traffic Scorecard, California has three of the top 10 most congested roads. Ranked by the numbers of hours lost sitting unproductively in traffic, the cities are: No. 1, Los Angeles, 64 hours; No. 3, San Francisco, 56 hours; and No. 7, San Jose, 35 hours. Nationwide, traffic is growing at three times the GDP rate.
Last year, California’s population continued its steady growth. The state added 1,000 residents daily. A California Department of Finance study found that every county in Southern California grew. Los Angeles County topped the 10-million mark following 0.8 percent growth, and the city of Los Angeles approached 4 million people after growing by more than 38,000 people, or a full percentage point. Statewide, three of the five fastest-growing counties are in the Bay Area: Santa Clara County grew the fastest at 1.5 percent, followed closely by Alameda. Santa Clara County includes San Jose, the state’s third-largest city, which topped 1 million residents for the first time. By 2060, the San Joaquin Valley will add 3 million more residents, doubling from 3.1 to 6.2 million.
To accommodate the growth, developers built 59,426 new housing units in 2013, compared with 45,367 units in 2012, a 31-percent increase that created wider urban sprawl. More housing units are planned.
Traffic and housing are only a small part of the overpopulation challenge. According to a new Washington D.C.-based, nonprofit NumbersUSA report titled “Vanishing Open Spaces,” California has been plagued by over-sprawl, defined as a combination of population increases and per-capita land consumption.
Excessive population growth isn’t limited to California, of course. And if Census Bureau estimates don’t frighten you, then you can’t be scared. The Census Bureau projects that from today’s 318 million, U.S. population will hit 459 million by 2050, a 33-percent increase.
The obvious solutions shouldn’t be difficult, but are probably be too much to hope for. Eliminate the child tax credit and replace it with a credit for having fewer children. Develop a sensible federal immigration policy that reflect U.S. population limits.
Reports from the Census Bureau, the California Department of Finance and the California Department of Public Health revealed that from 2000 to 2010, 2.6 million immigrants moved to California and gave birth to 2.5 million children, a total of 5.1 million new residents within 10 years from immigration alone.
The current population level and the unavoidable sprawl that inevitably comes with it isn’t sustainable and should be fearlessly addressed in political campaigns at the federal, state and municipal level.
Joe Guzzardi lives in population-stable Pittsburgh, PA. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.