Actually, I do see one local cop quite regularly. Caliente contracts its police services out to the Kern County Sheriff's Department. We have one cop for the entire town. And instead of trying to collect anti-dog barking fines or stop me for speeding, he just waves at me. After all, his kids and my grandkids attend the same local schools, and pretty much everybody knows everybody else around here. On my last shopping trip to Lake Isabella, I encountered three other vehicles on the road and wondered where all the traffic had come from.
Needless to say, that is not the way it is in San Francisco (or any other big city). But San Francisco always seems to be ahead of the pack. Outlawed plastic grocery bags. Goldfish ownership made illegal. Restaurants severely restricted on what they can prepare and serve. No toy water pistols unless they look like Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse. Smoking prohibited, well, almost anywhere. But they just couldn't stop that damned traffic. So they're doing the next best thing. If you can't lick 'em, tax 'em.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) have gotten their fuzzy heads together and come up with a plan whereby all Bay Area residents will be required to have electronic devices similar to GPS communications which will monitor the number of miles a car travels. At the end of a fiscal period, the owner will get a tax bill for the number of miles used up. Can mileage quotas, "excess mileage surcharges" and electronically controlled kill switches be far behind?
This is almost as insane as their plan to monitor gasoline usage. In fact, it's even sillier. In San Francisco, it's impossible to travel very far. It's a very tiny city geographically. But miles traveled would be far less tax lucrative than gasoline usage because traffic in the City is start-and-stop, stop-and-stop, or snail's pace most times of the day. And those hills are not exactly gasoline mileage increasers.
San Francisco depends heavily on tourism. The largest percentage of visitors each year are Californians who drive their cars into town. Many are day-trippers who drive in from the far flung suburbs and exurbs. Under the current proposal, only Bay Area residents would be required to purchase and activate the devices in order to be taxed. How that is going to be implemented remains to be seen. But I can also see a working commuter from San Jose or Concord suing for unequal enforcement of the law when the entire rest of the state remains untouched by the requirements and the tax.
On the other hand, I can see Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown and his tax and spend Democrats thinking that this is such a good idea that they will impose the same thing statewide. Everyone knows that Californians aren't taxed enough already--right? Besides, some of the tax money extorted from drivers could be used to help fund the bullet train to nowhere.
The proposed tax is called the Vehicle Miles Traveled tax (VMT). If you think your AT&T bill is screwy, wait until you see one of these tax bills. The tax would be as much as ten cents per mile, adjusted for location, reason for travel, and even time of day (rush hours, when most commuters actually need to be on the road, will be the most expensive).
A spokesman for the MTA says "We're not interested in where they go. We're only interested in the amount they travel." Well, that's a relief. Oh, wait, they already have GPS to tell where we go. This whole scheme is allegedly to reduce traffic and pollution, but the perpetrators know it won't make a dent. It produces the one thing that liberals in government really love--mo' money, mo' money.