Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Blake’

Silent Ischemia

June 1, 2019

The 5-31-19 online Newark Advocate announced “A Newark city councilman plans to propose an amendment to existing legislation to use new Ohio gas tax funding to target paving for neighborhood streets.” (Newark councilman to propose funds from Ohio gas tax target neighborhood streets, Michaela Sumner) Sumner’s quotes: “I believe that our residents have for years, been talking about wanting to get their roads paved,” [Jeremy] Blake said. “It’s those neighborhood streets that may not have been touched for decades. They’ve been paying their taxes and doing their due diligence and I think it’s time we get onto a regular maintenance schedule of paving these neighborhood roads.” Analysis finds “neighborhood streets that may not have been touched for decades” politely says that the city’s residents of those neighborhoods also pretty much don’t expect anything different. How so? In one section of his recent book, “Dying Of Whiteness”, Dr. Jonathan M. Metzl went to Kansas to consider the impact of GOP fiscal austerity on it’s previously historically great K-12 schools. On pg. 232 Metzl writes: “Pulling money out was not fixed simply by putting money back in. Rather, cutting money from schools cut off perfusion and oxygen as if by heart disease, leading to silent ischemia. Part of the reason why this was the case was because reducing funding and eliminating programs did more than simply reduce school capacities. Budget cuts also narrowed people’s expectations for what was possible from school in the first place and of what it cost to get there. As one superintendent put it to me: “It’s really hard to see the changes unless you’ve been a superintendent that whole time, because I don’t even think principals who change schools really fully grasp what’s going on. And it’s rare to have a board member that’s been on for ten or twelve years, and it’s even more rare to have a board member that’s been on that time that’s so engaged. It’s not anybody saying, “I don’t want this for my kids,” but they just don’t know what we had or what might be possible from great schools.”” It is likewise for the city of Newark. On average, Americans relocate their residence at or around 5 years. Homeowners average 13 years in a residence. With 48% of Newark residences being non-owner occupant, just about half of Newark’s current residents can’t recall what the neighborhood was like when Jeff Hall first took the oath of office as mayor for all of Newark’s neighborhoods (not just the downtown business association). “Budget cuts also narrowed people’s expectations for what was possible” not only with regard to the condition of the streets they lived on, but also any public transportation (which once was part of Newark), city wide public health services, sufficient emergency service personnel, residential building standards (rentals), neighborhood community services and programs such as art and recreation, etc. Non-owner occupant tenants feel little connection to Newark. Most simply assume that, like the building they reside in, the streets are maintained by “someone else”. Does that make the mayor the Landlord of Newark? With the loss of any genuine history with heart (Children’s Home, Gazebo, etc.) in favor of a fabricated history of profit (Downtown Newark manufactured to be Easton Lite), Newark’s current residents “just don’t know what we had or what might be possible from [a] great” city. Vying to be mayor, Analysis forecasts both Jeff Hall AND Jeremy Blake will repeatedly stress “what a great city Newark is” in their pitch to the Newark electorate.

Ischemia – “an inadequate blood supply to an organ or part of the body, especially the heart muscles.”

Unbearable

September 2, 2016

There is an old story, whose ethnic origins are irrelevant, about a genetically deformed man at the birth of his first child. The ambivalence of his experience was what pervaded the recent “FED UP!” opioid addiction rally in Newark, 8-31-16. The pain, actual physical gut wrenching pain, of Ohio’s opioid addiction epidemic was to be expected (and was palpable). It only follows considering the contemporary take that this is a disease, and we eschew illness for exactly that reason (never mind that Woody Allen says germs are our friends). The event turned out to be a generic Komen-race-for-the-cure-Pelotonia disease event bringing folks together in a positivity rally (Woody Allen was right?). Even Newark council person Jeremy Blake enthusiastically led the group in a rather extended pep cheer of New-Ark (and spoke all things wonderful about Newark). Many of the speakers admitted they were preaching to the choir, sharing their grief with those who knew, and that those absent, not wishing to experience pain even vicariously, were the ones who needed to hear. The deaf to the message also passed through the event, rushing to their parked cars after a day’s work, not wishing to experience anything having to do with opioid addiction, even for a minute. The chief of police spoke of the new law enforcement conversion to considering addicts as sick people in need of rehab/recovery. Though he spoke of the financial cost benefits of such an approach (less incarceration, less crime), he was mum on the illegality of illness (is any other disease illegal?). Others were much more specific about the economics involved, lambasting state legislators for caving to Pharma’s lobbying against producing prescription medication that cannot be broken down (to snort or shoot) but only ingested as intended. The argument echoes that of Pharma’s failed resistance to ephedrine regulation: economically unfeasible due to increased costs. Phrased otherwise it would be that contributing to eradicating the opiod addiction epidemic would cut into company profits (opioid addiction is good for the bottom line). The Rob Portman syndrome was present in the form of his spokesperson touting his election year concern and efforts without noting what another speaker pointed out – there are 3-4 week wait times for admission into rehab/recovery facilities in Ohio. Without that, all the Komen race for the opioid addiction cure efforts fail. But if you have insurance, then …(Portman opposes the Affordable Care Act which begins to address the lack of comprehensive health care insurance in this country). The tit-for-tat, do I/don’t I want the child to be like me/not like me of the old story had Analysis looking for cultural/historical insights. That addiction is a disease (albeit an illegal one that winds up with most sufferers in jail) assumes or presupposes health (something the rally insisted about assuming for New-Ark). Are we healthy? Opioid addiction as a disease effectively implies that health is threatened by this malady. In terms of medicine, maladies are treated with medication – drugs. If you are ill, you take a pill, the least painful remedy. Yet the remedy is the malady, all connected by an aversion to pain. Analysis finds the dog chasing its tail, the man not knowing whether to view the newborn or not. Should he wish for it to suffer his disfigurement, or not? One thing is clear. The sparsely attended rally (for a region of well over 50,000) was precisely that because in this day of “brand” emphasis, all things pain are not a big draw. You don’t want your “brand” associated with unpleasantness. And pain is definitely unpleasant. Analysis finds the evolution of cultural disposition to opioid addiction quite relevant. For the greater part of western history, it was associated with a kind of “demon” possession. Odysseus steered clear of the island of lotus eaters knowing full well that once there, he and his crew would be captive to their seduction and never return home. Christians associated it with being in the throes of the devil. Infidel moderns ascribed it as an escape from the brutality of industrialized society (there’s that pain again). In the 80’s it received acceptance as part of Pop culture, with media expose’s of celebrities and icons, and films, music and reading material including drug use with tattoos, piercings, surf boards and advertising art. Of course, celebrities didn’t wind up in jail. Those not in the 1% fueled the profit margin of the prison industrial complex (opioid addiction is good for the bottom line). Today, opioids are as ubiquitous as tobacco once was (an addiction that is NOT illegal). Opioid addiction is seen as a disease, a despoiler of our otherwise happy and healthy society. Like the man in our story, Analysis finds it unbearable to take a look.