This is my rebuttal to your post “A TIF-Based Solution To The SF Bay Area Homeless Crisis.”
I think we’ve discussed that, as the “Strongest Regional Economy in the World,” the Bay Area needs to face up to its all but palpable destiny as a megalopolitan city-state and begin dealing with the unconscionable disparity that such a freewheeling economy – not seen in California since the Gold Rush days almost two centuries ago! – has created.
Tax Improvement Funding is a well-proven means of for funding smart-growth and other socially desirable projects, as would a refinancing for those cities, like Oakland, with the heaviest debt and heftiest loan rates. If the Bay Area has, via ABAG and/or MTC, the kind of lower-rate bonding capacity and could use it to help underwrite a refi for Oakland, our City’s highest and best budget could be almost instantly forthcoming, instead of the perpetual complaint from our frustrated officials at all levels that, “We just don’t have enough money.”
Meanwhile, we’re spending more per capita on homelessness than other taxpayers in other municipalities throughout the Bay Area, even though, as you have correctly identified, this is a regional problem, and it would seem only reasonable to believe that a Bay Area Homelessness Task Force could absorb most of the costs that our under-prepared and overwhelmed politicians are struggling to deal with.
Sure, Oakland is in the eyes of many folks under the spell of our current President, a lot like the “Shithole Countries” he and his ilk disdain – but out here in the mild west, as physically distant from the stench of DC as possible, our proto city-state is obviously evolving in the direction of a new economic reality, much like the “Ecotopia” that Callenbach and others prophetically began to describe almost a half century ago.
So the big question for our leaders is this: if we can derive so many more benefits right now for our economy and, appropriately, all the rich and poor folks who dwell here too, why aren’t we taking sure steps in that direction now rather than wait for some crisis in DC – an area of the country continuously in crisis! – to nerf us onto that smarter, saner and surer path to economic stability?
As with the TIFs you and I have both seen at work much to the benefit of everyone, creation of – or, in the case of the Bay Area, realization of – a Bay Area-wide super city or megapolis should be happening now rather than to continue accommodation of the two-economy, rich-versus-poor, city-state we inhabit today, with one set of laws skewed for the wealthy and another set of constrictive laws for the most wretched and growing numbers of poor in our midst.
Oakland Developer Steve Lowe is best known as the co-creator of Old Oakland, a collection of restored Victorian buildings at and near 9th and Washington in Downtown Oakland.