My little sister has this, like, handheld video game thing. It’s like a game boy except that it’s sleek and has a color, not sepia-tone screen, also, the screen is much bigger than on a game boy. In fact, there are two screens, and they both respond to touch. Also, it recognizes voice. So I guess it isn’t actually that much like a game boy after all. Anyway. She will sit on the couch for hours and hours playing this totally inane “game” that’s supposed to help prevent Alzheimers or something. Why she can’t just read a book or pick up a crossword puzzle, I couldn’t say. Wev, I spend my free time watching DVDs of months-old City Council and Planning Commission meetings (you should see my collection!), so I’m hardly in a position to judge.
Anyway, this game my sister loves so much involves highly addictive challenges like, for example, reading out loud a word written on her screen when that word is a color, but written in a different color than it spells out. She will spend hours sitting in a chair screaming intermittently “RED!” “BLUE!” “BLACK, NO I MEAN RED! I SAID RED!! RED!!! RED, RED, RED YOU STUPID PIECE OF CRAP!!” “YELLOW!” Frankly, it’s a little irritating. I much prefer when she plays the basic math problem game. That’s right. One of the features on this apparently engrossing video game is a timed test of simple addition and multiplication problems. Why an adult woman would choose to spend her free time doing something I used to find tedious as an eight year old is somewhat beyond my ability to comprehend, but like I said above – City Council meetings.
Anyway, last night, I just happened to be watching the last Council meeting before recess from this summer, and during the item where they put the police tax on the ballot, it occurred to me that maybe Jean Quan could use a copy of this video game. Cause here’s one of the things she had to say:
First of all, our Chief and the Mayor are somewhat on a roll. I’m one of these people who open the crime stats every morning and I look at them, and since January – crime was down last year, even though it doesn’t seem like it since murders were up, but crime was down last year – but just since January, home burglaries are down 12%, robberies are down 2%, and car thefts have never gone down in my entire time on the City Council are down 4%.
So…there’s a couple of things wrong with that statement. First of all, I don’t want to sound petty, but on the day she said this (xls), burglary was actually down 11% and auto theft down 3%, not 12% and 4%. Also, come on. For starters, in 2006 we had 145 murders. In 2007 we had 120. That’s down, not up. Also, auto thefts have gone down twice during her tenure on the Council. Jean Quan was elected in 2002, and joined the Council in 2003. In 2002, we had 6,258 auto thefts. In 2003, we had 5,511. That’s fewer, which means they went down. In 2006, we had 10,549 auto thefts, and in 2007, that number was only 9,923. 9,923 is less than 10,549, meaning, again, that they went down. Fun fact about auto thefts, BTW: before we set that new record in 2006, the previous all-time high number of reported auto thefts in Oakland was 8,821 in 2005, then before that, it was 7,772 in 1993.
Anyway, when our elected officials, especially our likely next Mayor, have difficulty with elementary concepts like greater and less, I tend to think that’s a problem. Jean Quan should totally put this game on her Christmas list. (I’ll ask my sister what it’s called next time I talk to her.) And she can totally use it to pass the time during all those boring Council meetings. Well, the math part anyway. The colors game might be a little distracting.