Posts Tagged ‘Homeless’

Vigilante Justice – it’s not your grand dad’s variety anymore

September 2, 2021

            The news today was of the SCOTUS 5-4 decision to let stand, for the time being, a new Texas law outlawing abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy. What makes the law unique and different from other state early pregnancy termination legislation is that it also outlaws state enforcement of the law’s mandate by government entities. It does, however, make provisions for a kind of citizen arrest, allowing for civil suits to be executed on anyone violating the law through being involved with the facilitation of an abortion after 6 weeks. This citizen enforcement, through civil suits, is a kind of vigilante justice in that the prosecution, as well as the police power, is left up to individual citizens. In the case of the Texas law, these vigilantes would be the collective of citizens found in the various right to life organizations. And Governor Abbot’s vigilante posse is saddled up and ready to ride. The AP’s Stephen Groves headlined “GOP-led states see Texas law as model to restrict abortions” (9-2-21) signaling that other states with GOP legislatures and governors are ready to follow suit (especially given the SCOTUS imprimatur). Based on its track record with ALEC and other “model” legislation, Ohio will no doubt join the other ditto heads. Today news pundits and analysts have parsed the SCOTUS decision with an eye on Roe v Wade. Analysis shows there is more at stake than that since at its core the law is about outlawing something locally which is currently legal federally by means of locally legitimated vigilante justice. It is the obverse of present day marijuana legislation locally made legal while federally being illegal. What if the federal law allowed for marijuana (or alcohol) possession/consumption and the local (state) law was modelled after the Texas anti abortion legislation that just went into effect? No government enforcement allowed but individual citizens could sue anyone aiding, abetting, or providing marijuana (sold or shared) with a minimum award guaranteed (essentially a bounty for enforcing the law). Hitting closer to home, or rather the homeless, we have Newark Ohio’s Mayor Jeff Hall who is all for homeless shelters, as long as they are not in the city of Newark. What if the GOP dominated city council would oblige the Mayor a’ la the Texas model? SCOTUS has ruled repeatedly that being homeless is not illegal. The Newark city council, with the mayor’s approval, could now enact a legitimate end run, forbidding government enforcement but allowing any citizen or posse to sue anyone who provides comfort, aids or recognizes the homeless within the city of Newark. This legal methodology could also be used to reintroduce legitimate redlining and racial segregation. The possibilities are endless. Vigilante justice – it’s not your grand dad’s variety anymore.

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Failed Community Administration

February 19, 2019

The past week saw a barrage of local news appear in The Newark Advocate. Though apparently disparate in content, the aggregate spoke volumes about the Newark community. Analysis was intrigued by what the stories contributed to the overall larger narrative. There were a couple of stories about the growing population of homeless within Newark (by definition marginal to Newark’s self identity as community). There were likewise a couple of stories of projected capital improvements within the geography of Newark (by most accounts structures and institutions are what define community in Newark). In the final lines of ‘What needs to be done with homelessness in Licking County?’ (2-17-19) Kent Mallett quotes Newark’s mayor: “”No individual group, entity or person will have all the answers, but collectively, we’ll work together. The power of community is pretty strong right now.”” Previous to the mayor speaking Mallett wrote “The mayor said any sustainable answer has to include the public, private and non-profit segments of the community.” Analysis shows the mayor is cognizant of Newark as a community and his place within that community. He IS the mayor who is being interviewed and as THE community leader he is integral to not only what needs to be done but what IS done. ‘New senior housing, wellness center coming to Denison’ by Craig McDonald (2-16-19) is technically NOT Newark though the large footprint of The Art Space on Church St. definitely puts the DU in downtown Newark. DU likewise self identifies as a community with a mission of producing leaders for tomorrow (may or may not include mayors). From McDonald’s article it becomes obvious that there is not enough housing and group activity spaces on campus, and the community must generate more, and will. Likewise, the healthcare of the community is being inadequately provided and that too must be improved, and will. ‘Newark’s St. Francis de Sales announces $3 million expansion’ by Dave Weidig (2-17-19) projects an expansion of the downtown church to meet its urgent need, and the sundry reasons, plans and financing involved. DU takes a lot of pride in their generations of leaders, so small wonder that they actively address the immediate physical needs of their community. Pride is somewhat ambivalent within the context of the Catholic Church. Though an understatement, “”It will be a good street presence,” said Shannon Karrenbauer, St. Francis Business Manager.” suffices as an adequate surrogate. And Newark Mayor Jeff Hall? “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 see downtown, north end developments, Kent Mallett, 1-5-18). Analysis finds this collection of reporting in the middle of February inadvertently reveals the disjunct of “community” when it comes to the administration of Newark. All three groups take pride in their community. On the basis of this pride the administrators of the leaders group as well as the religious organization address their present real concerns with projected solutions in the here and now. The administration of the Newark community? The mayor mouths the 100% correct analysis of what it takes to accomplish the goal of addressing the need (“The mayor said any sustainable answer has to include the public, private and non-profit segments of the community.”) but has failed to do any of the above. Akin to DU and the Catholic Church, Newark is not some isolated hardscrabble backwater struggling to identify itself, let alone flourish.  Along with being the government seat of a prosperous and thriving county, it is the headquarters of a bank with $7.8 billion in assets. Its membership rolls, along with its alumni and active promoters far outstrip anything that the local church or university can access. Yet the present Newark administration has not succeeded in generating any affordable housing, public transportation or public community centers. It isn’t that there is a lack of public, private and non-profit segments within Newark. Rather, Analysis reveals that the current Jeff Hall administration has totally failed the Newark community even though they know what it takes to do otherwise.

 

Will The Real Governing Body Of People Please Stand Up

November 29, 2018

Stand your ground, heartbeat bill, pastor protection, embryonic personhood, every new born shall possess a gun, if they cannot afford it, one will be provided for them…Just some of the endless priorities for legislation once electioneering days have passed. In the Ohio state house currently is House Bill 625 which “prevent[s] cities from passing taxes or bans on plastic bags and other disposable containers.” (Ohio House votes to block local bans, fees on plastic bags by Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com, 11-28-18) “Several business groups have supported the bill, including the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, the Ohio Grocers Association, and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association.” “The bill’s other co-sponsor, state Rep. George Lang of Butler County, echoed that [State Rep Scott Lipps’] sentiment. “The market can regulate itself – it doesn’t need the government to get involved in every aspect of what they do,” he said.” Licking County recently experienced ditto above with Kent Mallet reporting: Public opposition derails proposal for Licking County contractor registration (The Advocate 11-27-18). “The proposal, the result of a contractor registration review committee meeting monthly since March, would have required contractors to register with the Licking County Building Code Department prior to starting work. The registration would have been required for general, HVAC, fire protection, electrical, refrigeration and hydronics contractors. The fee was set at $100 annually for each contractor, with a $300 fine for failure to comply.” “The resolution, however, was on the commissioners’ Tuesday agenda with 24 others. The commissioners usually vote to approve all the day’s resolutions in one vote, but occasionally remove a resolution before approving the rest. McKean Township Trustee Dannette McInturff said, “They completely ignored the governing body of the people they’re trying to regulate. It is a shame the way it had to be brought to light. If not, it would have passed today. It is on the agenda for today.” For anyone confused the ”contract registration review committee” is comprised of the usual suspects, area business people, which likewise comprise McInturff’s “ignored governing body of the people.” Likewise this was never broached during the midterm’s contested commissioner race. “And, some said the issue should have been debated before the recent re-election of Commissioner Rick Black. Hanover Township Trustee Heath Smith told Black, “You get re-elected and two weeks later you’re trying to push this under the table. I think that’s kind of shoddy there.”” What if the “governing body of the people” takes the lead? Turns out there’s an app for that too. Ohio lawmakers seek to make it harder for voters to change state constitution (Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com, 11-28-18). “House Joint Resolution 19 comes after Ohio legislative leaders lamented what they said was a “cottage industry” set up to put frivolous amendments on the statewide ballot. Under the resolution, 60 percent of Ohio voters would have to approve a proposed constitutional amendment for it to pass. Currently, any proposed constitutional amendment — including HJR 19 itself — needs a simple majority of “yes” votes to take effect. It would also move up the deadline to submit the hundreds of thousands of petition signatures needed to put a proposed amendment on the ballot. That deadline is now in early July; the resolution would move it to April 1. In addition, each petition signature would only be valid for 180 days. Right now, there’s no expiration date for signatures. HJR 19 would also change the way Ohioans can force the state legislature to pass a law. Right now, a group can force lawmakers to take action on a proposal if it gathers a number of petition signatures equal to 3 percent of the number of voters in the last gubernatorial election (that number is 129,553, based on this year’s gubernatorial vote). If lawmakers don’t pass the measure within four months, proponents can gather signatures from another 3 percent of voters to put the proposal on the statewide ballot. Under the resolution, the initial signature requirement would be raised to 5 percent of the last gubernatorial vote. But if lawmakers don’t pass the measure within four months, it would go directly to the statewide ballot without needing any additional signatures. In addition, any law passed in this way couldn’t be altered or repealed by lawmakers for one year after its passage, under the resolution.” Paper or plastic? Another instance of something completely not on the horizon pre midterm election but now in play would be: Cleveland aims to provide free legal representation for tenants in eviction cases (Leila Atassi, cleveland.com, 11-28-18). It would be modeled after an NYC program that provides attorneys for those who face eviction. The current ratio of attorneys in eviction cases representing landlords/tenants is 90% of landlords and less that 10% of tenants. ““If someone is facing a life-altering proceeding, there is no justice if one side has an attorney and the other side does not,” [Right-To-Counsel Mark] Levine said. “… We should all be outraged by that. The landlords have built a business model that uses housing court as a weapon, knowing that it’s not going to be a fair fight.” In 2017, however, after three years of demonstrations, news conferences and petitions to Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York passed legislation providing legal representation in eviction cases to all defendants whose income is 200 percent of the federal poverty level or below. Since then, the city has seen a 24 percent reduction in evictions, with fewer cases filed overall. And 84 percent of tenants with representation are staying in their homes, Levine said.” Cleveland is considering this as the cost of the program is more than offset by the savings to “the cost of sheltering families, providing social services, and educating transient youth.” Paper or plastic? Home rule for cities with initiatives like this are once again vulnerable to being shot down by a state legislature with an enormous track record of doing just that, for “the governing body of the people”. “State Rep. Stephanie Howse, a Cleveland Democrat, said businesses also have a responsibility to work to better the communities they’re located in. She also suggested that House Republicans were hypocritical when it comes to how much power local governments should have. “It’s amazing how this body selectively makes decisions on when we want to have local control versus when we don’t,” she said.” (Pelzer, Ohio House votes to block…) In Ohio, who is “the governing body of people”?

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.