Posts Tagged ‘Community Investment’

Where Credit Is Due

July 11, 2016

The news out of South Africa in the past half year is of public demonstrations, some of which have turned violent. The demonstrations are instigated by the perceived inequality, or lack of equal opportunity within the population. It primarily centers around the increase in the cost of public higher education, which in theory is to be available to all. The Zuma administration has met these protests with a censorship program based on a policy of “to show violence is to encourage it” resulting in a ban on news coverage of these demonstrations. This fueled a popular response, “Right2Know”, which in turn has ramped up even more demonstrations. Readers of this blog will recognize that the South African “right to know” appears quite akin to the “right to look” requisite for Analysis. Such measures to quell public unrest, and violence, would fail here in the US. The horse would never leave the gate. No, not because of opposition from the ACLU. “To show violence is to encourage it” underlies the nuanced, unmentionable marketing of the NRA and US gun manufacturers (“unmentionable” making for a twisted kind of self censorship). Sales of firearms (and the stock of their producers) are rising. Guns aren’t marketed like new cars or cell phones. Their marketing strategy is more like that of the Trump presidential campaign, reliant on current events and subtle insinuations (such and so MAY be…). Having the CDC study guns as a source of death, as a public health concern is a subtle encroachment of the constitution’s 2nd amendment (so celebrate your 2nd amendment rights by buying a gun. Hint, hint). The police themselves are under continuous imminent threat for their own safety. It is the citizen’s duty to help in keeping us all protected (purchasing a gun would contribute to public safety. Hint, hint). If only those good people victimized by mass shootings had each been carrying, the carnage would have been stemmed immediately (the only recourse to a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun. Hint, hint). A “show violence but don’t encourage it” campaign would be of no consequence. It is the current status quo. “Just say no” (to showing or encouraging) was what Nancy Reagan championed with regards to the drug epidemic, and probably would be of equal effectiveness with gun violence. Analysis finds the last option, “to not show violence but encourage it”, to be the most intriguing. It almost sounds un-American. Scrutiny reveals it has the closest real life applications within US culture, primarily when it comes to marketing. “Don’t show it but encourage it” is almost the attitude toward pornography, gambling or bankruptcy. No need to look historically at the heady days of the Bush economy with its sub prime bundled securities and derivatives (all variations on don’t show but encourage). A recent Newark Advocate article (North Park Place project receives $250K in tax credits, Kent Mallett, 7-5-16) sheds light on the “don’t show but encourage” practice right here in downtown Newark. “Sarah Wallace, board chairwoman of First Federal Savings, and her husband, John, join Teri and Fred Lowinger, of Chicago, as building owners and partners in the project. Teri Lowinger’s grandfather was Herman L. Art, founder of nearby business H.L. Art Jewelers. “The tax credits make it possible for the numbers to work, to renovate these older buildings,” Sarah Wallace said. “My motivation is what can I do, personally, to help move Newark further forward.”” “Teri Lowinger grew up in Newark and wants to restore the building her grandfather once owned. The upper floors have been vacant for decades. “Teri is very excited about keeping the building,” Sarah Wallace said.” One aspect of the right to look is the right to entertain the question of why were these properties derelict and left neglected over the past 30 years? Aren’t the owners of these self same properties the very civic leaders who continuously championed Newark, and resented any criticism during this same time? If these self same properties had been left neglected and derelict within a residential neighborhood, like cars up on blocks or vacant houses and apartments (with “potential” value in their owners’ dreamed of future), would they still be around, let alone qualify for public funding and tax credits to “realize their potential” after 30 years? The reality with regard to the neighborhood, like that of the “endless” campaign to stem gun violence, is no. Public money would be found to demolish the structure and/or clean up the site (the self same public money that “demolishes” any restraints on gun ownership). What Analysis finds to be the insidious not shown, unseen here, is the certainty that many of these business (and civic) leader landlords who today celebrate their downtown revitalization (thanks to credits and breaks) promoted the development of Newark’s margins over the last 30 years. Their downtown holdings remained neglected and derelict while they hedged their bets. These self same likewise owned a stake in developing condominiums, housing and medical offices on the west side, and big box stores with strip malls on the north. Uptown, downtown, all around the town, credit is given to those who don’t show but encourage.

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Welcome Homeless Home

April 7, 2016

At the start of the year (1-5-16) Rebecca McCray at Takepart.com headlined “One of America’s Poorest Cities Is Close to Ending Chronic Homelessness”. McCray writes “Advocates in Buffalo, New York, working to end homelessness in their city are crowing about an exciting new number: 22. That’s how many chronically homeless people are living on the streets as of early January, and the number is still falling, according to Dale Zuchlewski, executive director of the Homeless Alliance of Western New York.” A program entitled “Housing First” provides the homeless with, you guessed it, a permanent home. “By getting people into permanent, subsidized housing as quickly as possible with the help of grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Zuchlewski and other advocates have found that people are more likely to stay off the streets than if they are made to wait while resolving other issues. “There was an old belief that people had to be ready for housing—you had to be clean and sober, you had to be taking all your medication, you had to be seeing a primary care physician,” Zuchlewski said. “When you look at the general population, very few people are like that.” In other words, it’s easier to address problems like substance abuse and mental illness with the aid of a caseworker after the most basic need—shelter—has been met.” Analysis notes today’s The Independent headlining “One US city has found a unique solution for its homeless problem” by Feliks Garcia (4-6-16). At the other end of the country, in Texas, “Community First Village (CFV) opened in Austin on Saturday with the hopes of alleviating some of the capital city’s troubles with homelessness. The nonprofit organization aims to house 250 people in its 140 of its so-called “tiny homes” by the end of 2017.” “The initiative is run by veteran homeless advocate Alan Graham, who serves as CEO of the Christian organization Mobile Loaves & Fishes behind CFV.” ““I got the idea that we could lift a chronically homeless individual up off the streets into a gently used recreational vehicle,” he said. “I had this wild and crazy idea to develop an RV park on steroids.”” “The tiny homes will primarily function as bedrooms, while the community offers shared kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry facilities.” “Mr Graham, who was not immediately available for comment, believes that his efforts to help the homeless will relieve the economic burden placed on Austin taxpayers”. While at the other end of the country “In Buffalo, for example, supportive housing costs roughly $50 per night, according to Zuchlewski. Meanwhile, a night in jail or the emergency room—where many homeless people wind up—could cost $150 or $1,500, respectively.” Analysis can’t help but wonder if you couldn’t do that with a giant market basket? Welcome home!

Today Reuters reports “Voting rights advocates sue over Ohio’s voter roll purge process” (Brendan O’Brien, 4-6-16). “In their lawsuit filed in federal court in Ohio, the American Civil Liberties Union and advocacy group Demos accused Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted of breaking federal voter registration law. They want the court to order the state to stop using its current process to purge voter rolls, according to court records.” “The lawsuit said that over the past several years, Ohio voters were illegally removed from the rolls if they failed to cast a ballot in three consecutive federal elections or in the intervening local elections, or for failing to complete a change-of-address form and send it back to the state.” What’s the Secretary of State’s reasoning? “”This lawsuit is politically motivated, election-year politics, is a waste of taxpayer dollars and opens the door for voter fraud in Ohio,” Husted said.” And Husted should know a thing or two about fraud having survived a challenge regarding his own housing when he and his family lived in Upper Arlington while claiming to be residents of the district he represented in Dayton by “owning” a vacant house there (a homeless home!). Another good reason for Housing First – along with a slew of other things, you can’t vote without a home address.

Community Consideration In Practice

February 21, 2016

Analysis blog posting of 2-12-16, Community Consideration, found that it was much more beneficial for the city to fund continuing education for its police force rather than have the chief function as PR representatives “educating” the community. This may sound like pure theory, with no possible practical application. After all, the police are modeled on the military (any doubts on this check out the made for TV footage of SWAT in action, whether the real life media coverage or the made for Hollywood imitations on the plethora of TV entertainment police shows). City funding of police is heavy on continued training, not education, especially not being “educated” by the community (it is sworn to serve). Recent actions, as well as insights, by a city police chief beg to differ. 2-18-16 PBS News Hour Race Matters interview of former Montgomery Alabama police Chief Kevin Murphy by Charlayne Hunter-Gault indicate the alternative is not only preferable, but doable in practice. From the transcript:

 

“CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: During the 50th anniversary of police violence against peaceful civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama, that ended in Montgomery, police Chief Kevin Murphy did something surprising. He apologized to Congressman John Lewis, a frequent victim of that earlier violence, and handed him his badge.”

Further on in the interview:

“KEVIN MURPHY: One of the first things that I implemented as the new police chief was enacting a class, creating a class. We went way back in history to the Dred Scott decision all the way through to the Emmett Till case, because I wanted the officers to experience what really happened. You know, what my observation was is, you have a 21-year-old officer who had never lived through or seen the civil rights era for what it was, the dark reality of it. And so this young officer would stop an African-American citizen and get somewhat of a pushback, because maybe this 60- or 75-year-old African-American citizen’s last encounter with a Montgomery police officer was very negative. After they attended the class, I saw a lot of promise, in that, the next time they encountered that citizen, they felt like: I understand now.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: And you put this class — you got this class put into the police academy’s training.

KEVIN MURPHY: I did. And we actually had all members of the department, not just the sworn officers, but the civilians, attended as well, and had tremendous feedback. The first part of the course is classroom, then a tour of the Rosa Parks Museum. But my favorite part of the class was the conclusion, where there was a values segment. And the values segment was giving scenarios to the members of the class. It was strongly agree, somewhat agree, strongly disagree, somewhat disagree. But I was proud of the answers and the outcomes of those scenarios, because they were learning from the class that, you know, you have to be very careful in the way that you apply this power. And, you know, we’re seeing it in the country now. And I think that we were teaching that in this class, how to de-escalate a situation where a citizen was upset because they thought that they were going to be mistreated when they saw the patch of the Montgomery Police Department, and it was the officer’s responsibility to ensure that citizen that that wasn’t going to occur.”

 

Kevin Murphy had much more to say. Analysis found it very refreshing to hear the former Chief speak and act in terms of specifics, not presidential candidate promises of “change”. City priority should be community educating the police force (that is sworn to serve it), not police educating the community.

Ohio House Bill 394

January 17, 2016

Writing for the Columbus Dispatch on 1-11-16, Catherine Candisky reported on Representative Barbara Sears’ Ohio House Bill 394 (Unemployment benefits changes would ‘dismantle’ anti-poverty program, advocates say). This stealth bill is plodding along the legislative track on its way to being signed into law by presidential wannabe John Kasich. “At a news conference on Monday in Columbus, Advocates for Ohio’s Future, a coalition of nearly 500 health- and human-services groups, said Sears’ bill goes further than any other state to limit benefits to the unemployed.” Currently the proposed bill is in committee, the house insurance committee (previous stomping ground of Newark’s Jay Hottinger who now is in the Senate). This combination of practically non existent press coverage, “grass roots” (conservative base) sponsorship, and radical sweeping change (from those ostensibly opposed to change) may have Ohioans waking up one morning not recognizing the state they live in. AP headlines like yesterday’s “Kansas’ uncertain state finances weighs on some lawmakers”(by Jim Suhr and John Hanna 1-16-16) and a plethora recently from the incredible tragedy in Flint Michigan (state fiscal austerity ahead of public health considerations) indicate determining that problems have been eliminated or don’t exist by legislative fiat simply doesn’t work. The outcomes can be severe. Candisky quotes Sears as saying “it’s just too late to start over.” (is it?), though she is entertaining amendments for those deemed exceptional. “The bill, she said, seeks to shore up Ohio’s unemployment-compensation fund by severely limiting benefits to workers who lose a job. According to an analysis by the independent Legislative Service Commission, H.B. 394 would reduce taxes paid by employers into Ohio’s unemployment compensation fund by $313 million on average each year through 2025. During that same time, benefits to workers would be reduced by an average of $475 million annually.” “In addition, the bill would: Reduce benefits to 12 weeks in times of low unemployment, tying Ohio with North Carolina for lowest in the country. Eliminate added benefits for workers with dependents. Mandate that employees work during at least three quarters in the year to qualify for benefits, a requirement in no other state. Disqualify from benefits any worker who violates their employer handbook, a requirement in no other state. Reduce benefits for senior workers based on the amount of Social Security they receive.” Last Sunday (1-10-16) The Newark Advocate ran Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb’s “A look back and ahead for Licking County”. In true “year in review “ fashion, the accomplishments and successes of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce administered public/private partnership, Grow Licking County, were touted. Following SCOTUS Citizen United ruling precedent (that corporations are persons), the commissioner, and Grow Licking County board member, cited corporate entity after corporate entity responsible for the greatness of Licking County Ohio in the past and upcoming year. Not a single living human being was named in the entire column! Analysis finds no change in the county’s poverty within that period, nor any mention of it by Commissioner Bubb. At the end of her article Candisky reports “Sears said the trend toward part-time workers suggests Ohio’s tax climate is not competitive or attractive to businesses.” Do tell.

Separate Reality

October 16, 2015

Only a fence post would have considered the recent Newark Advocate/Chamber mayoral “debate” without regard, reference, or remembrance of the current national candidate “debates’ (which have been drawing record viewership). Analysis was taken aback by the striking dissemblance of the two, the national and Newark’s. True, true, true, the local was not a production of any competitive capitalist endeavor like adversarial news organizations (CNN, NBC, Murdoch’s Fox). It cannot go unsaid that the Advocate is without competition in terms of Newark, and the Licking County Chamber of Commerce is the largest representative of business interest in central Ohio. The event site itself was one of Chamber membership. This difference must be noted in that it was unlike past candidate meetings/issue forums at different levels/different communities (national, state, and local) structured by social/community groups like the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, or even schools or institutions of higher learning. The mayoral debate’s structure, 100% by the business community within a private business setting (not within a 100% public space) set the tone, agenda, and format for the entire event. The recent national events, highlighting the “outsider” setting the tone or deciding the issues, was markedly absent. It was two different worlds. Newark’s incumbent stressed his accountant’s forte of, well, accounting. The challenger was not very challenging. Was this out of deference to the event’s organizers whom ultimately must be be served and defended? No one asked the question of how one candidate would be better than the other for a resident living on Maholm Street. That Newark has one of the highest percentages of non-owner occupant residential housing in Ohio was as absent as the Longaberger imbroglio. That the former site of the Meijer’s store on North 21st Street will have a new landlord was not. Creative alternatives to generating revenue for needed and essential public services, a mainstay of the national debates (be it subversive agitation or blustery braggadocio), were likewise MIA with the Newark version. Public transportation was mentioned as a nostalgic TV reminiscence – We’d love to visit Disney World, princess, but… (the reader can fill in the “Father Knows Best” scripted scenario). Analysis won’t even begin to consider other matters affecting (and effecting) the resident on Maholm Street that appear in the national debates but were curiously absent with the recent local edition. Does Newark exist in a separate reality?

Community Organizers

October 13, 2015

Community organizers, remember them? No, I mean before they morphed into “social entrepreneurs”, with the ability to strike out on their own for whatever was near and dear to their fluttering hearts, and fund themselves independently (through a variety of public, private, as well as crowd sourcing means). By becoming “social entrepreneurs” they could legitimate an occupation in place of having to find employment with some social organization, which, after the financial meltdown of 2008 and the ascendency of fiscally responsible GOP legislators, has become a little scarce (to say the least). But now, community organizers are back, baby, in demand and on the help wanted roster (coming soon to a jobs fair near you!). Peter Overby for NPR reports “Koch Political Network Takes A Deep Dive Into Community Organizing” (10-12-15). According to Overby “It’s one small part of a long-range plan by Koch Network to build a seamless and legal system of local community and national politics.” Overby points out some of the organizing aspirations: “free market principles, limited government, libertarianism” as well as “the basic message of less government and regulation, more unfettered free enterprise”. Who knew?

“OVERBY: The irony here – none of this is new. Back in the 1880s and early 1900s, political parties were often involved in local communities, but more recently…

THEDA SKOCPOL: Parties have mainly been about raising money and running election campaigns.

OVERBY: Theda Skocpol is a sociologist and political scientist at Harvard. She also leads a group of progressive academics – Scholars Strategy Network. And she’s been studying the Koch Network for several years. She said Koch strategists are emulating what political parties and labor unions used to do. Does the left have anything like this anymore?

SKOCPOL: No (laughter) not even close.”

Then again, Analysis finds no irony in the time period during which community organizers fled that identification for the more lucrative “entrepreneur” association. Who would it surprise, after all, if, upon his term’s expiration, our former Chicago community organizer didn’t himself enter the Washington revolving door and become a top paid Koch consultant?

Make America Great Again

October 9, 2015

You know the feeling. You’ve gone to a local gathering of people for something that really interests you, whether collecting, gardening, sports activity, education, philanthropy, etc. etc. etc. And you leave scratching your head and wondering how all these people, who appeared there for the same reason as you (acute interest in a subject), how this common interest degenerated into talk of making money, saving money, and the means to making this interest become capital in the striving for a source of income (profit). At first you write it off as “This is what clubs are about.” But eventually you notice it happening even at gatherings over coffee or a beer (everything is described in terms of being an “entrepreneur”). You recall the history of the now defunct Soviet states and their operation. Ascendency within the Communist party required aspirants to attend various mundane meetings, sit on boards of committees, and operate social functions and services. This insured that anything discussed, anything implemented, served the people’s revolution, the Communist state. This was also the only route to leadership positions within that society. But you believed this all was a society of imposition. You always believed it to have been mandated, never that it was a part of everyday culture, expected and anticipated to be that way. Now you can’t help but notice that those sitting on the boards of directors at contemporary non-profits, social organizations, arts groups, educational institutions, etc. are all salaried members of the Capitalist party. Party affiliation requires that all problem solving, policy setting, and hands on operation (course of action) involve the exigency of making a profit, showing a capital return. This stains even what, where, how and when your children play as well as recreational sports, past times, gardening, arts, music, etc. (even exercising community is termed community “investment”). Capitalist party membership may not require carrying a card (what is in your wallet?). It does, however, require continuous active promotion and participation. Unwittingly, you’ve just uncovered and revealed the actual everyday workings of hegemony. Capitalist or Communist (Fascism in much of Europe during the 1930’s), religious fundamentalist, monarchist, etc. the boundaries, parameters, nature and horizons of intercourse and exchange within groups of disparate participants are determined solely by the dominating outlook. Hegemony affects how problems are solved, how choices are made, how conflicts are created by providing the channel within which all matters can and will be considered (with the unexpressed always being excluded). This past week there was much talk (and still is much talk) over another round of unending mass killings. The talk centered on guns, and mental illness (never health). A leading presidential wannabe recounted his own personal ability to deflect gun violence (by redirecting it onto someone else – see Popeye’s experience). The sage wannabe (or is it wannabe sage?) continued by claiming the mass killings perpetuated in Europe 70-80 years ago could have been averted if only the victims had been given access to guns. So the tempest swirls over the importance of guns, the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and mental illness (never health). The hegemony of “guns” determining the exclusive channel within which all matters can be considered was never mentioned or revealed (part of the unexpressed that is always excluded). It is patently absurd to imagine, let alone suggest, that the millions of everyday people, living in Europe during the mid-part of the 20th century, would, should, or could have taken an active everyday interest and involvement with guns to maintain and insure their otherwise gun absent everyday lives. It is also hubris and arrogance to impose that outlook, those parameters and horizons. But then again, it is hegemony. At one time in the U.S. there were only three major sports (hockey was Canadian). There was only one cheese for your fast food meal (American cheese). One segment of the populace exercised the day-to-day workings of democracy (race). One God was worshiped on one specific day (Sunday). Since that time the hegemony of those horizons was painstakingly expanded, the outlook arduously transformed into the variance and variability of today. The now trademarked “Make America Great Again” attempts, above all, to most definitely express a drive for hegemony.

Weird News

October 1, 2015

Not to be found with the Advocate but perused by analytical accident, the Cereal Killer riots! “The $5 Cereal That Provoked a London Mob” by Heather Horn (9-30-15) for The Atlantic: “News of the mobbing on Saturday night [9-26-15] of the Cereal Killer Cafe in Shoreditch, in London’s East End…” Eventually, “The Facebook description for the demonstration (or “street party,” as its organizers called it) puts it plainly: “We don’t want luxury flats that no one can afford, we want genuinely affordable housing. We don’t want pop-up gin bars or brioche buns—we want community.”” Horn spends the rest of the extensive article investigating the reason for such a strange occurrence. After all, if you can open a business providing $5 bowls of Captain Crunch, what harm is there in that? Then again, as Horn rightly remembers, demonstrations occurred in San Francisco over Google’s commuter bus service causing housing prices to rise and folks had to leave their hearts by the golden gate because of that. The phenomenon in East London has been replicated and is the usual suspect. City loses residents/businesses, etc. vacant storefronts, apartments attract low income but educated, upwardly mobile inhabitants who thrive on the ‘edgy”, authentic atmosphere; eventually spawning specialty businesses like coffee shops, nightclubs, galleries and “ethnic” restaurants. Real estate values go up as equally educated but higher earning desire in on the now, not-so-edgy city living (gentrified). Happens all over – NYC’s Soho, then Brooklyn, soon to be Queens. In our neck of the central Ohio woods it could be the Short North, Italian Village and currently the near west side/Franklinton in Columbus. Horn presents an alternate take to that of housing. She quotes Paul Cheshire, an emeritus professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics – “the demonstrators, or at least the organizers, appeared to have a specific political-cultural agenda.” Nancy Holman, an associate professor of urban planning at the London School of Economics is quoted “Certainly I see at the university lots of people who graduate from the [master-of-science program] with a good job and prospects, living in a house with several other people living with them, and they’re doing that into their thirties. Really, what we’re seeing isn’t so much about gentrification but about feeling priced out—people who are in their twenties and thirties feeling that there’s not a lot of hope in their being a part of life in the capital despite the fact that they work and contribute.” Small chance of such insurrection taking place in Newark where development is not organic but by design. But then again, if a Cereal Killer were to be found across from the Jail Of Terror…?

Marketing

September 27, 2015

In the spirit of book promotional tours and restaurant openings the 9-26-15 online Newark Advocate as well as the 9-27-15 Sunday edition featured “Newark’s Canal Market District is expected to have big economic impact” by Bryn Bird, Canal Market District Director. This was a brilliant piece of marketing copy that needs to be recognized and acknowledged as such. However, much of what Bryn Bird writes would make even VW blush. Starting with J. Gilbert Reese’s penchant for property accumulation and “the early 1980’s” as a starting point, Bird creates an origin myth of partnerships and property that rivals any Ring Cycle. She begins this product promotion origin story with “Over the past five years,” eventually followed by “Bringing the Farmers Market back to downtown Newark will increase access to fresh and healthy food to residents in downtown Newark.” Contrary to the wonderful tale of “leadership”, “investment”, “partnership” and philanthropy that Bird tries to create, the very same Newark Advocate reported a 180 degree opposite actuality. In “Newark Farmers Market Moving To Wilsons” (5-4-15) Anna Jeffries writes “The chamber started the farmers market about five years ago to support local vendors and bring people downtown, she said.” [Cheri Hottinger, president and CEO of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce] Jeffries begins her report with “After several successful years in the lot next to McDonald’s on South Third Street downtown,” Today’s Advocate finalizes the Canal Market District Director’s infomercial with “Bryn Bird is director of the Canal Market District and co-owner and operator of Bird’s Haven Farms.” It is important to note that during the 5 years Bird writes of, the same five years that Cheri Hottinger spoke of earlier, the identical five years that Jeffries describes as “several successful years”, the Bird’s Haven Farms had absolutely no, zero, nada presence at the Newark Farmers Market “bring[ing] fresh food to residents of Newark.” (Bryn Bird). During this same five years Bird’s Haven Farms maintained a dominant presence at the neighboring Granville Farmers Market; this in spite of the fact that the “successful” Newark Farmers Market was on Friday afternoon and the Granville Farmers Market was and is on Saturday morning. Analysis already covered the travesty of cultivating five years worth of local produce accessibility within downtown Newark (to “address healthy food access in under- served areas” Bryn Bird) only to dismiss it outright (though space and sponsorship were available within blocks of the original site). Maintaining a market downtown in 2015 would have created the inconvenience of having to maintain the connection with that bit of Newark history. Better to make it disappear as the Children’s Home did in order to manufacture a new creation myth conducive to brand marketing. While on the subject of “local produce” and Bird’s repeated reference to “local” as a selling point for the development property of Canal Market District, it is important to note that the Clintonville Community Market Co-op, which opened and has been actively providing “access to fresh and healthy food” (Bryn Bird) since the late 90’s (local and otherwise) while J. Gilbert Reese was only still dreaming of transforming his property acquisitions, has announced it will be closing within a month. Reasons given were not “to spend more time with the family” but rather the sobering reality that all current food markets, Kroger, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Ross’s Granville Market, etc. promote and sell local food products as well as organic. Market is not only a verb (“advertise or promote (something)”), but also a noun – “1. a regular gathering of people for the purchase and sale of provisions, livestock, and other commodities”. With that definition, something more organic than anything produced on Bryn Bird’s Bird’s Haven Farms, “a regular gathering of people” becomes a priority, organic requisite for success. It also differs markedly from “provisions, livestock, and other commodities”. All the foundations, investors, community business leaders, and philanthropists have wholesale disregarded this in their reliance on genetically modified brand marketing.

Between The Lines

September 16, 2015

The 9-16-15 online Advocate reported “Dan Evers leaving as economic development director” (Kent Mallet). “NEWARK — Dan Evers, director of Grow Licking County and economic development director for the Licking County Chamber of Commerce, leaves Oct. 2 to become executive director of the Clinton County Port Authority.” The usual spend-more-time-with-the -family was given as the reason for the departure (“Family considerations also played a role in the decision, Evers said. “It enables me to be closer to my parents and children at a time when being closer to them is important,” Evers said.”). Of course, unmentioned was monetary remuneration, something arrived at only by reading between the lines (“ Rick Platt, executive director of the Port Authority, said he’s confident the county can find a successor, but he said a review of the position is in order. “We lost someone to another county, so we have to make sure we’re being competitive in personnel offerings,” Platt said. “We have to evaluate was there something we could have done to have prevented that.”). Remembering history also helps in reading between the lines, but then again, after the dissed pleas to remember history during the decision to destroy the old county children’s home, analysis shows that memory just can’t be taken for granted. Besides, a smartphone does it so much better! But remember please, dear reader, the plea made by Chamber President and CEO Cheri Hottinger to the county commissioners to increase enormously the amount budgeted for the Chamber, er, Grow Licking County public private partnership. Which, after this blog’s previous “Junk Science” post (9-10-15), really does beg the question of who was Dan Evers’ employer or boss – Mrs. Hottinger? The county commissioners? The tax payers of Licking County? Or the businesses which not only were his clients but also his employers (the Chamber, after all, runs Grow Licking County which is a public-private partnership run by the Chamber which itself is a private endeavor comprised of the folks who were Evers’ “clients”)? Did he even have a boss? ‘Nuff said, as mentioned in the “Junk Science” post, reading between the lines here was something more of an exercise in “an unthinking understanding, passed down through the years, about who and what deserves to command our attention” which most everyone already does without thinking! HOWEVER, Mallet’s line (from the article) of “Licking County’s employment and workforce have reached all-time highs this year as companies move to New Albany, Pataskala, Heath, Hebron and Johnstown. The number of manufacturing companies considering Licking County development sites has continued to increase during the last few years.” did not escape Analysis. Reading between the lines here requires a bit of an assist. That same day (9-16-15) online Reuters reported “U.S. household incomes slip, poverty rate up slightly in 2014” (by Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu). “”In 2014, real median household income was 6.5 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession,” Census researchers wrote [U.S. Census Bureau]. At the same time, the poverty rate ticked up to 14.8 percent from 14.5 percent in 2013, the data showed. Census researchers said the changes in both the median income and poverty rate were not statistically significant.” Reading between the lines of Mallet’s glowing assessment of Licking County progress, growth, and job creation under Evers’ Grow Licking County directorship requires asking a question the Advocate (definitely Kent Mallet’s employer) refuses to allow to even be asked: “What have we got to show for it?” One cannot answer this question in English. Speak American Sarah Palin insists! Au Contraire. Only by lapsing into European (or Asian) reverie and entering into a dream world (found there) do we answer the question. Yes Virginia, other modern industrial states have dependable public transportation whereby the residents of a county’s government and population center, like Newark, could access all these jobs in “New Albany, Pataskala, Heath, Hebron and Johnstown”. Remember history? Not too hard to recognize that Newark was not included with the “all-time highs.” And the streets still cry out for pavement. Analysis won’t even begin to address the obvious “U.S. household incomes slip”. Once again “Our news agenda reflects not a smoke-filled room but rather an unthinking understanding, passed down through the years, about who and what deserves to command our attention.”