By Brett Warnke
“What’s your proposal? To build the just city? I will.” –W.H. Auden
What does it mean to construct the just city today? San Diego is admittedly no Flint. As I write this, there are unpunished poisoners like Rick Snyder still giving speeches, doing fundraisers, outside of a prison cell, with the craven media establishment recording every utterance. And even further east, goldbricker frauds on Wall Street giggle their way through new swindles—ones we won’t discover until we once again stand at the lip of another recession when “tough choices” will again “have to be made” in order to “save Main Street.”
But San Diego is a city not immune to corruption. Our streets, too, are peopled with the chalked bodies of unarmed black and brown men. In July 2015 we even played host to the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC), that great instrument of business elites to capture the regulatory powers of the state for its own tax loopholes and favors. And just this year our local democracy was used by the Chamber of Commerce to thwart wage increases for thousands of workers.
What does it mean to construct a just city in such a corroded republic? “America’s finest city” is a city 41% more expensive than the rest of America, where people of every shade are scrabbling at the lower slopes of the wage scale and where 38% of residents, regardless of their neighborhood, are unable to earn enough to make a living. One method of coping is to laugh. Ours is a golden age of satire. [Read more…]