How to Fund Oakland in Becoming a “City of the Future”

by Bobby Reyes

| Photo source: Galt Museum & Archives via Unsplash

Part XL of the “Back-to-Basics Governance” Series

As taught by some financial experts, conceptual frameworks for funding any business activity should be broken into short-, medium-, and long-term goals or targets. And it may be best to turn them like items in a conveyor belt where long-term goals can be advanced to become medium- or short-term — depending on the availability of human-and-financial resources. Or vice versa, a short-term initiative can be delayed into the medium- or long-term.

This columnist returned to his home province of Sorsogon in the Philippines in June 2015. He revived his radio program, “Economic Viewpoints” (EV), preparing to run for governor in the May 9, 2016, election. He first aired the EV program in 1987-1988. Even at that time, he talked of his concept of a “Province (or City) of the Future” and “Islands of the Future,” as registered in this domain name, To him, the concept of future settlements refers to “smart villages.” He wrote about Project 541 and the Medical Moonshot, which readers may browse at this link.

Why call it Project 541? Because Sorsogon Province has 541 barrios or villages, it is the country’s 19th-poorest province. The idea is to make all its 541 barrios “Smart Villages” that can become self-sufficient in food, water, housing, electricity, and other back-to-basics necessities like education, healthcare, water, and telecommunications — as human rights. The suggested business model is a cooperative, as guided by the principles of Cooperative Economics.

Oakland will be relatively easy to become a “City of the Future” and even Alameda as a “County of the Future” because they are in the United States. This country is the world’s biggest economy and the only superpower from the military viewpoint. In the Third World, Oakland is not a city or Alameda or a county.

Here is a suggested first step (as a short-term initiative) in helping Oakland (and Alameda) become truly a “City (or County) of the Future.” The first move is to prepare to supply most of the coming 13 million shortage of qualified and Board-certified nurses by 2030. There will also be shortages of other medical professionals, from physicians to technicians and licensed caregivers. But the latter classifications of needed medical professionals will be like icing on the cake of success — if they study and graduate also in Alameda County.

On July 21, 2021, this columnist wrote about the feasibility of Fielding Abroad 3-Million Filipino Nurses from 2024-to-2030 (And Millions More of OFWs). The acronym “OFWs” means “Overseas-Filipino workers.”

The target of 3 million Filipino nurses was quite an ambitious goal in 2019 — before the COVID-19 pandemic caused millions of deaths –when the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated the world would experience a shortage of 6 million nurses by 2030. But by 2020, the idea was no longer a “pipe dream.” Why? The nursing shortage was increased to 13 million by the same year of 2030. The revised estimate was probably caused by many nurses — even in North America — dying or getting seriously ill due to the COVID-19 disease or retiring due to a fear of dying in an age of continuing pandemics. Or because they were burnt out due to fatigue as First Responders.

By most accounts, there are already more than 600,000 Filipino-American nurses (retired and active). Many of them may gladly assist in helping make the City of Oakland and Alameda County the principal educational center of nursing students from the Philippines. That is if city and county officials invite them to join this business and educational venture.

Here is a suggested first step (as a short-term initiative) in helping Oakland (and Alameda) become truly a “City (or County) of the Future.” The first move is to prepare to supply most of the coming 13-million shortage of qualified and Board-certified nurses by 2030. There will also be shortages of other medical professionals, from physicians to technicians and licensed caregivers.

The target for the Oakland-Alameda proposal can reasonably be raised to 7 million nurses and other medical professionals by 2030. Nursing students can also be recruited from countries that “export” medical manpower. Yes, countries or territories like India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico, and other Hispanic countries, to name a few.

The City of Oakland and the County of Alameda can support the education of foreign (and domestic) nursing students in their schools and get them Board certified. Because unfortunately, many American youths do not like nursing as a career as it entails hard work, and many think it is dangerous.

Board-certified and trained nurses command a pretty entry-level salary and perks. Many will earn close to $75,000-to-$100,000 per year per medical practitioner — before their third year of work in American hospitals. It will be easy for them to finish their nursing or medical education and training in colleges in Alameda County and pay back (in salary deductions) the cost of their education, Board, lodging, transportation from their home countries, and other necessities. In turn, they may be persuaded to invest in the cooperative-owned medical center or hospitals and clinics (and schools of nursing where they graduated) not only in California but in all other states that participate in educating nurses and other medical professionals. And invest more in other needed infrastructures like dormitories, food courts, etc., especially if the investments are part of pension funds or 401-K plans.

Turning private colleges and institutions — like a “resurrected” Holy Names University — into cooperative educational institutions will be accessible and viable. Why? Because a declining student population caused their main financial problem. In this scenario (pun intended), Oakland as the “SCENE City” (and Alameda as the “SCENE County”) will see their medical schools get overwhelmed by batch after batch of newly qualified students. Yes, good nursing students from foreign countries or other American states or territories like Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The idea of nursing and other-medical students financing their education and training can be compared to a new type of nuclear reactor that creates more fuel for itself as a by-product of nuclear fission. Because with new residents (read, taxpayers) numbering by the millions, Oakland and Alameda County will have more than enough resources to undertake significant back-to-basics projects and infrastructures.

Ergo, it may be a matter of cities and counties participating in the education of nursing and other medical professionals to issue the so-called “municipal bonds” that can raise substantial capital. Once the schools, colleges, and universities involved in the program become cooperatives, students and alumni (as co-op members) can start buying the said bonds from the first purchasers. Or even from the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB), which routinely did buy — by the billions — even corporate bonds during the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused turmoil in the national economy.

By next Sunday, this column will feature his talks with Numeriano Bouffard, the founder of the “Pueblo Filipino” project in the Colima State of Mexico. The project will usher in a “Filipino Hispanidad Movement,” not only in Filipinas but also North America. Mr. Bouffard can be persuaded to make Oakland the headquarters of its planned ventures in the Western United States. He is based in Orlando, Florida, and is also the prime mover of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida and the FPACC Foundation, Inc. The FPACC stands for the Federation of Filipino-American Chambers of Commerce.

To read more about the Hispanic-American communities, please browse this March 2008 article that says that many Americans of Filipino descent consider themselves also Hispanic.

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