North

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“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.” Emily Dickinson

It seems that with the U.S. presidential election so many of us have been struggling to make sense of what happened and to shout our opinions of the result in the spaces we have available to us. Why did he win? Why did she loose? How could this happen? Why is there such racism, classism, misogyny, hatred, spite? Are all those people who voted for him that clueless?  Are they all rednecks? Are they all stupid? Why? Why? Why?

Myself? I think I have the answers, but really I don’t. I think I know the solutions, but really I don’t. All I have are half formed opinions that are bursting to get out of me. Frankly I simply don’t know. I don’t know why he was elected and she wasn’t. I don’t know why I feel powerless. I don’t know why I have such a huge energy to do something but with no idea of what to do. And if I am really, really honest with you dear friends this has been the state of things for a very, very long time.

I am adrift in a directionless fog of what to do, and have been for years. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know what I want. I want justice and mercy, equity AND equality, I want anyone was left behind brought to the front, I want kindness, I want the sharing of knowledge and freedom, and most of all I want love to infuse everything all the time. But knowing what you want is one thing. Knowing how to get there is another. With people I know casually and those who are close to me I sense they are lost as well. I sense they want the same things. If what i sense is true then why can’t we get there? Why isn’t there more love, more equity, and a sense that the world is bending toward the light?

I have been talking to one friend on great number of things for a number of years now. Through the these conversations we explore ideas Ideas about democracy, morality, beliefs, politics, friendship, institutions, government, and who we are. We agree on many things and disagree on others and I like that. I like the struggle, in our time together, to define an understanding. To create a kind of common compass with which we can chart our way through the times we are in.I love compasses for they are miraculous things. By using compasses humans created the means to chart the world, find the undiscovered country, and expand the horizons of what we thought was a certainty to what we see is possibility. The ability of a needle to point north is not only an absolute in an uncertain world, but also comforts us with guidance when we are lost.

That needle pointing north is what we seem to need right now. The thing of it is though that no one can tell you where your  internal needle is pointing. You have to, and will know this within yourself, like all great explorers who have followed the compass north, face some moments of truth and some moments of sacrifice to get there. We know what is necessary to achieve equity and justice. We know what is needed to make the least amongst us first. We know what justice and fairness looks like. We know what is needed to develop education, healthcare, wellness, and create a decent standard of living for the world. We know what is required to achieve the world we all talk about but can’t seem to get to. We know which way is north and may have to, like those explorers following a compass , sacrifice some of what we have in order to balance the scales so we all can stand in a place of possibility rather than the grim certainty we have experienced in the last few weeks.

We can all sense within ourselves where true north is as much as we know where the sun is when our eyes are closed and turn our faces into its warmth. I sense, rather than know, that there are answers to this feeling of being lost in the world. I sense, rather than know, the direction we might take in order to get to that undiscovered country. I sense, rather than know, that the rest of you sense this as well. Perhaps we all should work on a shared compass and follow that sense of true north.

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Doing it Right – The North East Community Conversations Group

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In the last 6 years much has been made about citizen engagement in our city. Hack the Vote, Citizens Panel, London X, The London Plan, Shift, and now an idea to change our cities name. All interesting, all needing attention, but one group , The North East Community Conversations Group, has been unique speaking to issues and coming from a unique place. The grass roots of average citizens.

I first became aware of their efforts in the last year and a half and since then have sen them engage the community in elections, ability and disability, and poverty. They recently held a large forum on poverty for The Mayors Poverty Panel and have been asked by them to continue this important engagement work. Gabriel Marcel , french philosopher and playwright, said ”On a grassroots level we say that man can touch more than he can grasp.”. This has been very true The North East Community Conversations group as their efforts at engaging in issues do not come from governments, business, or the non-profit sector, but form citizens wanting to gather and exchange ideas and concerns over what are important issues. Their reach extends beyond a mandate and extends into what we think about as a community.

At a meeting I attended recently the group was talking about the role of schools, the needs of students, and what our education system could be. It covered the gamut from  students with special needs to where our focus needed to be to help students develop so they could confidently face the challenges of the 21st century . My wife was at another conversation last week about ability and disability and what are our collective responsibilities as participants in a community that espouses to be inclusive. The results of the conversation were illuminating and posted out that we had more work to do while celebrating what we have accomplished.

I have been involved in the sometimes frenetic initiatives of community engagement a lot over the last 6 years but I am impressed at the way this group comes together and works. There go about it in a quiet and thoughtful way without pushing an agendas, with out massive social media campaigns or fancy websites, they go about it not for gain or attention, but because they are called by a need to connect to their neighbours and community and discuss the issues that effect is everyday.

I have always believed that conversations lead to relationships that then lead to action. The North East Community Conversations group do this. It is built into their DNA and those of us who are , or have, been involved in various engagement exercises could do a lot worse than to pay attention on how this group does it. It was born from community and continues to be be rooted there. They’re lesson for us is that they don’t need meetings to discuss engagement burnout, they just do it and as you know great changes are created the doing. Engagement is not a product  or an outcome but , as shown by this group, something we should just do.Take some time and do, and do it with the North East Community Conversations.

A Culture of Division? Yes the CPC created it

Someone I like great deal was hurt today by my anger at his party. He’s a good man and a much needed engager in this community but I stand by what I said. The Conservative Party of Canada has creatied an environment of racial intolerance, hatred , and division. Today two candidates , one liberal and the other conservative, had their signs defiled by racial hatred and I pointed the finger for creating the environment where this could happen squarely at the source. The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and the their leader Mr. Harper.

My friend wrote this:

“Take a look at a few of the hot button issues:

1.       Second class citizens- this is a media interpretation and used as hyperbole by other parties. If you take issue with parts of the bill then go after them but do not use such a general phrase for changes to a bill that is so complex.

2.       Conversion therapy- vetting over three hundred candidates is less than a year is complex process. He was removed as a candidate as was appropriate.

3.       The Niqab has been a highlighted debate by the media but let’s not forget, the court ruled on this. It has been named unlawful and is the reason that such checks and balances are in place.”

I can’t agree with his interpretation here and I want to outline exactly why I disagree with his take and why I  blame the growing climate of intolerance on the actions of the leader and the PC party.

Over the course of this very long campaign what have we heard from the Conservative party week after week?

  1. That if a woman where’s a Niqab to the citizenship ceremony and does not uncover her face then she cannot take the oath of citizenship. Many in the CPC blame media or liberals or ndp or anyone else for this being an issue but the PM is the one who has made ,and continues to make even yesterday, this an issue. Also what most people fail to understand is that women who chose to wear the Niqab during the ceremony have to remove it for identification before they sign their citizenship papers. So they have been clearly identified. But the CPC continues to make it an issue. Also our courts have continually overturned this law by the CPC but they continue to fight it so they can create media attention.
  2. Barbaric Practises Tip line is simply another tactic for devision. We are expected to call this special line created by the Conservative Government if we see a “barbaric practise” being perpetrated against women or others? This has been clearly linked to our nations Islamic community by the CPC as has the Niqab. But i wonder why we needed a special line when we have 911 and our countries excellent police forces. Here in London our police force take domestic abuse  and racial crimes seriously. We don’t need a special tip line that is focused on a specific part of our population.
  3. The removal of Citizenship from immigrants convicted of serious crime is in fact one of the most worst actions by the CPC government. They are creating a second class of citizenship for Canadians. if you’re an immigrant you no longer have the same protections under the Citizenship Act , unless this is challenged in court, or under the charter of rights and freedoms. if you come from another country you’re citizenship is worth less than an “old stock” Canadian. I have always believed that citizenship is citizenship and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship are equal to all who hold that status. If someone is convicted of , as the conservatives point out, terrorism as recently happened in Ontario then they should be tried in Canada, Judgement found in Canada, and sentence carried out In Canada. Our country is wise and strong enough to deal with anyone who wished to commit crime and the case is no different for these convicts. If an “old stock” Canadian committed the same crime then he or she would not be stripped of citizenship and deported. So the Conservative Party has created a second class of citizenship with a different set of rights than the first. Again it’s devise and racist.

So we take all of these and the PM’s use of the phrase “Old Stock Canadians” and what do we have. A clear campaign to create division and intolerance based on religious and ethnic differences. Now some on twitter have accused me of being a sensationalist, hypocrite, party hack. I don’t belong to a political party nor do I support one leader over the other at this point with the exception of Mr. Harper ,whom I don not support at all. Others have said this is all driven by the media. This is rubbish plan and simple. It was The PM who has continued to bring these issues out during the election campaign again and again. it is the CPC party who puts out mailings like this:

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So to blame the media is at best simplistic and at worst and clear act of deception. The CPC can only look to itself for the attention this continues to generate in this election because it is they who continually bring it up in interviews.

We have seen in newspaper articles in Ontario and Quebec a rise in attacks on Muslim women who are wearing Niqab’s . We have seen pominent Muslim Canadians say in interviews that there is a real fear in their communities. We have seen in London a clear racial hatred displayed against Muslim candidates. And the Prime Minister of this country has created the environment where these acts and this fear is fanned. To suggest that the Conservative Party is not to blame is either blind partisanship at any cost or is an unwillingness to confront the actions of their leaders. Either way it cannot be simply rationalized away as a few bad apples, complex issues, or media/partisanship bias. There is a clear pattern here and it is one of them vs. us with the CPC pointing to muslim immigrants as them. it is unrcontionable in our country in the 21st century.

Benjamin Franklin , The American President and slave owner, said “All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.” . We have now in our great country of Canada an approach and laws that have created fear, inequality and oppression. This must not stand or be rationalized but must be expunged for what it is.  A cynical calculation of fear and division.

Expectations and the new Council: Things are different

A tectonic shift happened last Monday night and the faces and focus around our Council Chambers has radically shifted. The result is that we have 11 new Councillors who will be sworn in to serve our city in December.  The consequences of this are yet to be seen but we know that the relationship between this new Council and Londoners will be a very different one.

But first we must recognize a few things and in this recognition set our expectations accordingly. The first thing we need to realize is that many of the new Councillors were advocates for a number of causes in London. From Reservoir Hill to Transit to The London Plan, they have all worked hard in the community to press the current Council to understand that London is evolving into a very different place than they thought it was. But there is a difference between advocates and city builders.

An advocate gives voice to a cause, a person, or viewpoint. Each of the new Councillors did this very well and that is to be applauded. But a city builder is someone who must listen to a variety of points of view and build consensus to take the plans we have and make them reality. A city builder also recognizes that priorities must be set through a strategic plan. They must set 5 or 6 key priorities they want to accomplish and focus on them. This will be the first task of this new Council and we must give them the time to do it.

This new Council also will not repeat the mistakes of the current one by engaging in bickering and devision. Londoners very clearly said in this election that they do not want the antics of the past four years to continue and is new Council heard this loud and clear at the door. They campaigned on it and we can fully expect that the tone on this new Council will be a respectful one. But despite the accusations of group think or imminent  failure from some in the media, each of these new Councillors are very independent thinkers and are known for they’re analysis of issues. You can expect debates around the horseshoe but expect them to be about ideas not personal agendas and old grudges.

City staff are also going to have a better relationship with this Council but senior staff will have to come to grips with the fact that this group is deeply connected to community and are able to almost instantly receive feedback from their constituents through social media. They are a very connected group collectively and can quickly request input and receive feedback on a scale we haven’t seen at City Hall before. This is a very new thing when it comes to our representatives at 300 Dufferin and new things take time to adjust to.

Some will think that this new Council will be profligate spenders and will mire our city with unmanageable debt. The thing that we and this new Council have to come to grips with is there is a difference between austerity and investment. The plans we have are long term investments that will add economic growth to London. This is not to say that Council will immediately open the vaults to citizens tax money but rather you can expect them to prudently invest in key areas to benefit the whole of London.

We as Londoners have to adjust our expectations as well. President Obama came in to office on a wave of popular support and quickly found out that he could not accomplish many of the things he promised on the campaign trial. The result was that the promise of Hope turned to one of disappointment. This new Council came in on a wave of popular support as well and they should heed the example of President Obama. No one Mayor or Councillor can, by them selves or without the support of community, create instant change. This Mayor and Council will have to collaborate closely, and continually, on key issues that have not changed between Monday night and Tuesday Morning, Unemployment, infrastructure gaps, inadequate transit, development issues, encouraging business growth, and the loss of talent are all issues in London today as they were Monday night. These issues will not be fixed December 1st with the swearing in of a new Council. We must temper our expectations and recognize that these are large issues that require time and focus to address. We need to give Council the time to do this.

The next four years are a little brighter for London but will only really dawn into a new day for our city if we as citizens join with this new Council and support them to become the best possible Council they can be. Citizenship does not only happen at the ballot box but happens in the work between elections. We all need to roll up our sleeves now and begin the work of creating a better London not just for today and for us, but for a better and brighter future London.

It’s a little confusing right now: Provincial Election

Well the wondering and prognosticating is finally over friends. We’re going to an election on June 12th and while some may have made up their minds as to who they’re voting for my suspicion is most have not. How can this be you ask? Aren’t the Liberals scandal ridden? Well lets look at that and look at our own culpability in this confusing time.

Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath have, on the surface at least, decided not to support Kathleen Wynne’s government because of principle. They can not longer in good faith work with a minority government that is mired in scandal ( code for gas plant,Orange, E-health, Herb Grey Parkway ) and support a government is covering up important information ( code for gas plant) . Now our friend Tim Hudak would tell you that he wants to hang an open for business sign on Ontario ( code for tax cuts for corporation ) and to get our spending under control ( code for cutting social programs ) . Andrea Howarth would have you believe that she can no longer let this Government continue on because Ontarians have lost faith in them and the Liberals plans are unattainable. But Andrea Howrath did sit in Queens Park and held her nose while two budgets went sailing by despite the scandals she keeps referring too.

We can’t deny however that Dalton McGuinty left a huge mess behind and we did as a province lose a billion dollars on the gas plants and lets not forget E-Health or Orange either. Both left a sour taste in the mouths of us all. So where does this leave us when it comes to Kathleen Wynne? Were any of these scandal her fault? Was she involved at all? Well it would be difficult to believe a Cabinet Minister had no knowledge of any of these issues but it’s not really clear what her involvement was. So we’re left with a lot of murky water right now around our new Premiere.

If you believe AM radio then the Liberal ( or NDP or Green (or any “lefty”)) are not to be believed and that if we do then you’re a fool. Listening to CBC radio however on the drive up to Kingston on Friday there we’re as many NDP as there were Liberals as there were Conservatives who called in and the vast majority said they didn’t know who they were going to vote for. Many said they wish that these parties could work together to get Ontario back on track. I think both of these are on the minds of Ontarian’s right now and given the lack of cooperation, or even civility,it’s a confusing picture and  people don’t know which way to vote.

I’ll be honest friends I have never been a fan of the austerity agenda of the conservatives. It’s never made much sense to cut spending on the one hand and to then cut taxes for large corporations, or the wealthy, as well. This is like saying if i owned a business and i wanted to increase profit I would give a bigger discount while cutting the costs to the maintenance and advertising for my business. Makes no sense. The current form of Thatcher/Reagan conservative thinking is so old and so dated and limited that until we see a reinvention of the conservative movement it holds no water. I hope that reinvention happens.

The NDP and the Liberals are at least saying we need to invest in education, transportation, health and these things cost money. Want high-speed trains? You’ll pay more in taxes. Want more money for the disadvantaged? You’ll pay more in taxes. Want more youth job funding? You’ll pay more in taxes. I like that. Like being told that we need to invest and that investment will cost and won’t suddenly appear at the end of the rainbow. It makes sense.

Locally we have some great people running for all four parties. Deb Matthews, Nancy Branscombe, Judy Bryant, Jeff Bennet, Peggy Sattler, Gary Brown, Teresa Armstrong. All great Londoners who you should all take sometime to talk to. But they will all be swept up in this election and the orders of the party. You see local candidates don’t have much to say on platform or even if they agree with the whole platform. If the party says you don’t do debate then you don’t do debates. If the party says start attacking the leader and the candidate then you start attacking. You become the local labourer for the bossman/woman of the party. You do but you don’t get to say much tat is your own. This is also too bad.

All the parties will attack while promising you they are the only choice and that if you want a prosperous future then you have to vote for them. But as I said earlier I believe many in this province are looking for more cooperation, much more civility. honesty in what we need to pay for, and most importantly we don’t want to be wined and dined during the election to be left wondering a week after  why they never call.

In the end though we need to examine our own culpability in all this and the way we do politics in Ontario. After all our current political climate would not be the way it is if we told politicians they couldn’t behave this way. That we will not stand for the vicious partisanship of party politics. That we will not stand for crass behaviour from those that lead us. That we will not stand for the lack of cooperation at Queens Park. But we won’t do this. We won’t do this and we will see another election come and go and the same dance begin again.

So in this confusing time of confusing choice take some time, do the best you can, vote, and try to at least say to your candidates to be civil, try to cooperate, so we can build a better Ontario. In the meantime let’s do that for each other as well.

City of Opportunity III – Resolve

Those of us who were hoping against hope for a change of heart by certain members of council last night all faced a hard lesson in a number of ways. For some it was that the best arguments don’t often win the day, for others it was the shocking display of naked one-upmanship, for a few it was about the anger at those councilors who would say anything to win an argument, but for me it was simply about one lesson.

I was amazed in the last 10 days at the generosity of friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers who rallied around the issues I was facing with my last two blog posts and the reaction by Councilor White and was often left speechless by the unqualified expressions of support and understanding. I am grateful to all of you who supported me through that difficult time but I also stood rapt by the power of the community to come together so quickly and with such focus around the issue of affordable housing which council was about to cut anyway.

In a matter of days we collectively went from vague unease to outright, full-blown advocacy on behalf of those in our city who could not be heard. I saw tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, and in person conversation that gathered together in numbers that the powers in City Hall heard clearly and could not be lightly ignored. We decided we would not stand for cuts that would leave behind our fellow citizens whether they had disabilities or needed a home. We knew and believed that London should be a city that was about our collective good not expedient cuts to justify a policy that our current circumstances had determined was no longer relevant. I was held rapt by the potential of community.

In the last year we have gone through a trial by fire in London and more and more of us are waking up to the fact that we are afraid for our future and that the only way to overcome this fear is to face it openly and transparently, to consider not just our own well-being but the wellbeing of every one of our neighbors as well. We are learning that the world has changed and the only way for us to succeed is to make sure no one is left behind and that the basics of housing, health, and dignity are not open to negotiation.

But because we create community at the speed of light, an idea expressed brilliantly by Glen Pearson, other things can as quickly distract us. Social Media as a means of community building is like quicksilver and flows along the path of least resistance and at this critical time we cannot afford to be distracted.

I am not assigning blame here, I often get as distracted quicker than most, but I am pointing out that we must understand our goals, focus our resolve, and not be distracted by anything until the issues of economic equality, environment, livability, intelligent growth, and fairness in London are achieved. Once we achieve them, and I have great faith in my community that we can, we cannot ever let them be taken away or watered down. This is not only about politics and running for office but is also about continually gathering an authentically engaged community and applying a steady tide of pressure to those who hold public office in our name so that they understand that we demand more than only our participation at the ballot box.

So I’m asking you all friends to think, to talk, to gather, to move forward, to not be distracted, and build upon the amazing accomplishment you all made in the last week. Let us decide to throw out the old ways of power, and create for ourselves and for our neighborurs a place that we can proudly say is city of opportunity for all.

City of Opportunity II – I speak as a Londoner

I must begin this post by stating clearly: I  AM IN NO WAY REPRESENTING THE OPINION OR POSITION OF ANY ORGANIZATION OR GROUP AND THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED HERE AND ON THIS WEB SITE ARE SOLELY MY OWN AND ARE NOT ENDORSED BY ANY ORGANIZATION OR GROUP

Councilor White in the previous Blog Post to this asked a question at the beginning. She asked ” Will you kindly clarify your comment about the Glen Cairn Centre? Are you speaking for them or as the Emerging Leaders, ED?”  Respectfully I have never claimed publicly nor privately to speak for Glen Cairn Centre or on behalf of Emerging Leaders who is my current employer. I ask Councilor White that when she called my previous employer and current employer Friday to complain about me was she speaking as a City Councilor or as someone who works for Children Aid Society or as a Private Citizen? Does she represent the City of London Council when she handles a CAS case? Does she represent CAS when she speaks at council? Or is she or any other Londoner allowed to speak out when they see something they disagree with?

I have never once spoken on behalf of Emerging Leaders or Glen Cairn Centre here or on Facebook, and would never do so, without express permission. The problem becomes when this happens it has a chilling effect on free speech and citizen engagement. But so be it, I can not be silent, even if it has personal consequences for me and my family.

Councilor White and the Mayor have made some points in defending their position. But the heart of the matter remains and while both of them and others have direct experience with people in poverty and Londoners with mental health issues so do I both within my family and amongst many friends. I have advocated my entire life both privately and publicly on behalf of those who are most often left behind because it affects my life and the life of my City, Province, and Country.

Mayor Fontana had posted the following in response to the outcry on the cuts to affordable housing, he did this on Facebook and I post it here unedited and in it’s entirety:

With a reduction in the contribution into the Affordable Housing Program, we will be shifting our approach to affordable housing. Right now there are a number of vacant units out there and a lot of individuals and families who need them. Instead of focusing on building all new units, our focus is shifting to filling existing units and entering into public private partnerships to convert exisiting spaces (like commercial space no longer being used as commercial space) into affordable housing. It’s a different approach, but it’s still a good approach and we will be able to increase the number of people we can help. London has done incredible unique things and we will continue to do so.

Affordable HousingThe reduced funding for the Program will result in a strategic shift from creation of a maximum number of permanent units to an emphasis on creating housing measures in the shorter term.Changes were made to legislation January 1, 2012. The New Housing Services Act repeals Social Housing Reform Act and gives the City of London as Service Manager more flexibility and discretion within local rules.This will give our housing experts the needed flexibility to create new housing policy and new housing programs based on the needs of Londoners, moving away from the previous prescriptive approach set out by the province.This shift in strategy is designed to achieve greater efficiency in using the City’s housing funds: 
• Families and individuals will have access to housing. While fewer permanent rental units will be created, the number of families who can quickly be accommodated in short term housing will be more than doubled. 
• The City can leverage the same amount of federal and provincial funding. 
• Jobs continue to be created through construction and renovation projects. 

Working within our funding, we will be using a combination of:
• convert to rent units (increase)
• creating more short term rental supplements (increase)
• home ownership program
• building new affordable housing units (decrease)

Affordable housing right now means keeping people in their homes.”

I think there are a couple of key points here to pay close attention to and to understand more fully and to seek clarification on.  I notice in this post the Mayor states ” a strategic shift from creation of a maximum number of permanent units to an emphasis on creating housing measures in the shorter term.” . Notice some important words here?  An emphasis on creating housing measures in the shorter term? This will mean an increase in temporary housing and not permanent housing.

It’s important to note this as well: “While fewer permanent rental units will be created, the number of families who can quickly be accommodated in short term housing will be more than doubled. ” .  Fewer rental units and more short term or temporary housing.
What we need to recognize here is that we are in every case reducing the number of permanent homes as a means to achieve a 0% tax increase. We also need to understand there is an 8+ year waiting list for permanent housing and while moving more families into temporary housing may be attractive in the short term we will in fact be delaying the issue at the expense of those most vulnerable and  sadly who is to say that that temporary housing budget will be there in a year or 3 years or 5.
We also need to understand the economic as well as the human impact of this cut. Abe Oudshoorn ,a recognized voice in homelessness and housing issues, wrote in his blog “this means that the $1M cut to the Housing Reserve Fund represents a potential $8M loss, or at $140,000 per unit, 57 units of affordable housing not built.  Each new unit also represents 2 person years of full-time employment.
Abe goes on to say ” affordable housing represents a much cheaper way to house people who are experiencing homelessness.  Housing an individual in shelter costs $1,450 per month, jail costs $140 per day, psychiatric acute care costs $650 per day, and acute care inpatient over $1,000 daily.  These statistics are clearly outlined in your Council-approved London Community Housing Strategy.  Therefore, putting money into housing up-front saves us much greater costs down the line.You can read the whole post here
Councilor Joni Baechler wrote on her Facebook page ” In My Opinion
Some members of council indicated they support the cut in Affordable Housing by $ 1Million because of the “Mayor’s plan” presented to committee yesterday. To be clear, there was NO plan presented. The Mayor simply outlined how he would divert the Affordable Housing $’s. What may have been missed by some councillors was the “KEY MESSAGE” from staff on the briefing note which states: “The reduced funding from the Program will result in a STRATEGIC SHIFT from the creation of a MAXIMUM number of PERMANENT units to an emphasis on creating shorter term TEMPORARY housing MEASURES”. The plan presented is a significant divergence from the Council adopted COMMUNITY HOUSING STRATEGY. Staff DID NOT recommend the budget cut in this area.As a result of this cut, we will not be able to leverage the same $$’s in order to meet our housing targets ($20 M in municipal housing dollars has leveraged $140 M from other sources). We will construct 75 less units per year which results in the loss of 72 associated jobs. The “temporary plan” does not address the housing crisis as year after year we will fall further behind.The cut to Affordable Housing is permanent. It will temporarily solve a fiscal shortfall on the backs of the poorest and most vulnerable in our community
Important in what Councilor Baechler states is that Staff recommended against these cuts and that we will not be able to leverage these dollars and we will construct 75 less units per year.
So despite assertions to the contrary we are left with the same terrible loss at the expense of those that can afford it the least, but if we can focus and share our concerns with Council and the Mayor for just one week ,as so many on twitter and email and by phone have, then maybe, just maybe, we can convince a thoughtful Councilor or a thoughtful Mayor to change their vote and end this tragedy and begin to create a city of opportunity for everyone.