April 22, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Please end your (apparent) strategy of increasing poverty to seek federal aid

3 min read
Charlie Rojas: Maybe the point is to make this city and county increasingly impoverished in order to receive even more federal magic money. Their business plan must be based on blight.

by Charlie Rojas

At their March 11, 2024 meeting, four Eugene city councilors said the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard: Eugene must continue allowing homeless people to live in their cars.

Lyndsie Leech, Alan Zelenka, Jennifer Yeh, and Matt Keating tacitly (and perhaps inadvertently) admitted that Eugene’s homeless and poverty programs—put in front of them by Eugene city staff to rubber-stamp—have been failures. Instead of the introspection and integrity needed at this time, they continue promoting worthless policies, apparent to anyone who bothers to look.

We’ve been at this supposed housing crisis for the better part of five years, and yet, here we are, debating whether the city should allow increasing numbers of people to live in cars.

Let me explain something to you, Councilors: No city with a strong working class and middle class has people living in broken-down RVs.

Those cities don’t have their mayors begging federal and state agencies for ever more money for poverty and homelessness, as Lucy Vinis has been doing.

Maybe the point is to make this city and county increasingly impoverished in order to receive even more federal magic money. If the percentage of a county’s population is below a federal poverty benchmark (from memory it was 20%), that county is deemed ‘blighted,’ and can be awarded greater amounts of taxpayer subsidies.

That must be the business plan, because the city and county political and administrative apparatus has failed in nearly every category. If the federal government hadn’t, for a couple years, funded $300 to $600 per week in supplemental unemployment payments, child tax credits, and stimulus checks, Eugene and Lane County would be in far worse trouble. 

Many of us told you it was stupid to create policy and ordinances predicated on the belief no change would occur in Washington D.C. political sentiment. There’s growing proof this woke nonsense has run its course.

Both the Bay Area and New York are the bluest of the blue, and adhered to nearly every mandate of a Democrat administration, yet they’re not getting what they thought they were going to receive in federal aid.

The San Jose Mercury News reported recently that FEMA could leave Bay Area on the hook for more than $200 million in pandemic homelessness costs. The cities in the nine counties that comprise the Bay region already have major deficits which will be made far worse.

The New York Daily News reported this month that New York City has secured less than a third of $150 million in migrant aid pledged by the Feds.

What makes Eugene and Lane County exempt from the growing reality of diminished federal resolve to pay for your failures?

While we are discussing Eugene’s devotion to poor planning, remember how you bright lights on the Council passed a gas ban which turned out to not have legal merit? MSN reported last week: “Over the most recent one-year period, electric utility prices in the Bay Area soared by a whopping 29.8%…Put another way, the cost of electricity delivered in this region by utilities such as PG&E is rising more than 12 times faster than the overall inflation rate in the Bay Area. Natural gas costs, however, decreased sharply. The cost of natural gas piped into the home by utilities such as PG&E plunged 12.9% in February over the one year.”

Councilors, how much did you say EWEB was going to raise our utility rates?

Charlie Rojas, a resident of the River Road area, has called for greater accountability for city planning failures.

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