Thursday, September 21, 2006

Play Date

My kids chased their friends through the house screaming as we sat out in a yard with the parents drinking beer and eating pizza. Oakland above the Warren Freeway really is a different city. The views, the wildlife, the problems: the kitchen remodel went over budget. Co-workers don’t get killed, children don’t get shot and old and sick people don’t live on the winding roads.

I complained somewhat bitterly about the state of Oakland as I see it from the county hospital. One of the parents concurred expressing disappointment with the City government and their complete lack of vision or leadership. They then stopped and qualified their comments. “I don’t think much of our councilperson but she really sticks up for this neighborhood.”

The comment stuck in my mind. See, Oakland city and county government spend a great deal of their time, energy and resources pandering to affluent voters in the hills. This isn’t their first priority, their first priority is developing good relationships with land developers so they can sell off public land and make enough rich friends to fund their ambitious ascents to Sacramento. Still they take pains to insure a higher quality of schools, services and life to the residents of the Oakland hills.

Just think about it. Do the obvious inequities of services in the City of Oakland contribute to the crime and desperation we are seeing?

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