Shellenberger book explains “why progressives ruin cities”

San Fransicko focuses on the west coast city, but Minneapolis is prominently mentioned throughout the book. Author Michael Shellenberger explains how and why progressive policies have made the big Pacific Coast cities unlivable, by their failing to address the simultaneous and interrelated crises in homelessness and urban crime.

The new book was published last month and currently sits at number one on Amazon in the category of Sociology of Urban Areas and two other categories.

Shellenberger is perhaps best known for co-founding the Oakland, California-based pragmatic environmental nonprofit Breakthrough Institute with Ted Nordhaus. In the 2018 election, he ran for Governor of California as a Democrat and finished 9th of 27 candidates in the state’s open primary. He now runs his own environmental nonprofit based in Berkeley, CA.

Shellenberger documents in San Fransicko how the progressive elites have deliberately failed to address open-air drug markets, rampant property crime, untreated mental illness, and widespread homelessness in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. He traces these failed progressive policies from their ideological origins to their on-the-ground impacts through his own reporting and eyewitness testimony.

Minneapolis is prominently mentioned throughout the book, with four references in the index, several unreferenced mentions, and seven indexed references to George Floyd. Shellenberger goes into some detail in describing the creation of the Minneapolis autonomous zone where George Floyd was killed. Shellenberger notes,

Local black-owned businesses suffered because customers were unwilling to enter the zone. Many of the occupiers were not from the community that had been taken over. Some weren’t even from the city.

San Fransicko is worth your time and attention as a cautionary tale/preview of coming attractions for what lies ahead for Minneapolis. More than just documenting the problems, Shellenberger devotes the book’s penultimate chapter to some worthwhile reform ideas.

Follow Michael D. Shellenberger on Twitter at @ShellenbergerMD.