A snapshot of the future.
in case you missed it, when the Congress and whoever is President fail to take significant action on cutting (note, NOT “reducing”) spending by the federal government the debt service – make that the interest payments on the national debt will be about 90% of tax receipts in just a very few years. states and municipalities are in even worse shape. And if you want to see what the world will look like in ten to fifteen years, just take a peek at Oakland, CA and Camden, NJ. Oakland is especially interesting because the former mayor of Oakland is now, and once again, Governor of California. That would be Moonbeam Brown.
From the SF Chronicle yesterday comes a report of the continuing financial meltdown in Oakland.
Sound the alarm – Oakland’s Police Department is shrinking so fast that it doesn’t have enough officers to cover some patrols and many of its investigative units have been stripped to the bone.
Everyone knows about the 80 officers the city laid off in July to save money. But since then, 21 more have retired, 12 have decamped for other police departments, five have simply quit and one has been fired – dropping the total number of officers to 670.
Six hundred and seventy cops in Oakland, where the Chief of Police says, from the article, that he needs 925 cops to patrol the city. Oh, and of that 670 that are on the force now, they’re not really on the street. Another 150 or so are either leaving Oakland for other police agencies, retiring at the end of the year or on medical leave. That give them 520 to police the city. Except that another 60 or so are required, because of a ballot measure, to police specific sections of town whether anything is happening or not. Make that 460. Or about half the “needed” number.
So, you say, hire more cops. Well, no. The voters, the same ones who voted overwhelmingly for Jerry Brown, refused a ballot initiative that would have raised money (without cutting other city services, so you can guess where that was coming from) to hire more cops. And the new mayor is asking the police union to kick in 9% toward their pensions so she can find some cash to hire more cops.
So far they haven’t found a solution. The state, however, has managed to find – even though they have a $25B (yep, that’s BILLION) shortfall in their budget – $4.1B to build “high speed rail” between nowhere and really nowhere in the central valley. That’s noted in the same Chronicle article.
The same thing is going on in Camden, NJ. Read the article, it’s amazing and I’ll give you the money quote.
But Camden, already one of the country’s most dangerous cities, could face the most devastating cuts: The city plans to lay off half its police force if it cannot reach an agreement with the unions. The police department, which remains under close oversight even though the city itself is no longer under state control, would lose 180 of its 373 officers.
Heh. The unions.
Just wait folks. This is coming to your city or town. And (not or) your state. And the feds won’t be far behind.
If we don’t act NOW there will be no need to act in the near future. Oh, and a good investment for your 401K is ammunition.