This, That And The Other

September 15, 2019 found the Newark Advocate running similar coverage of the candidates for Municipal Court Judge. “Recovery a driving force behind Sutton’s campaign for judge” was a one-on-one by Michaela Sumner with Max Sutton (Advocate, 9-15-19). Sumner supplied an adjunct point of view from Irene Kennedy, LC Democratic Party member. Originally from Newark, Sutton addressed his personal past and its articulation with what he is presenting to be elected. Kennedy gave her opinion based on her acquaintance with Sutton as well as the functioning of municipal court itself. Sumner used the same format to cover Matthew George “Faith, family and friends help George in campaign for judge” (same day, same paper, same page). The adjunct point of view was provided by George’s best friend since 2002, Matt Parker. Neither are originally from Newark. The latter resides and is employed elsewhere. George spoke of the process leading up to his decision to run, and his qualifications for the job. Matt Parker spoke extensively of George’s being over qualified for the job, both in background and character, as well as ideological commitment. “Parker said “When (George) decided to run for office, it was pretty obvious that I would help him on his campaign.”” Turns out that Matt Parker isn’t just a GOP acquaintance. He is a professional “political consultant”. He is George’s campaign manager. Though the format for each “meet the candidate” coverage was the same, Sumner provided George with a twofer – his own words plus those of a professional retained to market his candidacy (the candidate in his own words plus an advertisement for the candidate). Analysis concludes that if this were a tennis match, the score at this point would be “Advantage George.”

And now for something completely different. Who says we can’t have this AND that? The incumbent mayor of Newark, running for a third term, received some affirmation, of sorts. The mayor’s stated position on those found in Newark without a house to call their own is that they should relocate elsewhere – anywhere but Newark, as long as it is outside Newark. Many cities across the country (large and small)  have deployed this strategy of shipping the indigent without housing to somewhere else; sometimes to a place of their choosing, sometimes not. Writing for the NY Times, Mike Baker reports “Homeless Residents Got One-Way Tickets Out of Town. Many Returned to the Streets.” (9-14-19). The article covers the various rates of recovery as well as failure of such an approach. Success seems to impinge on a well thought out specificity of outcome – a potential job, family, treatment facility, shelter awaiting those sent away by bus (maybe even plane), etc. Recidivism rates vary, though it is technically not a crime to be a person without housing. Sometimes the people returning are originally from the city that facilitated their removal. Sometimes they have been sent there after being removed by another city. In the 1930’s people without means rode boxcars. Today, “As cities see their homeless populations grow, many are buying one-way bus tickets to send people to a more promising destination, where family or friends can help get them back on their feet.” Only problem is, Mr. Mayor, Newark hasn’t had city wide scheduled bus service in years, let alone interstate. And the Hall administration has done nothing to address either problem – being without a house as well as being without a bus. Besides, ““Just shipping someone out of town to experience homelessness somewhere else is furthering the trauma that person experiences,” she [Lauren McGowan, senior director for Ending Homelessness and Poverty at United Way of King County, Washington] said, “and furthering this crisis that we have all over the country.””

Speaking of which Dear Leader is promoting the ultimate solution for “the other.” He advocates housing them in camps, just as is being done with “illegal aliens”, though no person, in and of themselves, can be illegal (that’s just not part of the law). Cynically, the point is they would be housed, thereby technically eliminating them as individuals without housing. Both they, as well as the cross border refugees (for whatever reason) find themselves in a curious position. They are physically (geographically) part of the state or city (the migrant concentration camps are located on US soil as well as the proposed facility for city dwellers without housing). They reside there. Yet they are de facto NOT considered residents of the country or city in which that camp or facility is found (not having the same rights and privileges of residency as those acknowledged to be members of the country or city). That would satisfy Mayor Hall’s demand that they not be part of the city while still being located there (much as having a post office box gets you mail but no vote to cast in an election). In short, they are warehoused out of sight as biblical lepers – minimally fed and sheltered by the religious community but kept completely out of reach of the secular (business) one.

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