Representative Of Dollars

The latest video/press coverage provided by the Newark Advocate, after the Monday night (4-15-19) Newark City Council meeting, is disturbing in the least, alarming at most. The mayor of the city is shown, or reported, claiming himself to be “not in charge,” “doesn’t run” things, “not head of the city”, etc. In short, he is a mayor of __? Analysis finds the only word that fills in the blank is “money”. He swears any aid to the homeless will not be free. Indeed, the only frame he can put around the “problem” of homelessness is that of money and cost. Given any celebration of downtown moneyed renewal, or Chamber event, the mayor would bask in the glow of leadership, for here the “problems” of cash flow are self-fulfilling (you only entertain the “problem” of lack of funds if you are certain they can be secured. See this blog’s “Attention To The Community” 3-22-19). But with the “problem” of homelessness he becomes a city manager and not a leader of the people (“We represent the taxpayers’ dollars … I’m saying we don’t just willy nilly spend money. We have to do it the right way. I’m not saying it’s a reason not to, I’m just saying, you’ve got to work out the details.”). Part of the details that make for the most efficient solution to the “problem” of the homeless is to relocate them out of the city entirely (“The mayor suggested land outside the city limits would be better because it would involve fewer laws and rules, and the zoning is more open.” Kent Mallett, Mayor confronted on Newark homeless issue after council meeting, 4-17-19). The alarming aspect of Newark’s city manager’s, er, mayor’s accountant disposition to the problem of homelessness is within the description – “homeless problem.” It is the problem of homelessness, not the homeless are a problem. In the recent ongoing Henry Louis Gates Jr. documentary series “Reconstruction: America After The Civil War” one of the contributors points out that all people have problems, but to say that a people are a problem is to dehumanize them. A city manager focused on “show me the money” solutions to problems would obviously fail to appreciate the nuance of the statement. No, Analysis finds it disturbing and alarming that Newark elects to have a city manager dedicated to representing “the taxpayer’s dollars” rather than a mayor of the people (“According to a new study, a group of 60 companies in the Fortune 500 booked nearly $80 billion in total profits in 2018, but each owed $0 in taxes. Worse: Many of these companies actually got rebates from Uncle Sam, totaling more than $4 billion.” Tim Dickinson for Rolling Stone, Billions in Profits, No Taxes: How the Trump Tax Code Let 26 Companies Off the Hook, 4-15-19. So much for corporate “personhood”, not when it comes to being a taxpayer!).

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