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Cincinnati Residents Show Overwhelming Support for Human Service Funding by Georgine Getty On September 18, 2007 a group of community leaders gathered on the steps of City Hall to release the results from a study that demonstrated the citizens of Cincinnati’s overwhelming support for the continued funding of human services. The study was conducted by the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research and compiled by Applied Information Resources, Inc. Also present at the press conference were the presidents of Women’s City Club, League of Women Voters, Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition (MARC), the Faith Community Alliance and Citizens for Civic Renewal. The study revealed that 94% of the residents that took part in a recent telephone survey said that
they found it important that the City provide funding for human services. In addition, 87% of participants favor the practice of spending a portion of the City’s general revenue on human services. This comes on the heels of three years of cuts to these dollars, which fund over 40 agencies providing after school programs, mental health treatment, services to the homeless, prevention of abuse, food pantries and literacy programs. For over 20 years, 1.5% of the City’s general fund (about $5.5 million) has gone to these programs. In 2006, the so-called “fiscal five” on Council attempted to cut these dollars down to less than $500,000. After a spirited debate, resulting in hundreds of supporters testifying at budget hearings, the budget was restored to 7/10 of 1% of the general fund, or $2.6 million.
The release of the study also came in the week the newest census was released, revealing that Cincinnati now has a 27% poverty rate, putting it as the third most poverty stricken city in the country. Proponents of human services argue that the steady erosion of funds to agencies that promote selfsufficiency, both on a federal and City level, may have helped cause this recent rise in poverty levels. Bill Woods, AIR, Inc. spokesperson said of the study, “we figure this is important information that the general public really supports this whole policy of funding human services (and) that they are partners with others and the City in having a strong safety net.” Ed Burdell, also of AIR, Inc. added, “There is overwhelming support for public dollars going to support human services.”
Ed Burdell and Bill Woods present study findings on steps of City Hall
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City Council Candidates Answer Questions from Streetvibes
by Lynne Ausman This year’s City Council Election is measuring up to be quite an exciting race. With twenty-five Cincinnatian’s running for only nine seats, this year’s election is sure to be filled with landslide victories, disappointing losses, and maybe even a dark-horse win. To make things more interesting, and complicated, there are twelve incumbents – candidates who have been or are currently in office. Oftentimes, the issues which are important to Streetvibes and other independent media sources are overlooked and rarely make a candidate’s platform. This year, we decided to ask all of the candidates how they felt about Human Services being funded by the city, the availability of affordable housing, and the panhandling ordinance. We asked these four questions: 1. If elected, what are your top three (3) priorities for Cincinnati? 2. Do you support the continuation of City funding for human services? Why or Why not? 3. What is your opinion on the status of affordable housing in Cincinnati? What policy change, if any, would you implement if elected? 4. Do you support the continuation of the panhandling ordinance? Why or Why not? We have included the candidates’ answers exactly as we have received them. Take their responses into account when you vote on November 6, 2007. Fourteen of the twenty-five candidates responded to our survey. Those who did not respond: Jeff Berding, Chris Bortz, Minette Cooper, John Eby, Pat Fischer, Leslie Ghiz, Andre Harper, Mitch Painter, Cecil Thomas, and George Zamary.
Streetvibes’ Reader Survey: We Need Your Help As Streetvibes strives to continue to improve as an alternative newspaper, we are conducting our first reader’s survey. Please take two minutes to complete the ten question survey. The link can be found at our website www.cincihomeless.org. We will continue to provide local articles about homelessness and relevant discussions of social justice and poverty issues. Thank you for your continued support of our Streetvibes Vendors and our paper.
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STREETVIBES Greater Cincinnati’s alternative news source, is a newspaper written by, for, and about the homeless and contains relevant discussions of social justice,and poverty issues. It is published once a month by the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. Becoming a Streetvibes Vendor is a great way for homeless and other lowincome people to get back on (or stay on) their feet. Streetvibes Vendors are given an orientation and sign a code of conduct before being given a Streetvibes Vendor badge. All profits go directly to the vendor. The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless is a group of shelters, agencies and individuals committed to ending homelessness in Cincinnati through coordinating services, educating the public and grassroots organizing.
GCCH Staff Georgine Getty - Executive Director John Lavelle - Administrative Coordinator Andy Freeze - Education Coordinator Lynne Ausman - Civil Rights Coordinator Greg Olkhovsky - Civil Rights Coordinator Kenneth Cheruiyot - AHA Coordinator Melvin Williams - Receptionist Linda Pittman - Receptionist Ardella Woolens - Receptionist Susan Smith - Volunteer
Streetvibes Jimmy Heath, Editor, Layout and Design Photographers Andy Freeze, Jimmy Heath, John Lavelle, Berta Lambert [Pictures of Candidates were provided by candidates.] Cover Press conference in front of city hall revealing a study done by AIR Inc that shows an overwhleming 94% of Cincinnati residents support Human Services. Streetvibes accepts letters, poems, stories, essays, original graphics, and photos. We will give preference to those who are homeless or are vendors.Subscriptions to Streetvibes, delivered to your home each month, can be purchased for $35 per year. Address mail to: Streetvibes 117 East 12th Street Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 421-7803 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.cincihomeless.org Member of:
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pay three dollars ($3) for a new one. If my badge becomes ruined because of weather or use, I will get a new badge for one dollar ($1). 11. I understand that Streetvibes strives to be a paper that covers homelessness and poverty issues while providing a source of income for the homeless. I will try to help in this effort and spread the word. 12. I will not deceive the public by saying that I am collecting for a nonprofit charity or that I am collecting for the “homeless” in general. I will be honest in stating that all the profits from the sale of Streetvibes go to me. I will not use the word “donation.” 13. There are special rules for selling at Findlay Market. Only two vendors may sell at Findlay Market at a time. Other rules as established by Streetvibes and Findlay Market. 14. I will attend monthly meetings. Monthly meetings will occur on the first weekday of the month. The month’s paper will be released at this meeting. Anyone who cannot make the meeting must meet with Andy, the Education Coordinator, before selling Streetvibes for that month. Ten papers will be given to those who attend the meeting. 15. It is the responsibility of each vendor to police fellow vendors or former vendors. I will report violators of the rules to GCCH. The value of the paper depends on keeping it credible. 16. I understand that any infraction of the above mentioned rules will result in suspension of my privilege to sell Streetvibes and possible termination from the program. Badges and Streetvibes papers are property of GCCH and must be surrendered upon demand.
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STREETVIBES Page 3 needed to be done and the ordinance was passed (Dianne Cahn, South Florida Sun Sentinel, 9/25).
New Hampshire: Homeless man beaten A homeless man is recovering in a Manchester hospital after being beating by half a dozen teenagers. The 38 year old homeless man suffered head, face, and back injuries when he was attacked at his camp site (AP/ Boston Globe, 9/8)
Hawaii: Community members fight to get navy ship Retired Navy ships are often used for training, turned into museums, or used for scraps. However a group in Honolulu is trying to obtain the Acadia, a 650 foot destroyer that was retired in 1994, to be used as a floating homeless shelter. The project would cost an estimated $2 million dollars to get air conditioning and bedrooms fixed up. Homelessness is on the rise in Hawaii because of the high living expenses. Some groups says that the number of homeless people is up 28% since last year alone (AP/KHNL, 9/11).
Tennessee: Homeless Sleeping Above Interstate A passerby of I40 in Memphis thought they saw someone sleeping above the interstate and called a news station. To the surprise of the news station they found much more than a pillow and a sleeping bag. Someone had brought up a dresser and a bed and carpeting. After the attention was brought to the situation, TDOT and the police got involved and kicked the person out from their home. TDOT says that it is constant battle to keep the homeless away from bridges and underpasses and it’s an eyesore (Melissa Moon, WREG, 9/20).
Minnesota: Homeless walk in Pope’s shoes Recent visits to Minneapolis by members of the Vatican convinced them that Sharing and Caring Hands need more shoes for the homeless. When the representatives from the Vatican had returned home they sent two large boxes of shoes from the Pope. The handmade Italian shoes were to be distributed to the poor at the request of the person who made them. The result was many happy homeless individuals who now have nice new shoes (AP,KSTP, 9/25).
Toronto: Homeless woman set on fire A man and a woman have been charged with aggravated assault after they set a homeless woman on fire. Emergency workers found the woman around 7:30 on Monday night with significant burns on about 12% of her body. She is expected to survive. Police say two women got into an argument and moments later a man and woman attacked and poured flammable liquid on the lady and set her on fire (CBC News, 9/11).
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Mayor Greg Nickels announced that he was including $3.5 million for permanent supportive housing in his proposed 2008 budget. The money would go towards 84 studio apartments for chronically homeless people. Permanent supportive housing is part of a “Housing First” model which combines housing with the necessary services such as medical and mental health services. By providing the chronically homeless with housing, other services are freed up to help those who can achieve stability with less intensive interventions. (Ballard News Tribune, 9/12)
The homeless population in Reno is on alert after the recent beating death of a homeless man by two teenagers and other reported attacks. The teens watched as a homeless man was kicked and stomped on his head and torso. Shelters have noticed a rise in individuals seeking shelter due to the violence towards homeless individuals in recent weeks. Often times incidents are not reported because advocates and homeless individuals do not trust the police (AP, Reno-Gazette Journal, 9/25).
California: Every day, the homeless march on Those fighting homelessness know there is nothing you can do but keep moving. It’s what the homeless themselves do from park to river bank to underpass. And it is the way those trying to help them keep their own flicker of hope alive. Keep moving forward. A few homeless people and many of their advocates were doing that Monday evening 175 marching forward through downtown San Jose with signs and chants, drawing a few supportive honks and as many angry ones from motorists delayed by the somber parade. But this is a crowd that takes what it can get. “Let this today be a beginning for San Jose and the nation,” the Rev. Scott Wagers of the Community Homeless Alliance Ministry.
Washington: Seattle Mayor Announces Money for Homeless Housing
Nevada: Homeless on alert after recent attacks
New Mexico: Homeless Shelter Criticized For Casino Fundraiser Joy Junction plans to hold its annual banquet at Casino Hollywood. That decision led to complaints that it is a conflict of interest. Some donors have said that a casino is not an appropriate place to host the event because gambling does not mix with the faith-based shelter’s message. Jeremy Reynalds, Joy Junction’s CEO, said the casino offered up a banquet hall at no charge for the fundraiser. He said that organizers hope it will bring in more financial support for the shelter without compromising its values. “We are not having an about face and saying, ‘Folks we endorse gambling,’ folks we don’t endorse gambling,” Reynalds said. Reynalds said that he, too, would have had a problem holding the event at a casino a few years ago. But, he said he has changed his views because the shelter needs to reach beyond its usual donor base.
Florida: West Palm Beach votes to ban feeding of homeless Dozens of West Palm Beach residents marched to city hall in protest to not ban homeless feeding programs from two downtown parks. Residents are urging city commissioners to not hide the homeless but to help. The ordinance passed 3-2 to bar programs to feed the homeless at a local fountain by the library and the square directly behind it. The Mayor said that the homeless population was hurting downtown and that it was not helping with reviving it. Many took the opportunity to speak before the commissioners and mayor urging them to not pass the ordinance and to not blame homeless individuals for downtown’s problems. In the end, the commissioners and mayor decided that something
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City Council Candidates Survey Melanie Bates http://www.melaniebates.com Question 1: (1) I am determined to make Cincinnati safer. (2) Promote economic growth, neighborhood development, home ownership, and job creation. (3) Educational reform. Question 2: Many of the services funded by the City of Cincinnati are necessary in providing for the health and well-
being of our city residents. I support the continued funding of Human Services programs to the fullest extent possible in the budget. Question 3: Affordable housing must be available to our residents in a safe environment. It is important that City Council update and enforce strict guidelines so that affordable housing is made available in a safe and adequate fashion.
Y. Laketa Cole Democrat http://www.laketacole.com Question 1: My top 3 priorities are (1) increasing neighborhood/economic development, (2) youth development and opportunities, and (3) access to City Hall. I have kept my promise. I have kept my promise to increase neighborhood development by creating the Neighborhood Business District Support Fund, work for our youth by fighting for $1.5 million for youth job development, and increase
John Cranley Democrat http://www.johncranley.com Question 1: (1) Improving Public Safety – Need to hire 100 cops, continue neighborhood walking patrols, and promote community-oriented policing. (2) Promoting Economic Development - Need to use tax abatements and TIF funding to encourage businesses to create jobs in Cincinnati. (3) Building Strong Neighborhoods - Need to continue to invest in neighborhoods. In order to move Cincinnati forward, Council must continue to act in a
Brian Garry Democrat http://www.briangarry.com Question 1: My top three priorities for Cincinnati are
Question 4: The First District Court of Appeals found that portions of the panhandling law were unconstitutional. City Council needs to be focusing its time and energy reducing violent crime. We cannot afford to spend time and money on feel good political games, we need real action, now!
access to City Hall by continuing my Neighborhood in the Neighborhoods Program where I bring the neighborhoods committee to meet once a month in various communities. Question 2: Yes, I support a continuation of funding for human services when the programs are effective and the City has the resources to do so. Question 3: I fully support affordable housing and our city residents owning their homes. We must educate our citizens at large that affordable
fiscally responsible manner, forge the right public-private partnerships to spur economic development, and work with neighborhood leaders to tailor improvements to the needs of each neighborhood. On Council, I have done this. I passed six straight balanced budgets, while hiring 135 new cops. I have led the efforts to revitalize downtown and bring new nightlife to the area. And, I have led the efforts to improve our neighborhoods by bringing millions of dollars to enhance neighborhood business districts. I have done all of this while showing compassion for those in need.
Question 2: Yes. I will continue to support funding for human services as the Chair of the Finance Committee. Question 3: I support fully funding rental rehab to increase the city’s stock of affordable housing. A lot of older units were built for singles and need to be updated. Units need to be larger and walls need to be knocked down to accommodate families, which are increasingly impoverished. Question 4: No. I have consistently voted against requiring registration to ask for money.
(1) Opportunities, (2) Neighborhoods, and (3) Equality. ONE Cincinnati is my campaign message, and ONE Cincinnati is my priority. We must be able to offer equality of Opportunity of education, healthcare, and safe environment for all Cincinnatians. I advocate strong vibrant micro-economies in all of Cincinnati’s Neighborhoods so that they may all enjoy the safety, comforts, and stability of a Hyde Park Neighborhood. And Finally, I advocate Equality to all Cincinnatians no matter what their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, or ability. By promoting these three priorities we will be able to lower crime, increase economic development, and raise Cincinnati out of poverty and into a beacon of hope for other cities to follow.
Question 2: I not only support a permanent human service fund but I promote an expansion of these programs. I believe that not all people are able “to pull themselves up from the bootstraps”, and I understand that people need help that can be offered through the city and non-profit organizations. I believe that services such as clinics, community programs, educational programs, and economic relief should be a vital part of Cincinnati’s ability to build a strong, knowledgeable, skilled, and healthy workforce. Question 3: I believe that the rate of foreclosures in Cincinnati says enough of how I feel of the affordable housing in Cincinnati. It is saddening to see the high rates of foreclosures. I promote programs that raise financial literacy. I advocate for pro-
housing is not a negative term, but everyone should have an opportunity to live in a home they can afford, because when that does not happen we have foreclosures. Homeownership has always been a key issue for me, and my campaign. If we can increase homeownership we can turn our neighborhoods around. Question 4: No, I do not support the continuation and did not support the ordinance from the beginning. The ordinance does not get at the root cause, but rather politicizes the issue.
grams that advocate employer assisted housing and encourage fair lease-to-purchase programs that increase homeownerships. Given the high rates and costs of home foreclosures; I advocate working with banks and financial institutions to get these foreclosed homes back on the market. Also, with the high rates of foreclosures; I advocate passing on some of these homes on to non-profit organizations. By creating a formal program that asks banks and mortgage holders to pass on these donated homes to HURC and local community development programs. Question 4: Absolutely not. I will never support anything that limits fundamental rights, such as “Freedom of Speech”, people are allowed to ask for money. Actually, politicians ask for money all the time.
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City Council Candidates Survey
David Crowley Democrat http://www.crowleyforcouncil.org
Greg Harris Democrat http://www.votegregharris.com Question 1: (1) Neighborhood Development: Cincinnati has not had a strategic plan since 1948. The time has come to empower Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods to prioritize and leverage their cultural, architectural and environmental assets as part of a long-term comprehensive economic development and neighborhood revitalization strategy for Cincinnati. (2) Invest in People: As a public policy officer for KnowledgeWorks Foundation, Ohio’s largest education charity, and as a member of Governor Strickland’s Workforce Policy Board, I work on a daily basis advocating for policies to connect at-risk youth, low-wage or dislocated workers to education and training opportunities. As Councilman, I will likewise strive to connect the working poor to educational
Question 1: (1) A clean and safe city. A City safe from crime, blight and also maintaining a clean environment including land, water and air. (2) Encourage economic development opportunities for all segments of the community. This includes incentives to bring new businesses to the City, maintaining the businesses we have and ensuring that major development projects such as the Banks include strong workforce development opportunities for all segments of the community. (3) Continue the population gain. Cincinnati has gained population in each of the last two years after many consecutive years of losing population. Question 2: Yes. In my time on Council I have and will continue to advocate for this critical funding. I was pleased to lead a coalition of Council Members to achieve an increase of $200,000 in Human Services funding in 2007. This is the first time the
funding has been increased for many years. These funds are used to assist those most in need and include organizations such as the YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Freestore Foodbank and the Boys and Girls Club. If re-elected I will continue to fight to preserve this essential funding which Cincinnati has a long and proud history of providing. Question 3: Any thriving City needs to provide quality affordable housing. Unfortunately there are many negative stereotypes about affordable housing, which in my opinion are simply not true. Not every hard working citizen can afford high-end housing but they should be given the opportunity to live in a clean and safe environment. A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of co-chairing the Housing Advisory Council which evaluated our housing needs in the County and City. One of the recommendations
opportunities, including tapping significant TANF reserves that can be applied towards funding vocational and certification opportunities for recipients of public assistance. (3) Education: I believe that education is the best economic development policy, a primary tool for achieving social and economic equity, and the best anti-crime policy. As Councilman, I will work to broker innovative partnerships between vocational educational providers, community and economic justice organizations that serve as conduits to at-risk youth and the working poor, and unions in order to equip Cincinnatians with the skills needed to remain gainfully employed. Question 2: Yes. The costs of not serving and/or not treating populations in need are far greater. I prefer the more humane, proactive approach. Question 3: I think we need to do more to convert
Cincinnati’s majority renter population into home owners. Congress has authorized a homeownership option under the Housing Choice Voucher Program. As a member of Council, I pledge to work with Hamilton County to bolster capacity in this area so that the CHMA can become a conduit for transforming renters into owners, including resources for authorities to provide more home buying counseling to recipients. I will also work to more effectively targeting our vastly underutilized community development block grant funds to subsidize home ownership for low- and moderate-income households. Question 4: Yes. As long as the city maintains support for an outreach coordinator, I believe this ordinance will enhance outreach to homeless residents with addiction and mental-health problems. Our ability to approach homeless to see if they have a
Joan Kaup Charterite http://www.kaupforcouncil.com
Question 2: Human Services are critical for many Cincinnati residents. There is room for improvement in the quality of services provided and the number of people served. The city can collaborate with other service providers to assess providers and programs, foster cooperation and decrease overhead costs so a higher percentage of the funds invested are allocated to programs and results instead of overhead.
Question 1: (1) Incorporate Cincinnati’s diversity and creativity in the continuation of the renaissance of our city and its neighborhoods. (2) Position and promote Cincinnati as desirable city to live, work, and play to increase the city’s populations and revenues. (3) Empower people to participate, make informed decisions, and take responsibility. Question 3: Living on Prospect Hill, I witness and
adopted by Council, states that affordable housing should be a priority. I believe it is our job as elected leaders to pursue a healthy mix of housing options throughout the City. Question 4: In my first term on Council I worked with the social service community and the downtown community to develop the law. I believe it represents a good balance because it allows for solicitation to occur but it provides the tools to ensure that it is being done in a safe manner. Even more important is the emphasis on connecting individuals who need assistance with the appropriate service agencies via the street worker who helps to administer the law. This was a critical piece in terms of my support for the proposal. Since its inception I believe we have seen an improvement in the downtown area and more importantly a lot of people in need of assistance have received it.
panhandling license also allows us to leverage the ordinance to learn their identities and connect them with places where they can receive various services, including a meal, housing, and addiction and mental-health treatment. appreciate the value of mixed socioeconomic neighborhoods and support the concept of affordable housing mixed with market-rate housing. Question 4: An extended helping hand benefits the person receiving the help for the longterm. A handout is a very short term ‘band aid.’ Most people gain self-esteem and self-assurance through learning to be self sufficient through programs and facilities and help them improve their situation for the long-term. Panhandling is not a solution, but it is a fact of life that should be practiced with safety and respect.
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City Council Candidates Survey Justin Jeffre Green Party http://www.justinjeffre.com Question 1: (1) We must put people first. Public servants have a fiduciary responsibility to all the people they serve, not just large campaign contributors. Being fiscally responsible means reforming corporate welfare to ensure living wages, environmental protection and a good return on investment for the entire community. We need to re-evaluate our inverted priorities. Bus-stop benches and curb appeal cannot come before health clinics and the basic needs of our people. City Council’s Draconian marijuana ordinance is too expensive, racially biased, and Commissioner Portune and several judges have said it is a major source of overcrowding in our jails. We should not be giving people permanent criminal records that will deny access to scholarships, housing, and employment opportunities for this non-violent offense. This is a bad public policy and I intend to work with the Vice-mayor to repeal this ordinance. (2) Economic develop-
ment should be open and transparent. Public funding of projects behind closed doors must stop. All transactions involving public funds should be open to the people and progress should be communicated to the taxpayers. Inclusive economic development should focus on the common benefit and involve all stakeholders in our community. Traditionally, minorities have not been invited to the table from day one and in 2007 this is unacceptable. (3) Planned progress for a sustainable future. I believe good environmental policy is good economic policy 100% of the time. In Cincinnati, the only thing we manage to recycle is politicians and that is not good for our environment or our economy. I plan to introduce tougher environmental justice legislation with real teeth that will take a bite out of crimes against our greatest resources, our environment and our people. With bold vision and good leadership Cincinnati can become what it once was, a destination location that attracts outside dollars and creates a wealth of opportunities. Question 2: I supported the full funding for the Hu-
man Services Budget and will continue to do so. If any action is to be taken, I advocate an increase for this budget. Question 3: The heart of economic development is growing our economy. I will be releasing a comprehensive neighborhood rescue plan soon. This plan is based on what we have in abundance (vacant buildings and unemployed people). Abandoned buildings and job training are dealt with as a part of this package. In includes Renters Equity programs and creates a path to home ownership for those currently denied that give them a stake in their community. In looking toward any future policy development, I think decisions should be guided by discussion centered around some essential questions like: Does this policy treat people with respect? Does it provide quality service to those who need it? And, were these decisions made in collaboration with the communities involved? Question 4: The panhandling ordinance is another example of the City doing what is best for the favored few. 3CDC’s vision of OTR
source for human services. With the city’s current budget problems, I do not think it is wise or fair to continually fluctuate how much funding should go to human services. In the end, the politics need to be taken out of this discussion.
Question 1: (1) Crime, (2) Fiscal Responsibility, and (3) Improving the quality & efficiency Question 3: of delivered city services. I believe that the city has plenty of affordable housing opportunities. Question 2: I believe that the city needs to partner Question 4: with the United Way and the business Yes. community to find a dedicated revenue
Michael Earl Patton Independent (endorsed by the Libertarian Party) Michaelearlpatton.com Question 1: My top priorities are (1) reversing the population decline, (2) giving everyone a fair deal and (3) stopping the current practice of corporate favoritism where a select few receive large subsidies and tax breaks, and changing the perception that Council is ineffective at best and that there is no hope for a general turnaround. People generally give 4 reasons why they leave – taxes, crime, lousy schools, and the belief that nothing will change. We must stop giving special hand-outs to a favored few, like a $30 million free parking garage to Corporex for which the rest of us will pay be an increase in property taxes Crime is reduced by having the community and police work together, not by arresting thousands of pot smok-
ers in only a few inner city neighborhoods. Council must listen to those in the neighborhoods, and not just those with money or connections. Council must respond based on facts. The proposed new jail would be a monument to failed policies. Most people in jail are there because they cannot afford bail and have not yet been convicted. A bigger jail would only warehouse more low-income people. Question 2: Yes. Of course there must be due diligence so the money is spent wisely, and state or federal money should be used where available, but the idea of local assistance in Cincinnati is many decades old – the old General Hospital and the University of Cincinnati both received city funding in the past, funding that is not replaced by other sources. The city’s first obligation is to its residents. Cincinnati owns three golf courses in the suburbs. Sell them, getting the most
money as possible, and put the money in a fund to support pools and recreation in the city. Sell only for top dollar – not give them away as we did for the Blue Ash airport land. Question 3: We need industry and jobs at livable wages, and housing for those workers. We do not need to subsidize luxury condos as we do now. We need more housing for those with disabilities, especially housing for disabled parents or guardians with children. All projects that are built in whole or in part with city money must be make visitable, that is, made so that people with disabilities can at least visit (get in the front door and have access to a bathroom). Question 4: No. A panhandler should not need a license with a photo no more than someone circulating a petition. The panhandling ordinance seems designed only to
[Over-the-Rhine] is a place devoid of the poor, filled with creative class young professionals catching a streetcar to their corporate cubicles. Though we have overcrowded jails, making panhandling illegal is just a strategy to send a message to the poor, a message that tells them to get out. We need to put people first. I do not support this ordinance because it does not address the root causes of poverty in our community, and it just tries to hid poverty from the rest of us.
Remember to Vote on November 6, 2007.
harass a certain subgroup. Ironically enough, the rationale for the ordinance was that some found some panhandlers annoying. So the response to annoyance is harassment?
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City Council Candidates Survey Independent http://www.pavelish.com
board of education and focus on learning of the very young. (3) Remove the barriers that have forced many investors out of the city.
Question 1: (1) Remove the collaborative agreement and that will remove the hurdles that now hamper the police administration Rank — File. (2) Partner with
Question 2: Yes - but every service must be reexamined, efficient operation of agency must be demanded. People are leaving the city due to high taxes
Roxanne Qualls Charter Committee http://www.quallsforcouncil.com
Charlie Winburn Endorsed Republican http://www.charliewinburn.com Question 1: (1) Safer Neighborhoods: -work to reduce violent crime by 50% by the end of December 2008 –Empower citizens and police partnerships to combat crime. – Hold landlords accountable who provide sanctuary for drug dealers. (2) Schools: - work with school board leadership to increase graduation rates. I will collaborate and partner with school
board leadership to promote school board accountability. (3) Economic Opportunity: -Encourage the private sector to fund more neighborhood development projects in all 52 city neighborhoods
problems with those who fail to maintain safe, sanitary and quality conditions relative to some. All housing must be affordable – no one should be purchasing or renting a house or apartment they cannot afford. Better jobs make housing more affordable.
Question 2: Yes, I support the continuation of city funding for Human Services. I am working on a plan which calls for more participation of private sector funding. Question 3: I support affordable housing on a limited basis. However, I have
Question 1: My top three priorities are to (1) reduce crime, (2) protect our environment and infrastructure, and (3) the preservation/improvement of our neighborhoods and downtown, including our downtown business district.
Question 1 My top 3 priorities for Cincinnati’s City Council are; 1) Safety; It is germane that the citizens of Cincinnati live in a safe environment. One that is attractive to raising families in the inner city. 2) Economic Development; it is also germane to note that through economic development, I believe we can continue to grow our economy which is also attractive for families and businesses as
Question 2: Yes, many of the services fill a critical gap in the continuum of care available to some of Cincinnati’s citizens. Question 3: It is important for the city to insure that affordable housing is available. I have always supported establishing a policy that for city supported residential
Endorsed Democrat No Website
Question 3: Affordable housing is lacking. We have many, many vacant buildings. The major reason for that is a poorly run building department. That is one of the reasons people don’t want to rehab in the city. The city is antibusiness.
Question 1: (1) Safety. (2) Infrastructure issues, including I-75, MSD, and transit. (3) Economic development that includes instituting form-based codes, and high performance, green development practices.
Sam A. Malone
and agencies must be aware of that.
Question 4: I have no opinion. Panhandling does not bother me and many times I give even though I know that the money goes to booze and dope. I realize these people have problems - probably always will. I have a soft spot for the disadvantaged. My son is autistic.
development, 10% is set aside as affordable. Question 4: Yes, the City of Cincinnati, church organizations, and agencies provide a wide range of services, including shelter.
Question 4: I support the continuation of the panhandling ordinance as long as it does not violate the constitutional rights of citizens.
sense. In my opinion, it is a poor excuse for government that isn’t willing to care for those who cannot care for themselves.
Question 2: I support continued funding for human services. Doing so is just common
Question 3: Cincinnati needs to create and maintain an acceptable level of affordable housing. We aren’t there yet. I would ensure that all new housing development included provisions for affordable housing and that existing housing be maintained and/or brought up to standard. I will support all efforts, public and private, to place eligible people who want it, to gain entry into affordable housing.
well. 3) Poverty; I believe that we need to become more combative and proactive against the war on poverty. Addressing the issues that cause and maintain poverty is a top priority, especially as it relates to poverty that is systemic and perpetual. We certainly need to extract the maladies that continue to cause poverty in our communities. Question 2 I do support the funding of the City’s Human Services Policy. However, the service providers should use these monies to leverage it for corporate and private sector support as well. With a
combination of support, the City’s Human Services Policy can be an effective tool to better our city in many areas. Question 3 My opinion is that everyone should be afforded the opportunity to have decent [and safe] housing. I would work with other members of Council and community organizations to see what policies and programs need to be implemented to address these pivotal issues. Being pragmatic, I think there are housing programs in place that address the issue of affordable housing. You have
Question 4: I wouldn’t have voted to enact the ordinance. I think it is an unnecessary infringement upon a civil right. I believe we have sufficient laws to deal with aggressive panhandlers. I recognize that I can be wrong about this. Before I decide this issue, I want to know whether aggressive panhandling is still an issue. If the ordinance has had the desired effect, I would continue it. If the ordinance has simply placed an additional burden upon indigent people, I would vote to repeal it.
to be pragmatic when addressing this issue. Because of the wide range of income within our region, what is affordable to some may not be affordable to others. Question 4 I support the continuation of the panhandling ordinance because it provides structure to the panhandlers and structure to the citizenry. The panhandlers know what they can and can not do under the law and the citizenry know as well. This will reduce aggressive panhandling which many times could be construed as robbery.
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Remembering Julie Martin
Many affordable housing units are being sold to developers in Over the Rhine and turned into expensive lofts and condos for $90,000 and up, yet 56% of the Greater Cincinnati population cant afford the housing they are living in.
Affordable Housing Lacking in the Greater Cincinnati Area by Georgine Getty The lack of affordable housing is considered one of the two leading causes of homelessness nationwide as well as here in Cincinnati, competing only with lack of employment and underemployment. In our 2000 study, Homeless in Cincinnati, housing problems were listed as the number one reason women, and their children, became homeless. Loss of income was listed as the number one reason for men, followed closely by housing problems. This remains true today as prices for houses and rental units continue to climb and federal housing subsidies fail to keep pace with the increasing population. There are fewer affordable very low-income rental units on the market than there are very low-income rental households. Thus, while there are 64,460 very low-income households in Hamilton County, there are only 30,935 rental units that are affordable to such households.1 Affordable housing is defined as housing that costs no more than 30% of monthly family income for a one or two bedroom apartment plus utilities. In Cincinnati, a minimum wage worker has to work 72 hours per week in order to afford a twobedroom apartment at 30% of their income. 2 Whereas in the 1970’s, minimum wage workers could afford to support themselves and
their families in safe, affordable occur. housing, the minimum wage has In addition, lack of housing failed to keep up with the cost of creates a “traffic jam” in homeless living, putting many hard working s h e l t e r s , i n c r e a s i n g t h e s t a y, particularly for families, because “Affordable housing…is there is no safe, affordable housing to move them into. This increased so central in terms of stay in the shelter disrupts normal unlocking so many of family life, including the America’s toughest educational path of school aged children, and can increase the social problems [from] difficulty for families transitioning education, to crime, to back to self sufficiency. Further, homelessness, to the increased stay decreases the welfare…the key to the number of beds available and can lead to families literally staying on puzzle, time and again, the street, in their cars, or with is housing.” acquaintances, thus jeopardizing their safety. -Juan Williams, National As Juan Williams, national Broadcast Journalist broadcast journalist succinctly people at risk for substandard stated at the National Low Income housing and homelessness. Housing Conference in 2006, In the counties that comprise “Affordable housing…is so central the Greater Cincinnati and Northern in terms of unlocking so many of Kentucky Region, more than half – America’s toughest social problems 56% of 158,858 households were [from] education, to crime, to spending 35% or more of their homelessness, to welfare…the key income on housing in 2006. This to the puzzle, time and again, is disproportionate amount of income housing.” going to housing leads families to Footnotes become “house poor” and leaves 1 Steven R. Howe and Associates, few extra dollars for their other LLC Report: Impediments to Fair basic needs, such as nutrition, H o u s i n g C h o i c e i n H a m i l t o n daycare and healthcare, or saving County, Ohio. for the future. In addition, it puts 2 National Low Income Housing them at risk of homelessness should Coalition’s 2006- Out of Reach a n e m e r g e n c y s u c h a s a n Report. unexpected health crisis, increase in utilities, car repair or loss of job
by Georgine Getty On September 14, 2007, Cincinnati lost a great friend to the homeless community. Julie Martin, Case Management Coordinator at the YWCA Battered Women Shelter was tragically killed in a car accident outside of Indianapolis. She was only 37 years old. Those of us lucky enough to know Julie knew that she was a fierce advocate for the families that she served and was intolerant of any system that attempted to revictimize them. Julie was the kind of case manager who wouldn’t take no for an answer if it came to one of her clients. According to her supervisor and good friend Theresa Singleton, “Julie was so dedicated - she always went the extra mile making sure that women had every opportunity to gain independence and live abuse free. Julie’s car overflowed with household items that she gave to women moving out of the shelter helping them to start a new life.” Julie achieved the balance that all great service providers strive to achieve; the balance between infinite compassion and patience with the clients that she served and infinite advocacy and impatience against the cruel realities of the system that we have to change. Last December, Julie was honored as the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless Service Provider of the Year because of her exemplary work in the homeless community. After a unanimous vote of her peers at GCCH, the award will be re-named in her honor so that Julie will remain the gold standard of service provision in Cincinnati. Julie is survived by her family; daughter Gabrielle (Gabby) Greathouse and son Max Chasteen, parents Barry and Carole Martin, brother, John Martin and sister, Jennifer Martin and grandfather Richard Patty. Julie is also survived by a community of service providers who will miss her dearly. Finally, Julie is survived by her legacy of service to the families of Cincinnati, families that continue to thrive in homes free from abuse thanks to her tireless efforts.
If you wish to contribute to the Julie Martin Memorial Fund, please visit www.ywca.org or send donations to Julie Martin Memorial Fund, YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, 898 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
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A Trip to the Market by Bill R. Sanders The bus ride downtown. Rain drips from the trolley lines. Occasional sparks catch my interest. Neon stretches as far as I can see. Always a little frightened. With tense excitement. Familiar with each bar. Drank cokes with parents in each. My stop. The drugstore. Granny’s just upstairs. Through the gate, down a dark tunnel to a small courtyard. Found teeth once, one with gold in it, in a pool of blood. Two floors up, a dimly lit hallway. Stairs too narrow for more than one person. Always the same smell. Urine and musty dirt. No amount of cleaning will make it go away. Top of the stairs. The door of dark brown paint. All the woodwork is dark brown. Grandma opens the door. Always happy to see me. Hugs from the frail woman. She insists I eat straight away. My small sister Jackie hides behind her skirt. So the night at grandma’s begins. My parents split up years earlier. Somehow dad kept my brother, my two other sisters and, of course, me. Jackie was the baby, mom took her when she left. My sister Jackie has lived with grandma since mom died a few years ago. I’m standing in the kitchen. One of two rooms. The bathroom floor is elevated about two feet up from the kitchen floor. This seems strange to me. A long chain runs to the light bulb hung from the ceiling. Grandma looks down at her feet. Takes a step away from me. She seems unsure of herself. Jackie tags along behind. The bedroom is the same as always. Rocking chairs, treadle sewing machine, Chiffarobe, TV tuned to an Evangelist. We sit. It’s quiet for a while. It’s still raining. Looking out into the night. Shapes of roofs going this way and that.
Bill Sanders is an electrician. He is writing a series of poems on growing up in Over-the-Rhine, Clifton, and the East End.
I eat cotton candy, hot dogs, and stuff until I’m full. We are startled by knocking at the door. We walk back. I am relieved. A lot harder than the walk to. Company, I love company. Grandma got a great deal on some eggs It is a friend of grandma’s. but From church. I have broken some in transit. I like listening to their She doesn’t seem to care. conversation. Says the man downstairs’ dog will like I like what I hear. them. Tomorrow she will watch Grandma’s neighbors drift in, one or Jackie two at a time. while grandma and I go to “Been to market ?” they’d ask. market. Her reply: “with my grandson Billy”. She doesn’t stay long. She asks them to sit down. Soon grandma’s fixing me a They talk and she’d offer them pallet on the floor. some of her market finds, Grandma and Jackie always sleep together. Especially the eggs. Market, I love market. I think she bought ten dozen eggs that trip. We wake early. I look out the window. Grandma fixes breakfast. I see Mr. Muthers. Oatmeal and toast. He seems to have some mental difficulty. That’s okay with me. I never knew what it was. She lets me use as much brown sugar as I want. He has three children, Bonnie, I get to pull the cart. and her two brothers whose names always escape Two wheels and it folds open me. into a basket. My grandma was just about the poorest person Grandma’s dress is long and I ever knew. loose. She has a head scarf on today. She shared what she had with all she knew. My dad is on the phone. Large flowers on it. Sounds like he will be picking me up. She carries her purse over her I’d rather ride the bus. shoulder. We end up in some bar. Clutching it under her arm Him with too many beers with her other hand on it also. and me with too many cokes. I saw her counting her money this morning. Twenty seven dollars. No one is getting that money. We walk from Twelfth Street to Findlay. Along the way we pass Pappy’s Bar, Roh’s Hardware, the Redhorse Saloon, used furniture stores, more saloons, the Empire Theater. We walk across the parkway and past the Catholic Church.. Just a few more blocks. We turn left, down a narrow street, almost an alley. There was the usual: some men, the bums standing here and there. Yellow eyes, dirty Home I Browse I Search I Invite I Mail I Blog I Events clothes. Past all that. Streetvibes The street opens up. Fruits, people, vegetable “Got the Vibe?” stands, candy, fish, meat. I’ve never seen so many Male foreign people until 99 Years Old grandma took me to CINCINNATI, Ohio Findlay Market. United States So many crowded together, narrow Last Login: 10/1/2007 corridors, many languages. View My: Pics I Videos All of us are equal at Findlay Market. CHECK OUT THE Grandma looks for bargains. She finds them. We shop until the cart is full. MYSPACE PAGE
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The New Age Good Samaritan: According to the Gospel of the Justice System by Greg Olkhovsky
witnessed (not committed) a crime. Guantanamo Bay comes to Medford Oregon.” Another atrocious example occurred on July 6 th in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Randy Barr, 41, witnessed the murder of James R. Leepier whose throat was sliced
Imagine yourself as a witness to a crime. You have absolutely no association with those involved or the crime itself, you are simply a bystander. Appropriately you contact the police, wait for their arrival at the scene, “It should alarm everyone in offer them your statement, then you this country, regardless of how become jailed and you see the issue of eventually placed under house arrest. homelessness, that our courts All of this occurs are locking people up simply because the police based on the fact that they question your witnessed (not committed) a credibility to show up on time for the crime. Guantanamo Bay trial. Welcome to the comes to Medford Oregon.” -Paul Boden, world of unjust Western Regional Advocacy treatment towards Project, Executive Director the homeless, where homeless witnesses are being by Harvey Hoover. Barr is being tossed into jail because held under a Pennsylvania criminal prosecutors want to have access procedure rule that jails witnesses to them for their own convenience. if a judge suspects that the witness This hideous act is a growing trend will not show up when subpoenaed in the United States. Recently on for court and cannot make bail. rd June 3 , three homeless people in Since the middle of August, Barr has been under house arrest. He Medford, Oregon were jailed for witnessing an altercation in what was jailed the previous four weeks before this transition occurred. would eventually result into a death and a manslaughter charge. Some may make the absurd The Executive Director of the argument, “Well at least now Barr Western Regional Advocacy has housing.” Currently, Barr is Project in San Francisco, Paul limited to two hours per day Boden, comments, “It should outside. He is banned from using alarm everyone in this country, drugs and alcohol and is subject to regardless of how you see the random drug testing. Furthermore, issue of homelessness, that our an electronic monitoring bracelet courts are locking people up has been placed on Barr, he has to simply based on the fact that they check in once a week to house
Lackawanna County Prison where, “I sat there for two weeks without hearing anything about what was happening.” After testifying at the preliminary hearing Barr was told he would be released from jail, but instead he was placed under house arrest. Barr said that he is frustrated with his treatment because he doesn’t know how long the monitoring device will be attached to him. “I’m being treated like a criminal. As far as I know, I could be on this until the trial.” At what point did we evolve into a society that punishes instead of rewarding those that report a crime? When did we start to lock up and rob individuals of their freedom when reporting a criminal activity in which they are not a part of, but merely an observer who is at the wrong place at the wrong time? Where does it go from here? Today’s Good Samaritan is treated with unlawfulness instead of honor. Today’s Good Samaritan is homeless. “If you have money, you’ve got rights. Since when do you have to
arrest officials and has to pay $10 a day for the program. Yes, you read correctly, Barr, a homeless man, has to pay $10 a day for this involuntary program for reporting a murder. Sounds like a terrific housing program now doesn’t it? Deputy District Attorney Maryann Grippo had Barr incarcerated because of the possibility that prosecutors may or may not be able to find him when the trial begins. Grippo says, “You have to look at it from the (prosecutor’s) perspective. Here’s someone who can literally make or break this case.” Mary Catherine Roper, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, believes that Barr was jailed because of his longevity of being homeless. She says, “They wouldn’t have done this if he weren’t homeless. He’s indigent. He can’t make bail. Jail should always be a last resort.” Complementing Ms. Roper’s addressing of Barr’s wrongful “If you have money, you’ve arrest purely got rights. Since when do because he is without a home is you have to buy due Israel Bayer, the process and human rights in Director of Street this country?” Roots newspaper -Rachel Myers, Seattle’s Real Change in Portland, News Oregon. Israel says, “Just because an individual is without a buy due process and human rights home, shouldn’t mean you are in this country?” says Rachael stripped of your rights as a citizen Myers, Advocacy Director with of the United States.” Real Change newspaper in Seattle, More importantly, Barr says Washington. that he was initially thrown into
The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless and Streetvibes wish to thank Panera Bread at Gilmore Square in Fairfield for their donations of bread, pastries, bagels and sweets. These are used throughout the week by our vendors and people who frequent the lobby to use the phone or get out of the heat.
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The Peace Village
The Peace in Iraq Means Peace in Vietnam insight and understanding. About 8 years ago, non-vets were The war in Iraq continues on and invited to join in. (I was a war protester we as a nation are just getting a first in the 1960’s and made it a point not to glimpse of what is happening to our sol- treat any U.S. soldier of that era with diers who have survived the war and respect or compassion. I am not proud have returned to the U.S. of my ignorance or disrespect and these The stories conferences about brain injuries have been genercaused by roadside ous with me and explosions have other protestbeen added to the ers.) “standard” ways in We meet which soldiers have once or twice a returned with one day for 1-3 kind of injury or anhours of the most other. intense converYet, this war is sations. Many of really nestled in anthe vets and their other war and the Dr. Steve Sunderland family members, two are becoming write reflections merged in the minds of many soldiers, on the war as well as memories of the their families and the nation that is wak- soldiers. ing up to the repeat of another lost adventure. I am sitting for a week with Viet- Stories Are Shared nam vets, Vietnamese monks that lived Many who participate say this is the through the war, family members of Viet- first time they have felt safe to reveal their nam vets who have died, and those who experiences as soldiers, medics, or famcall themselves “war protesters.” ily members. I have been coming to a version of Very quickly, one story by one perthis conference for the last 6 years, lis- son links to another story, with the contening to vets and their loved ones de- versation pausing because of the need scribing the long lasting effects of the to meditate on what has been said. The Vietnam war on their bodies and minds. writings aid the discussions and the disThat war continues to shatter, wound, and cause suffering and pain, for many soldiers and their families. by Dr. Steve Sunderland
Thich Nhat Hanh We gather for a week of discussions and meditation at a peace conference led by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. Hanh was expelled from Vietnam in the 1966 for seeking peace from the North Vietnamese, South Vietnamese and from the Americans. Hahn relocated to France, set up his now famous, “Plum Village,” for refugees and others seeking peace and reconciliation. About 18 years ago, Hanh started welcoming American vets to the conference to meet with each other and others from Vietnam and to see if his methods of mindful non-violence could help people heal and transform their pain into
namese people. still see them dying in my nightly dreams,” Hahn has reone tough and loving vet returned to Vietnam The work of this for the first time in counted. conference is to “I had to kill 2005, bringing with promote peace, a the soldier I was him a large group of trying to save or people, including a peace that my whole pladelegation of acknowledges suffering American vets. The toon would have stories about these and seeks to transform been discovvisits are just now ered. He was it into gentle screaming in emerging as a part understanding. pain so loudly of the healing prothat I had to stop cess for the vets. What is new in these groups this him,” recounts a former medic with tears year is the difficulties many vets are feel- and deep sadness. ing in protesting the Iraqi war while ofAnd, the stories go on and on. And fering support to the grieving families of now they are colored by similarities with the Iraqi war. soldiers killed in the last few years. The work of this conference is to promote peace, a peace that acknowlWhat To Do About Iraq Many in our group are caught in a edges suffering and seeks to transform trap of wanting to protest the war while it into gentle understanding. Pain, fear, not sending out a disrespectful message and horror are difficult experiences to to the parents and family members who dwell on in public. Yet, the work of the group, following Hanh’s instructions, ofhave died or returned with wounds. “I am a grief counselor,” one group fers us a caring path of discussion, a safe member started his story, “and I am a place to give words to the indescribable leader in our local Vets For Peace. I am acts of killing, and a refuge for every soul in pain about modifying my views in or- to find meaning.
der to not seem cold to the parents.” We all nodded in affirmation for his desire to reduce pain while living in pain. Other vets and their family members are having flashbacks to the Vietnamese war based on stories by other vets and “[Thich Nhat Hanh] his news about the Iraqi war. presence, his teachings, and The time of now seems to have warped with the his courage continue to inspire us to go back to one l960’s, as people report hearing and feeling many of more group, to tell one more the identical feelings of the story, and to seek one more earlier time. Each group meeting is act of thoughtful insight.” another step in understand-Dr. Steve Sunderland ing the impact of war on the human soul. Very brave cussions deepen the writings, almost to young men all felt ready for war; now, none of these survivors know how they an unbearable point. Some vets have had no mental health made it so far. treatment until this year and are just now Most live with serious regrets about finding their strength to enjoy life. Other who died in Vietnam and how the news vets are still caught in the many worlds of their deaths were received by sociof killing and assisting in the failed res- ety. All regret some important aspect of cuing of fellow soldiers as well as re- their wartime experience: “I killed as ducing some of the burden for the Viet- many as I could, hundreds, and I can
Moving On The work to find understanding is difficult. Each person in the group realizes that our time in the group is short and that this group offers another chance to heal, reconcile and understand. The group members realize that Hanh’s methods have grown out of his own struggle with his experience in Vietnam and with the killing of Buddhist priests, killings of students at his school of social work and his flawed efforts to provide medical assistance to people injured during the war. While he does not sit in our group, his presence, his teachings, and his courage continue to inspire us to go back to one more group, to tell one more story and to seek one more act of thoughtful insight. The war in Iraq continues, and continues to leave unseen and visible damage. The vets group, a small but strong boat, floats out toward the reality of both wars, believing that we are all in the same boat of war and peace.
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The Effects of Poverty on the Body Michael Henson is author of Ransack, A Small Room with Trouble on My Mind, The Tao of Longing, and Crow Call. This column is part of a monthly series on poverty and addiction. A friend —I won’t say his name and I’ll not give you everything I know about him— is a disabled diesel mechanic with a wild sense of humor and a bone-deep knowledge of Appalachian culture. He used to make good money as a mechanic, but that was before he tore his rotator cuff and before the eight operations that never fixed it. So he makes a little side money doing odd jobs, mostly advising his son who does the muscle part of it, but he’ll probably never work a full-time job again. To further complicate things, he is overweight by a couple hundred pounds and suffers from diabetes, congestive obstructive pulmonary disorder, and sleep apnea so bad that he had to have a hole cut into his esophagus to insert a breathing tube. When he coughs, he holds a handkerchief to his throat. He has a shelf of medications and a life organized around visits to various doctors. Not all the doctor visits are his own. His wife suffers from unexplained and undiagnosed seizures. I forget the seven or so other diseases she copes with. Their youngest daughter was lead poisoned when she was small. As a result, she has a learning disability and a speech defect. My friend’s fear is that, when she some day conceives a child, her bones will
release the stored lead into the blood of her unborn child. His oldest daughter appears generally healthy which would be a great relief if she had a better gift for choosing men. Her first child may be learning disabled, but it’s too early to tell for sure. He has one other daughter who is obese, but otherwise healthy. His son has had multiple surgeries for a deformity of his urinary tract. He also suffers from a learning disability — he can absorb information, but he cannot read it or write it. He passed his GED through a verbal test. Husband and wife tease, fight, complain, and fuss with one another, but when she has one of her seizures —when her eyes roll up, her lids flutter, her body stiffens like a board— my friend talks her down very patiently, lovingly. His face radiates sweetness and compassion, like a biker Bodhisattva. It is a beautiful thing to watch. It is a terrible thing to watch. It must be a terrible thing to live with, for my friend talks regularly of driving whatever patched-up car he has this month into a wall to end the stress. He says he is too loyal to wife and family to ever do it —and I hope that’s true. Instead, about once a month, he buys a fifth of liquor and gets apocalyptically drunk.
It changes nothing, of course, and he wakes up with a hangover on top of the same old pain, the same old round of pills, the same old wait for the next seizure, the same difficulties with children and grandchildren. Something has gone terribly wrong with this family, who do not seem to have deserved it at all. Something has struck them like a Biblical curse and it is a miracle —a sweet miracle— that they maintain any scrap or shred of dignity. But they do have dignity. Not the dignity some would call dignity, for their clothes and cars and furniture are all pretty shabby by Martha Stewart standards. But they have something within —my friend would not want to talk about special gifts and such, so perhaps I should leave it alone— but they have a gift for dignity not all families manage. * Should my friend skip the monthly binge? Of course, you say. Of course, I say. But how do we sell him such a notion? I think we have a pretty tough job ahead of us. You can only sell this sobriety business where you can sell it, and I don’t think he’s going to buy. You can call it denial or you can call it resistance, but from where he sits, sobriety is the least of his needs
and drinking is the least of his worries. From where he sits, in a patched-up folding chair on the sidewalk of an inner-city neighborhood with the pollution and the dope boys and the noise and the prostitutes all around him and the pain in his feet and the needs of his wife and children and grandchildren ever before him, sobriety doesn’t offer much. If he never drank again, that would be a good thing —from my point of view. But from his point of view, little would change. The jobs with the good, diesel mechanic pay were gone seven surgeries ago. He’ll still have the diabetes, his feet will still be slowly dying, and he’ll still have a plug in his throat. And so on, with the rest of his list. And so on, with the needs of his family. From my point of view, the drinking just complicates all these conditions. From his point of view, the drinking —his once-a-month allout blowout— keeps him from driving that patched-up car into a wall. It’s cheaper than therapy, and quicker than the twelve steps. Something could happen, I suppose. Something could make him realize the harm his drinking does him. But for now, from his point of view, poverty and disease are as much harm as he can face.
Bertas Art Corner
Thank you to Xavier University’s Department of Athletics for their generous donation of soap, shampoo, and hair products. Erector Set, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Our War on Racism by Charles Evegan I once read a book called “How to Lie with Statistics” and that book validated in my mind what I already knew in reality. The news media in Cincinnati misrepresents, manipulates, and out right fabricates its information when it comes to the blacks and the poor citizens of Cincinnati. They say that there is freedom of the press? Freedom to do what? Freedom to slander and disregard the rights of the poor and downtrodden? The press are those rich and powerful predominantly Caucasian power structures that have a direct financial and social interest in keeping the public afraid of the black and poor peoples of this city. They target and occupy our neighborhoods like the united states in Iraq. Now they can show a pseudo need to raise taxes for more police and jails. Locking people up is a lucrative business in this city and it is also a big part of the economy. Prison is big business. It is a known fact how the power structure and the Cincinnati Police in the Queen City feel about the poor and minority citizens that reside here. They will let the KKK march directly through our neighborhood and then protect them. Double standards, racial profiling, police executions, and the systematic passing of laws that keep these tools
of racism in tact are maintained with an iron fist. Most Caucasian people in this city either think that this is not true or they just choose to overlook and ignore the stats. Have you ever noticed that every time the news in this city puts black folks or Spanish people on the news is when they are in trouble or getting arrested? Is there any good Spanish or black folks in this city that is worthy of positive news coverage at least 1 day out of the month? Listening to them on an everyday basis you w o u l d think not. Then they put them on Charles Evegan TV in the worse possible forms. Simon Leis comes on TV talking about how he needs more jails and police. I do admit at one time Over The Rhine was pretty bad. However, there is barely any activity going on down there. And now, with nothing to do the police just simply ride around mean mugging people and harassing them for petty things that they would not dare do a white neighborhood like that. I know because I’m there everyday.
Here’s an example of double standard racism. A black lady was jailed and denied bond because her nephew left a pit bull in the back yard without here knowledge and the dog died. But just recently a white lady left here infant in the car on one of the hottest days in the summer and the baby died a horrible death yet she walks free. Another example I always make it down town when a Bengal’s game is in the city. I have seen people getting drunk on the lawns around the stadium. Before and during and after the game they are drinking everything from beer to liquor but the police do not bother them. Try drinking a beer outside about 4 football fields down the street and you will be pounced on. They want to set up a sobriety checkpoint at a Black bar called ANNIES where the Bengal’s were that night. But what about all of those rich white folks that’s leaving the game in there cars drunk and under the influence of alcohol. What about down on main street when people step out on the sidewalk with a margarita in there hands? The police drive right by them. What about up in Clifton on the weekends? Those students get drunk on the sidewalks and in public, fight, ar-
gue and raise havoc in Clifton and walk down the street with beers in their hands. Why don’t they say anything to them. We already know there answers. I’m just sick of being harassed and asked many dumb questions because I’m a Black man. And the racism goes on all kinds of levels. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired and so are my peoples. Now I know why there are so many soup kitchens in Cincinnati. Because they know that if they don’t at least feed the people. The people will rebel and be right on their very doorsteps. Remember the riots in 2001. If politicians want to do something good for the poor peoples of this city they should raise the cities minimum wage to at least 8 dollar and hour. Different cities in this country have their own minimum wage because they don’t want the poor people to make them a target of their thirst. This city simply does not care. That have the bring it on attitude because the whole system is designed to keep their foot on our necks and they have the police to back them up. I am a soldier for change and an advocate for the poor and downtrodden If anyone has any comments feel free to contact me at email@example.com or stop by THE LORDS GYM on 12th and Race St.
GCCH Welcomes New Receptionist by Ardella Woolens I grew up in the Laurel Homes on West Liberty St. I attended Washburn Elementary School, Bloom Jr. High School, and completed Robert A. Taft High School. I have years of customer service experience under my belt. I am thrilled to be apart of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. I love working at a job where I am helping people. I will be filling in for Linda while she has surgery on her knee. Please stop by and visit me and the Coalition, 117 E.12th Street, Overthe-Rhine.
Streetvibes exists as a forum for the expression of the views and opinions of our readers and supporters. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Streetvibes staff or the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless.
STREETVIBES Page 14 Poverty Lays its Head on a Lumpy Pillow No Wonder It Has So Many Bad Dreams by Jennifer Money
My First Born!
by Joyce G To Maurice and Ellie
I know it’s been a rocky road, For this is what I’ve always been told. I’ve lied to you, cheated on you Called you names, and put you to shame.
Part 1 Arms of shadows Shackled into Societal decay Rape to the opportunity Of lower class urbanization Single mother Far from receiving Support For heavy eyelids
You are still with me, holding my hand. Giving me love and a smile. I guess because we have walked the miles. Our rocky road is smoothing out. So now you won’t have any more doubts. We will be together for many more – Just can’t wait to see what life has in store. Happiness and joy – For this will be our fairy tale story.
Instability is the Empty spot in her sunken in bed Comfort a child’s fairytale When bills are juggled with food I hate to sit in the government’s office Feel like a child in detention She hopes the street Doesn’t strip her child Of clothes and morals That he isn’t found in an alley In a few years Shot Or shot up full of heroin Like a lover she once had His heart stopped working A few months after his body She is still trying to repair The damage of his cold fingertips
Part 2 I can’t sleep in the middle of all these bodies She stares at her son’s Small fingers squeezing her cotton nightgown She looks at her chest Waiting for it to restart To catch up with her overworked brain The lights flicker on 7am She gathers her and her sons Small trash bag of clothes Heads to the church hoping for a meal He walks towards the school Small body disappears through the double doors She walks towards day labor and underpaid wages She walks away from denied employment positions 7pm quickly fades into 7am each repeating day She hopes to soon wake up from poverty’s bad dream
You told me through the years That you would never have me a little one. With eyes like diamonds, A smile like the burst of sunrise, Cheeks that glow like a spring rose. Whose warmth that could warm up the coldest heart. A Chicago wind would feel like July. I love you both so much, Thank you for sharing you all’s Love with me. Ellie thanks for allowing the vessel for my grandchild. This will be my favorite gift of Life.
The Woman Coming Toward You by Elizabeth Romero
by Elbert Holcombe Jr. When you’re cold and you’re hungry and you’re all by yourself, you have no where to go what do you do when you don’t have a clue and feelin’ blue and you’re out of hope? Don’t know how to cope the dope is not a joke I don’t know how to stop. When is it going to end? I thought you was my friend. When you find yourself in a mess feeling stressed don’t know how to get out, you all alone and you have no one to care, nobody to listen, nobody to help you keep going back to the dope you keep telling yourself you’re alright you know something is wrong , know you don’t belong, but it keeps telling you you’re fine you don’t have to go hide I am going to make sure you don’t never get better. When you fall on the floor and you can’t get up when you holler for help and nobody comes you know man you don’t have to do it and today I know I do not want to go back when I can keep going forward. I am scared to death I don’t want to die anymore I am going to fight for my life.
The woman coming toward you is trying to hang on. You can see it in her eyes, her wary sidelong glance. The woman coming toward you is trying to hang on. Her clothes flap loosely in the wind. Her red shoes clash. The woman coming toward you carries the patient rage of her mother and her mother before that like that cracked plastic handbag.
A Song by B.D. Schuh You cannot save the world ‘till you save yourself. Books need to be in the head ‘n not on the shelf. You are no man of God. ‘Till you’ve stood in the sod Yet good intent is the quickest road to hell. Alms do no good if given to a pimp. Too many people running the streets run with a limp. Everyone knows That where the ‘possum goes Is to a broken down, well-dressed imp. You give your soul away ‘n wonder why it’s gone. You give your heart away ‘n wonder why you have no song I made my enemies into businessmen, And pushed my friends into oblivion Yet I still wonder why I am all alone. They sell bread to make cash ‘n then call it “dough” They sell their women to make hash ‘m then call her a “hoe” Trading true worth By Losing their son’s birth ‘N then wonder why their heart is so low.
STREETVIBES Page 15 Without Blues by Lonnie Nelson For all those who have seen drugs, alcoholism and abuse, tear their families apart. Without the stub of crocus, the breeze through cedar and hills to climb in the soft light of January I would be lost. Without the picket lines’ ”How you doing?”— friends sitting around at the table while November rains, I would wash away in tears.
“Do unto Others” by Elbert Holcombe Jr. When you’re travelin’ throw out your day. Be kind to all creatures and they will return it back. Just remember that he’s watchin’ and he finds what lies ahead. As we go to work or go to play just remember that he cares, he is here beside us, to guide us along the way.
Without my pencil, the work that must be done, the brothers and sisters in the strong August sun, I would go over the edge.
Writers! Submit your Poetry to Streetvibes - email your writing to Streetvibes@juno.com Stories and Poetry Are Due The Second Friday of the month
Name by Lynda Dean My bith name is Lynda While growing up I felt like Trial & Error.
“Cocaine” (open mic) by Elbert Holcombe Jr. Cocaine, cocaine you was messing with my brain was driving me insane left me broke to take all the blame had me crawling on the floor left me stuck begging for more made me go and rob the store had to go get one more. Cocaine, cocaine made me run out the door had to go and get more. When you used me I did not want to lose you, you were my life, my world, my everything, so I thought. But now I know none of that was funny you made me spend all my money you made me tell the landlord lies then he told me I had to move. You can’t pay so I could not stay you made me have to go away but today I do not need you I found a way to live without out you one day at a time. I am not and will not forget when you use me I lose me remind myself and rewind myself before I give you that control again I remind myself and go back to where it all began just for today I am not and will not never go through that again.
During competitive soccer it was Aggressive – Go-Getter. While married it was definitely Trial & Tribulations. On the streets Much-Pain-Long-Suffering. Incarcerated lots of Guilty Shame. However… Today it is Hopeful. Tomorrow it will be Grateful. And let’s not forget when I am home with my son and my baby It will be Mommy!
Ms. Homeless Downtowner
Mr. Homeless Downtowner
Name: Wilma Turner Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio My favorite downtown spot is…Fountain Square My hobbies are… crocheting and reading I can’t resist…Pepsi I can’t stand it when…people get on my nerves If I won the lottery I would…give it to the Drop Inn Center The one thing I would change about the world would be…to have Wonder Woman exist If I could have done it all over again I would have…stayed in Dayton Love to me is…nothing. Love doesn’t exist, it is full of lies
Name: Edward L. Hill Birthplace: Pittsburg, PA My favorite downtown spot is… the library My hobbies are… drawing, painting, reading, and poetry I can’t resist… chocolate I can’t stand it when…the city government doesn’t monitor or find out anything about how it really is downtown and what is going on If I won the lottery I would…help out the homeless The one thing I would change about the world would be…to have people be open minded with spiritual and Christian values If I could have done it all over again I would have…not gotten involved with drugs or alcohol. Love to me is…concern and caring for ones self and others. It is also a very spiritual nature.