Posts Tagged ‘The Gardens On Sixth’

Limited Horizon (Not A Cell Phone Provider)

November 18, 2018

Driving south on 33 in Hocking County, a bit before Athens County (the gateway to West Virginia), a traveler will pass without noticing a turnoff marked “Haydenville.” Woebegone it is not though it belongs with the family of “towns that time forgot.” Lining the main road through town (as well as the side streets) are what were originally identical houses, varying only in that certain stretches are of a markedly different model. The houses are all of ceramic block. There is even a church made of block as well as the post office. Haydenville was a company town for the laborers of the primary employer, the ceramic block factory. With the demise of ceramic products in the wake of plastic, the former manufacturing site has been replaced by a pallet factory. Both rely on an assumed abundance of area resource – first clay and coal, now timber. The housing is all that remains of what fueled the past. The area reveals a preponderance of ceramic block structures – barns, commercial buildings and residential housing. As one travels north their numbers diminish. Few are found around Newark though Hanover maintains an active brick works. Vestiges of a company town are not as overwhelmingly evident there unless one looks beneath the surface. At one time Granville was a mixed bag sort of company town. There was no one company but the laborers of the various enterprises resided there, in town. 50 years ago it began its current evolution of gentrification, outside investment, becoming a bedroom community for commuters to jobs located elsewhere. Conversely, most laborers for Granville’s employers commute from without. One of Granville’s largest employers (if not the largest), as well as land owner, is Denison University. In its autopoietic commitment of community leadership, Denison University is exploring partnering with a commercial developer to provide housing for its laborers, er, employees. What goes around, comes around. Company town ecology is difficult and complex. The benefits of affordable housing are offset by the inevitable company store aesthetic/ethic, mentality and doing. It may not be a choice of what form the pay takes or where the pay is spent, but it certainly influences the choice of employment, duration, wages and working conditions. The defunct liberal approach, long since upgraded to neo liberal, was that affordable housing is a ward of the state (federal, state, municipal). The chances for a snow ball in hell are better than affordable housing being the responsibility of the state in Licking County. The recent midterm elections verified that overwhelmingly. Ever open to compromise, the neo liberal approach embraces public private partnerships. Once again we’re back to betting on snowballs as in Licking County, and Ohio overall, those are reserved for subsidizing profit making enterprises. Which only leaves what Denison is exploring – private partnerships. But where else could today’s vast sums of cash for housing investment come from? Which begs the company town question. What if Walmart ventures into creating affordable housing for its employees? After all, they are Ohio’s largest employer. Or Amazon?  Or Licking Memorial Hospital? Analysis finds the realpolitik of affordable housing today follows the money. The recent episode with Newark’s Gardens On Sixth transitional affordable housing indicates some of the oppressive preconditions involved with private partnership funding of affordable housing. Haydenville celebrates (if you want to call it that) the effectiveness of big money’s involvement in providing a reliable labor force. It is difficult to deny the presence of affordable housing, water and sanitation for those who got up every morning to labor for the landlord. Of course, a company town is usually accompanied by a company store, a company utility plant, and maybe even a company golf course. The limited horizon always remains unchanging. Business thrives on reliability, eschews uncertainty.

Free Speech, More Than You Imagined

October 26, 2018

A week with so much, where to begin? Some of the events of the past week were the mail bombs sent to those critical of the Trump administration (what does “critical of…” mean?). Never able to be upstaged, the POTUS held various rallies in which he championed attacks on the press (literally) as well as heaped vitriol at other “enemies of the people” – democrats. The news of the week was the noncommittal back and forth of the news media regarding whether there is a correlation between Dear Leader’s words and the violence that attends them. Well, the FBI has apprehended the alleged “domestic” terrorist (gets the “domestic” moniker, along with Timothy McVeigh). This leaves the POTUS crowing about how he’s kept America safe. All of which Analysis finds hearkens back to the primary rallies, 3-12-16 to be specific. At this rally outside Dayton, Thomas Dimassino rushed the stage, spooked the presidential wannabe who was immediately “saved” by the secret service.  ““I was ready for him, but it’s much easier if the cops do it, don’t we agree?” Trump said.” (Dayton Daily News) The previous day’s rally in Chicago was cancelled because of a bloody melee at the venue. At the Dayton rally the future POTUS attributed this turn of events to “professional wiseguys” and claimed it was a “planned attack by thugs.” Back in Ohio “A few other protesters were led out earlier in the rally, with Trump once telling security to, “Get ‘em out of here” to cheers from the crowd.” At the time the news was the rhetoric, with any correlation to violence being only tentatively hinted at by a news media fumbling around, unable to make the connection (the press had never seen anything like this. And if it’s novel, it’s news). Analysis finds it revealing that the “deep state” whipping boy that gets so many cheers (and jeers) at POTUS late night rallies is precisely what he relied on, then and now, to keep himself, and now the country, safe (folks like the oft maligned FBI). It has been speculated that the rally phenomenon that the POTUS relies on to stay in the spotlight is akin to the dead heads that followed the Grateful Dead.  So many of his interviewed supporters are from another state, and wouldn’t miss a rally, go to every one they can. Something the “fake news” news media is getting wise to. Zero live coverage of these is creeping in. But that same media (whether fake or not) this week quibbled about whether there is any connection with the advocacy and embrace of violence as a solution, and the violence cultivated and flowering currently within the U.S. Even Joe Biden couldn’t help but make the astute, for Joe, observation that “Words matter.” (how ‘bout black lives, Joe?). But maybe it is more than words, and the cat is already out of (or in) the bag. Jim Sleeper presented a difficult essay in Salon the other day: America’s “free speech crisis” takes a darker turn: How corporate power got us here From the “free speech” campaign of 2015 to cry-bully Brett Kavanaugh and the bombs of October: A brief history. The gist of his argument (not a simple one to communicate, or grasp) is that corporate speak is already part of our “conversation” (a word the liberal intellectuals have loved to Zombiehood!). And the language of corporations (business) is strictly censored  (no free speech) when it comes to minding the store (dancing with who brung ya), but heavily antagonistic, fabricated and aggressive when dealing with the other, the competitor (a “free speech” of anything goes if it will brings down the enemy). This already is found within most parlance – school, church, place of employment, local politics. As Sleeper puts it “Instead we’re told that the disease of political correctness has spread throughout corporate culture and the media. That’s getting it backwards, as I argue in a just-posted Los Angeles Review of Books essay on how hollow, seemingly anodyne commercial speech seeds and provokes the hostile speech that’s swirling ever more virulently all around us.” Serendipity would have a local example appearing in today’s (10-26-18) online Newark Advocate – St. Francis de Sales pastor threatens shut down of St. Vincent de Paul (Kent Mallett). More convoluted and complicated than the Sleeper essay (and down right byzantine) the event described is one where a local economic provider (there’s that corporate speak again) has strong armed administration (corporate speak again) of the St. Vincent De Paul housing program (and more corporate speak). The controversy swirls around the program’s transitional housing being restricted to only pure, or righteous (celibate, other worldly, fill in the blank) single or lawfully married adults, with maybe their own children. Sleepovers are verboten. This eliminates the undesirable unmarried who are or have “partners” as well as any “Other” (with or without partners).The non-profit entity’s qualifying clause for who will be empowered by the transitional housing (there’s a bunch of corporate speak) is in violation of another chief source of funding (more corporate speak), the United Way and like entities. All of which flies in the face of their mission statement: “”Organized locally, Vincentians witness God’s love by embracing all works of charity and justice. The Society collaborates with other people of good will in relieving need and addressing its causes, making no distinction in those served because, in them, Vincentians see the face of Christ.”” No corporate speak there with all the “love”, “embracing”, “charity and justice”, “people of good will”, etc. and “the face of Christ.”