The news business is, I’m sorry to say, largely about bad news.
Readers and viewers respond with more attention – generally – to deadly car crashes, love triangles ending in shootings, and somebody else’s troubles.
That makes for “good news” for us, because more eyeballs means more advertising, which keeps us from going into honest work like telemarketing or used car sales.
So here is the first and probably quite rare Good News edition of the Retorts column.
Coronavirus: Although the bug is not totally defeated – wash your hands, y’all – it does appear to be on the run, allowing society to return to normal, less or more. The whole experience did not bring out the best in human nature, frankly.
Homelessness: Sometime it takes things to get bad before they get stop getting worse. After decades of trying to wish the problems of the unsheltered away, our cities are finally gaining some traction with concrete measures to create “navigation centers” to begin the process of reversing the rising tide of people on the street. Huntington Beach led the way with its nav center and is taking aim at a more permanent approach with supportive housing (i.e., a place to live) and now Garden Grove and Westminster are joining with Fountain Valley on establishing a nav center in the City of Youth and Ambition.
Don’t expect the parks and medians to become pristine overnight, but there is light at the end of the … uh … alley.
Money sense over me-first: The greatest sigh of relief heard over Westminster in years was heard when the city council – grudgingly and at the last minute – agreed to place an extension of the one percent Measure SS sales tax before voters in November.
Caring more about their political futures than the public interest, some members of the council – you know who you are – willingly ignored the reality that if the tax was not renewed, they would become members of the very last city council before the municipality descended into bankruptcy.
Future maps would mark the area as “The Community Formerly Known as The City of Westminster.”
Now it’s up to the voters, who seems to be more financially astute than some elected officials. We will see if they are on Nov. 8.
Sticks In the Ground: It’s fashionable in some quarters to make developers into villains. There is an image of them as rapacious carpetbaggers who care naught about a community except for more much money they can squeeze out of it.
There are such people, and – in general – those folks are not running philanthropic enterprises. But nothing much gets built without them. If a community needs an amenity or more tax revenue, those are the folks you need.
Looking across West Orange County, we see (or foresee) a revived Westminster Mall, three new major hotels in Garden Grove on Harbor Boulevard and a skyline of mid-rise housing along Beach Boulevard in Stanton.
There’s more on the list and more coming behind that. Yes, it brings more traffic and pollution and other downsides, but they also mean more jobs, more economic vitality and revenue to hire more cops and firefighters and recreation folks.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill’s remarks about the benefits of democracy, capitalism – with some honest and robust oversight – may not be a perfect system, but it’s better than all the alternatives we’ve seen so far around the world.
Jim Tortolano’s “Retorts” alternates with “Usually Reliable Sources.”