After 12 years of the Pulse, many issues remain the same

Pulse of ConcordCONCORD, CA — The heartbeat of the community continues to pound out for concerns about the unsheltered, roads, tenants in fear of eviction and the recovery from or continued coping with the pandemic.

The methods of dealing with these and other problems bring out a wide range of intense views and solutions that are in opposition to each other.

For example, I am working on providing a safe place for homeless families with children in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. It’s among the highest positive possible long-term outcomes. However, it will have no impact on the number of mentally ill or disruptive individuals whom people encounter and associate with the homeless.

The expansion of CORE (Coordinated Outreach Referral and Engagement) and the introduction of mental health response teams may make some impact on those last population segments, but it will not be a fast and readily visible effort. Just as our Family Justice program, which is now five years old, has made an impact but is not seen by the average person.

My feeling from the beginning is to give this a 10-year period, and we may see an ever-more positive effect on our city. And my support for it is unwavering.

Road Repairs

Regarding roads, the council just gave direction to explore a 20-year bond of more than $100 million with pledges from the sales tax measure so we can front-load road repairs and take advantage of the historically low interest rates that could be fixed. The downside is that it commits us to the sufferance of the tax, but we will see the results quickly. Just remember that 13 years from now when we are still paying for it.

As for renters, after allocating money for those who could not make the minimum 25 percent of payments, we found that very few qualified and were able to go through the documentation for the grants. This amount has been increased, which should help remove debts and aid smaller landlords.

However, going forward is always a challenge. When do we return to “normal,” and what the devil is normal anyway? Are we perpetually going to have rent control, or will it sunset with the actions of the state?

Through all of this and other things, we struggle to find a balance among all the various factors or factions and the fears or hopes of people.

The Pulse of Concord goes forward into its 12th year trying to ask the right questions to spur on a civil debate, showcase the various sides and display the gaps in our perceptions of each other.

This column represents the views of Edi Birsan and is not to be confused with the opinions of any organization be it public, private or out-worldly, nor is it subsidized by taxpayers or tax cheats or anyone under future indictment by the federal courts of New York City. Email him at