A Signal That Oakland Is Slipping Further Into a Doom Loop

This is such an Oakland story .

The city of Oakland, California, known for its extreme leftism, is replacing some traffic lights in the city with a 4-way stop sign, according to CBS News  

The city isn’t taking this step to improve the flow of traffic or anything like that.

Instead, city officials decided to remove the traffic signal because copper theft has become rampant, and thieves keep tampering with the electrical boxes that control the lights.

Amusingly, the city put up a stop sign to replace the traffic light at the E. 12th St. and 16th Ave. intersection. Locals say that even though it looks strange it’s a huge improvement because usually the traffic light is broken and is causing accidents.

However, as with many cases of dysfunctional blue city governance, the deeper problem is that the city won’t address the most fundamental issues: repeat criminality and general lawlessness.

According to the locals CBS interviewed in the story, most of the people tampering with the traffic signals are coming from a nearby homeless encampment.

Tam Le, owner of an auto repair shop at the corner of the intersection, said of the city’s “solution” in an interview with CBS: “It’s just telling us that the city is giving up on us.”

Pretty much, yes.

City officials said that the stop signs are temporary and that the traffic lights will come back. But they put no timeline on when that will happen so good luck.

Maybe, just maybe, the issue isn’t with the traffic signal or even with the thieves.

“If you really want to fix the stop sign, I think you really have to clean up this homeless encampment,” Le said, delivering the kind of commonsense solution to the problem that has apparently escaped the people who run the city.

And therein lies the problem.

For those who haven’t traveled to a West Coast city recently, homeless encampments have taken over urban landscapes. Oakland is particularly bad. It’s become so bad that the city requested help from the state to start clearing the encampments out.

Plenty of other cities have found solutions a lot quicker, but places like Portland and Oakland are slow on the uptake. This is mostly due to the ideology of government officials and the activist organizations who pressure them. They really think that the problem with homelessness is just a “housing” issue and that pushing people off the streets and into shelters is oppressive.

Cities like Oakland have only begun to act when it’s become obvious that large, perpetual homeless encampments and open-air drug markets create a climate of criminality and disorder.

And even when the city does eventually do something there is typically no follow-up enforcement to ensure that the problem doesn’t simply manifest itself again once the coast is clear.

Le, whose auto business has been affected by the homeless encampment, said in the CBS story that the city has moved some of it in the past, but it keeps coming back and getting bigger.

He then said if it continues to grow, he will shutter his business like many other people have in the area.

So, the city will keep the encampment and lose the dutiful business owner. Sounds like a recipe for success, right?

It’s this sort of governance that contributed to the so-called doom loop that places like Oakland and downtown San Francisco are stuck in. It should be no surprise that the In-N-Out fast-food restaurant that closed in Oakland—the first In-N-Out to close, ever —was close to where the problematic intersection is.

In almost all these cases of urban decay we see a similar pattern. Lax enforcement of laws—or predictably terrible laws , a retreat from proactive policing, and mind-boggling recidivism.

A man apprehended by Oakland police for robbing an ATM in Oakland in January had 25 arrests since 2014.

According to Crime Voice , a California crime journalism media outlet, the 39-year-old repeat offender had “previous arrests for kidnappings, robberies, motor vehicle thefts, possession of a controlled substance, and for shootings.”

Is it any wonder crime is out of control?

In July of last year, the Oakland chapter of the NAACP called on the authorities in the city to start taking its crime problem seriously.

“Oakland residents are sick and tired of our intolerable public safety crisis that overwhelmingly impacts minority communities,” the NAACP wrote in a letter. “There is nothing compassionate or progressive about allowing criminal behavior to fester and rob Oakland residents of their basic rights to public safety. It is not racist or unkind to want to be safe from crime.”

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price responded insultingly , “We are disappointed that a great African-American pastor and a great African-American organization would take a false narrative on such an important matter. We would expect more from Bishop Bob Jackson and the Oakland Chapter of the NAACP.”

What cities like Oakland have done is create a situation where the burden of disorder has been placed on innocent, helpless citizens who have little recourse other than to leave—if that’s even possible.

Even when these cities have begrudgingly rediscovered the value of the police post-George Floyd riot crime boom, they haven’t exactly recovered .

Restoring order and creating a healthy, thriving city environment is difficult once anarchy becomes the norm. For some places like Oakland the road back is a long one. Maybe a combination of failure and outraged citizens will get city leaders to wake up to reality.

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