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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, August 26, 2013

No Veggie Gardens For Our Growing Underclass

Last week, I told you about a single mother whose car was stolen while she slept. Though she got it back, she had to pay a hefty storage and towing fee. If she wanted Allentown police to do what they presumably are paid to do, and actually try to solve the crime, she'd have to pay to keep it in storage even longer until they got around to sending a fingerprint team. This would be no trouble to many people who drive better cars with collision and comprehensive. They could just keep their rental and let police work at their leisure. But for the working poor, a crime like this will go unsolved.

This is not the exception, but the rule. Take, for example, the story of Mr. A, a 78 year old newspaper delivery man who was mugged in 2008 while delivering a newspaper to then Congressional candidate Sam Bennett's Allentown home. He was ignored by The Morning Call newspaper and police, even when he spotter his mugger at the Hotel Traylor lobby and called them. I guess he's not important enough.

I'm sure that most of you can tell me horror stories, too, especially in Allentown. Even in our approach to criminal justice, we are slowly becoming a nation intent upon keeping the working poor down. We discourage any attempt by people to dig their way out.

This is the problem noted by thinking conservatives like Vic Mazziotti, who question why we waste  $220,000 in federal funds for 1-BR apartments at Cumberland Gardens, when that money could be put to such good use in restoring the dilapidated housing in block after block of the Queen City. Thinking liberals in Northampton County actually agree that the entire system is broken.

It has nothing to do with ideology. It has everything to do with layer after layer of bureaucracy, from federal administrators to Allentown police.

Don't believe me?

Consider the story of a 4 year-old girl in South Dakota. She lives with her mother, who receives $628 a month on some sort of disability. They are in subsidized housing. The little girl decided to grow vegetables on some unused land next to the projects, and you'd think it was a crack house. The property management company has given her a week to take it down ... or else.

Although the feds are pointing to the property management company and the property management company is pointing at the feds, it is pretty clear that our system is increasingly becoming one that designed to prevent the poor from clawing their way out. It's not intentional. It's just what happens when bureaucracies become bloated and spend more time currying favor with power brokers than in attempting to do their job.

This is a criticism conservatives have made for years, but the bureaucratic backlash is always to assail them for hating the poor. Maybe the people who really hate the poor are those who spend $220,00 for a few 1-BR apartments while doing nothing about our real affordable housing problem. Maybe it's those who do nothing for the crime victims who can least afford the losses they suffer.


Anonymous said...

I would love to punch you in your stupid fucking face. And this is not the "Blog Mentor"...

Bernie O'Hare said...

Take your drug cocktail and you can dream of Glocks and machine guns.

Anonymous said...

Jennings loves to play this game. Marcus will be a worthy successor to the so-called caring class.''
Poor people make them very well off.

Parthenology said...

there are poor people only because we allow it with all the entitlements we bestow.

in todays society it matters not if you are a dem or a rep - there are really only takers and givers. we have created this mess.

these soppy little stories about the "working poor" only enables the takers and makes the more stupid of the givers allocate even more wasted monies.

the lies and the vicious circle continues - makes me want to puke

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing about this issue and for caring about this young mother. This case seems ideal to contact the city mayor about or if this lady could have a few friends go with her, she should attend the next city council meeting. These meetings take place on Wednesday nights at city hall. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

I think the upsetting aspect of the Cumberland Gardens construction is not the importance of new housing but the cost of this new housing. $220,000. That buys a 4 bedroom 2 - 1/2 bath house. It is beyond reason to consider it costing $220,000 per unit. Something sounds fishy and perhaps that is what is upsetting the other writer. It's upsetting to many.

Anonymous said...

It IS intentional.


Peter J.Cochran said...

Bernie, The Pennsylvania real estate exemption on so called private"charitable" institutions which exempt them from paying real estate taxes,burn my hide. But, in this case if the numbers don't work the tax payer should not be forced to swallow it whole! Follow the money trail ,who stands to benefit from this project?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you think it's bad now, wait until the NIZ starts gets occupied.

They can't afford for anything to happen to the NIZ tenants, so Allentown's police force, still 100 officers short, will be pulled into the NIZ at the expense of the rest of the the city.

This could be a debacle.

Proud Irishman said...

Bernie O'Hara, come on Jim's show and face the mouth who roars Harvey will be there as usual the money will go to charity you mackerel.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Michael Holmes, You are certainly proud, but i question whether you are Irish. As I indicated, I will go on Gregory's show if I know that Timmer is not making a cent and I am paid $1,000. Fork over the dough.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Comments from Rolf Oeler are not welcome here.

Anonymous said...

What is going on here?????????????????

Anonymous said...

Institutionalized poverty makes many with Social Work degrees a pretty good buck and provides Democrats with a very reliable voting bloc.

Anonymous said...


You may have unwittingly stumbled on the real story when you noted the "growing underclass" in your headline.

While the myth is that the democrats care about the poor and middle class, the reality is that their policies make things worse for everyone.

The real question is when - despite constant propaganda from the government to the contrary - do people wake up, realize they are being lied to, and put the blame squarely on the President and elected officials in both political parties who have enabled his policies?

Anonymous said...

As if the Republicans give a shit about the working poor. Sell it on Fox.

Anonymous said...

That's the kind of powerful and elegant argument that'll change my mind!

Anonymous said...

Bernie there's a right way to be poor and a wrong way to be poor. The only thing public housing residents are required to do is be poor the correct way and obey the rules of being poor. It's not a lot to ask. Remember, Rethuglicans hate poor people and want them tortured and killed. Whatever Democrats say on the subject pretty much goes. You better get back on the reservation, Bernie.

Compassionate Progressive

Anonymous said...

The entire system does not reward independence.

There is no deadline for government benefits and you can stay in public housing, year after year, decade after decade. There are no real, effective means testing and whenever somebody proposes to do that, we're being discriminatory.

There is no incentive, motivation, whatever you want to call it to be a financially independent human being anymore.

Supporters of the "safety net" rarely admit that the design of the safety net was to be temporary. Now it's the way most live their lives using it as a permanent crutch.

Anonymous said...

There is actually a deadline for welfare. Sorry, facts again.

Very Compassionate Conservative

Anonymous said...

2:47 -

Yes, after limits were put on welfare, there was somehow an increase in the number of people on disability.

Call it what you want, and we can argue over who is to blame, but the reality is that disability has become the new welfare, and it is not limited.