I think that having my basic existence upset at this stage of my life was a surprise. I never thought I would spend a year indoors.
Traveling in Italy looking for a house, I became aware of the virus and just got out in time. Upon arriving back in the U.S., I went to Florida for a while and then again, under emergency action, hightailed it home with one quick stop at a Holiday Inn in Walterboro, South Carolina as at that stage of the virus, the US was putting the clamp on travel.
My foreign travel days are over at this point, and I thought it would be good to concentrate on the U.S.A. I read a lot during the pandemic and thought about the places I needed to see before I die. Now that I am vaxed up, I will attempt a cross-country trip. I hope that during the trip I can say goodbye to a few old friends and see the sites that I had put on my list.
I am hoping to get a head start on everybody that will be traveling in the coming year. Being cooped up in my house has me going a little stir crazy. I will try to be respectful of others, wear my mask as an ascot most of the time, and pulled up if I must. I want to take three or four weeks to see how people in different areas dealt with the virus across the country.
It occurred to me that I should spend some time at the Mexican border to see what is happening there. I have been to Tijuana too many times, and this trip is not about fist fights in a drunken stupor, so it is best to avoid crossing the border. I want to look at it from a public administration standpoint. If you know me, you will know I am good at the rules.
So, while I am on my way to Tucson to visit my ‘60s friend “Cool Breeze,” I will skirt the border to see the border crisis.
Also, I thought of a quick run-up to Portland to see the bombed-out downtown. Since I do have a graduate degree in "Cities," I want to add to my understanding of what happens when crowd control fails. I had managed riot control situations in Philadelphia during the Mardi Gras and the Greek Picnic. I can see what the result might have been if I had not worked closely with Philadelphia’s Finest super cop John Walker and executed the plan.
While I am on the subject of the Greek Picnic and the rash of sexual assaults, certainly, no one in Philadelphia referred to these fraternities and sororities as the "Devine Nine." Considering the credential of “being in a fraternity or sorority," you had to go to college. People who attend colleges tend to have a higher income level. When the "Black Doctors" group in Philly dispersed the vaccine to the "divine nine," I believe it was the force of Black Oligarchical interests to jump the line. Someone should have thought more about the low-income 89-year-old grandmother in North Philly who had not left the house in a year. You could not just show up and say, "I am a Kappa give me the vaccine."
I will also tour the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle. I love the theory of autonomous districts. As part of what I am proposing to the Train Group, I include "Autonomous Transit Districts" to localize funding. Anything I can pick up concerning an autonomous district will be helpful in my work on the train project. Train projects move slowly, and although I can work from my car, I doubt there will be a lot of movement in the three weeks that I am gone. My knowledge of what it takes to be autonomous will be enhanced, for sure, and perhaps I will be able to replicate a version of it someday.
I have always worked on my revitalization projects by "being the space." To understand the space, you have to be a vigilant observer of the space and treat the space as a separate independent thing away from all social influences. Space is what matters in the revitalization, and if you always do what is good for space, you cannot lose because space becomes better.
An example of "being the space" is if I am the space, do I want the trash trucks to leak garbage fluid on me? That one is extreme, but an example might lead to social action. Is leaking garbage an amalgamation of what everyone does not want with liquid pour over it? Is the leaking from the bottom of a truck doing so, so the weight is less when dumped? Then you go to the rules, in the rules of the space, who enforces the rule saying you cannot do that. You have to know and understand the rule.
Once you know the rule about garbage juice on your street, you need to know how to remedy that, and the unit and level of government that handles the issue. And further, when the truck is registered to a vacant lot … you cannot ignore the problem, and in those cases, I move to the seizure of the truck … because you can't send them a letter. Space demands justice, and as a conduit for the inanimate object, I act accordingly.
I will spend significant time in both Seattle and Portland to understand the impact on space and how space has changed with the advent of disinvestment and hooliganism. I would suppose that those cities will be there long after the individuals who attacked the space are dead and buried. I want to assess the impact of their actions and how that will relate to the city's positioning in the future.
I am not sure how I will assess the space at the border yet. Should I look at it as the space of America, or should I look at it as the space of Del Rio, Texas? I will have to assess the federalist model and figure out who is who in the space. Space is the space, and I am not sure the space minds who is in the space but more if they are defecating on the sidewalks. I have to give the level of attention to detail in which to assess the space there. Maybe I can do a comparative analysis of the towns I visit along the border and see what kind of space impact commonality I can garner?
At any rate, I need to see what has happened in America … the land of the free and home of the brave.
Barry Cassidy is a freelance grant and economic development consultant. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.