Saturday, February 13, 2016

MWHITF: Awards, Agendas and Deliverables

The Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments ended 2015 by giving Mayor Peterson an award for "Outstanding Leadership for Cooperative, Regional, Intergovernmental Initiatives."

Among Mayor Peterson's leadership accomplishments cited were her co-founding of the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative and her previous role as Chair of the Governor's Meth Task Force.

The Mayor, Councilors, and Staff
The fact that the Initiative's governing body has not held its first meeting, much less accomplished anything, makes the Council's decision painfully reminiscent of the Nobel Committee's 2009 decision to award newly elected President B. Obama the Peace prize.  Happily, this irony did not appear to interfere with anyone's pleasure at being recognized.

Remember how the Mayor told the Statesman Journal last month that she wanted the MWHI task force to "identify areas, projects or programs that aren't working as effectively as they need to be, stop any waste that is occurring, and redirect those funds and those activities"?  Well, in a recent interview with Melanie Zermer on KMUZ's Willamette WakeUp, Commissioner Carlson said that it was important to support the area's social services providers because "they're doing great work" and the task force was not "here to suggest that what's happening now isn't working."  Okaaaaaay...good to know everything's running like clockwork in the social services area. Emoji

Janet Carlson

Carlson also told KMUZ listeners that a Daily Show video "really explains a lot about Housing First", and "really lays out a lot of information that's very digestible to the average citizen."  Okaaaaaay...good to know what Commissioner Carlson thinks about the average citizen. Emoji

Asked about Jane Doe's disappointment that no member of the homeless community had been appointed to the MWHI task force, Carlson responded that the task force would be taking public comment (except at the first meeting), and, Ms. Doe could, if she wanted to, "step forward" and ask to be put on the task force's list of technical advisers.  Okaaaaay...a little clueless, a little heartless, and, how did Jane put it? "really kind of all the more insulting." Emoji    

Commissioner Carlson seems to have the idea that there isn't enough affordable housing (i.e., rental housing, i.e. apartments) today because they're occupied by a bunch of two-income families who used to own homes but were forced to move into apartments during the Great Recession.  She believes that today,  many of those folks could afford a mortgage and would buy homes, if only credit weren't so tight, so the task force should look for ways to help such families move into homes again, thereby freeing up apartments.  This is not a theory we are familiar with, but, hey, Mid-Willamette Homesales Initiative, anyone?

Gladys Blum

One thing is clear.  Commissioner Carlson, and her appointee Gladys "my passion is housing" Blum, will be focused on permanent housing strategies.  Despite recent assertions that the task force would be taking "a whole new look at homelessness", Carlson is not interested in shelter or other emergency services, or in hearing from the homeless community.  Although she said she's interested in "housing first", it wasn't clear from this interview what that meant, and the term has been thrown around a good bit, especially lately.  However, her comment about the Daily Show video "really explaining a lot about Housing First", and her comment about the "5% or whatever" of homeless who "choose to be homeless" indicate to us that she is probably using the term loosely, the way Gladys or any other real estate professional might, to indicate that their "passion is housing." 

Asked what she'd like to see coming out of the task force by the end of the year, Carlson said she'd like to have some "very solid recommendations" that would put some "meat on the bones" of the ten-year plan.  

MWHITF Charter
Hmm.  "Very solid recommendations" does not sound to us like "launch proven strategies that will reduce homelessness."  But, we shall see.

The first meeting of the task force will be Wednesday, February 17th, from 4-6, in the Anderson Room of the Library.  CCTV will be covering the meeting, and you can sign up for a reminder to watch on your computer here.  The County has created a MWHI page (but as of this writing, no content has been posted).  Looking at the agenda (below) it looks like the task force member comments will be the highlight.
Agenda for 2/17 Meeting

1 comment:

  1. The Agenda makes it clear. This is another classic exercise in dissembling.

    Under "Task Force Member Comments" add "Citizen Comments."
    Move "Definitions" so it follows "Comments."
    Put "Ratify..." at the end of the meeting (presumably influenced by comments and definitions.
    Richard Reid

    We declare that all [people], when they form a social compact are equal in right: that all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; and they have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper."
    Bill of Rights, Oregon State Constitution, Art 1, Sec 1.
    "Natural rights inherent in people. November 9, 1857.