Posts Tagged ‘Licking County Jobs and Family Services Funding Cuts’

Cleansing

December 5, 2016

“July 8, 1910 was a dark day in Newark, Ohio history. Carl Etherington, a detective with the Anti-Saloon League of Ohio, had come to Newark to raid saloons and speakeasies for illegal alcohol. Etherington shot local saloon owner William Howard in self-defense, and was taken to the jail. In retaliation for the agents’ activities, a mob formed. The crowd stormed the north side door of the jail, forcibly removed Etherington, and hanged him from a telephone pole on the southeast corner of the courthouse square.” (lcjail.org website)

“The historic Licking County jail could make money as a tourist attraction, but first, cash is needed to make required safety improvements. That was the pitch Licking County Governmental Preservation Society President Jim Young made to the Licking County commissioners on Tuesday…” “Commissioner Tim Bubb said the county has committed to so many costly projects, it’s not known whether the 2017 budget has room for any more. The Licking County Courthouse restoration, county annex and records center renovation on East Main Street, ongoing county bridge improvement program, and current Licking County jail maintenance combine for an expensive to-do list that will include borrowing money. “We have a lot of capital commitments,” Bubb said. “We don’t have enough money to do everything we need to do this year. I can’t remember us feeling any more pressure for capital dollars than we do this year. 2017 — you couldn’t ask for a more difficult year.”” “A philanthropic donation from the Gilbert Reese Family Foundation paid for last year’s exterior cleaning of the jail, at a cost of about $230,000. The cleaning transformed the blackened exterior to a reddish look.” (Commissioners consider improvements to historic jail Kent Mallett, The Advocate Reporter 11-29-16)                                                                                                     “In other cases, reappropriation on the part of an actor from the media or the government tends to legitimate politicians who want to look like heirs of the founding fathers or of the nation’s foundational events. Tourist industry practices bring a hegemonic modality with a different meaning. In either case, criticism usually focuses on the “distortion” of the monument’s original meaning, as if every building or object in the nation’s heritage were destined to remain forever unchanged – as if erecting a statue to commemorate a founding father or adapting a historic building to be repurposed as a bank or as government offices wasn’t already a contingent interpretation of its social meaning.” (Nestor Garcia Canclini “Art Beyond Itself” pg. 38) Both modalities are at play in Licking County today. The first: “Escalating renovation costs at the Licking County Courthouse, along with other capital improvements, spurred Auditor Mike Smith to question county spending decisions in a Thursday meeting with the county commissioners. Smith said he heard last year the courthouse project would cost close to $10 million, instead of the initial $4 million cost approved by the commissioners.” “In addition to the courthouse, the commissioners announced the Child Support Enforcement Agency building at 65 E. Main St., needs a repair and restoration project estimated to cost up to $3.8 million.” “Another building expense is the creation of a records center in a building at 675 W. Church St. purchased four years ago from the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The project has been estimated to cost from $1.5 million to $2 million.” (Auditor: Courthouse cost spike to $10M unsurprising Kent Mallett, The Advocate Reporter 7-28-16). The second modality is repurposing the old jail as a haunted hoochie: “The haunted attraction takes visitors through the historic Licking County Jail, filled with a “morgue from hell” and 30 actors dressed as zombies and vintage clowns.” (Mallett 11-29-16)                                                                                                               But wait, there’s more. The Advocate’s Kent Mallett headlines Care for abuse, neglected children breaking JFS budget (12-2-16). “”Paying for the care of the kids is obviously bankrupting us,” [Licking County Job and Family Services Director John] Fisher said. “We can’t just abandon these children. We can’t control who enters our services and who doesn’t. Our mission is to help families and children involved in abuse and neglect situations and do our best to heal that.”” “”We’ve got needs across the board,” Bubb said. “We don’t have these extra $1 million to $2 million we can keep throwing at things. We can’t sustain this going forward. We’re looking at some loss of revenue next year courtesy of the state.” The county’s foster care costs increased from $7.1 million in 2014 to $9 million in 2015, and on pace for $9.2 million this year. “We’re sitting here looking at the numbers and don’t see the faces,” Bubb told Fisher. “You see the faces. We’re frustrated too.”” Analysis finds this is where it gets kinda gnarly. Capital improvements, funded by long term loans, selling municipal bonds (a kind of mortgage due way off in the future), are a very sanitized expense on a budget sheet. They produce an immediate tangible result that can be pointed at. Contrary to Commissioner Bubb’s empathetic sigh of frustration, LCJFS operating expenses are always faceless. A wall greater and more effective than any Donnie Trump can fantasize insures that the needy stay out, the resources remain in. The wall consists of the legal statutes in place mandating the confidentiality and anonymity of the clients served by LCJFS. The artist Krzysztof Wodiczko is known for projecting historic images on a building or monument from that structure’s past, literally putting a face on a façade. Due to the wall, Analysis finds that one can (in actuality) only imagine projecting the faces of children and families held in “bond”age on the red stone of the old jail – prisoners of an economics that favors facades over faces, capital over persons. “Bubb said the building improvements are not annual expenses and will save the county money in the long run, but the work can’t be overlooked any longer.” (Mallett 7-28-16).

Babe

June 8, 2016

This week Analysis witnessed a scene straight out of the movie Babe. US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, surrounded by his party flock of senate cronies, bleated out to his party’s presidential candidate “No biting. No more biting!” A more telling sign of the times was US Speaker of the House (and ditto party member) Paul Ryan’s passionate disavowal of the very same party presidential candidate’s doubled down public statements. Analysis couldn’t help but note that even after the righteously indignant disavowal, Paul Ryan went on to say he still endorses his party’s candidate and will vote for him. His presidency is in the best interest of the Republican agenda and priorities. Does this bounty of disavowals (after endless apology) indicate a new Jim Crow era where the openly apparent perception of trauma is immediately disavowed and hushed-up without debate or conversation? Analysis finds this to be evidence of a culture of silence meant to enforce party discipline of closing ranks in order to maintain a fabricated history of events necessary for an ideological agenda and aspirations. On a local level Analysis has already witnessed (and noted, posts Ted Cruz Joke 3-18-16 and Super Hero Welcome 4-3-16) this with County Commissioner Tim Bubb’s “I have no idea. For Pat Tiberi, it’s not just a Licking County question, it’s a United States question. I’m not going to be critical of Pat.” after being told to hush-up with regard to the diminishing funding of Licking County Job and Family Services. We are currently witnessing this disavowal of trauma with its culture of silence to ensure a discipline of membership inclusion and continuity. The growing public need coupled with the under funding of Job and Family Services is an open wound. It is disavowed as a dereliction of Licking County responsibility. The culture of silence is enforced by referring to it as a “problem of funding” in order to promote the ideological agenda and aspirations of “business first” in the form of tax breaks, credits and abatements. This maintains a fabricated history of scarcity and diminished public assistance programs not being affected by an economics of austerity. Such a constructed history links Job and Family Services’ response to public need with social entitlement and privilege while maintaining the discipline of silence over the actual entitlement and privilege programs of business tax breaks, credits, abatements and public/private “job creation” incentives. Jim Crow? “Know the feeling, Babe.”

Large Margaritas

May 26, 2016

A quarter of a century ago there was a Mexican themed restaurant in Columbus located on High Street, just north of Hudson. It was trendy then to take in the latest food and drink start ups, much as seeing the latest movie release is today. The major draw was the huge (pre- Bernie, Trump and Hillary) margaritas, a must have if dining there. The place was very dark and dimly lit. The nothing-to- write- home- to-mother- about food was brought to the table by little street urchins with even a bit of mariachi music wafting in the air. Down home Mexico! Did Analysis mention that the margaritas were huge? Soon the place was closed up by the health department, and the proprietor (who personally served each enormous margarita with a welcoming grin) found himself in jail for violating child labor laws, working after hours, etc, (and maybe more). Protestations of family values aside, the kids weren’t exactly all his. This past week’s news related reporting dominating The Newark Advocate took Analysis back in the way back machine. Various testimonials were penned by Luconda Dager, Nathan A. Strum and Bryn Bird celebrating the economic vibrancy and success of Licking County business development, and how much good it is bringing to our area, our neighborhoods, our own back yard. Indeed, the Bird article touts the imminent (and inevitable?) wonderfulness of the new Farmers Market to open next to the historic county jail (fair trade/unfair trade, you get to experience a twofer with one stop). Bird is not alone. Various other news reporting, on other days, elaborate the inevitable (and imminent?) success of the nascent enterprise to be. This is not unusual reporting for the Advocate (as well as most large media outlets). In essence, the “news” reporting is one huge infomercial. Analysis witnessed this recently with the FamFest (second year in a row). Afterwards, not a peep of critique was reported as to the actual event itself. Considering the genealogy and history of funding and organization, the grand opening of the new Farmers Market will probably receive at least a photo spread. Trendy events usually warrant imagery, sans a wordy critique. An equally celebratory article, likewise of a business oriented nature, was “Grant may be sought to clean up gas station site” by Kent Mallet. The mayor (a land bank board member) and his administration are all a gush that they may obtain funding to rid the city of the derelict gas station at Mt. Vernon and Deo Drive (a veritable museum of how life was a quarter of a century ago before Obama stimulus money made the Deo Drive extension a “shovel ready “ priority). “Deputy Licking County Auditor Roy Van Atta, executive director of the land bank, said the site could be cleaned even without the grant, but it would cost about $80,000 to dig out the tanks. It could then be marketed for sale, possibly to an adjacent property owner, before the end of the year.” Of course, the property is virtually even more unmarketable than the South Second Street fraternal hall recently “sold” by the Licking County Land Re-utilization Corporation (for $100). The old gas station, as well as the defunct car wash across the way, had their useful life terminated when the extension relegated them to only one driveway for entrance/egress. But, as far as business is concerned, there is much to be celebrated by the Newark administration. At least for “Newark Service Director David Rhodes, who owns the adjoining property for his storage units.” Analysis projects more celebration with storage unit development in the future. Another story, also by Mallet, “County children services levy not covering expenses” was quite troubling, not celebratory in the least. Put bluntly, the County cannot afford to care for the abused, neglected and unfortunate minors entrusted to its care by statute. Analogous to the anecdote at the head of this posting, all is large margaritas for the business community. When the lights come on, the family value oriented businesses eschew these children as not exactly theirs. Is it so hard to imagine Cheri Hottinger and the Chamber celebrating, in partnership with the county, that funding is guaranteed for every client of Licking County Jobs and Family Services?

Super Hero Welcome

April 3, 2016

Hot on the heels of disclosure that the indefatigable presidential candidate and never resting current Ohio Governor intends to require Medicaid recipients to hand over a monthly premium for the ACA empowered program or receive no health care, AND news of Newark’s own congressional representative’s aggressive drive to further cut Job and Family Services’ funding (in tandem with his tag-team partner, the hardest working presidential wannabe in America) Analysis uncovers “The controversial reason tens of thousands of people just lost their food stamps” by Max Ehrenfreund and Roberto A. Ferdman of the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, 4-1-16. During the Dot Com era of affluence (when the internet promised to be whatever its users wanted it to be) the postal worker’s son passed “welfare to work” legislation that is still in effect 20 years later (post 9/11, post the son’s own former employer- Lehman Bro’s – going belly up, post globalization and great recession). “Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who helped author the work requirement as a congressman in 1996, is among the conservative politicians arguing that able-bodied adults should not receive SNAP benefits if they are not working. At the end of 2013, Kasich decided not to request an extension of the statewide waiver of the work mandate, enforcing the rule in all but the most economically depressed, rural counties in Ohio. A spokesman for Kasich, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, said the reinstatement of the requirement would prod people to seek work in the improving economy.” Later they write “”Making people hungrier isn’t going to make them find work faster,” said Rebecca Vallas, managing director of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank. “One of the most helpful things for someone looking for work is helping them not worry about putting food on the table.”” Speaking of food, Analysis finds the preemptive planning and projection of the tattered Longaberger Basket case as a visitors welcome center by Newark’s Super Heroes ““Mayor Jeff Hall, former Longaberger President Jim Klein, developer Jerry McClain, chamber President and CEO Cheri Hottinger, County Commissioner Tim Bubb, Newark Development Partners Director Fred Ernest, Grow Licking County Director Nate Strum and representatives from higher education and local foundations” to be irresistible (see previous post Is Everyone Unhappy?). After the county crusader’s unscripted dismay at cuts to Job and Family Services funding (“It’s just a (federal) line item, a drop in the bucket,” previous post Where’s The Crime In All This?), the Bubbman ultimately demurred, then deferred to Captive America Tiberi’s superior priority (““Maybe it’s not as effectively used elsewhere. I have no idea. For Pat Tiberi, it’s not just a Licking County question, it’s a United States question. I’m not going to be critical of Pat.”” The Newark Advocate, Flexibility of abuse grant attacked, praised by Kent Mallett, 3-29-16. Analysis recommends Better Living Through Criticism by A. O. Scott). Analysis finds more Donnie than Ted in the projected use of the failed public private partnership being “saved” by the continued infusion of “hard working [Newark} Americans’ tax dollars” (Captive America’s 3-27-16 guest column). This vampire embrace by the private parts of this failed public/private partnership producing a visitors welcome center while cutting off aid for non-voting youth and under employed/unemployed adults perfectly reflects the oligarchic Super Hero approach to self-governing democracy. The public part of the partnership must pony up while the private parts will only perform if paid (evidenced by one of the super heroes’ downtown historic school apartment project not proceeding without the guarantee of tax credit welfare checks). A giant market basket of commercial bounty made possible by the unseen working poor that rely on (equally) unseen food banks for their children and themselves is an accurate architecture for a Super Hero welcome.