Are our cities lost for good?

It was a significant admission for a governor who has seemingly had more to say about a state he doesn't govern than the one he does. Recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom, who survived a recall election just two years ago, admitted the homeless situation in his Golden State is out of control.

"This state has not made progress in the last two decades as it relates to homelessness because housing costs are too high," Newsom admitted, adding, "our regulatory thickets are too problematic."

It was a new tune for the former San Francisco mayor, who has spent the majority of the last year running a public relations smear campaign against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Still, Newsom did hasten to shield himself from full responsibility by arguing he has been in office for "only" four years and that the homeless situation really stems from 2005 when Republicans held the governor's mansion.

Yes, that's crazy. It was 18 years ago. Homelessness has risen by 13% in just the last four years. Once-beautiful tourist cities like San Francisco and San Diego have become overrun with tent encampments and shuttered businesses. As homelessness has become epidemic, crime has risen steadily, and business departures have followed closely behind. AT&T just euphemistically announced their reason for departing their flagship store in San Francisco - change in "consumer shopping habits." It's another way to say, "people are stealing stuff with no consequence."

In Newsom's defense, he isn't alone. Cities along the west coast, including Portland and Seattle have faced similar crises. Portland has seen nearly 3,000 businesses flee because of a lack of social order. To be clear, these aren't just mom and pop shops being squeezed out by some larger, national trend of corporate takeovers. No, Cracker Barrel, Walmart, and Nike have all packed up because of vagrancy and crime. Seattle too has faced a similar exodus due to an inability to maintain social order.

It would be too assuming and unfair to conclude that these areas are failing and becoming, in some cases, uninhabitable, because they are all run by Democrats. Don't get me wrong, the statistics make for good memes:

But here's my overarching concern - while the memes are fun, while the statistics are good fodder for national political campaigns, what about the poor people who are stuck there? It's certainly one thing to say, "You get what you vote for." That's true, of course.

Maybe I should look on places like Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago, and the West Coast, shake the dust from my sandals, jeer "you'll never learn," as I retreat to my better-administered, safer community. But I can't.

Maybe I should just continue musing about how eye-opening it would be to go through a national divorce, separate into two different countries, and let progressive voters get to experience these progressive utopias for themselves. But I can't.

Maybe I should point and laugh at the clueless mayors and corrupt city councils who are either in so far over their heads, or committed to a cultish ideology, or preoccupied with power and enriching themselves they are content to continue down this disastrous path. But I can't.

There has to be a way to reinvigorate these once-great cities and redeem them from their plunge into nearly third-world status. There has to be a way to bring:

Spiritual renewal: a sense of moral accountability, personal responsibility, love of neighbor

  • Familial renewal: a desire to provide for your children, to shelter loved ones
  • Enterprise: a drive to innovate, to dream, to create
  • Sound public policy: increased penalties for all crime - creating a no-tolerance policy for even the smallest offense, better surveillance, target hardening

I'm not pretending to have all the answers. But I do believe they are out there and we should be talking about them. Pointing out failures - either people or projects - is easy and far more enjoyable than the difficult task of working for the common good. But I think the payoff will be far greater for the latter.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Not the Bee or any of its affiliates.

Ready to join the conversation? Subscribe today.

Access comments and our fully-featured social platform.

Sign up Now
App screenshot

You must signup or login to view or post comments on this article.