Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dominating Last Night's Public Hearing

Plainly ignored or minimized by the mainstream print media this morning was the overwhelming opposition to the Mayor's budget regarding low-income and homeless items last night. (Perhaps the newspapers were reclining in the glow of their victory for apartment guide boxes everywhere. In the case of the City Paper, they were focused on pressing the hot button Union issue). A long line of advocates from the Homeless Power Project and from the Mary Parish Center (which accepts all domestic violence victims regardless of income) came asking for money that the Mayor did not provide.

It was heart-wrenching to hear the stories, but I came away believing more than ever that, unless local government is more committed to providing such services rather than relying strictly on non-profits, it will just be easier and easier to look the other way. Non-profits do great work and we need them and some government money should go to them. But they are also the weakest link in the service delivery chain, and the populations that they serve are the ones that get thrown overboard at budget crunch time. There is no accountability to voters when Metro funds or fails to fund non-profits, and elected officials rarely face consequences for cutting them loose because very few constituents who vote are involved.

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