Posts Tagged ‘Vote Suppression’

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.

Is Everyone Unhappy?

April 1, 2016

“I’m not happy unless you’re unhappy” seems to be an underlying, almost subliminal mantra within a good part of the political aspirant for the future of self-governance here in the US of A (both individual as well as ideological). Quick, without checking a smartphone, what was the reason given by the freshly, first time elected Mayor Jeff Hall for why Newark’s streets could not be paved? No, you don’t need to phrase it in the form of a question. That’s right, the bungled Longaberger public- private partnership. Well, just like Arnold, it’s back. The Newark Advocate headlines “Leaders discuss Big Basket future without Longaberger” by Kent Mallett (3-31-16). “The company [parent company JRJR Networks] owed $472,859 in delinquent property taxes for the Big Basket on Feb. 17, and will owe $568,132 at the end of the year.” But wait, superheroes “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 discussed ideas for the building.” Holy love handles, Bubbman, this could be fraught with danger! No problemo, Wan Woman “Hottinger said the building could be used for seminars. It has a large cafeteria area and a 100- to 120-seat theater, with a stage, several conference areas for board meetings or training. The building could have a tourism function to it, she said, but still needs multiple tenants and at least one pretty large company before it also could be used as a visitors’ center.” According to the official Licking County website “‘Grow Licking County’ is a Community Improvement Corporation and a cooperative effort between Licking County Government, The Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority, and the Licking County Chamber of Commerce.” “based at the Licking County Chamber of Commerce”. So much for getting the streets paved, Boy Blunder. On the state level we find “Republican Gov. John Kasich’s administration is moving forward with plans to require more than 1 million low-income Ohioans to pay a new monthly cost for Medicaid or potentially lose coverage.” (Waiver readied to require cost-sharing in Medicaid, Ann Sanner for AP, 3-31-16). For those of you keeping score at home, we just learned of Jobs and Family Services losing funding through a program promoted by Newark’s US Congressperson (and all around good guy) Pat Tiberi after losing previous funding from the State, never restored by its wannabe US president. That self same presidential candidate nationally justified his embrace of Medicaid (while vowing to destroy the ACA), on religious (compassionate) grounds. Folks are on Medicaid because they can’t afford medical care (let alone premiums). “But I can’t be happy, till I make you unhappy too.” Is everyone unhappy? Almost, but not quite! “Ohio assures profits for 2 energy companies” by Jessie Balmert for Gannett (3-31-16) reports that “The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in a 5-0 vote Thursday approved plans from Akron-based FirstEnergy and Columbus-based American Electric Power that require customers to subsidize aging plants.” And “Ohio Consumers’ Counsel initially estimated the plans would cost customers as much as $6 billion over eight years. That amounted to an extra $800 for every FirstEnergy customer and $700 for every AEP customer over that time.” After what we’ve witnessed with the price of petroleum, FirstEnergy and AEP must be very happy. But wait, there’s more! “Republicans lied in Wisconsin: Here’s how you know the state’s voter ID law is a complete sham Wisconsin GOPers insisted the law wasn’t intended to suppress the vote. A new report suggests that wasn’t true” by Elias Isquith, staff writer for Salon (3-30-16). “On April 5, when voters cast ballots in Wisconsin’s Republican and Democratic primaries, the state’s controversial voter ID bill will face its biggest test since Governor Scott Walker signed it into law in 2011. For the first time in a major election, citizens will be required to show approved forms of identification in order to vote. The law mandates that the state run a public-service campaign “in conjunction with the first regularly scheduled primary and election” to educate voters on what forms of ID are acceptable. But Wisconsin has failed to appropriate funds for the public education campaign.” Not only that, but “the Government Accountability Board [“the nonpartisan agency responsible for producing voter education materials”] decided against making a formal funding request to the legislature, which had already introduced a bill to dismantle the agency.” Isquith concludes “With anywhere between 200,000 to 350,000 Wisconsin citizens potentially facing disenfranchisement, according to [Pro Publica’s Sarah] Smith’s report, the voter ID law is on pace to work exactly as intended.” Is everyone unhappy?