Wednesday 3rd of June 2020 01:05:26 PM GMT

Why Oakland Measure AA Tax Should Not Be Collected

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(Last Updated On: April 12, 2019)

Why Oakland Measure AA Tax Should Not Be Collected

ONN – Why Oakland Measure AA Tax Should Not Be Collected: A Vlog

To proponents of Oakland Measure AA Tax, I am very aware of the detail behind your arguments, but I ideologically disagree both with the Oakland City Council’s December 11th 2018 decision to advance the tax for eventual collection, and the reason for the tax.

Those who have characterized my take as “inaccurate” have to be careful with using a word like that, because it has nothing at all to do with my hard-set ideological reasons for my opinion.

Homelessness should be Oakland priority one. Period. The only reason we are in this position is because now former Governor Jerry Brown terminated Redevelopment and we let him do it.

With a giant affordable housing fund in place (Oakland had $111 million in 2011 alone) we could have built more affordable housing and had a huge fund considering the assessed value property growth between 2012 and today.

There is zero good excuse for the position we are in today. Zero.

Moreover, and as one who created the computer model for the Coliseum Redevelopment Survey Area in 1987 (The Area Redevelopment Economic Model), and also had both the Emeryville and San Francisco Redevelopment Agencies as clients, I can tell you that we had much greater revenue flexibility then.

What is equally massively disturbing is the reluctance to use SB 628 (Bealle) to employ tax increment financing today. As I showed Oakland Athletics President David Kaval, (via a spreadsheet) he could generate over $85 million directly for affordable housing at Jack London Square.

I steadfastly hold that homelessness is the problem we must focus on. Moreover, its solutions provide the driver to the answers to the problems you Oakland Measure AA Tax proponents are concerned with.

You must understand that my thinking is governed by system dynamics: in a complex system one looks for the main drivers of the problem, then repairs them.

We have two main driver problems:
1) High housing costs and
2) Lack of basic sustainable jobs

Our country has a 34 percent underemployment rate, and that is 35 percent in Oakland and San Francisco. That means roughly one out of every three people is making less than they should. That is an alarming development.

We got to this by letting basic jobs go overseas without a plan for economic redevelopment. We also got here by failing to apply technology and money to develop it, to upgrade basic industry to the environmental needs of today. Not surprisingly the world demand for steel only has increased, while the USA has decreased in its market share of supply creation to meet the demand.

The climate change problem is borne of overpopulation. Indeed, even the Green New Deal starts with that view. Fortunately, the overall rate of population growth had continued to slow to where it is today: 1.1 percent this year.

As far back as 1977, when I was first introduced to system dynamics, the thinking expressed in the book “Limits To Growth” was that population growth would slow to zero by 2000; its 2019 now.

In other words, arguably we have too many people for our planet. That is the real discussion and it’s a scary one. How do we get out of this? Well, prayer for one, then the continued advance of market economic systems but with technology sharing applied to industry for environmental concerns, for another. Those, and a plan for planetary colonization, will help us deal with the problem.

Why?

As I discovered in my research paper for the late SF Mayor Ed Lee, when he was over the Human Rights Commission in 1993, lower birth rates come with increasing rates of education. That need for more education is driven by growth in industry. I prefer a market mechanism because it’s more efficient and effective and promotes democracy.

In other words, a better educated world population tends to lead to lower birth rates.

So there is my reason for my position. But I do thank you for allowing me to present my case.

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Zennie Abraham
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