When Ruth Rooney bought a home in Vallejo, California in 2005, Bloomberg reports, "there were few vacancies and the historic Hill neighborhood attracted young professionals." Then the city lost the US Navy's Mare Island shipyard, it's largest employer and filed for bankruptcy and now? Rooney's property value has "dropped 70 percent in six years" and Vallejo attracts a different type of "professional" to the area. One that can do a "job" out of your car or anywhere it's convenient to drop trou.
Vallejo’s experience comes as Central Falls, Rhode Island, proposes $5.6 million in budget cuts after seeking Chapter 9 protection this month and Jefferson County, Alabama, negotiates with creditors to avoid what would be the biggest government filing in U.S. history. There have been five municipal bankruptcies this year, compared with six in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg…The recession has also battered the city, eroding tax revenue and leading to a 12 percent unemployment rate as of June. One in every 124 Vallejo homes had a foreclosure filing in July, according toRealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine, California-based provider of default data.
Prostitution became a growth industry in Vallejo as the San Francisco Bay city slashed its payroll, cutting police by a third, to 90 from 134. The largest municipal bankruptcy in California since Orange County in 1994 has forced law enforcement to focus on violent crime at the cost of so-called “quality-of-life” issues, residents and officials said. “I see prostitutes, pimps and drug dealers out my front window,” Rooney said in a telephone interview Aug. 5. “There’s two on the corner right now.”
While it sounds like Rooney is less than enthused about the prosties, pimps, and drugs right outside her front window, maybe she should dial down the judgement, particularly on the drugs? Because according to one small business owner in the area, weed is going to turn Vallejo's fortunes around.
“You know the only businesses in town making money? Pot and prostitution -- that’s it,” said Matt Shotwell, 30, who opened the dispensary in January 2010 and keeps a bong on the desk in his office. Shotwell’s dispensary, which also sells pot-infused barbecue sauce, olive oil and cherry slushies, draws about 250 customers a day, he said. “I’m bringing foot traffic down here,” Shotwell said in an interview.Vallejo, which doesn’t have local laws controlling medical- marijuana dispensaries, has seen an influx of about 20 such businesses, according to a city estimate. Three shops are within four blocks of Ruth Rooney’s home.
No word on whether or not MW models in the influx of stoner traffic in her muni default models but it's pretty obvious this city is about to make something of a comeback- a big one.