Strictly Stasi
by Anthony Stasi
Nov 03, 2009 | 6704 views | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
That didn’t take long.

Governor Paterson has been quite sure that he was running for re-election (or election, since he was never elected governor in the first place), and now he is sort of changing course. Now he says that he might see what his chances are of actually winning, and my guess is that it will not be a lengthy study. His chances are not any worse now than they were when he was sure he was running.

The president came to New York and tried to cajole Paterson into not running. A loss in Albany signals a weakness for the president. Paterson initially remained resolute in his effort to run, and was offended to be asked to not run. Who could blame Paterson? He is a long-time, well-liked New York politician. He was an elected official before the president ever was.

What happened to get the governor to even think about not running? If Paterson does not run for governor in 2010, look for the White House to assign him as ambassador to “wherever” as an olive branch. Paterson is a likable guy and nobody in his party wants to look like they are steamrolling him.

Jeb Bush in a Sunshine State

They say that politics is Hollywood for ugly people, or maybe it’s just Hollywood for the less good looking. But whatever the correct wording is, a poll in Florida makes this interesting.

Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, has had to endure all kinds of uncertainty about his political future due to the family name and what the last eight years have meant. That’s okay, since he benefited from the name a lot as well. But Jeb is almost always tied to his brother. Less athletic, less appealing, less known, and with a smaller base of support, Jeb was always the “other brother,” sandwiched between W. and Neil Bush. He is also the only Catholic in the family.

But Jeb was a popular governor of a large state. Now, however, even out of office and with the country experiencing Bush fatigue, he still more popular in his state than the current governor and the young up-and-coming Marco Rubio. Bush is polling at 46 oercent to Governor Charlie Crist’s 41 percent. Polls can be fun when you don’t have to pay for them.

Questions on Homelessness

I get a lot of questions about homelessness from people because of my work on homeless and low-income housing policy. Most often people ask if there are a lot more homeless in the last few years than is usually the case. The gut reaction from people is that the economic crisis has caused a bevy of homelessness.

Most major cities sponsor a lot of programs to address different types of homelessness. What people do not realize is that there are different types of “homeless” categories. The main focus of government for the last five to ten years has been the chronically homeless. They are the people that have been in the homeless cycle for - give or take - two years or more. Many of the chronically homeless have mental illness or are substance abusers - or both, which is sometimes referred to as “double trouble.” Many have neither of these afflictions.

The federal government, and most cities, has tried to address this with new approaches to housing and while the results are never great, they are good.

The people that are actually affected by the economic downturn are those losing jobs and not being able to pay mortgages and rents. Those folks are often steered toward prevention programs that help them stay above water for a period of time. Can this population add to homeless statistics? Sure, but many times these people find a way to get back into the economy.

The perception that the person you see laying on the floor in Penn Station is someone that was working at AIG or on Wall Street a year ago is not really the case too often. Chronically homeless are people that have gotten to a point where they almost certainly cannot get back to society without real professional help – be it from government or from private organizations and faith-based groups.

The “at-risk” homeless are usually people that lost their jobs and then ran out of savings. The second group is a little easier to get back on track.

The mayor and the last two presidents of the United States have taken chronic homeless seriously as an issue. But it’s important from a policy standpoint to see the difference in the two populations.

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