What’s the Point?

We Need To Do A Deep Dive For The City

I do consulting with people and companies in order to provide an outside viewpoint and to take a step back to review the bigger picture of what is happening in a life, a company or an industry.

They’re called Deep Dive Weekends.

This past weekend I was in Raleigh, N. Carolina doing one of these Deep Dives, and for two days we dug deep into motivations and causes and conditions so that we can plan a future for my client and his company.

This naturally made me reflective on life in our sleepy little town, which is not so sleepy and not so little anymore, and it’s getting to be fairly difficult to live here. And scary.

Murders. Assaults. Break-Ins. They’re all up. Is this related to the Metro — maybe, more likely it has to do with an increase in population, traffic and the overall state of our economy.

Yes, we have more tourists, and more homeless, both of which are an outgrowth of the strange state of our national economy in a weird way.

As the paths of our society have become more polarized, there are rich and there are poor, and fewer in the middle each year, we are facing a crisis point of how to help the needy while the rich get to travel.

Each year tourism and travel goes up, which helps our local economy. I say this being one of those who does a fair bit of annual travelling. I’m on and off planes several times a year for work and pleasure.

This past weekend I was on planes to Atlanta and Raleigh. When I looked at the passengers, I could see that most of them were business people travelling home for the weekend.

This crew of road warriors is keeping planes full and the economy flowing. Like a lake, the economy needs to have a constant influx and outflow in order to be properly functioning.

So when there is a lot of movement, things are healthy. When it goes stagnant – called a recession – things get ugly and stinky.

We’re lucky in that our national economy, and more importantly our local economy, is active and engaged right now.

There are many new startups in our city, whether it be the new taco restaurant or barber at the corner of Pico and Lincoln, or a tech venture at Cross-Campus. These startups help us continue to grow and expand. They provide jobs, some low tech, some high tech but jobs none the less.

Nationally even though the economy is considered to be healthy, the jobs market is down. That’s due to production improvements like robots, computers and to a degree, off-shore operations.

This is causing the pool of homeless to grow. These people turn to other activities to survive the day.

Whether that is drugs and alcohol related or desperation, crime goes up. If you can’t buy food, eventually you’ll steal it – that’s just human survival instinct. It’s not a moral judgement, but a reality check.

The southwest is an ideal place for someone who is facing a homeless winter for obvious reasons.

It’s more survivable. But that means those of us who live here are faced with an influx of new “residents” that are a drain on our resources.

Whether that is in terms of mental health services we provide, general relief, or the time and expense of when first responders get called out for service.

Our infrastructure has increased as a result of increased need, we’ve also increased our expenses and each year it seems to get more expensive to live here. Rents are higher than ever, and the cost of doing business in this town for simple things like parking never go down.

I spend on average $5 a day in parking at city meters and lots.

Annually I pay a business license fee just for the privilege of paying rent and having my office here.

I think we need to have citywide summit on the future of our little town, and think about what we can do to continue to provide basic services to those in need, but also to re-prioritize our budget and goals.

I want to see us continue to be a worldwide tourist destination, but I also want to see focus put on the needs of the residents, both homed and homeless.

The Federal government is not going to help us here until we have a major disaster and frankly under the current administration, even then I’m doubtful.

So, we need to have a Deep Dive discussion amongst ourselves, and figure out how to address the multifaceted needs of our city and our future.

I know the City Council thinks they do this, but they don’t seem to hear the citizens so much as the developers these days. I want to hear the residents’ voices.