May Day rally: Housing authority hides from protesters

Nothing says May Day quite like a protest. Around 50 public housing residents and supporters, chanting, "C-R-H-A, stop evicting us today," marched the Downtown Mall on May 1 to deliver a message to the city housing authority– only to find that the agency had locked the doors, cut off the lights, and were pretending they weren't home.

The Rally for Dignity and Justice in Public Housing, led by red t-shirted Public Housing Association of Residents members who were joined by anarchists, socialists, living wagers and Legal Aiders, gathered in front of City Hall. By then it had swollen to around 75 people. Noticeably absent: elected officials. Only one City Council candidate showed up.

Several in the crowd carried signs that said, "Evict Connie Dunn," referring to the executive director of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Angry residents denounced what they called "disrespectful treatment" by the housing authority.

"They treat people like animals," decried march leader and PHAR staffer Brandon Collins. "Are you animals?"

"No," shouted the protesters.

Crescent Hall resident Miss Mary Carey, as she was referred to by other residents, said she's been complaining about mold in her building for five years, and last week the housing authority closed a building– one that houses property managers, not tenants.

"I think what they want to do is get all the poor people out of Charlottesville so the yuppies can come in," observed Miss Carey.

"Just shameful," said PHAR vice-chair Joy Johnson, who declared that people making $15,000 or $20,000 could not afford housing in Charlottesville. She also criticized last week's eviction of Jeanelle Parrish and her six kids. "Shameful," reiterated Johnson.

"It's about affordable housing in Charlottesville," she added.

The average rent in city public housing for a three-bedroom apartment is $274, according to the housing authority.

"Nobody can afford to pay $1,400 for an apartment," said Deirde Gilmore, speaking of market rate housing prices. "And why should we? We work hard."

The fed-up residents wanted to deliver a letter to the CRHA board of directors, Dunn, Mayor Satyendra Huja, and City Council entitled, "Enough is Enough."

"We are tired of the disrespect shown to residents by the CRHA staff," was one of 21 grievances listed in the letter and signed by protesters.

About 30 demonstrators and residents entered City Hall around 4:30pm and went to the basement where the housing authority offices are located, only to find the lights were off and the door locked– although office hours are 9am to 5pm.

"They're in there," claimed one protester. When housing authority staffers didn't respond, PHAR staffer Brandon Collins taped the letter to the door.

"It's fairly indicative of how things go with this housing authority," Collins later told a reporter. The activist said he's been in a lot of demonstrations, including in the offices of congressmen and in the Rotunda.

"I've never been completely shut out," he said. "At least one person would come out."

Is closing down a local government office in the face of disgruntled clients a new customer-service strategy for the city? Phone calls to Mayor Satyendra Huja, City Manager Maurice Jones, City Councilor Kathy Galvin, and CRHA director Dunn were not returned.

Housing authority staffers "were intimidated and didn't know what to do," says CRHA board member Bob Stevens, who heard from one of the staffers holed up in the darkened offices. "They had to call police."

Stevens, who wasn't at the march, says Dunn was out for the week and the staffers heard insults. "There were two or three people in the office when the protesters dropped by– or swarmed by."

He says he was surprised by the vitriol from the residents. "We've had three very productive meetings with residents," he says. They discussed directives from HUD, which funds the city's public housing, that included increased late fees and pet fees. "We took a lot of resident suggestions," he says. "We came up with a deal we thought the residents were happy with."

Could the eviction of mom-of-six Parrish have anything to do with it?

"We can't talk about it because of privacy issues," says Stevens. "If she or any other evicted resident wants us to conduct a public review, we can do that if they sign a release of confidential information."

The protesters had been in the hallway outside CRHA for about 10 minutes when two police officers showed up, soon joined by four more. One asked the people in the hall what they were doing.

"I want to pay my rent," said Miss Carey. "Open the door."

The officers knocked and one shined his flashlight into a window on the door, to no avail.

"I guess you guys startled them by showing up with so many people," said an officer, who unsuccessfully attempted to call the people inside.

At 4:55pm, the door opened a crack and a couple of officers went in.

"What about us?" asked a resident.

"Let us in, let us in," shouted the anarchist faction of the crowd.

A few minutes later, Charlottesville Police Lieutenant S.J. Upman emerged and told the crowd, "Today is the first. Late fees are not assessed until the 10th. Come back during normal business hours."

"We were here during normal business hours," one of the protesters pointed out.

After a last bit of challenge by one of the anarchists, the marchers drifted toward the exit, chanting, "C-R-H-A. How many kids did you evict today?"

Correction May 8: The Rally for Dignity and Justice in Public Housing was misidentified in the original version.

Read more on: crhaprotest


Hey that's not fair - why is Andre 3000 getting public housing assistance and I'm not?

this doesn't move me. the real story of a important local march with national connections and relevance can be found on the nbc29 site:

Come here Gift Horse - Let me look in your mouth!

I'm all for helping people out who need it. I donate regularly to charities such as the Salvation Army, an organization I admire greatly. While not an all-giving and selfless member of society , I think that most would agree that I'm not heartless either.

That said, I'm absolutely repulsed by the indignant demands of this group. At the end of the day, these folks are the recipients of charity. They receive aid and benefits for which they do nothing other than qualify. And I'm not bitter about that. Some people just need help to make it and helping people who need it is the right thing to do.

That said, I am bitter about the level of entitlement these folks shamelessly display. Taking to the streets to yell publicly, "Hey, you! My free housing isn't nice enough or maintained to my standards, so I expect you to tear it down and build me something new that befits me! I demand it!" really strikes the wrong tone with me. On a basic level, this is just a display of poor manners.

As far as I'm concerned, any conversation with this group needs to start with them saying "Thank you." Most assuredly, this is not a thankful group. If these folks don't think there is any need for them to be thankful, then I think we've hit upon the core of the problem right there.

Also, I'm no the most knowledgeable about the inner-workings of public housing and have a few questions that maybe you can answer:

1. Is the idea to give those who qualify a free, or below market rate, home of their own for life or to help them get back on their own two feet and make their own way in the world?
2. Do the folks who live in public housing have to do anything to contribute to the maintenance of "their" homes?

Perhaps it was because my underworked back was sore from shoveling out myself and two of my older neighbors after those massive snow storms a few years ago, but I was absolutely shocked to drive past the public housing across from Oakwood Cemetery only to see public housing crews shoveling the sidewalks for these townhouses. Sure, no doubt there are older and handicapped folks in there who need help, but there are a lot of young men and women that live in there as well. I also see public housing crews walking around picking up the residents cigarette butts. I know that's what they were doing because I stopped and asked.

This group's list of demands also includes no evictions for failing to pay rent on time. I just can't understand the mindset. There should be no consequences for not paying your bill on time? Your tax-payer subsidized, far below market rate bill at that?

There seems to be an increased effort by this group to take their grievances public, but I wonder how much public sympathy they're going to get.

CRHA is owned by me (Washington) not Charlottesville. I say if you don't pay your rent you get evicted. If Charlottesville wants to guarantee the rent of everyone so no one gets evicted. Fine, let Charlottesville put up money and tell everyone in public housing Charlottesville will pay your rent if you don't.

Is Ms. Parrish--recently evicted--the same Ms. Parrish who...
1. Was taken to court and lost in 2012 and 2008 by the Housing Authority?
2. Has numerous court cases for theft in Albemarle County, including larceny and credit card theft?

I am just curious about the types of folks are enjoying my hard-earned money in the name of "affordable housing."

R.I.P.: Harvey Milk

"She also criticized last week's eviction of Jeanelle Parrish and her six kids...'shameful' "

It's "shameful" to have 6 freakin' kids if you don't have the means of supporting them.

I like to picture the residents pissed off at 9am when they are awakened by the sound of someone cutting their grass for them. That's probably on their list of demands. What a joke.

Lets talk some facts about the cost of renting an apartment in Charlottesville. The hourly wage one wage-earner would need to make to AFFORD a standard 2Br rental working 40 hours per week and paying no more than 30% of income for rent/electricy/fuel costs is

$21.13 per hour..... $21.13 per hour.

If you are making federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) you would have to work 114 hours per week... 114 hours per week to afford a standard 2BR apartment and again not using more than 30% of income for the same costs. OR you would need 2.9 FULL TIME JOBS at federal minimum wage to afford this apartment.

The Fair Market Rent for a standard 2 BR apartment in Charlottesville is $1099 per month (HUD 2012 figure).

The annual household income needed to afford a 2 BR apartment in Cville is $43,960.

The annual median income in Cville is $77,500 and the rent affordable is $1938 per month.
Let's say you make 30% of the AMI or $23,250. The rent affordable at 30% of your income would be $581 per month.

The est. mean renter hourly wage in Cville is $13.12 and the rent affordable would be $682 per month. You would still need to have 1.6 Full time jobs to afford the standard 2 BR apt in Cville.

Its not that people are lazy, entitled, slothful, wanting charity and any of those other descriptors that separate and divide us.

Simply put, its the economy stupid. While the Dow Jones reaches ever higher (supposedly a good thing for us right?) real wages have been stagnant for way too long. The housing bubble put a stress on available rental units and still does. Too many foreclosed homes are still out of the inventory and not being sold.

In 1937, the federal government acknowledged that safe and affordable housing was something every American deserved. They wanted to alleviate the "Okie Laws" and "Sundown Towns". We should not tolerate any member of our vulnerable populations ( elderly, the young, the sick) to live in homes that are not being maintained by the agent who has been charged with that maintenance.

reality bites, drive past the Haven on Market St. sometime and you will see many able bodied people siting on their butts waiting to be fed and given a place to stay while paid staff walks the lawn and sidewalk picking up the trash those same able bodied people have thrown all over the place. Same mindset.

What ever happened to the "from each according to his (her) ability" part of the socialist formula? Perhaps Mr. Collins could reply if he reads this?

So is Charlottes really a plantation? Is the Democratic control group really the overseers? Are low income citizens dependent slaves?

Is the low cost housing their Tar Baby?

@Hoo_s talking, what are your sources of information? It sounds to me that you are making things up. "The annual median income in Cville is $77,500 " With a sizable amount of illiterates, college students, the elderly, government employees and a sizable number of residents living in subsidized housing this figure hardly sounds true for the residents in the city of Charlottesville. Where did the figure $21.13 come from? Are you assuming that only one person per household is gainfully employed? If the renter can't take care of himself, why does he need 2 BRs. Is one for an office? What has these people done to be able to make $21.13? When are these people going to try to climb the economic ladders rather than walk around with their hands out? Certainly parading up and down the Mall asking for free rent is not going to do it. The Board of Commissioners has made it clear that it will most like not be solvent so who is going to pay their rent then? To stay open CRHA will ost likely have to sell some of its assets, most of which is housing. You should start encouraging the residents to start living in the real world. After all none of the surrounding counties has public housing and their residents do not have their hands out. It's clear the city tenants want something for nothing. A few years ago Hardy Drive was so filthy that the housing staff had to go over there and pick up an enormous amount of litter.

ok, that "fair market rate" figure may come from HUD, but in reality it is quite possible to find real-life places to live that cost waaaaay less than that. my quick googling got 12 listings under $500 at BRAC, more than 100 on cville craigslist. frugal living is no fun at all but when there's no choice you do what you have to. for instance, buy one good thing and take care of it properly. no credit cards, no beverages but water. etc.

the best thing to help would be teaching the kids there how to handle a bank account, set financial goals, be fiscally responsible and grow up independent. how to take pride in maintaining their own "home" and chores, inside and out. maybe credits for shoveling and sweeping. etc.

and by the way -- treating people like animals? wow. overblown. how is this person trying to reconcile any issues? sounds like all that is expected is that the (very low) rent should be paid by the due date most of the time. kind of like the citizens who have regular landlords. in other words, treat people like adult people, not like sub-humans who can't handle a contract.

various issues are being jumbled together and creating this melodramatic "activism" that detracts from any real needs that ought to be addressed. the end result is a really weird scene, on all sides.

@ Cville Eye, thanks for asking for my source: "High Rents make Housing Unaffordable for Many in Virginia" is the name of the article that was on the National Low Income Housing Coalition's website. The data ( Fair Market Rent and Area Median Income) was prepared thru HUD.
Though Albemarle County does does not have "public housing", which I often wonder why not as their data is the same, they do have a Housing Choice voucher program which is currently closed because they are having mismanagement issues of their own.

Nobody is getting free rent.

The lady that was evicted was paying rent but she was not made aware of programs thru HUD that might have averted this. Lack of education on the part of employees.

If you would research housing costs you will find the formulas used to calculate all of this.

Thank you for your interest and comments.

Did they really lock the door, turn off the lights and not answer the phone? What a story! A policeman got in and came out with information.

This is so very enlightening concerning what is really going on. Plantation Charlottesville has some uppity slaves.

"The beatings will continue until attitudes improves!"

Did they really lock the door, turn off the lights and not answer the phone? What a story! A policeman got in and came out with information.

This is so very enlightening concerning what is really going on. Plantation Charlottesville has some uppity slaves.

"The beatings will continue until attitude improves!"

@ thoughts--- I looked at the 100 on craigslist charlottesville for apts. and they are budget friendly but most of them are multi bedrooms with or without a private bath in communities that are marketed to students, while that shouldnt be a part of the housing equation, it might.

If you are low income, or poor, disabled or elderly, you may not be able to live independently without public transit ( btw neither Eagles Landing or University Place have elevators-not good for people with ambulatory issues).

I did not look at BRAC.

@Hoo_s talking "You would still need to have 1.6 Full time jobs to afford the standard 2 BR apt in Cville."

Uhm...yeah, and what's wrong with that? Wow you'd have to split an apartment with someone or get your own 1BR apt to have affordable housing with the lowest paid jobs! Oh the inhumanity!

It doesn't make sense to use the average cost of an apt as the standard for what should or should not constitute affordable. If Cville built another neighborhood of ritzy condo-like apartments, the average cost would go up, but this doesn't make housing any less "affordable". Why should the "average" price of all apartments dictate cost of affordable instead of the lowest price of available apartments which are up to code, or if that's hard, the cost of the 25th percentile apartment? What mystical property does "the average" condo have that a slightly below average condo does not?

And why too should it matter if poor people can't afford to live in a particular town? I can't afford to live in Beverley Hills, Manhattan, and heck, almost every major metropolitan areas if we go by your standard of the average 2-bedroom apartment. I've contented myself by renting a room in a house or finding a roommate. But there's no great injustice, my health isn't adversely affected, and I'm not asking for any government handouts. Why should they?

A full list of the reasons residents were protesting at the Rally and March for Dignity and Justice (not peace and justice as reported by the Hook) can be found at

for clarification-
residents are responsible for mowing their own grass, as well as most other aspects of home maintenance
all residents are required to work or perform community service

Conditions in Charlottesville public housing are deteriorating rapidly, mold and air quality are of special concern
the treatment of residents by the CRHA staff is disrespectful, rude, and inconsistent

Where's Otis Lee when you need him? He offered low rent units targeted toward the black population, and being black himself, and a bit of a Simon Legree, he'd tell them to buzz off if they'd didn't like it.

*Of course that's no solution to the injustice of not being able to have a brood of six and live rent free. Just a bit of historical context.

@public housing friend I looked at the site you linked, and it's an unsubstantiated rant; passionate but without basis in demonstrable fact. If the CRHA folks are truly being rude,callous and unfair relative to mission, and you can prove it (video, independent witnesses), then that's a legitimate beef. But you need data and convincing arguments.

Sorry about misidentifying the Rally for Dignity and Justice. It's been corrected. --Lisa Provence

1) The elderly, disabled and those with very small children need to be taken care of as best we can.
2) It is supposed to hurt to be poor. That is nature telling you to get off your butt and better yourself or to humble yourself to accept help from others if you cannot fend for yourself.
3) The amount of money available to help is pretty much finite which means that :
a) able bodied people who take welfare are by default STEALING from those who need it more
b) we should manage those resources as effectivly as possible to help as many as possible by having higher expectations of those receiving assistance to help themselves.

4) Too many people on public assistance are victims of their own poor choices be it husband wife, study habits drug or alcohol abuse , sex partner, birth control use (or lack therof) and plain old fashoned bad attitude and selfishness.
5) Society has an OBLIGATION to make sure that the people consuming all of this money are worthy of the assistance and force those who are capable of helping themselves do so.
6) All non disabled non elederly welfare recipients should be FORCED to get a GED and take continuing classes on home economics and gaining work skills.
7) Wages are SUPPOSED to be stagnant. why should a plumbers helper of 2013 have a better standard of living than a plumbers helper on 1973? (and by the way he does.. in 1973 there was no chance of food stamps, no obamaphone, very few rent subsidies, way less parks, way less public transportation, less job programs, no internet, and people died of diabetes on a regular basis. In 1973 minimum wage bought a room to crash and pizza and beer on fridays, just like today. Don't like it? Get a frickin skill and more up the ladder.
8) Most 80 year old men in nursing homes worked 60 hour weeks as a normal thing. If you can't make it on 40 hours a week get a second job. Share a house with another single mom and her kids, Be a maid on your day off for someone who didn't sit in the back of the class or marry a jeackoff.
9) Those who think we should raise minimum wage so that a person who studied in school shows up to work, has a positive attitude etc has a living wage need to answer one question... It we change the law to pay that person a living wage then how much do we pay the ex con droput rehabbed three times, fired five times trench digger? under you scenario he gets the 12 bucks too. (How is that fair? )
( the answer is easy, most people with the first guys skills do not work miminm wage for more than a couple of months and then they move up the ladder where they are, or move to better job because of the good reference). Ask successful people how long it took them to bust through the minimum wage barrier. Its not hard.
10) If wal mart raised it wages from 8 bucks to 12 bucks all that would happen is they would replace all of the 8 buck an hour people with better more qualified people who will work for 12. So the 8 buck an hour people would be laid off in droves and we are back to square one.
11) Beggars cannot be choosers.
12) Honey attracts flies.
13) "You no playa the game you no make a da rules"
14) The city should be required to list (with names redacted) financial and criminal profiles on every apartment that gets taxpayer money (example; Unit #1, 3 bdrm/2bath. 1 adult 3 children, income 5250.00, total rent charged: 2500.00, total rent subsidy 4500.00, other benefit income: : obamaphone (2) 900.00, food stamps 4800.00, healthcare benefits paid 14825.00, utility assistance 722.00, free school lunches 455.00, free bus pass (4) 400.00, free summer program (2) 600.00, Daycare subsidy 7650.00 , Job training assistance 350.00, Misc : (public defender (see crimnal records) 2655.00) CRIMINAL RECORDS: misdemeanor petty theft 2008, petty theft 2009, use of controlled dangeruos substance 2011, petty theft 2012 : Summary total benefits given (taxpayer outlays (2012) $37,857.00

NOTE: Numbers above do not include the enormous costs of administering all of these programs which involves not just dispersing funds but evaluating applications, writing regulations, auditing citys to make sure they are complying with the rules, studies to determine need, reports of succes of failure, fraud investigations of tenants, fraud investigation of employees, fraud investigation of contractors etc etc.

There is more than enough money to help those who cannot help themselves but it is being consumed by people plenty healthy enough to go downtown on a "workday" and protest.

The thing that sickens me about this the slow revelation of liberals true intentions. This is not about providing short-term subsidies to the most vulnerable such that they don't starve or aren't kicked out of their homes, it's the creation of a permanent welfare class- one whose lifestyle is entirely dependent on the constant receipt of government welfare checks of someone else money. Welfare is gradually creeping out to cover as many people are possible- why? Because it's tough to turn down money, even if you know it's part of an unsustainable system. When the tyranny of the majority is given this control to determine the spending of other people's money for their own benefit, the system collapses.

@Ponce, so where did you get your "theory" of poverty and economics? Is that what your mommy and daddy taught you when you were three? While its not devoid of any reality at all, it is about as simpleton as it gets - a "theory" for the intellectually lazy and socially self-righteous. Its a story that lives mostly in your head - something like thinking that a made for TV movie that was based on a true story is a real documentary.

Points for being really preachy though.

can i borrow a page from that liber-a-lace lad's playbook and say r.i.p. jonathan swift?

@JS Ponce's brief "Dynamics of Poverty" is reductive but I think you're being unfair. And your response is pure insult, which isn't quite on the adult level either. I'm more typically one of the "Libtards" but there's some solid wisdom that comes from the Right (as well as self righteous vitriol).

Look at the photos of these healthy, motivated, and organized people marching off with mean -spirited ad homina signs ("Evict Connie Dunn"). Are they the widows and orphans that we're charged to care for or capable people that need to bootstrap themselves into better jobs and habits? Why is someone with all the skills that Joy Johnson brings to bear on her grievances with subsidized housing unable to move on after all these years? Are we providing a life boat or a life estate for her?

The time for ask for help (because you are behind on your rent) is $500, $1,000 at the most, not wait until you are $7,000 behind in rent. Next year marks Joy Johnson's 30 year anniversary in public housing. I'm sorry you have been treated like an animal for 30 years.

I'd love to see the Hook do on of its "Hotseat" interviews with Joy Johnson. I wonder how someone manages to make just enough money to stay in public housing for 30 without being kicked out for making either too much to stay or tool little to pay rent. Does she share her gift for working the system with her fellow residents?

I'd love to see the Hook do one of its "Hotseat" interviews with Joy Johnson. I wonder how someone manages to make just enough money to stay in public housing for 30 without being kicked out for making either too much to stay or too little to pay rent. Does she share her gift for working the system with her fellow residents?

Can we get an edit tool of some sort?

@Dolemite. I know it was pure insult. It was meant to be. I more or less calculated a level of arrogance into the insult that attempted to match to arrogance present in Ponce's post. I'm sorry - I must have missed the memo that public discourse is all supposed to be sweetness and light.

Shall I go on to insult you for referring to a bunch of photographs to make judgments about what kind of position people should be in or what they should be doing or what they should have or not have?

As much as many people feel fed up by what they perceive to be some growing wave of lazy dependence, I am fed up by the common-sense conservative, neo-social Darwinism junk that breeds this perception. I don't post nearly as often as Ponce, but Ponce is the king of this crap. It is a way of thinking that mistakes a set of values for a good analysis of issues of poverty and inequality in the US (or globally for that matter).

There's nothing wrong with the values. They're fine values. Its what I teach my own kids. But the values of individual striving and achievement make for a terrible explanation of inequality and poverty.

Are there "able bodied moochers" that fit the common-sense conservative stereotype? People who simply "deserve" to be poor and miserable because of their own private and personal troubles or weaknesses? Sure. Just as there are people who are rich, but *don't* deserve to be according to the principles of individual achievement. Where people end up in life is way more complicated than their own individual choices and efforts and such. To provide a long, ranty preach to the contrary is actually what is insulting - to huge masses of people who work incredibly hard, develop "skills," make good choices - and still constantly struggle and sometimes even end up in the pit. Ponce obviously knows nothing but common-sense stereotypes based on selective observation and overgeneralization.

Why don't we just commission a survey of a viable sampling of public housing inhabitants to determine who REALLY lives in those units? We all dance around terms like "self-righteous righties" and "big government libtards" and more. Who are these peeps? What would really be illuminating would be a report that reveals the following:
1. How long has a head of household lived in public housing?
2. Education level of head of household.
3. Age of HOH.
4. Marital status of HOH.
5. Number of children.
6. Number of fathers or mothers of those children (i.e., 4 kids with two different mates?).
7. Criminal background of HOH.
8. Employment history of HOH.
9. Existence of following: computer, automobile, large-screen television.
10. What other assistance have they been on and for how long?
11. Substance abuse history of HOH (alcohol, drugs).
12. Payment history of rent in public housing.

I would love to know the success rate of public housing in helping to turn these lives around. Has such a study been done or would it merely validate the futility of "the Great Society"?

R.I.P.: Lady Bird johnson

JS there's no judgement there except as to the health and exuberant political activism of people who live off of public largesse. You might infer an implied answer to the questions posed (Are these people that need assistance?) but it's not there in text. I couldn't agree more on the complexity of personal situation and the manner in which people end up at both extremes of the economic spectrum through no fault or merit of their own.

But on a factual, stereotypes aside level. I know that Connie Dunn is the type of person that would work very hard to give people a fair shake. Is having six kids and living off the public dole a fair shake? Is Joy Johnson's life sinecure in housing a fair shake? Not for me; I gotta pay for it. I know that's on the Limbaugh level of discourse but we don't have to be sweetness and light, right? And some of Ponce's points are spot on (it ain't that hard to move past a minimum wage job, slackers take money away from the truly needy poor, and, most importantly, societal obligation is a two way street). Remember, sweetness and light aside, that there are plenty of instantiations of the stereotypes that keep them alive; it's not just an archetype of the GOB collective unconscious.

GOP that is not "GOB." Although "Good Old Boys" is apt quite often, applying the precis above from my "Reality of Stereotypes" paper written for the Brookings Institute.

Hon. Paul Harris, Esq. elected on Republican ticket to House of Delegates in 90s for Albemarle and now a partner in N.Va. law firm came out of C-ville public housing (to my understanding).

There are hardworking people who never seem to make it, but those peolpe are recognised with more than money, they have self respect and the respect of others. Rich brats with trust funds will never have that. Rich brats are also often times parted with their free wealth as they get taken by peolpe who see tem for who they are and who they are not. They spill their fruit baskets, often buying friends who are never there when the money is gone.

To me the people that should be the most angered by welfare abusers are those who go to work everyday and have a lower standard of living than those who milk the system. and put in very few hours. Those who milk the system are being rewarded for bad behavior or poor decisions along the way. It is wrong for the government to reward these people which not only encourages more bad behavior but takes the winds out of the sails for someone who is really trying to get ahead. It can be very discouraging to see someone living next door to you with the same standard of living you have except they get to sleep in til noon everyday.

The taxpayers should give the absolute minimum to those who can but don't, and take that extra and give it those who would but can't.

"There are hardworking people who never seem to make it, but those peolpe are recognised with more than money, they have self respect and the respect of others."

Oh, I think not. Many of the people who receive Medicaid, just as an example, are very hard working and low paid. (The next time someone thinks Walmart's low prices are great, they should do ALL of the math). Then they get spit on by the tax revolters who are sure that the only reason they pay taxes is that gubment is forcing them to support some freeloader.

"Rich brats with trust funds will never have that."

Oh, I think not again. Just to pick a couple of prominent examples - George W Bush was apparently respected so much that he was a Governor and 2X president. Of course, our favorite buffoon will probably always be Dan Quayle. Born poor, neither one of those morons would have made it out of the gutter.

And I'm not sure where you get the impression that living on public assistance provides some great standard of living - it doesn't.

As for making sure that the present needs-based system truly works for the truly "deserving" among the needy. Well, that's possible. Its also a perfectly fine idea. But you'll have to expand the budget to allow the amount of social service personnel required to clean it up and keep it clean. Which tax revolters will be agreeing to that?

Look, I'm annoyed by moochers. It just doesn't describe anything of much practical significance in terms of social service provision. People who make it out to be a huge and central issue are being ruled by their emotions.

If you really do want to complain about public assistance, at least get some things in perspective

News flash...most corporations are mom and pop businesses that do not receive any "welfare" but combined create most of the jobs in this country. These small businesses are also who create the revenue that supports all social programs.

@WhoaNelly, you'd have to explain how that point contributes to discussion of the issue. Even if your point is granted, it doesn't change the fact that "welfare" comes in all shapes and sizes, and that much more of it goes to corporations than to persons. It also doesn't change the fact that "mooching" is, while perhaps an important "moral" issue, insignificant in practical terms.

On the subject of granting the point about small businesses, that "line" is another one of those oversimplified and mostly political statements. By that I mean it is one of those half truths. Unpacking it completely would require a lot of text, but just to make a couple of points, saying "most" by numerical count doesn't provide any real info about economic dynamics including with regards to employment. By numerical count, something in the range of 75-80% of businesses don't have any employees at all.

Furthermore, most of the claims about small business do come from fed agency counts. By the definitional rules, these counts go by the characteristics of "establishments" not company. So for any large corporation that operates through franchising, each specific franchise location is counted on its own. As such, "small business" includes most McDonalds, Jiffy Lubes, 7-11s, etc. So if you want numbers on small business to represent "mom & pop" they don't. The small business numbers are basically "polluted" by including a lot of stuff that is not exactly "mom & pop."

If you go farther into analysis of what small businesses actually are you also find that many are little spin offs that are either created by or exist purely by virtue of the activities of some kind of a giant. And that all leaves aside the fact that when it comes to actual influence over economies - local, national, global, small businesses have very little. Very large businesses have a lot.

The point is not to knock small business. I'm a big fan. If I had my way there would be no monstrous corporations. There would be only small, local businesses. I seek them out whenever possible. I avoid large corporates whenever I can.

Either way, none of that is relevant to this discussion.

JS , Your comparisons to corporate welfare are irrelevant. That is like saying your not mad at the ugly guy for raping your sister because the handsome guy who could get a girl rapes her too. It is just stupid. This conversation is about people who are able bodied abusing a system set up to assist people who are not able bodied and it is out of control. When they wrote articles on Bisquit Run, I and others slammed the rich developers and the incompetent government workers that gave away taxpayer money there too.

If you think George bush and Dan Qualyle are respected you must have never seen Saturday night live or read a newspaper.

Here is my argument for public assistance and standard of living arguments. In 1960 a warehouse worker in charlottesville with a 10th grade education lived in a rented room off market street somewhere in a house that had no washer or dryer, no cable, no internet, a party line phone, Crozet was a long distance call that cost money. There was one TV in the house that was black and white and 19 inches or less and no movies were ever shown in the house because they didn't exist. The busses were few and not air conditioned, the ER tossed him unless he was dying and there was no food stamps or rent subsidies to be had.
Families had to stuggle to get any kind of assistance and there was no free breakfast lunch or after school program, no obamaphone, and certainly no subsided housng that lasted 30 plus years.

The poor in america today have it better than the lower middle class of just 50 years ago and thats damn good enough for a free ride by any measure. 50 years ago there was no office to go to to protest. They have civil rights protections, job training, education assistance, daycare assistance, earned income tax credits if they actually work, organized tax subsidized food banks and free craigslist ads if they want to try and market themselves with a resume, sercvces offered or even as an available day laboroer.

Help the disabled, elderly and infirmed. Make sure the kids are fed and have healthcare, but we need to start expecting grown adults of working age with strong backs to stop mooching off of people with disabilities and worn out backs who get up and go to work everyday despite their aches and pains.

The taxpayers are getting screwed by people who think they are too good to scrub toilets a Maybe they can't find a "job"but they could certainly find "work" . There are plenty of gutters that need cleaning , plenty of gardens that need weeding, plenty of floors that need mopping. People will say thatthat work doesn't pay enough but they sure pay enough to put food in a hungry belly unless that belly is already full from a very generous food stamp program. 150 bucks doesn't sound like much but it buys a lot of spagetti and oatmeal.

The rich may be getting richer and you can certainly write an article with that story but the fact is the poor are getting richer by any measure. Their opportunites are a thousand fold better than just three generations ago. Ask the next old person you see what kind of opportunites they had in 1950 or 1960. That was just not that long ago.

These people may not be eating cake but they seem awfully ungrateful for what they do have and thier attitude is propogated by people who keep telling them they are victims.

Maybe we should do a reality show called "welfare swap" with some people from the back hills of Kentucky and see how these folds like using an outhouse , a lantern and a woodstove.

@JS - For me, this is an emotional issue. It makes me feel like a sap for giving to a whining, demanding bunch of spoiled brats who are pissed that what they get for free isn't good enough for them. I highly doubt I'm the exception, but when I was starting out I lived in below average places because that's all I could afford. I don't blame anyone in public housing for wanting more. I certainly did and hope they do too. There's more and better out there just beyond the edge of the projects.

@public housing friend - It takes a notable appreciation of self to actually publish that ugly tsunami of entitlement. I cannot (thankfully) comprehend the gall that it takes to indignantly demand full control over an entity for which the "residents" provide very little. All I can really say is that:
I'm tired.. because I get up at 5:15 to go to work. I'm tired... because I'm trying to start my own business at night and on weekends (without a guarantee of success.) I'm tired... of watching the contributions of folks who work a lot harder than me be looked down upon by people don't provide for themselves."

I don't care if you live in public housing, a trailer, a townhouse, or a mansion that you own outright, you will never know dignity until you know gratitude.

And will someone please answer my question and let me know if public housing is supposed to be a lifelong house or if its supposed to help you get on your feet, get your balance, and then send you out into the world?

people get hungry enough they can eat squirrels and frogs, they're free. wild green salad fills your gut. you can make a real nice dress out of a coffee sack too. what's all this whining.

@reality bites. I get that. I have also had to occupy my share of dives, have gotten myself to where I am by my own work (and no silver spoon), and despite a respectable and professional occupation have trouble making ends meet & could use every penny.

But I guess I'd say that when I think about public programs, I spend a lot more time thinking about those that it was designed for. I had a great uncle, for example, who spent his life in the ministry - truly on the "vow of poverty" end. He worked his a- off his whole life, retired with next to nothing, and would have been nowhere without basic social programs. Anyone may scorn this thought if you like, but his "poverty" was virtuous and he made the world a better place. Of the tax money that goes to social service, most of it goes to those who really do need it. If the tax revolters get their way, it will mostly be the "deserving" who will end up suffering the most.

But one of the reasons I spend a lot more time thinking that way is that trying to fix our tax or budget or debt problems by going after the moochers is sort of like rooting through the couch for loose change to pay the mortgage. Its just not that significant even in your own paycheck or whatever.

Good luck with that business. I hope it succeeds and the state gets off of massive corporate welfare and on to real "small business" welfare.

@JS: I'm just as likely to invoke the corporate welfare argument in a national context. Principles of self-reliance notwithstanding, the real consequence in terms of cash is much greater when you're talking about Raytheon, General Dynamics, and their ilk.

But this is a purely local issue--one where my vote and strident chirp might have a tiny effect, or at least I can cherish that more reasonable illusion. And so far City Council hasn't taken on a defense budget, despite their various international stances. But they are spending money on housing and other forms of assistance (free bikes, propane buses, chicanes that don't allow buses to pass,etc). I want to spend money helping people who need it to avoid destitution. But I guess my fundamental reaction here, yes it's emotional and needs more data, is that people who are able to organize, draft complaints, hire consultants from City Council, and run downtown with a character assassination agenda are also quite capable of mastering birth control, budgeting, better job skills and moving the hell out of assisted housing.

There is a bit of Catch-22 in my rationale: If those who can rally and march are those who don't need help then those who need the assistance are by my definition unable to defend themselves against mistreatment. There seems to be no shortage of folks willing to step in and be their advocates though.

JS- I can tell you that most of small business is not interested welfare. They are stand alone make your own way people. The trillions, yes trillions that have been spent on social programs in the last 40 years has done nothing to alleviate the problem. In the last 5 years alone, the number of those on the government teat has more than doubled. So, what is the solution? I don't know, but I do know that if some systemic changes are not made, the problem will continue to grow.

JS, I respectfully disagree with your premise. What is really going on is we are evlvoing into a secualr society where charity is coming through forced taxation instead of generous souls. There needs to be a seperation of those who have no possible way to take care of themselves regardless of opportunity and those who could if the opportunity were there. The way the system works now some baby momma with an infant gets put ahead of a disabled veteran because she has a small baby. She is REWARDED for being a careless slut and people line up to defend her. ... but I digress...

What will happen and has already happended is that once the lazy find out that they have the power of the vote they use it to vote themselves the fruits of other peoples labor. They support people who are more than willing to tax those evil rich people and give it to the poor, not realiizing that the "rich" wil only be rich until they either run out of money or move it elswhere, and that once that income stream stops they will work their way down the pyramid until you get to the part where the workers and the non workers line is. When that happens and the workers realize that they are working 40 hours a week to have the same lifestyle as the guy with the section 8 voucher next door many will just swap sides and the whole thing will collapse. Look at California, look at greece italy and spain. It is common sense that this will occur. What kid picks up his room if he knows mom will come after him and do it? It is human nature. There will always be those who like work, but there are plenty who would quit tomorrow if they could.

It is not loose change in the couch it is 20% of the budget and the overspending that is borrowed is another 40% of budget that we are paying interest only on and not even paying back. It is plain and simple math. So the answer is to get a grip on personal reponsibillity, get rid of the cretins and those that won't help themselves. free up those homes for those that will and then go after the defense budget and corporate loopholes. (or do it all in tandem)

All americans should be insulted that the government thinks so little of them that people would starve on the street without government interference. We do need some social programs but there are currently too many that are too genereous and managed too poorly.

Remember it took FEMA 5 days to get water to the superdome.

@JS - Full disclosure: I don't know if the spoon in my mouth at birth was silver, but it damn sure wasn't wooden. I've been afforded some tremendous advantages in life. What I've achieved with those advantages is due to hard work; however, in no way, shape, or form do I believe that someone with a background of poverty can just as easily achieved as I have. I've tried to make the most of opportunity that comes my way, but I've also simply been damn lucky.

I felt exactly as you have described until I read this article: In the scheme of things it's not much compared to other spending and these programs help more than they hurt, but something about this has moved me from that opinion.

What concerns me way more than the cost, are the entitled demands, lack of gratitude for the help currently received, and just how totally disconnected these people appear to be from the folks who support them. I mean who in their right mind thinks that they're not going to alienate themselves from those who work and support them by protesting the quality and quantity of the charity you receive... during a work day? What I would really like to know is if these folks represent the majority of residents or if they are just the bunch on the far reaches of the spectrum?

A few points here that I really like:

1. Poor folks have a lot more avenues for aid than ever before. I'm glad to know that society is doing what we can afford to do (and maybe more than we can afford) to help people get on their two feet. That's a start to doing the right thing.
2. There is a difference between a job and work - and there's nothing wrong with work. As a matter of fact, it seems like a good place to start the hunt for dignity.
3. At least locally, we appear to have lost track of the difference between what's a right and what's a luxury.

And with that, I better get back to work before I end up in public housing myself.

@WhoaNelly, I know all about small business people. I grew up in a family of small business people, including father, grandfather and 3 uncles. I sat at the dinner table my whole life and heard the pontification. I worked extensively in the business for and with my father and uncles. I know that they all think they are "make their own way" people. But that's also a half truth. Here is a more honest take:

@Bill Marshall - the picture you just painted is pure mythology. You do it all of the time and I've told you this before. You have an ideology in your head (its the red brain thing). What you do is concoct a picture of an empirical world in your head that matches you ideology. Unlike some of the stuff you and other ideological conservatives say, most of what you said above isn't even half-true. It is flatly wrong and/or distorted so much that it bears almost no resemblance to the world. One very easy example - 20% of the budget on what? 90% of the 20% goes to the elderly, disabled, and WORKING families. You even gave them a pass. So go back to the couch cushions. I'm telling you - you just can't get past twisting the world to fit your ideology rather than the reverse.

@ the others - like reality bites - I'm supposed to be working. I'm sure in a real conversation we'd all agree about plenty of things.

Ah, the old "you didn't build that" argument. I…. and millions of Americans before me did build that. It was built with taxpayer money. Maybe we should, by the argument set forth in your link, only allow taxpayers to use the road system. The interstates were built primarily, not with business in mind, but for national defense so that we could move troops from one side of the country to the other rapidly. In any case, we, when I say "we" I mean working people paying taxes are what funds the government. We did build that didn't we?

WhoaNelly, you keep typing words but not really saying anything. Of course its a "we."

JS, I don't think the "percentage" is as important as the slippery slope that we are already half way down. The Non social security/elderly medicare expenditures cost the 100 million or so taxpayers nearly 2000 dollar each a year. Obviosly it depends on how much you A person that is a tax payer that only pays 3k in taxes doesn't pay that much as it is divided as a percentage, but if he does notn then a person who pays say 20k in may be paying 4k to this group. Thats real cash. So it is reasonable for people paying the freight to expect a little respect for the handout that is certainly in no way shape of form an "entitlement" des[pite what the liberals wish. I would imagine that many people would just as soon see these people live a little more responsibly so that they could put some money away for their kids college so they don't end up there. (note that the numbers don't include the 84 BILLION spent on food stamps. )

JS, So if all I say is a "myth" how do you explain people living in these units for generations, the big screen TVs, women who have 4 babies from 4 fathers and no child support check, the free school breakfast and lunches yet no corresponding reduction in the food stamps, and most of all I guess. you think those crybabies DEMANDING satisfaction for their "rights" was a myth too. I suppose the Hook photoshopped the picture from their archives.

These people sense of entitlement is very real. The taxpayer money spent on them is very real. Their refusal to accept responsibility for their own plight is very real. and the increase in the number of people taking advantage of more liberalized regulations is very real.

There are 120 million taxpayers and 46 million on food stamps. Do the math.

There are a lot of lawns that need weding and a lot of cars that need washing, There are houses that need t be cleaned and fences that need mending.

It is sad that illegals will travel thousands of miles to do the "jobs" that these folks wont do.

(emphasis on WONT)

@ Ponce - funny that the link you posted is so grossly sloppy that it still refers to AFDC which doesn't even exist anymore. It went out with the Clinton welfare reform and is now called TANF and has work requirements and time limits built into it. I'm also not sure what someone is supposed to learn about social program spending from a list of numbers. You seem to assume that all of that money goes to "moochers." It doesn't. Very little of it does. Back to the couch cushions for you.

Here is a more honest analysis of the situation that isn't just a list of numbers: (link posted AGAIN).

@Bill (who I'm pretty sure is Ponce, anyway. If not literally, then the difference is insignificant) - from one of MY posts above:

"Are there "able bodied moochers" that fit the common-sense conservative stereotype? People who simply "deserve" to be poor and miserable because of their own private and personal troubles or weaknesses? Sure."

So I already told you that you can find "moochers." As such I have no idea why you'd use that to give the "oh, its a myth, eh?" argument.

The myth is when you take the tiny litte, teensy, weensy, insignificant in practical terms moochers, and blow it up into this:

"What will happen and has already happended is that once the lazy find out that they have the power of the vote they use it to vote themselves the fruits of other peoples labor. They support people who are more than willing to tax those evil rich people and give it to the poor, not realiizing that the "rich" wil only be rich until they either run out of money or move it elswhere..."

and add in things like this:
"It is not loose change in the couch it is 20% of the budget and the overspending that is borrowed is another 40% of budget that we are paying interest only on and not even paying back. It is plain and simple math. So the answer is to get a grip on personal reponsibillity, get rid of the cretins and those that won't help themselves. "

You are concocting something on the order of Romney's 47% statements - of a society coming to be overrun by people who would rather mooch than work. It is a pure concoction. It is an ideological story wielded for political purposes. It is not in any way based on a responsible analysis of the dynamics of poverty, social inequality, or even economics.

And to go back to a much older point, comparisons to corporate welfare are not even slightly irrelevant. I wonder, though, whether you've ever thought of things like the food stamp program as being a source of corporate welfare? ( You act like money disappears from the economy if it is partly redistributed by taxes.

JS The part that fail to grasp is that when you reward people for not working you are incentivising not working. These people make babies and then teach them the benefits of not working because their life is okay enough to not want to flee from.

You think those people are there because they lack the opportunity to move somewhere better if they got a job. You are correct. Their current choice is to stay there and suck on the taxpayer teat ,or get up and go to work and move somewhere that is not as nice. So like a stray cat they will NEVER leave. Niether will their offspring and neither will all the people who are currently working low end jobs who realize that because of people like you redistributing the wealth they can quit and coast. The proof is overwhelming. Look at the number of illegals who jump the border to do the low end work that before welfare AMERICANS USED TO DO. Do you think that there were no laborers before 1964?

When Obamacare kicks in and more people realize they can get free healthcare, free food, and if they are lucky enough super low rent they will NEVER work again.

It will come to pass and the subsequent austerity will leave some pretty unskilled people out in the cold. You are doing nothing more than feeding a bear until winter gets here and when winter comes the hurt will be very bad because they do not even know how to feed themselves.

Your plan can only work so long as the U.S. has the ability to borrow money.

Also... redistributed money does disappear through what we refer to as inflation. When you give someone money and they then compete with those who also desire the same products you create demand which causes prices to rise. So to add insult to injury, the guy who is paying taxes to help the poor has to compete with these section 8 vouchers for the available houses for rent which drives up rents. When they worker cannot secure a raise or his raise is eaten by taxes his buying power is diminished and since money is simply a way of keeping track of buying power his "money" has disappeared.

The able bodied poor are robbing the disabled and elderly poor of some relief. Society has an OBLIGATION to make sure the available monies are properly spent the same as they need to make sure they don't pay too much for pencils computers or school busses.

Hey JS I'm willing to get my Gustavo Gutierrez on, but that is a really crappy website (Justice Before Charity) both in terms in of presentation and data sources/citations. Come on now..."Source: author's calculations from National Health Interview Survey 2005/2006". Really? That's Bill Marshall with an Excel graph. lol

If you're gonna get supercilious you'll have to clear a higher bar yourself.

@ Dolemite, one good slant deserves another. Aside from that, however, there is nothing wildly inaccurate in there. The fact is, that there is not some humongous moocher population in the US making some huge dent in budgets. And why shouldn't someone be able to use data from that survey to produce his/her own analyses? Every report form every survey you've ever seen contains calculations done by someone. Do you think god hands that stuff down?

@Bill, there is not a thing that I am failing to grasp. You keep failing to come to grips with the fact that the only thing you ever do is produce distorted pictures of the world to fit your ideology. I do not, for instance, think that anything in our public programs is producing a widespread, dramatic social change in willingness to work. You think that because it fits your ideology. You keep failing to grasp the basic fact that you continually take a few peanuts and try to turn them into the entire peanut butter industry.

I don't have a "plan" by the way. What I have done is point out that your "analysis" of issues of poverty and inequality are incorrect. They are nothing more than conservative myths. So I don't know how you get to "Your plan can only work if...." If I'm criticizing the fictional picture of the right does that automatically make me something specific in your eyes? Whatever you might think it is you'd probably be pretty far off. But since you oversimplify by ideology, I'm sure you do it to anyone you argue with.

And I don't even know why I am bothering with you. You're still someone who thinks an "obamaphone" is a thing. The fabled "Obama phones" are Reagan phones, filtered through changes made during the Clinton years. The purpose of giving certain people on public assistance a phone bill CREDIT was to make sure they could more easily look for work. Once mobile phones became a thing, the laws about it were modified to allow it to be either land or mobile line. The big mobile push came from the company that promised to provide the phones b/c then it, of course, was paid the credits. Obama had about as much to do with that as he had to do with the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Obama, btw, has made no substantial changes at all to any "welfare" type programs. But there are a whole lot of morons running around who think he did. And I am no Obama lover - so don't know take those points and paint me into that.

If you must know, I'm dying to be a Libertarian. But Libertarianism is impossible unless you dismantle the massive, multinational (and even national) corporate form. I can certainly tell you that a world that moves closer to individual freedom & responsibility will not come from constantly proclaiming ideologically distorted fictions about what is going on in the world.

JS The reason it is called an obamaphone is because obama is doing nothing to stop the abuse of the taxpayers generosity in trying to help people. Just like the city of Charlottesville actually puts up with crap from people who contribute nothing to the system and actually consume money that could go to aid those who are truly in need.

You can choose to believe that it is okay for people to receive this "change from the couch" but you have already been proven wrong by the growth in welfare spending and its abuses over the last 40 years. The generosity of the taxpayer has been spit on and will be spit on even more if you give in to their petulant "demands" It needs to be stopped in its tracks, they need to understand that their subsidy is a GIFT given by the taxpayer and not a Constitutional right. If they cannot show proper respect for their gift then it should be taken away and given to someone who will show respect.

You can keep calling my theories myths but they are ringing true all across the land as these giveaways expand. Just imagine how far out there they would have gotten if the economy had not crashed. Obama said no illegals would get obamacare but now he is trying to worm through an amnesty program that will make them quasilegal to qualify.

New York is trying to allow illegals to vote in city elections. Who do you think they will vote for? (hint: not me) ( you might have a shot though)

No JS the gods don't hand that stuff down. That's why peer edited journals, credible sources, documented methods,etc., matter. That's why the FDA reviews the conclusions that come from the clinical trial data by looking at the data themselves and reviewing the stat plan.

But I'm not a Zinn-aphobic so you get a pass.

@Hoo_s talking, I am certain those figures generated by HUD and the State include Albemarle County. The average median income of the City of Charlottesville has nothing to do with the AMI of Albemarle County. That $7k is a composite of both localities and can not be used as you are trying to use it. There is nothing comparable in the City with Ednam, Farmington, Flordon, Keswick, Glenmore, Dave Matthews, Howie Long, etc. If everyone in the County had $1B, that still has nothing to do with the AMI in the City. You need to extract the data applicable to city residents from that composite data you have used in your argument. As they used say, "What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?" Charlottesville is full of affordable housing. Unfortunately for some it is all occupied.

@Dolemite. Yes. I know all about peer review. And I know all about inequality and poverty from responsible, systematic, empirical research on inequality and poverty. And that is why I know that the link I posted is not inaccurate. I didn't post links to academic peer reviewed research because Bill Marshall once told me that this is just a little community discussion board where we didn't have deep discussions.

Bill, I have not been "proven" wrong by anything. The FACT is that if you go take apart the actual money spent on needs-based programs in the US ALMOST NONE OF IT goes to "moochers." It is simple. You are too dense to grasp that because a) you apparently like benefiting from an economy that requires a permanent underclass to keep your goods and services cheap and b) you apparently believe that everything can be explained by the mere efforts of individual persons - as if there isn't an entire ongoing structure to the global economy - the same one that maintains and nurtures a permanent underclass to bring you cheap goods and services.

In the big picture:
- very small fractions of tax money go to moochers. Stop trying to make it out to be otherwise.
- poverty and inequality are structural. Individual "choice" and action matter but are determinant and predictive of nothing.

And on a completely absurd note, if you want to call them "obamaphones" because obama has done "nothing" to stem this tide, then you might as well also call them bush2phones, clintonphones, bush1phones, and reaganphones. Its just part of your ideologically dishonest position. You are not interested in being genuine or accurate. You are politics through and through. It is disgusting.

Over and out.

I actually should have ended on a note of clarification regarding your "theory" since I'm quite certain that you don't understand it yourself. You have convinced yourself that it isn't a "theory" at all but just "obviously" the way that it "is."

It is among the basest and most puerile of theories of human behavior and society and really only has one core premise that is coupled with one assumption, one main derivative, and a big blind spot. The main premise is that people are inherently self-interested rational actors. The assumption is that the highest "goals" (for all rational behavior requires clearly ranked goals) are always economic/material goals. Your main derivative is that people are inherently lazy. Given their choice they will sit on their asses and do nothing - if enabled this is obviously all benefit and no gain - very rational. Your big blind spot is the belief that everything can be reduced to the actions of indivdual persons.

So...add in some factual inaccuracies, such as the belief that one can make a perfectly good living these days form the largesse of the state (yes, taxpayers), then the world only has two kinds of people in it. The "good" - the ones with the proper morals and intelligence to realize the value of not being lazy. And the "evil" - the ones who are either too immoral (your moochers) or too stupid (your moochers and "liberals") to realize the "Truth." Your whole programme is just to not reward the evil.

Meanwhile, this is not a "theory" of human behavior and society at all. It is an ideology pushed to prominence in the US during the 2nd industrial revolution when very powerful economic actors needed a religion to grow and maintain their own cultural (moral) and economic power, along with the ability to both maintain and justify massive armies of wage-slaves without which the growth of massive corporate structures was impossible. It has now been perverted into some "American values," "self-reliance" B.S. The celebration of "individual achievement"! The poor are base and ignorant and immoral. The rich are vituous and smart and moral and ultiamtely "worthy." Ideological warfare is all that you do Bill.

But I don't think you know that. I think you just read too much Ayn Rand and didn't know enough about real US history to know that she is mostly full of S h .... Its sort of like all of those 6 years olds who read the bible and don't realize that the status of the knowledge is a lot different from that in their math textbooks.

If you want to whine an bitch and moan about some perceived decline in society and morality and work ethic that's fine. I could whine about that. I just won't operate from some self-righteouos postion of power and pick on the weakest among us.

Poverty is huge business in the World, in the US especially. Generally, the poor stay poor, but the people providing them goods and services do quite well. The food industry loves food stamps and the housing industry loves subsidized housing. The health care industry loves Medicaid and colleges love Pell grants. Employers love government programs that pay the salaries of their poor employees. Just look at the millions of middle class people who earn a living working for programs for the poor.

1) Obama owns obamaphones because he won't stop it. The previous Popes looked the other way on molestation but if this new Pope doesn't stop it he owns it. Your inability to understand that concept does not make you right.

2) There are absolutely a percentage of the populace who would never work so long as they have their basic needs met. They are not "evil" they are irresponsible and they are enabled. It is wrong to enable them even if we didn't have better use for those monies. They are capable of pulling their share of the load and choose not to because of people like you. There are no cat skeletons in trees because when they get hungry they will come down for food. To think that these able bodied people would not be willing to work if all welfare disappeared is a ridiculous notion. Some might turn to crime but I doubt we would have droves of emaciated people dying in the streets.

3) This article is about those people and not about corporate welfare.

4)The poor as a group are not immoral or ignorant. Those who are able bodied and believe they are entitled to all of these benefits are both immoral and ignorant though, and they need to be corrected because their numbers are growing. You can choose not to believe that but all of the evidence is against you. The lawsuits for benefits, the massive voting in of people giving away benefits and these protests are perfect examples of ignorant immoral people who have no qualms about taking from their fellow man through the voting booth by pointing to the elderly, disabled and infirmed and then getting in line with them to go along for the ride.

5) Contrary to your assertions I don't think the rich are either virtuous or honest. But they are also not a burden to society and while the percentage of taxes they pay may not suit some people the actual cash they toss into the coffers is still a lot of money. 13% of 2 million bucks is still 260k. (5000 a week for all you bible only readers)

6) You can keep professing that my assertions are untrue but the sheer number of people who feel entitled in america is overwhelming and it is pervasive. We have children telling Teachers "your not the boss of me" You may not think that the current level of subsidy contrbutes to it and that is your opinion bit I do. I think that when people see people on wlefare living is section 8 homes with big screens and driving nice cars and using EBT cards to buy junk food it demoralizies them and makes them feel foolish for getting up and going to work everyday.

7) If a person makes 15 dollars an hour and pays regualr tax rates they take home about 12 and get no assistance from the state. So after they pay rent and food and healthcare they have about 2 dollars an hour left over for fun. Do you think they would forgoe that 2 bucks an hour if they could not work and sleep in everyday? Some would and some wouldn't eitherway we cannot afford to allow the system to be manipulated.

8) You obviously think these people are too good to do manual labor that our grandfathers were willling to do and whose paychecks bought a lot less creature comforts,. ("maintain and justify massive armies of wage-slaves ") I disagree and I am sure most people who earn their pay through the use of their backs would too.

9) I want a safety net, but I recognise that 40 cents of every dollar going to these people is borrowed money that will need to be repaid with interest, and we as a society have an obligation to make sure those dollars are invested and not just consumed. We can have a discussion about other government waste and it needs to be had but this article is not about that and that waste does not justify this waste.

10) It is an insult to the american populace for the government to take the stance that if they did not sieze money from peoples paychecks to give away, that the generosity of the haves in America would not step up and fill the bellys of children or give a man an opportunity to feed his family. We need government programs for the disabled and elderly, and we need to look out for the children but we also need to make sure that the money is spent wisely and those who are able bodied are not coddled and are expected to do whatever it takes to move off of public assistance if for no other reason but to make room for a disabled or elderly person to move in.

JS had I known that you "know all about inequality and poverty from responsible, systematic, empirical research on inequality and poverty," I wouldn't have dare question your sources. In future I'll give them proper deference and abject credence.

It’s about time that the media communicated even a little balance to the poverty-oriented story. Now please cite in your reporting that many at this so-called rally were belligerent, confrontational, and cantankerous to the degree that police had to be brought in. Come on…most would have locked their doors to entry when tetchy and so many intimidating behaviors are approaching. Yeah…lock the doors!

And note not all…but some low-income residents DO NOT do their mature part to engage the process and then expect to just be given a pass on receiving programs and services because they have children. This is truly not the way to show our youth how to be grown up.

And when you have a self-appointed “leader” of a tenants organization that has lived in public housing for over 20 years working the system on the backs of harder-working citizens, something has got to change! What type of mature adult role-modeling is this for our youth!

And when you have “teachers” as vote-seeking politician making media-seeking statements without regards to the rules of mature engagement and without critical-thinking…God help us all if they are ever elected.

If so-called organizations like PHAR really wanted to support their constituents to “grow up”, educate them in the business of being mature adults! Help them to break the chains of poverty not wear them around their necks like bling jewelry.

And lets not even get started on a weak conscious CRHA Board that is afraid to make tough decisions as this most recent PHAR bark scared them to vote to adopt a version of the HUD recommended changes that scrapped the minimum rent hike, the increased late fees, and other proposed HUD renting regulations. Good luck when HUD comes back again with an even tougher plan for adoption.

A real long-standing FACT (and reported story should be) is that PHAR has been the inflexible element in the dialogue towards creating a better place for ALL that need public housing as a transition point and not as a permanent place for generational living. As long as this Board continues to be under the strong-arm, misguided, deceitful, and administratively destructive tactics of PHAR, the CRHA director will never be able to do her/his job and even adequate work for ALL residents.

Not making minimum changes is an insult to mature adults that recognize that not everything stays to same...generation after generation. Maybe one day "leaders" in Charlottesville will get it right and do tough-love but mature things to free the poverty-oriented minds of too many citizens that deserve to grow up!