All of Connor O'Brien's Comments + Replies

It’s Time for Greater San Francisco

Hi Evan, 

Very interesting piece and I think San Francisco isn't alone in the need for some form of greater regional governance. My mind immediately jumps to all the regional planning bodies throughout the U.S., like CMAP (Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning) in Illinois, which covers an area vastly greater than the City of Chicago but whose powers are purely advisory. From what I understand, they put out excellent regional plans full of great TOD and YIMBY proposals. Yet it's ultimately the Aldermen of Chicago who exert  a kind of feudal aut... (read more)

3ejz5moFunny enough, Chicago didn't have a dramatic consolidation, but it is the result of a lot of annexation. During the failed 1912 SF consolidation, Chicago was also held up as an example of a successful consolidation. Toronto consolidated in the 1990s. So it can still happen. Transit is challenging. As I talk about in the piece, I don't think that every consolidation makes sense. You can't say "it's all integrated" or "there's regional rail, so become one city!" and free-riding is a timeless problem. SF is is somewhat unique at this point in time in how uniquely it's connected without being merged. Maybe LA comes close. I think the issue with the taxing authority for a supra-authority is you run into issues of authority. I think school boards are somewhat like this, where they are funded by real taxes and people vote on their representation, and they take it really seriously, but it isn't quite a municipality. County elections are like this too for things like sheriffs.