FORCED TO DOWNSIZE HOME OWNERSHIP!
YOU DO NOT WANT RULERS FOR LIFE.....VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!
As we look where Third Way corporate democrats want to take society we need to remember who will be poor and working class in the next generation. The 1% see the middle-class as about $200,000 right now so as they push wages to poverty for most jobs....THAT WILL BE YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. They deliberately paint the picture of black youth and families being affected because they have no advocates and there is segregation that plays into acceptance. The reality is that poor and working class whites and Hispanics are going to the suburbs as well and the new middle-class are seeing themselves living in closet apartments/housing in the city. All of this is due to wealth inequity and power that simply needs to turn around. It is easy to do but you must get active and politically involved.....shake the apathy and
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE NEXT ELECTIONS!!!!!
The politicians are releasing policy so that most people think this NEW WORLD ORDER is simply ending social programs and making small government and will affect mostly the poor and working class. THE MIDDLE CLASS MUST WAKE UP AND START TO SHOUT BECAUSE YOU ARE THE TARGET AS MUCH IF NOT MORE THAN THE POOR!!! Stop being silent because you think your property value will go up if the poor are gone......YOU WON'T BE THERE EITHER FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!
Housing remains elusive for Montgomery’s middle class Friday conference to address problem
by Agnes Blum Staff writer Gazette.Net
Despite holding a full-time job with the federal government, Chantal Rice still can’t afford a three-bedroom apartment in Montgomery County — so that she, her daughter and her son can all have their own rooms.
She knows that if she didn’t work she would be eligible for all kinds of benefits — food, housing, child care, medical — but because she makes just enough to be solidly middle class, about $62,000 a year, Rice said she does not qualify for government help.
So for now she shares a bedroom with her daughter and keeps her eyes peeled for that elusive prize — a three-bedroom home for less than $1,200 a month.
Problems like Rice’s are set to be addressed at Friday’s 22nd annual Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County. Elected officials, housing experts and activists will meet at the Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center to talk housing issues and discuss solutions.
Among the guest speakers are Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Dist. 8) of Kensington, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Dist. 7) of Baltimore.
With the Cartier store on Wisconsin Avenue, multimillion-dollar mansions in Potomac and private schools that cost more than four-year colleges, one might be forgiven for thinking only the wealthy call Montgomery County home.
But as Rice and her family illustrate, that is not the case, and the toughest challenge for the struggling middle class is often housing, advocates say.
Montgomery County has grown progressively more expensive during the last decade, according to a 2012 study by the University of Washington School of Social Work.
An adult with two young children in Montgomery County must earn at least $36.90 an hour, or more than $77,000 a year, just to cover their basic needs without help from the government. That’s more than is needed in either New York City or San Francisco, and represents a 50 percent increase in the past 10 years, adjusted for inflation, according to the study.
It’s also a lot more than Rice makes.
The Great Recession has only made things worse, said Susan Yancy, of Montgomery County’s Housing Opportunities Commission, but “its especially felt at the lower income levels.”
The poverty rate in Montgomery County has risen from 5.4 percent in 2000 to 6.3 in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
More than 15,000 people are on a county waiting list for federal housing vouchers, which supplement payment for qualified renters, Yancy said. Another 10,000 are on a waiting list to get into public housing, which is run by the Housing Opportunities Commission.
In addition to operating the federal voucher and public housing programs, the commission finances, develops, and manages properties and offers mortgages for first-time home buyers.
But there is just not enough help to go around, said Lise Tracey, executive director of the Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County.
“It’s just tremendously expensive,” Tracey said. “The need is so great, and so many people can’t afford it. The alternative is multiple families living in homes, or living with their parents, or people living in less expensive counties and commuting to work here.”
The county has some housing programs, such as one that designates a certain percentage of any new development as Moderately Priced Dwelling Units. They’re a good start, but “not a panacea,” said Barbara Goldberg Goldman, the founder of the Affodable Housing Conference.
According to the county’s website, only a handful of moderately priced apartments are available at any given time. As of April 30, two three-bedroom apartments were available for $1,320 a month. That’s $120 more a month than what Rice can afford.
And when you’re counting every penny, Rice said, $120 is huge.
Affordable housing is not just a charitable act, but enriches all of Montgomery County, Goldman said.
“It makes for a better, a richer community as a whole,” she said.
For Rice, who moved here from Prince George’s County in 1992, Montgomery County is home.
“I love it here,” she said of her community in Germantown. “The opportunities are better here for my kids.”
But it’s not right that someone who is working full time should be forced to choose between paying the electric or the gas bill, Rice said. More programs should be aimed at people like her, those who are employed but still struggling.
“I would like the county to stop sending the message not to work,” she said. “My tax dollars help fund these programs.”
Look at this article from 1991. This is when the move towards empire and wealth inequity was just getting started and you see the beginning of that class warfare as it hit middle class as well as the poor!
Housing Elusive For Middle ClassReport Shows More Than Poor Are Kept
OutSeptember 08, 1991|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff
Charles C. Feaga, R-5th, the housing plan the council received from a 13-member task force last week is not just another study awaiting the shelf.
A lifelong county resident, Feaga knows well the lament that housing here is beyond the reach of most low- and moderate-income families. But what the report cited, and what Feaga also knows,is that most Howard County homes are beyond the reach of middle-income people as well -- those with annual incomes of $60,000 or less.
"All of a sudden even middle-class people can't afford to live here," Feaga says. "Most of our children are middle class. Unless things change we will pretty much be telling them we have no place for them."
One thing that must change if the county is to "retain its young or even a significant portion of its middle-class residents," the task force said, is for a zoning change to allow development of at least 20,000 units of town houses and apartments during the next 20 years.
Although the idea of more town houses and apartments inflames many slow-growth advocates, members of the County Housing Commission and the County Housing and Community Development Board never flinchedin making their joint recommendations to the council. They expect their recommendations to be taken seriously.
"I believe we live in avery kind county where people by and large understand" the need for affordable housing, says James C. Landerkin, chairman of the housing development board.
Even if the county were to continue becoming "older and richer" faster than anywhere else in the region as the task force reports, people would still need someone to "protect them, put out their fires, deliver their mail, cook their hamburgers, teach in their schools, and nurse them," Landerkin says. "Already, many care givers cannot afford to live here unless they are in families of multiple-wage earners."
The council already has endorsed affordable housing on a limited scale, proposing in the 1990 General Plan that the county provide developer incentives that would add 267 new low- and moderate-income units to the county's housing stock each year.
The rezoning request "is obviously a concern" to people, says Shane Pendergrass, D-1st.
What she doesn't know, she says, is whether people are against town house, condominium and apartment developments, or whether they object to the increased demand for services that those developments bring.
"I have a gut feeling it's (increased) density, period," she says. "It is a question I have to talk to people about."
John W. Taylor, president of Howard County Citizens for Responsible Growth, says that while he doesn't know what the answer is, increased density is not it.
"We are in the midst of a recession and are already going to reach the general plan threshold" of 2,500 new residential units a year, he says. "What's it gonna be when the good timescome?"
Paul R. Farragut, D-4th, asks the question in a different way. Farragut says the task force has done "a good job with an ambitious plan," but would like to see detailed comparisons with general plan proposals.
Some residents are already having difficulty with the mixed-use concept proposed in the general plan, he says. The concept attempts to help provide affordable housing by allowing people to live above stores in industrial settings.
With resistance already building against the mixed-use idea, the task force proposals will be even harder to implement, Farragut says. "We'll need some innovative missionary work to help us get a good reaction."
Darrel Drown, R-2nd agrees. "I think there is a mandate from the public for both a benevolent society and to slow the growth rate," Drown says. "The proposal may be too aggressive. We need to stay with the general plan numbers. People are saying they are willing to pay a little more to slow the growth rate."
Council Chairman C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd, remains optimistic. Gray thinks the addition of 700 low- to moderate-income units a year is not unrealistic and had sought to get the council to approve at least 500 in the general plan. The council voted for 267.
What it didn't do, Gray says, is make any provision for increased numbers of mobile homes, something he is attempting to change.
Meanwhile, he and County Executive Charles I. Ecker are working together to draft legislation that would make the portion of the plan relating to low- and moderate-income families -- those earning less than $35,000 a year -- a reality. Ecker said he expects that legislation to be ready in two to four months.
It helps the public if you speak of the goal in the transition of poor and working class from city to suburb. In the 1980s when Reagan started to implement empire-building with his buddy Margaret Thatcher it involved moving all of the West's wealth to the top income earners and preparing for empire-building wars and espionage. Hence the great migration of the elite and corporations to urban centers with the movement out of the poor and working class.....the Medieval social structure that has peasants living quiet agricultural lives with no transportation and paying much in taxes to the princely fiefdoms. This is the neo-liberal ideal of Third Way corporate democrats as well. So, this migration of the poor out of the cities is causing the swell of suburbia poor as is the plan.
What we need to remember is just who will be included in these masses moving to suburbia? Much of the middle-class has been impoverished through massive frauds yet seeing justice. Tons of immigrants are scheduled by Third Way to take ever more domestic jobs even as unemployment including those working part time reaches 40%...see who those peasants are scheduled to be? Your children and grandchildren. Look at the middle-class closets in Manhattan to see the goal for large cities. This is a future envisioned by the 1% of society so why is it the only vision you hear on media, especially public media? PUBLIC MEDIA IS CAPTURED BY CORPORATE INTERESTS AND NOW ONLY GIVE YOU THIRD WAY CORPORATE POLICY! That's what happens in Reagan/Clinton's empire....the masses have no voice.
We can easily reverse this silly policy of ending democracy in America by rejecting the DNC candidates for democratic elections and running labor and justice instead. Win the democratic primary with a candidate from the democratic base and let's get back to being a first world democracy!!!!
Advocates Struggle To Reach Growing Ranks Of Suburban Poor
by This story was produced for broadcast by Marisa Penaloza.
May 20, 2013 3:07 AM 7 min 23 sec
TD Bank volunteers sort donated food into barrels at the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg in Montgomery County, Md. Poverty in the county, just outside of Washington, D.C., has grown by two-thirds since 2007.
Gabriella Demczuk/NPR Poverty has grown everywhere in the U.S. in recent years, but mostly in the suburbs. During the 2000s, it grew twice as fast in suburban areas as in cities, with more than 16 million poor people now living in the nation's suburbs — more than in urban or rural areas.
Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, says this shift in poverty can be seen in Montgomery County, Md., right outside the nation's capital.
"Montgomery County is one of the wealthiest counties in the country," she says, noting the streets lined with luxury apartments, big homes and crowded restaurants. "But it also has a rapidly growing poor population."
Kneebone, co-author with Alan Berube, of a new book from Brookings, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, says poverty in Montgomery County has grown by two-thirds since the recent recession. That means 30,000 more residents living below the federal poverty line — about $23,000 for a family of four.
That doesn't buy much in a suburban area with a high cost of living. By some estimates, a family of four in Montgomery County needs more than $80,000 a year to meet basic needs.
Suburban Poverty On The Rise Source: Brookings Institute
Credit: Danny DeBelius/NPR
Hidden Among Affluence
Kneebone says, around the country, the suburban poor live in low-income and working-class neighborhoods. "But it's also occurring in places we think of as more affluent," she says. "And, in fact, it may be even more hidden there because we don't expect to find poverty in those communities."
On a tour of Montgomery County, Kneebone stops at one place where the growth in poverty is not a surprise: Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, where about two dozen people are lined up for food.
One of them is Polly Maxwell, 64, who walks with the help of a cane. Maxwell says she started coming here a couple of years ago. After working 38 years at a local hospital, mostly in medical records, she now lives on disability checks.
But Maxwell says things have gotten way too expensive. She spends half of her income on the $800 a month rent for her efficiency apartment.
"What you were making in two weeks when I was working, that's what I make a month," Maxwell says. "I mean, it's hard. And I just never thought it would be like that. So, you have to get used to that, you know. Some of your money lasts a month, sometimes it doesn't."
And she's hardly alone. This center, like food pantries across the country, has seen its caseload double since the recession.
Kneebone says Montgomery County is fairly typical. Suburban poverty has grown nationally because low-income families moved from cities — or other countries — in search of better schools, affordable housing and jobs. But she says it's also about people like Polly Maxwell — long-time suburbanites who have gotten poorer.
"And the Great Recession was particularly severe — widespread job losses, many of them concentrated in suburban communities hit hard by the collapse of the housing market and the loss of construction jobs and related services," Kneebone says. And even though jobs are coming back to the suburbs, she says many pay too little to make ends meet.
Kneebone says even social services and charities have been slow to recognize the shift in need. Most of their resources still go to the nation's cities, where there's a long history of serving the poor.
Shifting Focus Beyond The City
The nonprofit Mary's Center has been providing medical and other help to the poor for 25 years in the Washington, D.C. area. But until recently, all of its facilities were located in the city. That changed in 2008, when it opened a site in Montgomery County, in an area that serves many immigrants. It opened another suburban center last year.
"We were figuring out that when we were over there at the other sites that we have in D.C., there was a lot of population from Maryland who were traveling from here to there," says Zulma Aparicio, site director of the two suburban locations. "And they were paying fares for the bus, metro and all of this. And now they continue paying, but it's closer."
Brookings' Elizabeth Kneebone says that transportation is a big issue for the suburban poor. Everything is so spread out, it can be hard to get where you need to go to meet basic needs, especially if you don't own a car.
But Montgomery County is trying to take steps to address the problem. The county's Neighborhood Opportunity Network operates three one-stop shops for struggling families. Pearline Tyson, the network's program manager, says the county opened the three centers in neighborhoods it knew had been especially hard-hit by the recession.
"They knew that some people would be intimidated by going to a [bigger] regional center to apply for benefits. Especially people who had never received benefits before or who were not familiar with government services," Tyson says.
Instead, the neighborhood centers are intimate and accessible. One is located in Gaithersburg, in what looks like a typical suburban office park. But it's filled with non-profits and social service agencies, instead of businesses. People who come to the center are assigned a county worker who helps them navigate what can be a labyrinth of benefit programs and charitable services.
Fafaneva Phillip Avudufu, left and his wife Akouavi Davi with their grandson Joshua, 4, in their apartment in Gaithersburg, Md.
Gabriella Demczuk/NPR Geography Matters
For Akouavi Davi and her husband, who came here from West Africa, it's been a godsend. "I'm so happy, because I know I have someone to help me now," she says.
The family had been getting by on its own until a back injury forced Davi to give up her job at Wal-Mart. Then their daughter left their small grandson, Joshua, in their care, and now, only her husband works, as a security guard.
"We have electricity problem. We have apartment problem. I have health problem, I don't have insurance," Davi says.
And to complicate matters, she doesn't drive. The family recently moved from a neighborhood further out in the county, where there are no buses, to a place near the center, where there are plenty.
Kneebone says when you're poor, geography matters. Low-income residents can spend long hours trying to get services — time that might be better spent working, or going to school. She says at least this county is trying to adjust. Many have yet to do so.
"We're still thinking about poverty where it was in 1964 when President Johnson launched the War on Poverty. The reality on the ground today is just very different," Kneebone says.
And that reality, she says, is unlikely to change if people don't know that it's there.
This story was produced for broadcast by Marisa Penaloza.
In Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Balke is using the small settlement we did see come to the city to bulldoze blighted houses for new affluent development. These neighborhoods are in East Baltimore and Hopkins has made sure that there is almost no low income housing in what is all low-income housing neighborhoods. So, instead of using the small mortgage fraud money to rebuild homes for those in the communities, the people defrauded are receiving almost nothing. Keep in mind, these victims are not only working class but seniors, and immigrants who placed prime value on their homes and were targeted with this fraud.
The subprime mortgage loan fraud involved trillions of dollars of fraud as much against government coffers as these low-income housing loans are subsidized by taxpayers and then against individuals. The majority of people involved were not 'irresponsible' or gaming the system. They were people who had no idea the economy was ready to collapse from massive fraud and thought they would have years to pay and refinance these loans. THEY MIGHT HAVE MANAGED HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE CRASH! THIS CRASH WAS DELIBERATE AND IT ALL INVOLVED MASSIVE FRAUD THAT HAS YET TO SEE JUSTICE!!!
AG Eric Holder: Please meet with struggling homeowners about Wall Street crime
Posted by nathanhj on May 14, 2013 in Blog, News, Week Of Action | 2 comments
Home » Blog » Dear AG Eric Holder: Please meet with struggling homeowners about Wall Street crime
Home Defenders going to Washington DC for the Week of Action to end Too Big to Jail are asking US Attorney General Eric Holder for a meeting. Below you can read the letter in it’s entirety and you can also download it as a PDF by clicking this link.
Here’s the letter:
May 13, 2013
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr.
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Holder,
On behalf of the Home Defenders League, a national network of struggling homeowners and community organizations working with struggling homeowners, we are writing to request a meeting on Monday, May 20th.
We know that you are extremely busy, but our visit to Washington, D.C. comes as an urgent response to years of impunity for Wall Street executives and to the widespread shock and dismay felt by many Americans at your recent remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where you stated that the Justice Department has declined to press criminal charges against big banks due to concerns that doing so could damage the stability of the global economy.
We believe it is urgent and necessary for you to spend at least a few minutes hearing directly from some of the millions of Americans whose lives, communities, and economic future have been devastated by the Wall Street executives whose crimes you have declined to prosecute.
We hope to discuss what you and the Obama Administration will do to:
- Make Wall Street pay homeowners back
- Prosecute Wall Street bankers for stealing our homes, savings, and livelihoods
- Keep people in their homes by resetting their mortgages
Wall Street’s recklessness and greed crashed the economy and created the housing crisis; the banks got bailed out, and we hoped and trusted that homeowners and Main Street would get some relief. The federal programs that were established have failed to help anywhere near the number of families promised – leaving millions behind to fend for themselves against unlawful banks.
Americans lost 40% of their household wealth, while communities of color were hit even harder – Latinos losing 66% of their household wealth and African Americans 53%. Over a quarter of homeowners with mortgages are underwater, owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. As a growing chorus of experts and leaders called for a widespread program to reduce mortgage principal, we became hopeful that this would happen. It hasn’t.
We have been patient.
Legal action against the big banks was threatened by state Attorneys General and the DOJ, a settlement was reached, and we were once again promised relief. The scale of help promised has not materialized and the banks continue to violate the terms of the settlement, meaning that all too often only those homeowners who have the time and ability to fight their way through the bureaucracy and run-around are able to access relief.
We have been patient.
In recent weeks, when we – homeowners who have been wronged – began to receive $300 checks in so-called “compensation” for the banks’ fraudulent acts, our patience ran out. When we learned of active duty military coming back to no homes, because their houses were wrongfully taken by the banks, our patience ran out.
We’ve had enough.
Is this really the kind of country we are, that we allow these big banks to do so much harm to families, communities and our entire economy and we let them get away with it? We rush to provide trillions in relief to the banks and leave hard-working families in the dust?
The U.S. public is outraged at what Wall Street has done and gotten away with, and it’s time for our elected leaders to stand with the people over Wall Street.
We are eager to meet to discuss steps that your department and other divisions of the U.S. government must take in order to provide relief to those who have been wronged by the banks, stabilize the housing market for the millions of homeowners who are still struggling, and hold Wall Street banks accountable. Please let us know when on May 20th you are able to meet by responding to our Campaign Director, Kevin Whelan, email@example.com or 612-246-3235 (Office address: 911 W. Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55411.)
Vivian Richardson, Mae Wallace, Javier Sarmiento, Reverend Gloria Swieringa,
Home Defenders League representatives,
On behalf of struggling homeowners across the United States
The Change We Need to Hold Wall Street Accountable May 2013
We call on the President Obama to take action during his second term to implement a bold and just agenda to secure his legacy as a President who respected the rule of law and helped the hardest hit, especially communities of color, stay in their homes.
The American people need the Obama Administration to use every available legal, enforcement and market tool available to keep the President’s promises by making Wall Street pay for its crimes and bringing relief and restitution to homeowners.
Prosecute Financial Crimes The Obama Administration’s record on criminal prosecutions of financial crimes is woeful. From zero indictments for securitization crimes to the more recent acknowledgement that even those banks guilty of laundering money for drug cartels and terrorists are “too big to jail,” the nation is still waiting for a measure of justice. In the first 100 days of his second term Obama should:
- Replace Lanny Breuer, who recently resigned as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, with someone committed to holding Wall Street to the rule of law, and instruct federal prosecutors to make investigation of crimes by financial institutions a top priority.
- Allocate 100 additional investigators to the RMBS Task Force established last year to investigate the crimes that led to the financial and mortgage crisis; publicly support and advocate for the task force’s requested $55 million 2013 budget allocation; and direct regulatory agencies to investigate and refer cases to the Justice Department.
- Establish an investigative unit at FDIC to launch investigations under FIRREA statutes, which are among the only remaining vehicle for bringing charges relating to mortgage securitization, since so many others are now past their statutory deadlines.
- Ensure that future settlements with lenders and servicers are commensurate with the damage actually done. Thus far the Administration has settled major, systemic law-breaking with what amount to parking tickets.
- Use the power of the Treasury, regulatory agencies, and law enforcement to ensure that promised relief (HAMP, Hardest Hit Funds, National Mortgage Settlement) actually reaches families and communities in need of help, starting with the communities of color and neighborhoods targeted for the most abusive lending practices.
- End the practice of allowing the perpetrators to administer settlements, and ensure that they adhere to fair lending practices.
- Additionally, we call for Congressional hearings into use of the $26 billion settlement funds from last February, particularly the continued practice of dual tracking by lenders and a full accounting of every dollar disbursed.
- The Obama Administration and Congress must act to keep people in their homes by resetting mortgages. Through its control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal government controls some $5 trillion in mortgage assets. Yet because of FHFA resistance they have blocked the single most important tool for fixing the housing market. A new director at FHFA must have a strong mandate to reset mortgages at current market rates. Resetting mortgages to fair market value will create $71 billion in yearly economic activity and more than a million new jobs, in addition to helping America’s 14 million underwater homeowners.
- GSE practices and servicer practices as regulated by federal agencies should discourage foreclosures, placing principal correction at the top of the list of options for helping distressed homeowners.
- Besides resetting mortgage principal, GSEs should seek to keep families in foreclosed homes through rental or buy-back programs, and turn vacant homes into affordable housing development and community control, not sources of new speculation and profit taking by the very Wall Street speculators who caused the mortgage crash in the first place.
Regarding Empty Desks is made possible through a grant from the Open Society Institute--Baltimore:
First, I would like to say that Open Society Baltimore Education is headed by Johns Hopkins and is complicit in this moving of children out of the city center. I have spoken at length about their failure to come clean on school retention figures that are merely a policy change in defining when a child is considered still in school:
It is the intent of School Choice and Charter School policies in cities like Baltimore to make going to school as difficult as possible for the poor and working class so as to get them to move to the suburbs....out of city center. Can you image a school policy that places large numbers of young children on city buses in order to get to school in an attempt to dislodge them from their neighborhood schools? IT TAKES COMPLETE IMMORALITY AND THAT IS THE POWER IN BALTIMORE.....JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY!
We heard on NPR/APM the mocking report about growing poor in suburbs and it did not mention that much of this is from the poor and working class being literally pushed out of city centers all illegally as Brown vs Board of Education and Equal Protection laws are all ignored....in Baltimore the ACLU-MD is actually leading this illegal process it is all so corrupted! This is yet another symptom of a depraved society where money trumps human rights and Rule of Law. What the NPR/APM report on poor in suburbs didn't tell you that it is a policy from the 1980s to push these people out and that transportation policy now being written will keep them from having the ability to get around. Privatizing public transportation and ending subsidies will have these poor and working class stranded in areas that will become farmland.....REMEMBER, WE HAVE SLAVERY RETURNING TO AMERICA IN A BIG WAY AS LABOR LAWS ARE IGNORED AND IMMIGRANTS ARE BEING EXPLOITED AS THIRD WORLD. This is the plan folks. Will your family fall victim to mass lay offs and ever lower wages sending them out to be exploited....MANY FAMILIES ARE EXPECTED TO FALL INTO THE ROLE OF PEASANT WITH THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS SEEKING A SOCIETY MODELED FROM MEDIEVAL TIMES!!!
RUN AND VOTE LABOR AND JUSTICE AND SIMPLY REVERSE THIS IMMORAL AND CRIMINAL POLICY!!!!
WYPR newsroom series Empty Desks
continues with a look at city school students daily commute. More than 17,000 Baltimore students miss 20 or more days of school a year. Many of these chronically absent students and their parents say transportation is a major reason for their absences. That’s because nearly 30,000 city students use public transportation to get to school—students like 13-year-old Juwan Nobel and his 9-year-old brother Javon Nobel. http://news.wypr.org/post/getting-school-harder-you-think
Empty Desks is made possible through a grant from the Open Society Institute--Baltimore.
Getting To School Is Harder Than You Think
By Gwendolyn Glenn Gwendolyn Glenn / WYPRJuwan and Javon Nobel of East Baltimore. They ride two buses together to school each day.
- Listen 6:46 Getting To School Is Harder Than You Think
At about 7:30 a.m. each school day, the Nobel brothers walk three blocks down busy North Patterson Avenue to wait for the first of two public buses they take to school. The first bus stop is about three blocks from their apartment. They have electronic bus passes, provided by the school district, in hand as they wait for the bus.
“It takes a minute waiting for a bus,” Juwan said.
But sometimes, the wait can be much longer. “Sometimes they just pass you and it’s not a lot of people on the bus. I be mad,” says Javon. The Nobel brothers are late for school a lot, and their mother, Tyra Brown, said that they have also missed full days because they or their buses were late or they missed a transfer connection. On this particular day, the bus is on time, but it’s crowded with standing room only.
The ride down North Patterson to Old Town Mall is not that long, but it is a balancing act as the bus rumbles over potholes and bumps in the road. When the brothers exit the bus, they have to cross the street during rush hour to get to the next bus stop. They don’t go to a cross walk, but run in a break in traffic, which they say is always heavy. Juwan said he’s glad it’s sunny because many mornings and afternoons, the brothers’ bus waits have been long in the rain and snow. “It ain’t fun, but hey,” Juwan said with a shrug of his shoulders. Javon was more expressive about having to wait during bad weather. “I feel like just sad and I gotta walk in all this cold and I gotta catch that, catch this,” he said.
It’s during bad weather that some students ditch school. That’s according to Johns Hopkins researcher Robert Balfanz, who co-authored the first national study on chronic absenteeism last year. “It’s tiring when the weather is not good,” Balfanz said. “You’re in the cold and may not have the appropriate clothing for that. You may not have the good raincoat or umbrella. It gives them the opportunity to miss school.”
Senior Lonnie Hill takes three buses to get to Forest Park High School. He says bad weather and late buses are behind his numerous absences. "Third quarter, I missed 15 days,” Hill said. “I have to wait 45 minutes to an hour for a bus and longer on days when it rains.”
James Scroggins, the district’s chief operating officer, says they meet regularly with MTA officials and request route changes when they know of late buses or crowded bus stops. "At Friendship Academy students in Canton, there was an issue of not enough buses and students were waiting a long time, and the MTA took those concerns and they made adjustments and we haven’t heard any complaints since then,” Scroggins said.
Researcher Balfanz says it’s not just scheduling issues. Many chronically absent students use transfer points as an opportunity to skip school. “A parent can see the kids get on the first bus near their house but at that transfer point, the student now has the opportunity to go left and not right. The parent thinks they went to school. The school--because it’s not one bus pulling in front of the school where all the kids get off that they can watch, but kids are coming from all over--doesn’t know if the kid is coming or not and doesn’t respond right or way,” he said.
Scroggins says next year, they may be able to track students’ attendance through their electronic bus and train S-Passes. “It’s difficult at this point, but we are working with our IT division to try to capture that information in a way that allows us to report regularly to the schools to give them information that kind of helps them with respect to students in their schools. But all of that hasn’t been captured yet,” Scroggins said. Scroggins says only 8,000 students get to school on traditional yellow school buses, mainly elementary students who live more than a mile from their schools.
Parent Dana Gilliam says her 11-year-old daughter was given yellow bus service, but she still missed school a lot. Gilliam says it was because she had to walk 10 blocks, through a high-crime area, to get to her assigned yellow bus pick up point. “It’s a lot of things going on in the neighborhood,” Gilliam said. “It was always a group of people on the corner and just her being a female by herself would make her uncomfortable, would make me uncomfortable with her having to come through that to get to school.”
With the help of a social services agency, Gilliam’s daughter now gets to school by cab. Scroggins says about 800 district students get cab service. “Most are homeless, who live in various areas of the city where MTA isn’t close by and it would take three or four buses to get to school or they are in various counties. We are required to pick them up and bring them to their home schools,” Scroggins said.
But it’s not just homeless students who attend schools far from where they live. Researcher Balfanz says the choice Baltimore’s middle and high school students have in selecting a school places many outside their neighborhoods and contributes to chronic absenteeism. “Choice has benefits, but you have to look at the transportation implications of that and build a system that works so kids can exercise that choice and get to their schools without making heroic efforts,” Balfanz said.
Back on the bus with the Noble brothers, as they ride along, they know they’re going to be late again. Juwan gets off the bus at his school, William C. March Middle School, leaving his young brother to take the rest of the 10-minute ride solo to his school, Montebello Elementary Junior Academy. “He knows where to get off,” Juwan said. “See y’all later.”
Looking much younger than his age, Javon sits quietly for the rest of the ride, as people of all ages talked around him. Finally, he gets off the bus in front of his school. There’s a cross guard at the corner, but he sprints across the street at a closer point because he said he’s late. Juwan will take a bus to his school at the end of each day so they can ride home together. “He picks me up right here. See ya,” he said over his shoulder as he ran the rest of the way to his school.
The Nobel brothers will repeat the routine all over tomorrow and every school day.
Empty Desks is made possible through a grant from the Open Society Institute--Baltimore.