David Pisarra

Safer at home, week three in Santa Monica and the numbers I’ve been following on Worldometers.info/coronavirus have been proving Governor Gavin Newsom right in taking the swift and insightful action he did. California’s cases are increasing but not nearly as rapidly as those states that ignored the problem. Currently we have the third most cases in the country, but Louisiana, Massachusetts and Florida are gaining on us quickly, which is pathetic since combined they have about 2/3rds the population but will have about 3 times the number of cases. Currently combined they have 1026 deaths to our 372, as of April 6th at 3:30 p.m. That’s not a good thing.

No one wants to be a leader in this game. It’s kinda like the end of War Games, when the computer plays itself and runs simulations of all possible scenarios for nuclear Armageddon and it realizes that, “An interesting game, the only way to win is not to play.”

I’ve like Newsom for years. It was February of 2004, when then Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the San Francisco City clerk to redesign the marriage license application and he ordered that marriage should be open to gay and lesbian citizens. He was a visionary then, in fact the 2/24/2004 column I wrote about him was titled, “One Man’s Courage May Become the Majority.” I was right then, as was he.

For all of the sniping that our Governor gets about being too protective and overreacting, he’s right and we are reaping the benefits of his foresight and direct action. We have to do nothing more than look at the numbers across the country of those states that lollygagged and delayed the safety measures. They will be experiencing tremendous losses over the coming weeks. We may still suffer greatly in California, but we’ve done one heck of a job of slowing the progression and our Governor and certainly Mayor Garcetti deserve to be lauded for their actions.

It’s painful I know, as a business owner I feel the loss of phone calls, and new business. I work with restaurants that are hurting right now. They are definitely losers in the moment. Their staff who have been laid off or had their hours cut back dramatically have paid a price and their losses will be felt across the community in the coming weeks. This is however a great lesson in the macroeconomics of how our society operates and people will leave this experience with a new and profound understanding, to quote the great author and philosopher, Douglas Adams, of the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things.”

I was looking at winners and losers of this shutdown, and was creating a diagram of how just one business YogurtLand, will be impacted, and the impact its closure will have on others. The business is shuttered for the moment, which means the owner has no revenue to pay his employee Rudy, who in turn has no income to pay his rent, his landlord will have no money to pay his mortgage, and the banks then will have less cash available to lend out to future franchise owners like Chris, the owner of Yogurtland.

The children’s parable of For Want Of A Nail The War Was Lost, has been taught as a way to express how little things lead to big things. Today, we are living that reality, and will have to learn from it, when we begin to pull ourselves back out of the self-imposed hibernation. The good news is that we can do this. It will start with businesses like my clients who own restaurants. For people will buy their lunches, and tip their waiters who will then be able to pay their rent, and buy their groceries, then pay for gas in their cars and pay for haircuts and manicures and then those people will go shopping for new clothes and the retail staff will be able to buy a new TV for their kids, that they can pick up from daycare.

I think that the key to our recovery will be returning to restaurants and personal services as quickly as possible for those are the dollars that circulate the quickest, and that is what we will need. So save your pennies now, to buy your lunches and haircuts in a month.

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