The disproportionately nonwhite city of Oakland, California has more than its share of poverty and unemployment. According to the 2010 Census, 17 percent of the city’s population, including more than a quarter of Oakland’s children, live beneath the federal government’s notoriously inadequate poverty level. Eight percent of Oakland’s residents live in what researchers call “deep poverty” – at less than half that stingy misery measure. The city’s unemployment rate is four points higher than the national average and its black joblessness measure (20%) was twice the national rate.
If you had $675,000 to spend on the improvement of life in Oakland, how would you invest it? In community gardens for disadvantaged neighborhoods? After- school programs for minority youth? Drug treatment and/or shelter and/or health care services for the poor? Training and hiring unemployed workers in the ecological retro-fitting of local residences? All of the above?