As In Any Good Utopia, Culture Matters - Granite Grok

As In Any Good Utopia, Culture Matters

In Any Good Utopia

In San Francisco, as in any good utopia, culture matters. It’s the cost that does not seem to matter. Whether the show goes on or not; the paychecks continue to go out. The taxpayers get to foot the bill… whether or not they receive value.

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The War Memorial Opera House employs twenty-five staffers with six-figure salaries. This includes a patrol officer bringing in $164,399 in total compensation. The total staff is 120 people. Cancellation has befallen the summer and fall performance seasons. It’s that or moving online. Yet, there are no reports of layoffs or even pay reductions.

The Asian Art Museum cost city taxpayers $7.8 million in employee compensation last year. It too is not open to visitors this year. In 2019 Director Jay Xu made $302,145 in total compensation. This includes salary of $220,563 and benefits of $81,582. Other high-earners included the deputy director at $248,463. Then there is a maintenance superintendent at $200,802. And the curator at $200,046, and a librarian at $174,355.

Utopia is expensive; reality brings very high taxation paying the bills for it

San Francisco’s long-term financial situation looks bleak. The city has guaranteed $8.1 billion in pension and retiree healthcare. But that has not been funded. Each city resident owes $9,000 just to cover the unfunded liability. That comes from data provided by fiscal accountability organization Truth In Accounting (2018).

The city is struggling to balance its books. Its unions are not cooperating. The unions representing San Francisco’s 44,525 city employees are organized labor. They are aggressively hitting back against a recent proposal to pause pay hikes. Nearly one in twenty San Franciscans work for the city.

San Francisco is a progressive utopia. Nobody seems to care in the least about the taxpayers’ ability to pay. No thought is being given to the dollars paid versus the value received. Why is it reasonable to spread this contagion nationally? Do we really want to get our leadership from San Francisco? The San Francisco Bay Area is home to powerful progressive politicians. But how are their policies working for the Bay area?