Everyday Hegemony Or Is It Rather Hegemony Every Day?

Joe Williams, reporter for the Newark Advocate, embarrassed himself this week. Badly. One of his ongoing reports on the continuing activities of Newark’s city administration and council in trying to address the continuous lack of maintenance on Newark’s road infra-structure (street repair and paving) repeats a refrain he’s utilized since the issue surfaced at the beginning of this year with its new make-up of council (previously the majority was the same party as the mayor’s administration, now it is the other party has council’s majority). In the 6-17-14 Advocate (“Newark income tax hike heads to ballot”) he writes “The income tax proposal replaces an earlier suggestion to seek a 2-mill property tax to raise that same $1.6 million annually for street repairs. The council previously asked Licking County Auditor Mike Smith to certify the millage and projected earnings but took no further steps. Proponents of the increase say an income tax protects fixed income for seniors while collecting earnings from people who work in the city but live elsewhere.” Williams had covered each step in the original 2-mill property tax consideration and is well versed in the “an income tax protects fixed income for seniors while collecting earnings from people who work in the city but live elsewhere.” refrain. On 6-22-14 he comes out with an extensive exposé for The Advocate entitled “What is a neighborhood? Aging housing stock, more rentals pose challenges”. Within this report we find Williams citing statistics that have been steadily growing in the last 4 years: “Steady conversion of single-family homes into rental properties is another concern. The residential areas in and around downtown, specifically the 1st, 2nd and 7th wards, have 18 percent more rentals than the other four wards. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, rentals account for 44 percent of Newark’s occupied housing units. Add in vacancies, and homeowners occupy just 51 percent of the city’s housing.” Did Williams sit on this pertinent information during his continuing coverage of the 2-mill property tax debate that ever so quickly shifted to an income tax determination? The hegemony of claiming that property tax increases threaten those seniors on fixed income who reside in their own homes while income tax increases “collect(ing) earnings from people who work in the city but live elsewhere.” is shown to be bogus by Mr. Williams own account. Those seniors affected by a property tax increase compose a mere fraction of the 51% of Newark property owners involved. 49% would be like those “people who work in the city but live elsewhere”. Not only that, but those who make up the ownership of 49% of Newark’s property DON’T make up 49% of Newark’s electorate (something Ohio’s legislators who recently enacted restrictions on township JEDZ were well cognizant of). Investigation might reveal that those “who work in the city but live elsewhere” comprise an even smaller revenue enhancement resource than those who own 49% of the city’s property. What’s good investigative reporting about if not to “connect the dots” (remember that from 13 years ago?)? Mr. Williams is well versed in the explanations for why an income tax is preferred to a property tax. His karaoke performance reproduces and perpetuates the hegemony of our ever growing income disparity (which only contributes to the “Steady conversion of single-family homes into rental properties”).

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