Big thinkers on how we emerge from a pandemic better off

Creating more “enclosed” outdoor spaces for residences is one way we might come out of the pandemic better, healthier.

I like covering planning commission meetings.

This fact makes me a nerd of the highest order, but the conversations the begin with planning commissions end up shaping the city, and many would be surprised how often ideas rooted in the Constitution and Bill of Rights become part of the debate.

Deliberation about the sign code can easily veer into discussions regarding freedom of speech and government’s ability to limit it. Whether I agree with the decisions or not, witnessing the sausage getting made is – at least in the form of planning commission meetings – a constant reminder of all the formative ideas that made the United States of America the country it has become.

At their best, the meetings are lessons in how to take large ideas and break them into small steps that yield change. For example, a developer is constructing a new commercial/residential property near Sonic Drive-In on River Road North. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I attended and reported on the meetings where the small decisions made that first-of-its-kind-development-in-Keizer possible.

It’s why I enjoyed a Politico article on how we can begin rethinking and redesigning the world in the wake of COVID-19. In total, 19 different big thinkers weigh in one how we can seize the moment and emerge into a better world.

This segment on using the Defense Logistics Agency to manage supplies lines during future pandemics is just one gem.

“DLA already works with civilian government entities like FEMA. It only seems logical that the agency should take an active, central role in a pandemic. Bipartisan legislation could mandate that any collective health security threat in the future that, like Covid-19, affects multiple states simultaneously would automatically trigger DLA executive authority to manage the federal medical supply chain response.

There’s no question DLA would know how to do that work. The agency procures more than $42 billion in goods and services annually for the armed services, employs 26,000 civilians and military personnel, and manages a 5 million-item inventory. Its medical supply unit alone averages $100 million monthly in online sales to the military. DLA has agreements that legally obligate key distributors to turn over entire inventory pipelines to DLA for priority frontline medical and other facilities. With such capacity, as well as advanced information technology systems, the agency could negotiate procurement agreements with individual governors, aggregate the states’ requirements and execute centralized, mass-volume buys.”

Like local planning commission meeting, I don’t always agree with where they’re heading, but the journey felt a bit transformative. Read the whole thing here.