Showing posts from 2016

Michelle Obama, Hopelessness and Hope

Michelle Obama recently told Oprah Winfrey that America is entering a period of hopelessness and we have reasons to agree and to disagree. However, as a Black man, I will boldly say that we should avoid wallowing in pity while sitting on the dock of the bay and waiting on the world to change (even though it has a nice rhythm to it). We must force change. Before we can do that, we must know what we are changing, what we are changing it from and what we are changing it to. Otherwise we're hopelessly stupid and lacking any notable ability to do any critical thinking. That leads nicely into my first set of observations.

In 2008 Barack Obama ran for president on a campaign promise of "hope and change". The mere vagueness of his campaign slogan and those of other politicians at all levels of government is a sign that those in power are either hopelessly stupid and impotent or hopelessly evil -- like a "political epicurean paradox". As if to play a cruel joke on Amer…

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser: Increase the ICH's Speed and Effectiveness (an open letter)

Dearest Mayor Muriel Bowser:

What I initially thought (as I wrote my Dec 20th post) would be a five-post series of open letters to you and anyone who might do a Google search so as to judge your performance as mayor has turned into at least a seven-post series with the addition of the previous post about ICH communication and this one (which will have a portion that delves further into the communication issue). I also plan to write about:

1 -- the perception of hopelessness that Michelle Obama recently articulated, what it means for the poor and homeless and how people's perception of me and other advocates can play a role in forcing positive change,

2 -- a KRISTY GREENWALT timeline: what we/I hoped for both before and when her position was created by the council, how her relationship with myself and other advocates has (d)evolved, how you might "fix" her and how her replacement might improve upon her performance

3 -- how and why you might avoid or advance your politica…

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser: Improve ICH Communication (an open letter)

Dearest Mayor Muriel Bowser:

In my previous post I visited the matters of how DC's Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (ICH) grades its performance vs how the public perceives what the media says about homelessness and of what this could mean for your 2018 re-election bid (especially if the DC primary comes AFTER the mid-May article about the homeless census). To be sure, you know a thing or two about the way in which the general public understands what it is told by politicians and the media -- how that, no matter how accurately a politician, reporter (in some cases) or subject matter expert explains a matter, the truth is lost through several communication turnovers as people try to remember and regurgitate what they heard or read. Even so, Aristotle and others have written about the "wisdom of the crowd" -- the principle whereby numerous incorrect guesses (of things like the weight of an ox at a country fair) average out within a percentage point of the correct answ…

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser: Further Improve the Inter-agency Council on Homelessness' Math (an open letter)

"I know people are working hard; but, sometimes we work hard at the wrong things." [such as manipulating numbers and definitions]
DC ICH Director Kristy Greenwalt [minus bracketed words] in early 2014 (I wonder if she recalls saying that.)
Dearest Mayor Muriel Bowser:

In my previous blog post I commended the fact that you, unlike any other politician that I'm aware of, have made addressing homelessness into your pet project -- a truth that means that what you do as mayor and what I do as a homeless advocate are quite inextricably connected. But the fact remains that you can't devote all of your time to your pet project; nor can you possibly keep up with every single happening of the DC Inter-agency Council on Homelessness. Additionally, it stands to reason that your administration will always paint a positive picture of their efforts -- a picture that gets turned on its head if and when the media blitz that always follows the mid-May release of the results of the Janu…

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser: Politics and Principle (An Open Letter)

Dearest DC Mayor Muriel Bowser:

First of all, I'd like to congratulate and thank you for taking the totally non-political step of making addressing homelessness your pet project. I've never heard of another politician at any level of government doing that. Others like Bush 43 and Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry (both Republicans) have addressed it; but, they've not made it their pet project by any means. You, on the other hand, have set the lofty goal of making the homeless experience in DC "rare, brief and non-recurring". You've arranged meetings that, unfortunately, were well-attended by NIMBY-ites while those who were supportive of your shelter replacement plan stayed home. You've embarked on a journey that three male mayors before you began but couldn't complete -- the first of them overseeing the creation of a 10-year plan in 2004 when DC counted 8,253 homeless people (a number that ROSE to 8,977 the following year) and the third issuing a state…

President Donald Trump & Why We MUST Destroy the Political Narrative

In the we(e) hours of 11/9 a country that has been advised by public figures to remember 9/11 found out that Donald Trump had won the election of the previous day. People began to see a new terror at play -- a man who would do everything he could to reverse the political gains of the left and who, through a sloppy mix of intent and ignorance, would create many enemies around the world. But it's not just the enemies he'll create which is of concern. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that Trump, along with the presidents of Russia and Iran, is a "natural ally" -- a statement that can be seen as an indication that the next U.S. president will become part of a more organized terror network of national governments -- with the full blessing of the GOP.

Fact of the matter is that Trump is just a political figurehead whose election is symptomatic of everything that's wrong with the American system of governance as well as the political and electoral systems that…

DC Dept. Of Employment Services: Working to End Homelessness

A Howard University Sociology professor whose Marxist study group I was part of (though I'v never been a university student) used to say:

"There are 20 years that don't make a day; then, there's that day that makes 20 years  [worth of effort]".
When about a dozen men -- including myself -- began advocating against the closure of the Franklin School Shelter in June 2006, one of our arguments was that Franklin's location in downtown and near many public transportation options made it a perfect location for the working homeless to get to and from work. Additionally, my personal efforts to get city officials to address the employment challenges of homeless people are well-documented on-line as far back as mid-2009 -- with similarly documented efforts by my advocacy colleagues going back about that far as well. I now have some great news: DC Government has heard our cries and is beginning to take action!!!

As you may well know by now, Obama signed the Workforce Inn…

Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump: Whetted Wit vs Wanton Ways

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have now held the first of three presidential debates. This means that those suffering from "election stress disorder" will soon find relief after hearing Mr. Trump's senseless rants for over 15 months as he eliminated 16 other GOP candidates (most of whom were more qualified than he is to become president). Then again, they might jump from the frying pan into the fire by having even more.....MUCH more to worry about if Trump were to win. Sadly, a Trump victory is not completely unrealistic given the fact that the candidates are in a virtual tie less than six weeks before election day. Though Mr. Trump gave his best performance to-date on September 26th (which isn't saying much),  he still got "Trumped" by Secretary Clinton. However, political scientists don't think that the debates will move the needle of public opinion -- no matter how well Hillary Clinton does or how poorly Donald Trump does. (Let's hope they'…