Archive for January, 2018

Participatory Democracy

January 29, 2018

Excerpts from On Prison Democracy: The Politics of Participation in a Maximum Security Prison, an essay by Christopher D. Berk (Critical Inquiry, Winter 2018). March 14, 1973 the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Walpole entered into a protracted strike by its prison officers. Commissioner John Boone decided “Instead of sending in the state police he turned over the management of the prison to the newly formed and elected prisoners’ union (the Walpole chapter of the National Prisoner Reform Association [NPRA]), a skeleton crew of officers and trainees from other institutions, and civilian observers.” “At the time, Walpole was the most violent prison in Massachusetts, perhaps even the most violent in the country.” “The inmates were now running the asylum, so to speak.” “Between 15 March and 19 May, the NPRA was the central force governing the inmates at Walpole. There were no murders and little violence, and the prisoners ran the kitchen and foundry, maintained security, deliberated over policy and action, and negotiated with the prison administration.” To paraphrase Hillary Clinton – “What happened?” Again, Berk writes: “This account usually takes one of two forms, either a call to increase law and order within prisons or a push to reallocate goods and services to the task of treatment. In other words, inmate participation is understood as a symptom of a failed treatment or control regimen. Call this the conventional liberal narrative. However, an alternative account emerges from a close reading of the Walpole episode. In this narrative Walpole is an experiment in participatory democracy and community control. Call this less familiar view the radical narrative.” In a book entitled Not A Crime To Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America (The New Press 2017) Peter Edelman describes the poverty pipeline to prison that has America leading incarcerations in the world (up through 2017). The first part of the book statistically and factually recounts the various techniques involved with the U.S. system of debtor’s prisons (“Ferguson Is Everywhere”). These include money bail (both private as well as government sourced), criminalization of mental illness, benefit programs and child support, education (“Go Directly To Jail”, see recent Florida handcuffing of a 7 year old), housing ordinances (This blog already wrote about nuisance properties) and homelessness. The second part (Ending Poverty) deals with contemporary efforts to shut off the prison pipeline through not only legal strategies and actions, but also community based initiatives. He narrates actualities of the following programs: Community Action Program Tulsa (OK), Chicago’s Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Minneapolis’ Northside Achievement Zone, Brooklyn’s Community Solutions and The Brownsville Partnership, The New Haven (CT) Moms Partnership, The Alameda Health Consortium (Alameda County CA), and the Youth Policy Institute of Los Angeles. Most of these are centered around supplementing the care and education of pre-school through high school youth through the interaction of their parent or guardian. These in turn receive some tangible benefit for their involvement as well as job training, psychological and economic counseling, including hands on aid in housing, legal concerns etc. The organization’s originating emphasis may be youth, or housing, or physical/psychological health issues brought on by the stress of poverty, but they all treat the concerns holistically – through addressing all the individual’s various interlocking components perpetuating poverty. More importantly, they address this through some full time/part time staff, (some of whom previously were recipients of the organization’s care) as well as a large number of those for whom the service is directed acting on their own behalf providing service to their peers (facilitating, counseling, educating, mentoring). Analysis finds this to be the correlation linking Edelman’s Ending Poverty with Berk’s liberal narrative “call to increase law and order within prisons or a push to reallocate goods and services to the task of treatment” and its alternative account of “an experiment in participatory democracy and community control.”

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Impressions Of The 2018 Newark Women’s March

January 20, 2018

Driving south on Mt. Vernon road to participate in the 2018 Women’s March there was a bottle neck on the brand spankin’ new bridge over 16. Why is all the traffic veering toward the center when there are clearly two south bound lanes? Turns out there was a young man pushing a baby stroller (with small child) walking in the roadway. The sidewalk portion of the brand spankin’ new gateway to Newark was untouched, thickly covered by new fallen snow as well as what the plow pushed off the roadway. Analysis hearkens the reader to the debate over eliminating the pedestrian bridge over 16 just to the west of Mt. Vernon Road’s brand spankin’ new “development.” The justification by the all white, all male Newark City administration (as well as Newark Development Partners) is that pedestrians can use the brand spankin’ new bridge. And who will clear the sidewalk so it is useable by pedestrians (without the danger of sharing the road with cars and trucks)? This was the stuff of the 2018 Newark Women’s March. The large rally was very well attended by a diverse demographic, youth and elderly, female and male, and all in between. It was an active crowd, intently following and vociferously responding to the speakers, not just obligatory applause. The speakers, a small sampling of Newark/Licking County’s vast bounty of women leaders, told it like it was. They spoke truth to power. Since you can’t tell the players without a program, Analysis can’t differentiate individuals with what was said (there was no paper program of speakers/topics). Equity in access to drug rehabilitation, shelters from violence, as well as equity in pay, benefits and health care were just part of the demands. But the demands mainly revolved around the irresponsibility of city, county and state administrators who cater to the private economic power base (through the utilization of public funds) while eschewing human services, such as insuring that a young man and his child can safely cross over State Route 16. It was refreshing to hear speakers plainly articulating what needs to be addressed and is not, and has not been, by the Newark Advocate, by Newark/Licking County’s elected officials, by the businesses who profit from customers not being served by their elected officials. It was an honor to witness and actively participate in this outpouring of peaceful civic action in downtown Newark – something sorely lacking and certainly long overdue. If you missed it, you missed the sound of grass growing under your feet, breaking through the pavement and asphalt, rising up. Did you hear that? It is the sound of women seeking a place on the ballot, and votes being cast by women; the greening of America.

Get Active In 2018

January 18, 2018

Women’s March in downtown Newark Ohio on the courthouse square Saturday January 20, 2-4 PM.

Finally!

Cream With Your Coffee?

January 18, 2018

As part of its MLK Jr. Commemoration 2018 OSU Newark presented A Dream Deferred: The Uncertain Future of DACA and Dreamers by Derek DeHart. It was a short, informative talk followed by a Q&A. DeHart introduced himself and his “Owner Product,” DACA Time. His power point presentation covered how it came to be, its growth and how it was funded, etc. There was even a visual with all the corporate sponsors and their size of support (kinda like a NASCAR racing suit). He covered just about everything you would like to know about DACA – the less than 20 year history, the current situation, the pro’s and con’s, etc. Analysis found the sterling presentation troubling. No, not on account of what was said, or the DACA situation, but rather on account of what was not said, and the speculative reasons for its absence. After the given history of the legislation (introduced during the Bush presidency, reintroduced several times during the Obama years only to become an executive order by that president until its vehement dismissal by the current administration) the various descriptions, pro’s and con’s as well as responses to questions were a bit too antiseptic. There was no racial undertone or component given as reasons or descriptions for the many abysmal legislative failures (especially the Obama years attempts). There was no racial reason or logic given in the responses to the questions. We were mainly to believe that “dreamers’ could be anyone from any country – pretty generic. It was as though the entire matter was primarily an administrative concern, something to be managed much as a soft ware program.  The following morning Reuter’s headlined “Trump administration bars Haitians from U.S. visas for low-skilled work” by Yeganeh Torbati. Today’s media kerfuffle’s are over whether a given personality is a “racist.” Analysis would like to point out that during the MLK years the struggle was around institutional racism. Policies and laws were deemed racist. The “conversation” (if one would like to politely call it that) was around this state of affairs being unacceptable within the constitutional framework of the U.S. And it was spoken as such, named as such. The institutions, laws and policies of the state of Alabama were openly spoken of as racist, discriminatory and demeaning. That the person of its governor was also such was somewhat secondary. The prize was changing the institutions, laws and policies. DeHart’s presentation, as well as his responses to audience questions elided race and spoke of it not at all. Why was this? Analysis proffers this from Reuter’s Magazine: The One Percent War by Chrystia Freeland 1-26-12, a very long and astute article of particular interest to students of social change and its history: “Branko Milanovic, a World Bank economist who is one of the leading students of global income distribution, writes in his latest book, “The Haves and the Have-Nots,” that it is far easier to secure funding for research about poverty than about income inequality. The reason for that is “rather simple even if often wisely ignored,” Milanovic says. “Inequality studies are not particularly appreciated by the rich.” Indeed, Milanovic says he was “once told by the head of a prestigious think tank in Washington, D.C., that the institution’s board was very unlikely to fund any work that had income or wealth inequality in its title. Yes, they would finance anything to do with poverty alleviation, but inequality was an altogether different matter. Why? Because ‘my’ concern with the poverty of some people actually projects me in a very nice, warm glow: I am ready to use my money to help them… But inequality is different. Every mention of it raises in fact the issue of the appropriateness or legitimacy of my income.”” Analysis can’t help but note that the struggle led by MLK Jr. was not introduced or preceded by a flow chart showing its inception, justification and source of funding. In turn, Analysis notes that those involved in the “conversation” spoke out and said things that today are not said (as evidenced not only by DeHart’s presentation but local group “conversations” that rely on corporate sponsorship for their very existence). In an analogous way (though he eventually regretted saying it) Malcolm X was pretty insightful: “It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What you do? You integrate it with cream; you make it weak. If you pour too much cream in, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it’ll put you to sleep.”

Ask Any Republican

January 13, 2018

Ask any Republican, and the chances are good, that the Republican won’t recall or repeat what was said. Go ahead. Ask ‘em. Josh Mandel has left the leadership stage of the Ohio GOP. No asking him. “Not a career politician” GOP U.S. Representative Jim Renacci has stepped in to fill the void in contention for the upcoming Senate seat (“When President @realDonaldTrump asks you to run — you do it. That’s why I am proud to announce that I am running for the United States Senate! I’m ready to fight for the Trump agenda and get things done in the Senate!#MAGA”). Well, Mr. Not-A-Career-Politician? “I’ve said all along the president many times says what people are thinking. I learned as a business guy that you have to be careful what you say because people pick everything up. Believe me, I’ve learned that when you’ve got a mike on, you’ve got to watch what you say.” “I know it’s difficult for the president because many times you want to say what you are thinking but in the end, I know a lot of times he is saying what people are thinking,” And he’s “a business guy going into a political career.” What could be more Republican? And as we all know from our Conservative hymnals, business guys are our salvation. What about a more contemplative, prayerful Conservative? Like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (GOP U.S. Rep from Wis.): “The first thing that came to my mind was very unfortunate, unhelpful, but you know what I thought of right away? I thought about my own family.” Atta (good Conservative altar) boy, Paul! And the Newark Advocate’s tireless investigative reporters got these responses from our own GOP Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb: “ .” GOP Newark Mayor Jeff Hall: “ .” GOP Licking County Prosecutor Bill Hayes: “ .” GOP State Senator Jay Hottinger: ” .” And (not a politician) business guy Steve Layman: “ .” Analysis finds it reassuring to learn “what people are thinking.”  Ask any Republican, and the chances are good, that the Republican won’t recall or repeat what was said. Go ahead. Ask ‘em.

Be Active In 2018

January 6, 2018

Analysis woke to find sub zero temps and a wind chill alert for central Ohio, AND a Washington Post headline reading: Hawaii has record-low unemployment and it’s not a frozen hellscape. Why are people leaving? (Andrew Van Dam, 1-5-18) Huh? What is wrong with this picture? “Preliminary data back up the notion that Hawaii residents are continuing to vote with their feet. Moving company Atlas Van Lines found that, among its customers in 2017 (through Dec. 15), there were three moves out of Hawaii for every two moves in. The state is clearly a very nice place to visit. But it’s getting harder and harder to stay.” Dope slapping the side of the monitor for an attitude adjustment didn’t seem to help either. “Hawaii has the lowest unemployment rate of any state in recorded history, a good economic outlook, and — most attractive at this time of year — little chance of polar vortex or ‘bomb cyclones’. Yet in 2017 its population fell for just the third time since statehood in 1959. It only dropped a tenth of a percent, but that’s a worse showing than all but four states (Wyoming, West Virginia, Illinois and Alaska), according to a recent Census Bureau release. Which brings us to the core conundrum: people are leaving Hawaii even though the labor market is stronger than on the mainland, and even though it’s the high 70s in Honolulu this week. What could possibly be driving them away?” Do tell. “The preliminary seasonally adjusted [unemployment] reading for November was 2.0 percent — the lowest of any state since the Labor Department started keeping track in 1976, and less than half of the 4.1 percent national rate reported in November.” “A recent report from Bonham’s organization  [“Carl Bonham, economics professor and director of the University of Hawaii’s economic research organization”] projected continued growth for 2018, based on another record year of tourist arrivals, steady activity in the construction sector, and growth in health and tourism jobs. So why is anyone leaving? One answer trumps all others: home prices. Hawaii has the most expensive housing in the nation, according to the home value index from housing website Zillow. Rent costs trail only D.C. and (in some months) California. Overall, Hawaii had the highest cost of living of any state in 2017 (D.C. was higher), the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness found, and housing was the main driver. It’s always been expensive to live in Hawaii, but it’s getting worse. There’s just not enough housing on the islands, and Hawaii now has one of the worst rates of homelessness in the country.” The morning’s Newark Advocate headlined their parent company’s USA Today: Report: Columbus among top 10 trending destinations in the world (Chris Pugh, 1-6-18). “The study, released this week by travel booking website Airbnb, lists the Ohio capital as the sixth most trending destination in the world based on bookings for the first part of 2018.” ““In the United States, Midwestern cities like Indianapolis and Columbus are seeing some of the strongest growth, driven by booming downtown districts humming with new restaurants, nightlife, and local arts,” the report reads.” Analysis recalls in the past Newark Mayor Jeff Hall making statements like wanting downtown Newark to be a “destination.” Butt weight, maybe that’s coming into fruition. The previous days Advocate headlined: Newark may see downtown, north end developments (Kent Mallett, 1-5-18). “Momentum from a flurry of recent Newark improvements should continue in the new year, according to commercial developer Steve Layman. Development should begin on the vacant city block bordered by South Third, South Fourth, Market and West Main streets. Front Room Furnishings will occupy the former Connell’s Furniture space on North 21st Street. And, the former Kroger property on Deo Drive could be developed this year. Other downtown and north end sites also have potential. “Newark is constrained a little bit because of available land, suitable and available for development,” Layman said. “But, I think there will be infill development — apartments, condominiums and medical offices. “The economy is good, there are jobs aplenty, and the cost of living is moderate. There’s good value here.”” More shine being peddled from the Hall of Newark: “While other cities are talking about what they can’t do, Newark is talking about what it is doing, Mayor Jeff Hall said. “You kind of have to get out and see what’s going on around and there aren’t a whole lot of cities in Ohio that got a lot going on,” Hall said.” Newark may not be an island. What is happening in Hawaii is relevant to Newark. Analysis has also recently noted that Columbus was ranked second in the nation in terms of economic inequality. The last Analysis checked, tourism is considered a service industry (along with “restaurant, nightlife, and local arts”). Service jobs make up the bulk of Layman’s “jobs aplenty.”  Where are these folks to live? And how are they to get to work from there? Nowhere in Mallett’s journalism was any mention made of affordable housing, the homeless or the inability to get to work within a greater Newark metro area of well over 50,000 lacking fixed route/schedule public transportation. Layman and company simply assume that if their real estate values increase (development), unemployment is low, and the cost of living is moderate for the upper third of wage earners, then all problems are solved (the “rising tide” article of conservative faith). The actuality of Hawaii begs to differ and throws a kink into this faith based gospel of eliding very real social problems. After all, pushing the problem somewhere else is no solution when there’s no ocean between. Eventually they bump into each other. Selling “Shine” is what our tabloid president does. Admitting the problem and addressing the reality of affordable housing and public transportation needs is a very doable first step.

Due to weather event the meeting below has been rescheduled for February 3, 2018, 10-12. See you there.

Jan 13 Transportation Meeting

2018

January 1, 2018

With 2018 Analysis must admit that it has reached the end of analysis. What’s that mean? Sometimes “end” can mean finished (“The End” of the movie), sometimes “end” can mean conclusion (the projected end of a process), and sometimes “end” simply means that all the elements or reason’s for defining or pursuing something have displayed themselves, made themselves apparent, and there are no more elements to be determined or reasoning to be defined. After 5 years of writing, Analysis feels it has reached that point. The Longaberger Basket Building would be the case in point. (A ‘big vision’ in store for Longaberger basket building, Bethany Bruner and Maria DeVito, Advocate, 12-29-17). Analysis even questions the need for referencing the reporting. Previous blog essays have followed this debacle for years, almost from the inception of Newark News Analysis. Yet in Bruner and Devito’s report we read “The financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.” Why not? Poor investigative reporting or another case of “public private partnership” where the “private” doesn’t have to reveal how it is using the “public”? Wiki “corporate welfare.” Again, Analysis can point to what we do know, as reported previously (and once again on the 29th) the sale involved the city forgiving what was owed to it through various taxes, fees, and penalties. And the entire city administration and council were on board for that (“Licking County Treasurer Olivia Parkinson said the county is supposed to be receiving a check early next week for a “big chunk” of the back taxes Longaberger had owed. Parkinson said the new owners are planning to file an application to have the penalties of the most recent taxes owed remitted. Newark City Council had passed legislation earlier this month to allow the city to release some or all of the liens for unpaid water and sewer bills and other money owed by Longaberger in an effort to move the sale forward.”). The shapeshifter mayor of Newark (Jeff Hall) likewise speaks out of both sides of his mouth – “”But we do know it’s going to be a tax producing property again,” he said. “It’ll be a good asset in community instead of sitting as a vacant building deteriorating.”” “Hall said while the basket building is not very old, it is unique enough to qualify for historic tax credits. Coon will still have to apply for the tax credits, Hall said. “Without even that potential, it wouldn’t have been of interest to him,” Hall said. Hall said once the final plans are announced, it could take years before renovations are complete.” Newark’s Mayor belies his own public tax payer paid position by flaunting the new owners’ potential to not only NOT pay taxes, but also to be reimbursed by tax payer funds (“historic tax credits’). This in itself begs the questions of abatements during the “years before renovations are complete” and it becomes “a tax producing property again.” If you think this is just another manifestation of MAGA, you’d be more than correct in that the building would have to generate a ridiculous amount of tax revenue in its later years to offset the enormous bath the City and County have taken, something the early years of active business occupancy never produced. And what if the new owners choose to just flip their new acquisition? Of course, we also read “”It has been fun watching the progress in the Downtown and I’m excited to be a part of the movement,” he [Steve Coon, “a Canton-based developer who owns Coon Restoration, and his partner, Bobby George, of Cleveland, closed on the building Friday afternoon.”] said in the release. “The Longaberger Basket Building is known all over the world and I can’t tell you how excited I am to preserve and renovate this building and put it back into use.”” Where have we heard that before? (Clue– current and past owners of Longaberger since Dave’s demise) Who wouldn’t be giddy when they not only pay pennies on the dollar for real property, with few if any tax liabilities, but likewise elide full disclosure on the overall costs/benefits of the “public private” deal? We’re dealing! Shapeshifter Mayor Jeff Hall will probably pave the Cherry Valley Rd. dead end as well as the east of Dayton Rd. portion of East Main Street and sell it as “shine.” And city leaders will buy it and drink it! No, Analysis has reached its end. In the essay “Steve Bannon Declares Jihad On Infidels” (10-18-17) Analysis quoted Alternet’s Ivy Oleson’s embedded reporter’s report ““This is when I realize that what Ivy [Ivy El Zaatari, the Leadership Institute organizer/instructor] means is that Conservatism appeals to people on a level above facts: religion. Conservatives are skipping right over the whole logic bit and get straight to the good stuff. Ivy is hinting around about “philosophy,” because, like she said, “I’m talking about Conservatives, not Republicans. [..] They talk about their Bibles as much as their Constitution.” Sell ‘em a fantasy, and one with a moral, religious backing as well. Ivy has been trying to get it through our heads that the fear of God is how you can get people to vote against their best interests.””