Sunday, September 20, 2009

Homeless? What homeless?

Wow, the Bulletin really doesn't like the Homeless Capital label. It argues that since the survey that declared Bend 6th in homelessness, and 3rd in rural homelessness was based on a single day survey and didn't really account for the marginally housed, it wasn't accurate.

Real homeless are 'out in the cold.'

But if the survey standards were the same everywhere, I think that puts us right back where we started, no?

In other words, everywhere else had the same standards. Making the survey equal across the board.

It's like trying to argue that an unemployed person really isn't unemployed because he's building a shed for his parents. And that only our local guy building the shed is employed, but not everywhere else where the same thing is happening.

Or am I missing something?

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How much am I allowed "Told You So's?" Juniper Ridge has been a disaster from the beginning, with much needed money thrown away on a pipe-dream. We're going to hear all winter how there aren't enough funds to operate basic city services. Wouldn't those millions come in handy now?

BAT? From the start, I've maintained this was a sleight of hand. Something that Bend could never afford before suddenly because affordable -- by buying cheap buses that turned out to be lemons, but living off the temporary funds of a housing bubble.

But Bend has never really supported mass transit. Nor will it, just as it will never vote for a sales tax or a to pump their own gas.

So we're left with a system that will be a constant drain on already dwindling revenues.

Apparently, we'll just keep doing that.

And we'll keep paying the interest on the more or less worthless Juniper Ridge where the only tenants got such good deals (and who were already local business, for a net gain of --- zero ---) that we aren't generating anything there, either.

Businesses that overreach or which are unrealistic go out of business.

Bend projects just keep getting funded by government debt.

Worthy projects? Yes.

Viable? No.

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I realize very few people will agree with the following.

But having charity events based on gambling is like having a fundraiser for alcoholism by having a beerfest.

I really have visceral dislike of gambling. I think it's a bad thing to do.

I always wonder how many addicts they are creating for these 'good causes.' Kind of a vicious circle.

Let's see. Let's have an event which encourages gambling, for which we use to proceeds to help say, 'the homeless.'

A certain number of people who gamble become addicts, losing their jobs, families, and eventually their homes.

So becoming homeless so that they may be helped by gambling.

Brilliant.

10 comments:

blackdog said...

Re the homeless count: Good point, Dunc.

blackdog said...

"We're going to hear all winter how there aren't enough funds to operate basic city services."

We'd all better pray there's not much snow this winter or invest in Sno-Cats. Snow removal in this town is pathetic in the best of years; it will become virtually nonexistent now.

Duncan McGeary said...

re; homeless.

Yeah, I had to read Costa's editorial twice, because I kept thinking I must be missing something. He seemed so sure of himself.

Just because it hits close to home doesn't mean it isn't true.

Duncan McGeary said...

And the closer it hits close to home, the more exceptions you'll find, the more excuses you'll have, the more rationalizations.

Barney Lerten said...

OK, let me tackle all 3 Duncan:
-The part that bugged me about Costa's column is he QUOTES the source of that stat in the news release - the NATIONAL Alliance of Homeless - then says the 'local' folks 'conflated' (great 50-cent word there) the numbers - so which is it John? Did the locals misinterpret the national nos., or is it more like your reporter in the initial story said - the local homeless counts didn't use the federal/HUD definition that apparently strips out the folks who double-up on a friend's sofa bed, etc.
Who gives a rip about the stats? More people are hurting. Isn't that the real point?
--
So are you a transit hater - because NONE of them cover their costs - or just the Bend system?
Thank God there's a way for some people to get around who can't afford a car, insurance etc. I think it's a valuable use of public $. The surveys frequently show folks think transit is worth having - they just don't want to PAY for it - which doesn't work.
Oh, and as for Juniper Ridge - when the economy rebounds, so will the debate/argument. Personally, I'm glad the city is moving to provide large industrial space, because then maybe my under-employed wife and 1,000s of others can get a job w/decent pay. Not every big co. can retrofit an empty big box.
-And lastly, why didn't you just come out and say you think Lyle Hicks at Jake's is doing a bad thing? That is the only regularly scheduled local charity poker game I can think of.
If people are gonna play poker anyway - of course - why not let them kick some much-needed $ to Habitat? They could do worse.
So Dunc, did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this AM, or did I?;-)

Duncan McGeary said...

I'm not a BAT hater, I'm a hater of how it was brought into being. Like I said, I think there was a lot of disinformation from the beginning. A lot of smoke and mirrors.

It needs to be funded, and there is no funding mechanism besides the general fund, which will drain the funds for basic services.

Make the case to the public, or find some other way to fund it.

It was actually a different ad in today's paper of a charity having a poker tournament. I think Lyle is a nice guy, much nicer than me.

But I really think gambling is a bad idea. Period. I don't think the state should be doing it, either.

Industrial park is exactly what Juniper Ridge SHOULD have been. What it was originally meant to be; not the huge boondoogle it became; four year college, mixed use residential and retail, and all the rest.

Like I said, Pie in the Sky.

Who knows...if they had stuck to trying to develop the industrial part, focused a little, maybe more could've been done in the window of opportunity.

Barney Lerten said...

OK, Dunc. Points well made. But what of BAT NOW? Does a bad birth damn the system? And the general fund plain isn't big enough for police, fire, etc. and transit.
Idea of a payroll tax was brought up by Eric King at close of last week's meeting. The very thought seemed to make most councilors almost visibly lose their taxpayer-funded dinner. I can't blame them.
Simple answers elude because in most cases they don't exist. But I don't have to tell you that;-)

Duncan McGeary said...

I'm o.k. with the bat if someone would do some investigation about how it really compares to other bus systems.

I just haven't trusted what I've read so far.

I'm afraid they are going to have to create a tax district, and how they get that passed is beyond me.

Bend Economy Man said...

I see Costa's pieces like this: aside from just being a conservative, middle-aged white guy who gets heated up when he thinks he's proved the bleeding hearts wrong, The Bulletin has a commercial interest in Bend being considered an "affluent community."

Any publication that relies on advertising dollars sells itself not only on circulation numbers, but on the demographic it serves. The Bulletin was perfectly comfortable when the national media buzz was that Central Oregon is an affluent, leisure/consumption oriented area. Now the INTERnational media buzz is that Bend is the land of 20% unemployment, cratering property values, failing businesses, lost dreams and armies of the homeless.

Of course for a lot of us who're out here in the blogosphere, we knew that the whole "affluent community" image was based on, as someone else put it, "smoke, mirrors and bullshit." Bend was an "affluent community" for like 18 months, and we knew it was a matter of time before things reverted to the mean.

But for The Bulletin, its hair-splitting on the Editorial page about whether Bend is in the top 10 for homeless rates or merely the top 20 is not just about a conservative, middle-aged white guy defending his turf. How people see the Central Oregon demographic is a dollars-and-cents, bottom-line issue for The Bulletin. If Bend is known as "hardscrabble" or "struggling," it's a harder sell for half-page color ads in the Sunday paper. We all saw how Bend Living disappeared almost instantly after our 18 months of affluence faded.

Bend Economy Man said...

And about Juniper Ridge and BAT, well, don't get me started. Along with the ADA noncompliance fiascos, building department overstaffing, police force scandals and all the rest, it's clear that the quality of management of this city did not grow as the city grew. The City Council and Bend city staff could f--k up a cup of coffee and probably did.

Although no one talks about it any more, the City of Bend's laughable waste of money and time trying to litigate against the people who sold them the BAT buses was a loser from Day One, it correctly got laughed out of court, and the city attorney should have known this would happen. Not only are used vehicles sold AS IS -- always -- but the City was given the opportunity to inspect the buses, TOOK that opportunity, got a full report from their own mechanic on the buses' shitty condition, and took delivery anyway. Any lawyer who thought he'd win on those facts isn't a very good lawyer and probably should've been censured for bringing a frivolous lawsuit. Oh well.