Thanks to Hilary for this.
Thanks to Hilary for this.
A couple of weeks ago a local politicians phoned me up and simply said, â€œYou are stupid and naiveâ€. Â That intrigued me so I said, â€œgo onâ€. Â During the conversation I was told the city â€œactually worksâ€ and no one cared about the social issues I was talking about. Â I was reminded that â€œpeople vote in their own self interestsâ€ and they donâ€™t care for others.
They are right. Â Statistically I can prove to you that people donâ€™t care about poverty issues. Â People donâ€™t care about battered women unless it is an NFL player hitting them. Â People donâ€™t care about the children being prostituted or the girls taken from reserves to work the streets. Â People donâ€™t care about global warming very much or at least not enough to change. Â People donâ€™t care about how we can built a better city. Â They only care about their own commute. Â The proof is in the hashtag #yxetraffic when there is an accident on Circle Drive. Â You would think the world has ended because people are delayed a little bit.
People do care about their taxes. Â Personally I have long felt that I am under taxed for the services we get but despite having a really low property tax rate, people tell me all of the time how much tax they pay. Â Apparently they donâ€™t read about anyone elseâ€™s tax rates. Â People care about how rough they have it. Â I get letters from people who live in multi million dollar homes on Whiteswan Drive telling me how bad it is there because of the traffic noise. Â When I minimized the road design of Saskatchewan Crescent, I got email from many people who live there about how hard it is to live on Saskatchewan Crescent. Â I know, who thought the two worst streets to live on are Whiteswan Drive and Saskatchewan Crescent and where do I send a donation to make it better? Â
Politicians tell me all of the time of the people that they fear the backlash from. Â Itâ€™s not those that are struggling. Â They donâ€™t donate and they donâ€™t vote. Â Itâ€™s those who complain about their taxes, who think the city is spending their money in the wrong places, that only care about the pothole on their street. Â It is why the communications that the City of Saskatoon ran as soon as the lockout started mentioned keeping a promise to taxpayers (a promise I canâ€™t find anywhere) and putting the blame on the ATU. Â Who runs ads attacking the group of people you are supposed to be negotiating with?Â
The special city council meeting that was called to vote on the pension changes had a great Q & A with Murray Totland where each councillor lobbed softball question after softball question at him to help build political cover. Â What never came up? Â What the city was going to do to help people who rely on transit. Â
This is a city council that spent hours a couple of years ago debating what kind of fence that the city should build. Â Should it be wood, brick, chain link, cement block, a combination of materials? Â Seriously, they went around and around over the most minuscule of things. Â Yet when a couple of thousand of people were left out in the cold with no transit, there was no discussion at all?
I agree with labour action. Â Lockouts and strikes are part of the process. Â At the same time this lockout is different. Â There are some hard working people that are being negatively affected.
And where are city councillors? Â Well they are refuting a story from the Huffington Post on property taxes but are silent on a transit lockout that is hurting all sorts of people. Â I have some on council that I consider friends but as I have told them, they are failing the city as politicians and as human beings.
A couple of people I have talked to have told me that they are leaving Confederation area at 6:30 a.m. to get to work or class on time. Â Next Wednesday I am leaving the Confederation Bus terminal at 6:30 a.m. and am walking to the University. Â It is 6.1 kms. Â Google Maps tells me it is a 90 minute walk.
To keep me company on the walk, I invited City Councillors along with me. Â I thought we could talk about some poverty issues and maybe even a little about the lockout. Â So far two have gotten back to me on the record. (out of town)
We will be walking through parts of Wards 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1. Â
I am not sure why I am doing this except to work through the incredible disappointment I have with all of city council. Â Itâ€™s not just disappointment with them as politicians (I feel that after every single city council meeting ever) but rather with them as the leaders of the city. Â Of my city. Â They are hurting people that I spent almost every waking moment for a decade trying to help and none of them even want to acknowledge that they exist. Â Maybe by walking with me we can get some sort of understanding of the challenges they face just getting to work or class.
You can come with me if you want. Â We can talk minimum wage increases, Saskatoon Transit, and what it is life to work hard and be ignored. Â You will see first hand that I canâ€™t type on a phone and walk at the same time. Â
Iâ€™m not leading a protest. Â Iâ€™m just trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with a city that hurts that many people and doesnâ€™t think twice about it. Â If you have any ideas why, let me know. Â Or join me on Wednesday at the Confed Bus Terminal at 6:30 a.m. Â Iâ€™ll be the guy that looks like me. Â Bring your own coffee.
But dreams rarely pay the rent. So Ms. Fernandes worked three jobs, at three Dunkinâ€™ Donuts stores in northern New Jersey, shuttling from Newark to Linden to Harrison and back. She often slept in her car â€” two hours here, three hours there â€” and usually kept the engine running, ready in an instant to start all over again.
The last day of her life was no different. She got off work at 6 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 25, and climbed into her 2001 Kia Sportage, officials from the Elizabeth Police Department said. She was dreaming again, this time about taking a break to celebrate a milestone with friends. But first, she told her boyfriend, Mr. Carter, during a brief cellphone conversation, she was going to take a nap.
She pulled into the parking lot of a Wawa convenience store, reclined in the driverâ€™s seat and closed her eyes. The storeâ€™s surveillance camera videotaped her arrival at 6:27 a.m.
Detectives would pore over those tapes after her body was found later that day. It was the last image that anyone would see of her alive.
Once school is out for the summer, the opportunity for children to engage in educational activities of any kind decreases. Studies show that, on average, students lose about a monthâ€™s worth of instruction, as measured by standardized test scores. But not everyone is average and, as a 2011 RAND Corp. report finds, summer learning loss disproportionately affects poor students, who already begin school behind their more affluent classmates. Research shows that any high-quality summer program that keeps children engaged â€” whether that is a traditional camp, summer school or even frequent trips to the museum â€” can mitigate summer learning loss.
The problem is, not everyone can afford to send their kids to a fancy summer program. That means low-income children (exactly the children that could benefit most from such programs) cannot afford to participate. Meanwhile, in a world in which most children grow up in a household without a full-time caregiver, low-income parents not only struggle to find full-time care but also must divert large a large fraction of their limited salaries to pay for it.
Worst of all, this loss is cumulative, with serious consequences as the achievement gap widens every summer. Karl Alexander, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist, tracked 650 children in the Baltimore public schools, recording their scores on the California Achievement Test in June and again in September, after summer break had ended. Alexander found that the poorest kids â€œoutlearnâ€ their wealthier peers in terms of knowledge gained during the academic year, but during the summer months they fall further behind. In contrast, the wealthier children, aided by a home full of books, organized summer camps and â€œconcerted cultivationâ€-type parenting, continue to develop their skills.
Nicole Lee-Mwandha oversees homeless programs for D.Câ€™s public school system. She says every year the numbers of homeless children increase. Since the 2009-10 school year, it has jumped by 60 percent.
â€œDCPS is about five percent [homeless], but in my heart I strongly believe students go unidentified because of the shame and stigma surrounding homelessness,â€ she says.
Lee-Mwandha is getting more buy-in from school staff and has begun holding training workshops for them at shelters.
â€œInstead of a training in a nice cushy air-conditioned room, I do training in D.C. General and really see where their homeless children are coming from,â€ she says.
Lee-Mwandah says thereâ€™s a sense of urgency to help these homeless children. Stanton Elementary packs food for its approximately 70 homeless children to take home for the weekend. Roosevelt S.T.A.Y., with more than 100 homeless students, has a relationship with a bakery so families get fresh bread. She says some schoolsâ€™ homeless liaisons even provide turkeys for homeless families on Thanksgiving, but, she says, itâ€™s still not enough.
â€œAnd thatâ€™s the hard part when they need to select how many families out of the abundance of families they can help. Weâ€™re doing the best we can with the resources we have, itâ€™s still very limited,â€ she says.
For school staff on the front lines, the fear is the issues these children deal with are much bigger than what can be addressed during the hours theyâ€™re at school.