The do-nothing mindset

Op-ed contributor James P. King seconded my column about reviving downtown:

“And when somebody who is bright and experienced, like Dan Cort, lays out ideas that could work and, oh my goodness, have been successfully introduced in other cities, nobody acts,” he wrote Sunday.

“The most we can probably expect from our leaders is that ideas “like that” may happen someday but not today. Today, you see, they’re going to Someday Isle for a retreat, a think tank session, or to take a mini vacation from their very tough workloads. The problem is that Someday Isle is so comforting, they never come back.”

Bingo. Putting off downtown revival is accepted practice, even among today’s leaders. Yes, there’s a recession. Yes, gov. Brown eliminated redevelopmtne (though the legislature is working on replacements). And there are numerous other obstacles. But the main one is the inability of the city so far to prepare downtown for redevelopment in such a way that developers can make a buck building there.

This do-nothing mindset stems from a belief that downtown is a Gordian knot of social, legal and economic issues simply too hard to untangle.

Which is defeatist baloney. The Urban Land Institute says it can be done. The new Community Development Director says it can be done. Yet there’s a diabolical inertia in City Hall. There’s always a reason, always an excuse. And there always will be, as long as we accept excuses. 


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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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