Thursday, June 18, 2009

City of Dallas and Texas Chainsaw Massacre

So, it's all over the news how the City of Dallas is going to have to make big cuts in order to balance the budget. Laying off over 700 employees, cutting core services, etc., etc. BUT we can build a new convention center hotel???? And make improvements to some city golf course???

What is the deal??

WHY is it that services to the most marginalized citizens are ALWAYS the first to be cut? And WHY doesn't anyone at the local, state, or federal level GET IT that paying for prevention services is SOOOO much cheaper than paying for treatment, incarceration, mental hospitals, etc. Prevention is ALWAYS on the chopping block--at every level. Instead, we put lots of money into prisons, the Texas Youth Commission (we all know how well THAT works), stadiums (monuments to society's and meglomaniacs' gluttony); and cut like crazy programs for kids, teens, and senior citizens. I'm sure they will understand the NEED for a convention center hotel over their need to EAT or have a HOUSE.

When are we going to be willing to take care of our own? Texas is unabashedly the WORST state in this regard, because we HAVE the money to help kids, to help seniors, to keep libraries open.....we just don't want to spend it there! Governor Perry is VERY proud of the fact that taxes are not raised (ever!) and consistently brags about "small government". Meanwhile, thousands of children and families have NO insurance, seniors get no Meals on Wheels,
families that work two or three jobs just to make ends meet have to leave their kids at home after school and in the summer, cause child care is either non-existent or too expensive. Makes me proud to be a Texan (NOT)!

I'm so tired of arguing about this. I wish Mary Suhm or Governor Perry had to live the life of Promise House families for just one week. Use public transportation to get anywhere, argue with case workers to get food stamps, stand in line forever to get anything done, use Parkland Hospital's emergency room as their doctor (and wait 18 hours to be seen)--or worse, live in a car or an emergency shelter or under a bridge. I think they might change their minds about some of these cuts or spending priorities.

So, back to the City of Dallas. The Dallas Police Department's First Offender Program is on the chopping block. That means that close to 1,000 additional teens per year will now be in the juvenile justice system, with criminal records, for a first offense--whereas, if they went through the First Offender Program, they would stay out of the system, and on successful completion of the program, have their records expunged. GO FIGURE!!

I'm so disappointed in the City of Dallas and in the State of Texas. I love both dearly, and it is really heart-wrenching to me to see them act so irresponsibly toward its most vulnerable citizens. I really don't know how Ms. Suhm and Governor Perry sleep at night.

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