“The Strongest Regional Economy in the World?”
Crisis management and containment in any emergency is an obvious necessity to guard against rampant expansion and to prevent widespread damage; it is therefore irresponsible for our Regional Agencies to remain in the background any longer while the Bay Area’s least adequately funded cities, Oakland in particular, must struggle to combat our Region’s growing homelessness crisis.
The frustration felt by anyone who cares at all about the Homeless=Housing Crisis can be alleviated, we know, via policy making on a much broader scale than any one city can provide all by itself, especially when it’s obvious that not a single city in the Bay Area has half enough resources to effectively deal with such a deep-seated problem, going back as it does for years, even decades.
And it is therefore unhelpful for any critic to suggest that this City Manager, or that Mayor, or any other single policymaker can, all on his or her own, find some sort of magic answer to resolving such a widespread problem, any more than an individual policymaker, even if on a national level, might be capable of singlehandedly staving off a plague or flood.
However, a Mayor or other authority can be deservedly criticized for waiting too long before sounding the alarm and demanding that some sort of Regional Task Force or special effort be duly assembled and immediately put to work, particularly when human life is threatened, children are at risk, human trafficking is rife, and filth and open sewage are creating a health crisis and health care emergency that we see accumulating right now on our streets, parks and common areas.
So how close to readjusting the efficacy of Bay Area Emergency Management are we, particularly with respect to this ever-escalating Homeless=Housing Crisis?
Although recently dubbed the “Strongest Regional Economy in the World,” anyone can see that our San Francisco Bay Area economy is, at heart, basically dysfunctional to have so many negatives weighing it down, with rampant inequity in the form of income disparity and housing likely being the most troublesome with which to duly contend forthrightly and without prejudice.
The ultra-high cost of continuing such mismanagement of our regional economy far outweighs the comparatively lower cost of fixing it, the same way that deferred maintenance must eventually show up on any balance sheet as a carried cost that no business or society can dare ignore for long, unless, of course, pretense and avoidance are woven deep into the fabric of such a system.
Given that the preponderance of homeless and out-of-work folks in the Bay Area are minority people,one of the first questions that needs to be addressed – if we’re truly serious about resolving the issue of Bay Area homelessness! – is how can the most pragmatic adjustments possible be made to our “Strongest Regional Economy” so that everyone can participate and retune this giant economic engine even finer, to the point of its greatest efficiency, where it’s an even better production machine than the past hundred or so years of economic evolution and constant improvisation has so far wrought?
Surely by now, with our unique depth of Bay Area economics professors, business executives, sociologists, labor experts, etc., we can assemble a region-wide table where a far better model of economic interactivity can be hammered out to supplant that with which we currently have to contend – especially if it’s costing everyone more in taxes to fumble along in such an illogical way?
Surely, we ought to leap at the chance of making such an obvious change in our regional approach, following on the enlightened example of our forefathers when faced with the economic encumbrances of, first, royal rule, and then, slightly less than a century later, the horrible and immoral weight of slavery.
Can our leaders rise to surmount the crisis confronting us all?
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.