S.F. immune so far from struggling economy
There may be plenty of disagreements about the budget Mayor Gavin Newsom announced on Monday. But there was one statement I totally agree with.
“The reality outside our 47 1/2 square miles is very different from the reality within it,” Newsom said.
He’s got that right.
The housing market is crumbling across the country – but not in San Francisco. Travel and tourism is down in many places but not here, where visitor spending, fueled by foreign tourists, reached an all-time high last year.
And despite a huge city deficit, Newsom still managed to sound upbeat Monday when he announced spending increases for the police force and a health care program that covers uninsured residents.
“My opinion is that the Bay Area is 100 percent bulletproof,” said Carlo Middione, who has owned the Vivande Porta Via restaurant on Fillmore Street for 27 years. “I live in the Mission and when I go out at night for a meal, I can’t get in a restaurant. I think business is booming.”
Congrats! Further sign that house prices are going to start rocketing forwards. In the Real Bay Area anyway. Haters will undoubtedly point to Oakland… but clearly Oakland isn’t in the Real Bay Area:
Oakland can now claim to be the nation’s King of Mayhem on public streets.
The city’s latest award is yet another dubious honor to bolster that claim: Oakland is among the nation’s leaders in carjackings – with a rate more than four times higher than San Francisco over a two-year period, according to a report in Monday’s Chronicle.
It is also one of the nation’s most violent and murderous cities. As midyear approaches, Oakland has reported 56 homicides, a pace that would exceed last year’s total of 127.
Georgia State University criminology Professor Volkan Topalli, who is writing a book on carjackings, found that Oakland’s high rate of that crime goes hand in hand with a laundry list of troubling crime statistics and social ills that make the city a prime candidate to be on the cutting edge of the next national crime surge as the economic downturn continues.
“I think violence rates are going up across the country, and in places like Oakland, the increase is going to be even greater because of existing problems,” Topalli said Monday in a phone interview.
The combination of poor public schools, high unemployment, and a lack of community cohesion amid open drug sales and prostitution on blighted streets can create “a perfect storm of problems,” Topalli said. In this category, at least, Oakland is ahead of the national average.
Already this year, a 10-year-old boy was shot at a piano lesson, the state Senate president pro tem was carjacked in the middle of the day (possibly by the same man who is accused of shooting the boy, police say), and impromptu illegal street races have ended in fiery crashes and multiple shootings.
Those don’t constitute normal, everyday occurrences in most U.S. cities, large or small. But in the most lawless parts of Oakland, such events are a part of everyday life.
There were so many reported carjackings in East Oakland that it resembled an Auto Row for car thieves.
Worse comes to worse, I hear there’s a secret button that can transform the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge to being just the San Francisco – Treasure Island Bay Bridge. We’ll probably also need to barricade 92 and the Dumbo, but that’s ok since the East Bay long fell out of the Real Bay Area.