Friday, July 1, 2011

Oakland's Shocking Demographic Shift

I know it's not as exciting and seemingly timely a topic as budget chest thumping by the city council, but the most important article to come out in months is right here.

I assume no one has talked about this article either because they're not sure what to say or because of political correctness.

For those of you who chose not to read it, the census reported that the population of black youth in Oakland dropped by 42.3 percent from 2000 to 2010. This mirrors the trends we've seen in enrollments at Oakland Unified, where something like 25 percent of the black population is gone, replaced largely by hispanics and others.

But it does more than mirror it. 42.3 percent is an enormous number. It's unprecedented, really. Oakland's decline mirrors that in New Orleans, according to the article, where Katrina literally forced thousands of people to leave the city.

As always, I'm not a big fan of how our media sorts everything by race, but the data is here. As everyone knows, young blacks commit a hugely disproportionate share of crimes in Oakland, and their scores on standardized tests tend to be substantially lower.

All of this makes me very curious as to what the next 10 years hold for Oakland. We already know that much of the traditional black political base has eroded. But that goes along with the much more moderate decline in overall black population.

This huge drop in the child population could mean much more rapid gentrification for the city. The reason is that the next demographic up in terms of age (early 20s) is really the sweet spot for criminality. Reducing that demographic substantially can't help but  reduce crime in the coming years.

I don't know what role this plays in the current battles over police staffing. I do know that no one will discuss it in this context, for obvious reasons. The only feedback you will see in the popular media is people like Jean Quan describing the shift as a "problem."

For me, it's kind of hard to see it as a problem. I own property here, and I know that its value will increase if crime decreases. And frankly I suspect a lot of the people of all races still living here feel exactly the same way, even if political correctness prevents them from saying it out loud.

My prediction is a steep drop in crime over then next five to 10 years, followed by pronouncements from the cops about how they became "more efficient and effective." The truth will be far simpler -- demographics is destiny. Don't believe me? Take a drive through our local segregated enclave, Piedmont.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Murder on East 14th Street

Yesterday morning (April 8, 2011) Jesus Campos went to work at Otaez Mexicatessen for the last time. Until yesterday I didn’t know his name. I just called him and his wife “Boss Man” and “Boss Lady.”

I had a business a block down the street for 16 years. I remember when the Camposes bought the place from the Galindos. It was a crummy hole in the wall. I advised them to make a “super” burrito… kind of like La Fortuna on Fruitvale. They took my advice.

Then they started to expand. They took over the hooker bar (The Barcelona) and East Oakland Auto Parts. Otaez became a “Mexicatessen,” restaurant and grocery store combined. Eventually they phased out the groceries and got deeper into check cashing.

Hard work is an understatement. It seemed that “Boss Man” and “Boss Lady” were always there. In the afternoon their daughters, still wearing their St. Elizabeth’s uniforms, would come in to help out. Years later I think I could still recognize the family resemblance in at least one waitress.

You may notice that I don’t use the politically correct street name: International Boulevard. I sold my business just before that took effect. I still consider the whole name change to be a fatuous gesture of obscene impotence on the part of the Oakland City Council.

Serious crime was a serious problem along that corridor. Rather than making it more dangerous and difficult to be a criminal… they changed the name of the street. As if history would also change as a result.

As this is written, the police are saying that Boss Man’s murder may have been part of a planned robbery. He had very regular habits… and did a lot of check cashing.

Meanwhile, Oakland remains a magnet for villains. Section 8, rent control, overwhelmed law enforcement and criminal hugging politicians and non-profits make it so. What does it take to recognize the obvious? How many more hard working extremely decent people are going to be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Great "Job Training" Hoax

What do you do with an unemployed sociology grad? Make him/her a job training counselor. Just as good as any other do-gooder scam. But, let’s focus on job training.

First, a really serious flaw in the way the American economy works is that there is an insufficiency of entry-level opportunities. Why? Mostly because of totally moronic minimum wage legislation… perpetrated by economically ignorant tyrants… who will continue to demagogue their “mine don’t stink” point of view into the grave. The balance is due to a complete lack of real world skills as part of the union thug government run educational curriculum.

I was a general partner in an Oakland based printing company for twenty-two years. I trained countless individuals in various aspects of graphic arts. Hence my point: Employers should do the training… at their own expense. But they can’t… because minimum wage laws have scrubbed entry level jobs from the menu.

What do we do with all the “at risk” kids in the public schools? In a more perfect world I would allow them to work part time in local businesses. They’d get paid a minor stipend and they’d get class credit. But, most of all they’d learn something extremely valuable: they’d learn how to be dependable. They’d learn how to show up at work on time… for every day they were scheduled to work. They’d learn how to tell the boss that they weren’t completely sure of the meaning of the instructions they were given… when necessary.

After sufficient experience these individuals would have the opportunity of enhancing their skills at local community colleges, and private technical schools. It’s OK to have a degree in sociology. But it doesn’t come with an entitlement to a remunerative career.

In my personal experience, I hired a guy from a local job training center. His task was extremely simple, requiring minimum skills. Right off the bat he essentially murdered most of his family… meaning he was always missing work to attend funerals of various relatives. One day his case worker called, wanting to know how he was doing. “We don’t know” was the answer because he hardly ever showed up. The case worker called his home. He was in his jamies watching TV.

One other case: This guy was a good worker. But his mother made him miss work all the time to do errands for her… like pick up her welfare check. He eventually joined the army to get away from the anchor chained to his ankles.

The pervasive dishonesty expressed among our political “luminaries” in describing economic disadvantage is breath taking. Career advancement is often and aptly described as a ladder. One rung at a time. Because of minimum wage laws and other punative employer mandates (viz. health care) the bottom rungs have been stripped off the ladder. It’s not as easy to climb a ladder when there’s no way to start.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oakland To Lose Federal Funding For Poor?

Let's hope so.

One thing that more or less guarantees that you'll wind up with lots of poor people is when you construct programs that pay them to be poor.

Apparently both the Chronicle and Mayor Qunt are worried about these cuts reducing Oakland's ability to continue all its handouts to the folks who are unwilling or unable to work.

One program that appears to be of particular concern to Qunt is Head Start. I guess she's never read the research which demonstrates pretty conclusively that Head Start does nothing to improve children's later prospects. Same goes, by the way, for poor kids bussed to nicer parts of town.

The irony of all of this is that these folks are ignoring the real story this week, which is the census data indicating Oakland continues to gentrify rapidly in spite of the recession and housing crash.

Maybe instead of trying to keep its poor, Oakland should welcome this reduction in funding as an opportunity to try and attract people who actually add something to the local economy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

OUSD Graph By Ethnicity

Take a look at this:

You can switch it around to see different ethnicities. As you can see, every year whites and latinos tick up, and blacks tick down. OUSD has lost 40% of its black population in the last decade. That's a huge decline, and sort of oddly worrying.

There must be a story here. Anyone in the mainstream media care to comment?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Another Oakland Pension Update

Apparently Mayor Jean Qunt (pronounced as it's spelt) disagrees with the actuaries who say that Oakland's 1976 crop of retirees will live for some time yet.

Now, far be it for me to argue with a Qunt, but I suspect the actuaries are actually fairly good at their task. Yes, it's amazing that so much money is owed to a set of people who are all in their 70s and above. But, that's the obligation Oakland undertook.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More Oakland Pension Nonsense

I noticed none of the local bloggers seemed to care about this story in the Chroncle about Oakland's legacy pension issue.

To refresh your memory, these pensions apply only to workers hired before 1976, so all but one of thousand or so people are just collecting nowadays. So, as usual, the taxpayers are the bagholders for a former liberal scheme.

This particular pension balloon is notable in that:

  1. it is the reason why Oakland homeowners are bilked a 1.4 percent property tax charge instead of the more normal 1.2 percent.

  2. It is probably the thing that will make Oakland go bankrupt in the end.

Stay tuned. This pension is just part of the overall shell game. The bigger part is the 3-and-50 game that our current employees and their union squeezed out of the system.

If only there were some people in California willing to move in the direction Wisconsin and Indiana are headed.