Inklings from India

 

                              Inklings from India

                                                                             DWAYNE HUNN

 

 

“Seek to imitate… our Master, who when he sees a poor man does not wait for him to beg for  alms.”                                                                             Khun Boron

 

 

Here and There: Problems of Quality

Stay with me for some of my next few words as they walk down a street for you. After walking down this street I will at­tempt to become, in some way, analytical about the world that street lies in, and about our world’s relation to it. Both worlds are very important, although and because, their way of thought and motiv­ation are different.

Try to imagine that you and I are on the corner of that street. Trust me to guide you down it and view it to you as I feel you would. Trust me, because I lived on that street for ten months and viewed it as many times as you probably would on this paper.

The corner is a busy intersection jerkily flowing with small cars, an occasional rich man’s Chevrolet, two-tired and dilapidated red buses, bicycles, and carts of all sizes

—all laboriously pushed by thinly sinew­ed, dark skinned legs. The restaurant on the corner, with the walls opened to the street, makes edible curry. Edible, once you have gone through the initial stages of dysentery due to the initial eatings of it. The overhead fans do little to keep flies off your food. The etiquette of the waiters, who carry six glasses of water at once by inserting their fingers into the innards of the glasses, leaves a little to be desired. Carrying the water glasses as such is not too bad, but when the waiter cleans leftovers from the dishes, blows his nose in his fingers and then brings the glasses—then, more than etiquette enters in. Passing the restaurant, we edge around the queue (line of people) which winds down the sidewalk. They have queued-up to re­ceive their vegetable oil allotment. The third little shack dispenses it. The short squat man lying in the shack on a raised portion of wood is the proprietor. He lies there with his white clothes and contented smile almost daily. He does not seem to do much else. Others do it for him. We have passed the last of the little shops. They were selling articles from soap and ma­terials, to flashlights and lamps. All do­mestically made articles—this is the poorer area of the city.

Perhaps along with our visual concep­tions a little socio-economic background would aid our journey. The housing area we are now entering is one of the areas commonly termed the chawls. The chawls are India’s slum tenements. Here, a few hundred thousand of Bombay’s one to three million chawl dwellers reside.

Continuing down the street our senses take in the new and unexpected. But the sense mechanism is so flooded—shocked may be a better word—that initially it is impossible to express. But we do notice the obvious. The air of the street is filled with dirt, vehicle exhaust and the stench of dirty humans, garbage and excrement. But that is merely the air. Breathing this, we proceed down the street. We proceed slow-jostled and stepping between all the little people on the sidewalk makes movement such. We become impatient with the overflow crowd of the sidewalk and move to the street. There, part of the overflow crowd, we compete with vehicles for movement. On the curb of the sidewalk we have just left are little, weary Indian women commonly called “vegetable wallahs.” They sit on a little hemp sack with their income for the day, or week beside them. That income may consist of 40-50 small potatoes stacked, ready for sale, in piles of four. Moving in the street through the foul air and crowd our ears soon become attuned to the honks and screeches of passing vehicles, the call of vegetable wallahs, the clatter-chatter of the crowd, the wails of children and the blare of Hindi music. Looking through the crowd we can see into the room of a dirty grey, four-storied chawl. Through the barred window, we can see that pots, rags, pictures of holy men and very often a picture of President Kennedy adorn the meager wall space. The room we have looked into has that one barred window, one door and no fan. It is 15’x12’ and is home for usually 6-12 joint family mem­bers.

Outside the barred window lies a 20’ separation before the next chawl begins. That space is littered with dirt, rocks, glass, red Indian spittle, excrement and garbage. Mound the numerous large piles of garbage, dining cows and/or pigeons will be found at any time of the day. At night rats in large numbers will be found. Rats in Bombay are estimated at between 5-12 per person. Occasionally during the day, a person will be seen scavenging a similar pile of garbage. Hard to believe, but very true. No Diners Card needed for this club.

Returning to the curb our view focuses on a ten-month-old child of one of the vegetable wallahs. The mother keeps the child with her since the rest of her family is out trying to earn a few paises (like a penny). The child adjusts to the environ­ment, she must. The naked child crawls off the hemp mat and as it does so you notice the large sores around the pelvic area. Medicare? No, not even Johnson’s Baby Powder is available.

One observant walk down such a street is unforgettable. Many walks—and espe­cially living there—brings home the vi­cious circle of the meager life, education, and experience these people are forced through. The crowded and dirty living conditions put health, privacy and enjoy­ment at a bare minimum. Their food staples, rice and dahl, are severely rationed and spreading it to a joint family keeps that family frail and weak. During the school year, the children get out of this environment six times a week—to be edu­cated. They go to half day classes which average between 35-50. Teachers are not well paid or well trained, and the environ­mental background speaks for itself. With this classroom setting, rote memory, with next to no creative formation is the method.

At birth these children were as cute as, and their eyes sparkled, as much as any American counter part. But soon enough their eyes assumed a hollow, weak look. A Middle class American baby gets, and soon enough learns to expect, much dif­ferent treatment.

Incidentally, what we just walked through is how the upper lower class lives, the class which borders on the mid­dle class. The one-and-a-half to three mil­lion who live in clusters of disgusting hut­ments and under the skies on the streets are lower.

Peace Corps Reflections, Impressions:

That was a bit of the grass roots descrip­tion of a RPCV. The Peace Corp is meant to try to affect development on this grass roots level. Sometimes it can, sometimes it must work otherwise. Such was the case with our group. But out of this all of us learned something about the problems which blocked success at this level. At the same time one of our most important edu­cations was one of appreciation for the “so much” we have at home. As an Urban Community Development group, some of us came to India believing we should act as proteges of Saul Alinsky. That we should organize the lower classes, have them petition and/or fight for their right­ful, human deserts to the government bu­reaucracy above them. Yes, the beautifully pyramidal, governmental welfare struc­ture exists—on paper. But to expect re­dress of life’s grievances from that struc­ture is foolish, and the lower classes have never bothered to feel otherwise.

Being an American in the city also of­fers opportunities to get to know the upper and middle classes. The middle class has its own environmental hang-ups. They are aware of how the rich live, desire some of their possessions and experiences. Their teenage children are not like the chawl or hutment children—many of which have never been to the downtown, financial, entertainment center of the city. The mid­dle class teenager has seen it, experienced some of it and adds to the family pressure to enjoy more of it. But that costs money. Money comes from position. Appointment does not depend axiomatically on position, but class position plays a very impor­tant role in attaining these appointments. For those below the upper class it is usual­ly a hindering role. The economic struc­ture of developing nations adds to the hin­drance. The middle-class father would like to have money for a business venture, would like to have connections to aid this and would like to use both to put his children through the good private schools and then through a foreign university. With these status symbols his children’s aspirations will be more attainable than they presently are to him. Father has learned a little through life and has been stuck beneath the bureaucracy long enough to realize the impediments thwarting im­provement of his position. He can talk con­tinuously of these problems. He has not yet tired of talking, but has tired of be­lieving—if he ever believed such—that he or anyone can meaningfully change the structure. He is frustrated, but seems to have accepted his position—beat by the structure. India’s political structure offers few immediate, effective changes. Such a structure based on a 75-80% illiterate and peasant populace, supported by ensuing traditional beliefs and continued by a mod­erate (for Asia—except when imputed on its base) two-point four percent popula­tion increase; offers few clear spots in the smog.

A Commitment?

This is but a sketch of the problems of the world’s largest democracy. How does the rest of the free world, and particularly America, aid India with these problems? Proponents of aid would generally agree that it should be directed to developing human and economic resources. Opponents would point out that for 20 years we have aided nations like this yet they have not “taken off.” Their answer is— “therefore taper off.”

Some Human and Economic Thoughts

Patience has not been a particularly American virtue. Perhaps, due to this, some of our successes have come. Yet many of the underdeveloped nations have devel­oped a culture premised on an abundance of patience. To many Westerners this patience seems better defined as indiffer­ence or apathy. But they have also had certain bases for this feature which we have not. Many of these nations have had civilizations running into the thousands of years. Perhaps human nature drifts from conservatism, to patience, to indif­ference through such a span. Many are in energy sapping climates. Due to such factors, they have been left behind in science and technology; and population, in the meantime, has aggravated the human economic situation.

Foreign aid and patience returns this thesis to India. A few facts and figures gives some credence to the belief that per­haps the amount of foreign aid and pa­tience should be tied together.

  1. S. Economic Assistance Expenditures 1945-65

$ Per capita    ( ) Per capita rank

India            11.16                    19

Korea          136.88                      7

Taiwan        182.07                      5

Philippines     39.20                    10

For Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines, the U.S. has almost phased out its econ­omic assistance program. These nations are approaching the point where their ec­onomic infrastructure should allow them to self-propel their economies. Yet the amount of per capita assistance given them as compared to the world’s largest strug­gling democracy is strikingly obvious.

The reason for the difference is not solely our policy. In 1945 we were en­grossed with containing communism and generous amounts of foreign aid was one of our weapons. India was engrossed with the neutralist ideal directed by the charis­matic shadow of a Ghandi. Therefore, the discrepancies in relative aid receipts to various nations are possibly a significant reason for difference in economic devel­opment 20 years later.

Money means capital investment, this means more factories, which means more jobs, which means that kid in the chawls may land a job rather than idle in his family’s one room or on the street corner. In India, one facet of America’s aid policy is to pump money creating investment in­to the hands of the frustrated middle class father, and too, by doing so, aid the chawl kids’ needs also.

The program works something like this. America has supplied India with tremen­dous amounts of grain in the last few years (11 billion tons last year). Due to India’s precarious foreign exchange con­dition she has allowed her to repay in rupees. America can not use the rupees anywhere but in India. So, she lends 80% of it back to private entrepreneurs in In­dia. The other 20% is used for the admin­istrative costs of our governmental person­nel in India. The amount of rupees owed the U.S. is staggering. Thus, Indian gov­ernment officials often criticize this “Public Law 480” program as “foreign domin­ation of our economy.” A similar view would probably be espoused by intellec­tuals here at home who see exploitive motives in most of our giving. In India, the criticism comes from those who feel that either complete centralized planning, and/or complete Indian government con­trol over all economic aid allotments is the answer. The AID position is that private entrepreneurs and their initiative and profit motives are a needed part of the answer, not merely centralized planning. They also feel that over this double loan— which America never really expects to col­lect—they should have some authority. They also point out that the Indian gov­ernment has control over the distribution of this money by their process of licens­ing, which the capital seeker must pass through to gain AID grants. Indian criti­cism of this PL 480 process, for some of her above reasons, may be part of the answer as to why the rupee repayment is presently being phased out. By 1971 all repayments will be in dollars. ‘Where will she get them?

Business Perspective

Bombay is India’s most booming city. Industry. and construction is going on con­stantly and everywhere. Calcutta used to be in this position. But she has reached her physical limit. Also, detracting from investment there is the Bengali labor men­tality of “gheraos” (strikes—sometimes violent), and general disrespect towards— or self-pride if you interpret it on the Bengali side—toward the Berah Sabh (Big Boss). These two areas are the only real commercial, financial and industrial cen­ters in India. Therefore, they are also the two major tax sources, supplying over 60% of the tax revenue. (An 80% peasant population averaging only- 75 rupees a year is no tax source). India’s tax system, depending on whose stats you use, is either the highest or one of the highest in the world. So, businessmen in either of these cities constantly gripe about the chunk the government takes from them.

Chunks which presumably could go for re­investment. Even so, the tax system is not leveling the station of the very rich busi­ness men. Evasion and inefficient collec­tion keeps these men living in the splen­dor of contemporary maharaj as.

There is a movement afoot in India which some feel is the answer to India’s problems—alas the world’s! It is called Moral Rearmament and its title is self explanatory. If they were serious, these MRAs would concentrate their efforts on that rich class of businessmen from which many of their parents come. For among these select few there are not enough truly socially responsible individuals. Mr. Tata, the owner of Indian Airlines, Tata Oil and Steel and others, seems to be one of the few, as his wealth is seen spread in insti­tutions to better the lot of those below; es­pecially the Parsee community of which he is one. This lack of social responsibility, which in many ways seems applicable to our affluent, middle class society, will lead into my last comments on a facet of hu­man resource development.

                        Top

Education                       and Where It Leads

Bottom

For division’s sake, we could make four qualitative divisions of the Indian school system. In ascending order, the lowest is the village school. This is not based on ex­perience, but merely on reasoned compar­isons of the low quality municipal school, and their teacher attraction over that of village school. The second rung is filled by the municipal schools and Catholic orphan­ages. Then follows the semi-private and Catholic schools. The pinnacle is possessed by completely private schools and espe­cially well-endowed Catholic schools.

Three months ago, the government was talking of replacing these pinnacle schools with neighborhood schools. The language teaching medium, the student quality dif­ference, and the exodus of teachers were some of the problems this would cause. But it is to these schools that the upper-class elite sends their sons and daughters. Chauffeured to and from school, brought warm lunches from home by one of their many servants, placated by most of the teachers due to the power their parents possess—school to these students usually contributes to their spoiled, spineless, un­directed qualities. When they are chauf­feured through the poverty surrounding them they never think of it as their future responsibility. At this pinnacle only a rare Indian teacher will teach them to be ob­servant, thoughtful and critical. Rote mem­ory, paraphrasing of the textbook and un­imaginative homework are the standard methods of education. Athletics provide little in the way of character formation through discipline, sweat and grime. Lack of fields and unaggressive coaching are a major part of the reason. Their vacations, weekends, etc., are spent in air-conditioned homes, restaurants, parties and country clubs. Part-time work they do not think of, probably even if there was a labor market need, which of course there is not. High school graduation, after their keen pursuit of grades for grades sake, will find all seeking studies abroad. Some already with the intent of staying abroad, most unwilling to say but ready and willing to sway to that philosophy. Most feel little patriotism to their country, feel they owe it little and feel it offers them little com­pared to what is offered elsewhere.

This is the class which is being trained to take over the chairs of its society’s leadership. They can get by with a shallow education—as their success in foreign uni­versities proves. But can their societies of tomorrow get by without feeling the pulse of the masses’ needs below them? With­out them feeling responsibility toward those needs? Can they feel that pulse with­out now becoming more involved, in some small way, by volunteering their time and effort in teaching, building and experienc­ing the life of the 95 % below them? Are our affluent, middle class students differ­ent enough, when the worthy passions of our time seem to be misplaced from con­structive civil rights work, headstart pro­grams, etc., to constant good-time parties, uncivil demonstrations, etc?

Those being educated at the pinnacle will inherit the few spots of authority which exist in the political-economic in­frastructure of their developing economies. Those in the lower divisions of schools are inferiorly educated, partly due to the environment they live in. They are groom­ed to fill the dreary, routine jobs. From these jobs, which comprise the bulk of their societies system, an outsider experi­ences just what their environmental life and rote memory learning situation re­sults in. Almost all of the civil servant employees, firm managers, indigenous engineers, teachers, etc., have been groomed on being told an answer, or on finding it in a book. When situations, which you unfortunately may be the instigator of, present themselves and call for a self-initiated course of action — you are in trouble. You may be left waiting for hours, days or weeks over what by our standards, would be considered an inconsequential act. During this tune one of the above mentioned being dealt with will search policy manuals for the patented answer, or seek higher authority to dodge personal responsibility. It is considered cul­ture when things do not move fast in many Latin American and Asian coun­tries. But today it is part of the weak sys­tem of low quality education and thought which seems to be institutionalizing this type of action in those places. Due to the surplus of problems and dearth of re­sources to deal effectively with this low-quality education system, it becomes more institutionalized and less susceptible to fu­ture change.

The upper-class student can thwart the low quality educational system because they have the means to remain near the scientific-technical revolution. They have access to radios, books, travel (though ex­change restrictions are forcing many more Indians to remain provincial in their out­looks), etc., with which to stay abreast of the world. In fact, due to the low econ­omic position of the teacher, the students are often more abreast of the modem world than are they. The teaching profes­sion does not attract the better qualified and upper class people. This scale will give an idea why.

Starting Salary
Teacher (municipal)      Rs. 64/month
Teacher (private)             180/

Stenographer                 250/

Stewardess                    400/

Businessman                 1000/ up

Thus, if you are especially qualified, you must be very dedicated to pursue this profession.

I could go on. But perhaps enough known problems of India along with a few more complexities, hopefully revealed here, has served a purpose. As most media viewers know, India for the past few years has been in a position of strain. Due to this her political structure is also being strained to reduce the other social strain. The Con­gress party is no longer monolithic. She is bitingly chastised by the middle class, business dominated Swatantra party, by the wings of the Communist party, by the conservative and often chauvinistic Jan Sang party. The strains and criticisms have focalized many inadequacies and corruptions in India’s means of develop­ment. Hopefully this atmosphere will mean a more efficient path to change. But, at this possibly crucial stage, a major change in our foreign policy could be a catastrophe. I can look back to a personal level for enforcement here. Orphans in India go unclaimed for life. Catholic insti­tutions care for them. Yet the price of administration determines the amount of care available. Were it not for the free aid of powdered milk and wheat supplied by the U.S., rice supplied by Spain and canned goods (produced by the U.S.) sup­plied by Holland; the 150 orphans I work­ed with would be a smaller and physically weaker number. This goes on through the system, right down to the grains we supply the masses. Granted, much of this is pilfered by men with connections, amaz­ing amounts are eaten by rats (some fig­ures claim 20-25% of the gross supply); but without that amount that trickles down to the rightful, needy sources what would happen? An Indian state commissioner once told me, “If America was really our friend she would cut all foreign aid, leave us to flounder, suffer and face up to our problems alone in our own way.” Their own way would possibly mean a shaking out of their lethargic, apathetic frame of mind. But it would also possibly mean revolution, bloodshed, mass starvation, dis­ease, etc. The experience, if our Western, Christian mentality could sit through the bloody coliseum, would be ugly and in­humane. A consequently ugly, inhumane government could be the result.

The walk through the chawls was ugly. But without our understanding of its life and its causes, our aid and patience in changing these—it could be much uglier. One of my favorite quotes concludes and applies well to India and our relation to it. It concludes and applies just as well to our affluent society’s responsibility to the development of quality at home. Albert Schweitzer once said:

And for those who have more,

Those who need not struggle for existence,

It is for them to set the example.

 

Phalanx Academic Journal, Edited by William Allen, Claremont Graduate University, 1967

Xmas 2016

HO, HO, HO… my dear friend!

Are you helping Santa?

Merry Christmas and may many more good elves ring in a triumphant New Year 2017 for you and yours.

My sister continues building the Northern California record for audio books checked out from the library.  When not listening to those, talk shows, or University of San Francisco lectures, she pushes to improve the training of the company that supplies her 2+/- day a week assistants.  Marlene also trains her disability assistants on the importance of attending their union meetings, which recently helped improved their wages to $13/hours on the way to $15 over the ensuing year or so.

Solar sales angel Spencer Smith and his Apple-baited wife Nancy continue taking Marlene to fund raising dinner functions of the do-good agencies they support.

Resting enuff, Santa?

Many years ago, my Kaiser Primary Care Doctor said something  like, “Tell me if I’m correct, you are planning on running as hard as you can for as long as you can till everything wears out, right?”

I laughed, and didn’t put much thought into the last part of his sentence.  I am paying more attention to sentence endings now, and may even now be serving some kind of sentence, which my mom warned me about as she kept imploring “Rest more… Take it easy… Take a nap…”  

(If you are lucky enough to have a wonderful mother, pay attention .to even her offhanded remarks.  Somehow, even those are prescient.)

Instead of having my worn shoulder and torn rotator cuff repaired with stitches, I decided abouta year back to go out on my right limb by using my buttock’s bone marrow and stem cells to try to repair my former sling-shooting right shoulder.  But…  Due to a variety of reasons, which may include my jocular induced Ignatian (“Get up and run it off, Hunn, you rainbow chaser…”) approach to health and healing, my shoulder is still defined in largely Latin and Greek derivatives in November of 2016 by some in the medical world as:

“There is superimposed interstitial signal within the conjoined fibers of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendon measuring 1.1 cm transverse by 1.0 cm AP suggesting greater than 50% partial thickness tear. Previously seen signal involving the distal anterior fibers of the supraspinatus tendon appears less discrete. Thickening of the subscapularis tendon compatible with tendinosis. There is interstitial tear with mild medial subluxation of the proximal fibers of the long head of biceps tendon. Teres minor tendon…”

Even Saint Ignatius High’s boot camp Latin training conducted by my favorite SI Drill Sergeant, Mr. Leonard, failed to make my aging amyloid-free, I hope, brain easily “comprendo” what is going on in the above stew of words… But, it ain’t that good, and that’s without mentioning this clean hippie’s hip.

Where’s that Elysium cure-it-all machine when you need it?

Feel free to translate into grade school English, with which I still have trouble, so I’ll know how to start slinging stuff again.

Statistically, it is likely that a little less than half of you who voted, voted for Donald Trump and that mesmerizing beauty that stalks him on the elevator.  Since President-elect Trump likes to tweet, here’s a lovely tweety-bird like Christmas gift that won’t cost you anything and will save bloodshed, expensive military dollars, and heartbreak year-round.

During Christmas and through the New Year, why not tweet 140 characters to some of President-elect’s twitter sites or those related, such as:

#Trump, #realDonaldTrump, #Russians, #trumptrain, #uniteforAmerica, #trumpwatch

Ask him and those twitter followers to use their connections with Putin to build a program that People’s Lobby influenced Congresswoman Boxer to introduce as HR 1807 in 1989.

Here are some possible 140 characterish tweets to copy, paste, adjust, and tweet to the above and other addresses of your choosing:

Nixon opens China. Trump melts Russia via http://peopleslobby.us/awsc  & benefits nation & world via http://peopleslobby.us/awsc

Serve in space why not on earth? http://peopleslobby.us/awsc/aspc Bring back http://peopleslobby.us/hr-1807-1989-american-soviet-peace-corps/

Open the U.S.  To National Service   http://peopleslobby.us/awsc/ & Russia to Peace Corpsing with us http://peopleslobby.us/awsc/aspc

Why not shift military competition to the field of peaceful development http://peopleslobby.us/awsc/why/ & #climate care?

Tweet Trump.  Santa’s serious, tweet him.  Urge Trump to open Russia to peacedful service.  Tweet your congresspersons.  Tweet the media.  This Special Season, start helping the elves and St. Nick by helping build a band of do-gooders worldwide and turning out more reformed Scrooges and inspired Popeyes.  Thanks to George Ripley’s ‘Believe It or Not’ hospitality (captured my AirBaha), I spent a September week in DC with 22 Congressional staffs pushing  People’s Lobby’s robust  American World Service Corps National Service Congressional Proposal and urging them to reintroduce its US-Russian Peace Corps Proposal .

Daughter cries & survives.

With the world awash with homeless children, wars, refugees, collapsing glaciers, etc., isn’t it the right season to move the world’s two superpowers toward peaceful service and greatness?

Tired Syrian kids hoping bombs don’t fly.

Signing this reopened AWSCNS petition would also make Santa smile… https://www.change.org/p/field-21-million-american-world-service-jobs-corps-volunteers-over-the-next-27-years?te=npf

To help in other ways, click here: http://peopleslobby.us/how-help/fund-intern-chair/

Merry Christmas and may a Happy & Healthy New Year be with you.

Dwayne Hunn

Santa smiles at the triumphal thought of seeing a US-Russian Peace Corps reintroduced and gifted to the world.

Joe Sixpack Belches On NIMBYism

COASTAL POST –  SEPTEMBER 17, 1990

Joe Sixpack Belches On NIMBYism

As some of you know, Joe Sixpack re­cently took a job with OLTP (Office of Long Term Paining) in Sacramento. His job de­scription, outside of his after hours environ­mental responsibility for crushing his weekly average of 47 aluminum cans, in­cludes “Monitoring the Progress of Pain in the Capitol of NIMBYism.”

Aware of Maria through his advancing politics/law studies at the BAR (earned through seminar work at Smiley’s Schoo­ner, The Cantina, and the Alvarado Inn), Joe was miffed by his job description. In May he asked his boss, Ulysses Stephen Shirkit, this question:

“Sir, how does one monitor pain in the Capitol of NIMBYism when everyone

knows that everyone wants to live in that idyllic oasis. I mean, everyone knows that every 4th car in Marin is a BMer or Porsche, that every one either has a twin screw, 6 sleeper cabin cruiser or a hot tub, that even the torn and tattered Levis wearers are mil­lionaire rock stars or have cultivated millions through other magical habits…How can I monitor pain there?”

Mr. U.S. Shirkit explained to Joe that he had to get by the surface superficialities and into the basics of life, which Joe’s studies for the BAR should have made him aware.

Joe’s first assignment turned out to be study­ing the St. Vincent’s/Silveira (SVS) initia­tive launched by Robert Marx, obviously a cousin of Groucho Marx. The basic he stud­ied on SVS was land and the future of little kids’ lives.

The other basic his boss wanted to awaken him to was more down and dirty—politics. His computer analysis and tutoring from U.S. gave him his first lesson in illogical (termed “stupid” by BAR friends) land use planning. Joe’s computer monitor informed him that passage of the SVS initiative would cause an SOS to be floated by: low and moderate income households—Marin’s most endangered species; the Catholic Youth Organization—which is trying to continue generating finances to help troubled kids; the embryonic rail system—the long term answer to gridlocked 101, air pollution, and someone named Sadham Pastrami Who-sane.

Joe learned a lot in that assignment. So much so that he had to crash more than his normal after-work quota of six light, empty aluminum cans against his sweaty forehead. Today he thought he might have a similar post work need.

“Joe, find out what’s behind these stories from the Coastal Post saying that the Marin Conservation League, Sierra Club and Audubon Society are against the Marin Sales Tax, which will put 52 percent of its revenues into making railroads operational again in the North Bay,” U.S. said, as he handed Joe a stack of papers and a 1.44 megabyte computer disk.

Joe rubbed his bloodshot eyes, went to his 486 chip powered, LAN networked, laptop computer and asked his first question.

“Why are these environmental groups against the train? Isn’t the train more envi­ronmentally sound than a bunch of people driving around in cars?”

Against the liquid gel video came, “That is the same question former Mill Valley Mayor Ruth Schneider publicly asked a MCL spokesperson. MCL’s standard an­swer avoids the ‘environmental’ question by claiming a train would be growth induc­ing. Therefore, MCL says don’t let the train happen until there is ‘more’ growth con­trol.”

“Does Marin have a growth problem?” Joe input on the keyboard.

Red bold letters flashed on the screen: “I TOLD YOU THIS BEFORE, STUPID!…Marin’s population growth has average 4/l0ths of 1 percent per year for the last 15 years, equaling about 1,000 people per year. Only 4 percent of the total of 12 percent of developable land remains to be developed. 2 percent of that is flat land lying along the railroad right-of-way which these environmental groups and Groucho Marx’s cousin want to acquire for open space. This potential acquisition will bring 90 percent of Marin’s land into “sorely” needed open space.

Incidentally, California’s population grows about 2,000 persons per day. Most of them, however, don’t earn $90,000 a year and have $30,000 for a downpayment to allow them to purchase the median priced Marin home. Most of them are normal, hard working families who are only allowed to drive through Marin.”

A bit embarrassed by the computer, Joe read some of U.S.’s reports before inputting another question. One of the reports dealt with the National Sierra Club calling for housing and commercial development along lines. Joe input: “Why is the Marin Sierra Club against mixed use develop­ments at SVS and other suggested sites when their national chapter says that is how we must sensitively handle future growth throughout the nation?”

A gentle green filled the screen: “GLAD YOU ARE DOING SOME READING, JOE. IF MORE PEOPLE HAD TIME TO READ AND LOGICALLY ASSEMBLE THEIR THOUGHTS, INSTEAD OF BEING STUCK IN TRAFFIC AND GRINDING JOBS, I WOULDN’T NEED TO WASTE SO MANY PIXELS ON THE SCREEN. The Regional Sierra Club looks on the Marin Sierra Club as an anomaly in the environmental movement. In more basic BAR studies talk, of which you are more familiar, they would on this crucial 20th century issue of energy conservation, logi­cal land uses, and jobs/ housing balance be called an environmental hypocrite by any intelligent, logical, sober, poker player who knows how to call a spade a spade.”

Confused by so much information, and thirsty, Joe input “Does that mean the Sales Tax will win even with opposition from these recognized Mann environmental groups?”

“Joe, reread what I said earlier about what the National and Regional Sierra Club chapters say are the development patterns that can address out affordable housing, traffic and air pollution problems. Then, if you use environmental facts to draw logical conclu­sions, you will begin referring to these groups as “so-called” environmental groups.

‘To you question: If voters read in depth and understand the Marin Sales Tax Issues and use logic and common sense, they will pass the Marin Sales Tax. Politics, however, more often is determined by emotion and rhetoric rather than facts, real long term needs, logic, and common sense.”

Joe was thinking about that answer when he glanced at the clock. It was 5:05. Earlier the afternoon heat had him looking forward to his couch, a few beers, the Giants game and his favorite show, “Married With Chil­dren.”

“Enough of this serious stuff, I’m outta here.”

DWAYNE HUNN

(Dwayne sweats over affordable housing and traffic issues with Novato Ecumenical Housing. He sometimes studies and quenches his thirst with Joe. He recycles, too.)

ISOJI Suppport

ISOJI and Multi-Disciplinary Team, August 8, 2016
Congress Huffman:

Re: Support for The People’s Lobby/Dwayne Hunn’s “American World Service Corps (AWSC) National Service proposal”

Dwayne Hunn as presented his proposal to the ISOJI (e-so-gee) MDT on several occasions and the response has always be affirmative and supportive if not a necessary ingredient into plight of our straying teens and young adults

Collectively we would like to see this proposal forwarded for consideration by Congress as a viable, well thought-out social-economic support system, and certainly, an option for our young people.

ISOJI surmises the lack of technical and vocational tracks in high school and the 30 to 40% students not wanting to/or cannot attend college puts many students at a disadvantage in transitioning into the workforce. Add to that, the evidences that says 75 to 80% of high-schoolers leave the learning environment with low self-esteem, which means low resiliency skills and reduced motivation, which leaves them unsure about self and the future, and indeed, in need of an environment where they feel useful and have the time to acquire a sense of discipline that helps them sort out their life’s path.

Without question, the compelling arguments, from our point of view, lies in the large numbers unemployed and underemployed and the 35 to 40 % of students NOT wanting or UNABLE to attend college or an advanced technical-vocational training institution.

We see the general disposition, unrest, and the higher levels of negative self-worth and low personal efficacy reflected in societal conditions that too often manifests itself in criminal inclinations – and we know how hard it is for young people to overcome what happens to them when they become enwrapped in a discriminatory criminal justice system.

A number of groups such as Peace Corp, Cross Cultural Solutions, United Planet Abroad, AmeriCorps, National Association of Community Health Centers, The Corp Network, City Year, The Red Cross, State Conservation Corps and multiple non-profits and other charitable works often lack the type of centrality or direct volunteer arm needed to address America’s systemic need to structure healthy and productive youth-to-adult pathways.

Your office can look at this proposal as a complementary necessity to, without question, the need to build a national infrastructure nationally that serves a myriad of social-economic needs. This AWSCNS program could present a national image for addressing youth, many of whom seem to occupy a social vacuum rife with drugs, violent media, social disconnectedness, separated from the health and welfare attributes that our nation has promised.

For all these reasons, ISOJI and the Multi-Disciplinary Team and our CITT “Collective Impact” Community Equity Building Team, endorses fully, this proposal.

In closing, as a former Air Force intelligence manager let me add another reason this AWSCNS program should be implemented. Whereas the military use to be a haven, an option for growing into a healthy manhood, the military and/or war environment too often today does not provide that route. Service as depicted in this proposed bill offers a healthy route, while providing human resources to our overwhelmed non-profits and presenting to the public a government that looks and acts effective, outreaching, and caring.

Sincerely,

Ricardo Moncrief, Director
ISOJI 415 883-1757

Spread the word?

Jackson Browne lyrically laments in “Lives in the Balance”…

I’ve been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you’ve seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war…

boxdogoodorgs3

What if we introduced and passed People’s Lobby American World Service Corps National Service (AWSCNS) Congressional Proposal  and that sent a million paid Yankee volunteers a year to national serve in such organizations as:

Would the ability to hook Americans into wars lessen?

People’s Lobby successfully pushed Congresswoman Boxer to introduce HR1807, the US-USSR Peace Corps in 1989.

When explained and thought about huge pluralities of voters support AWSCNS and joint Peace Corps, especially in this age of climate and refugee challenges.

Why not build armies that develope peacefully ?
190 nations and no joint Peace Corps? Isn’t it time for building ?

Our problem is we lack prominent voices spreading the message of good will such enacted programs could do.

Might you consider using your voice to spread the word?

Isn’t it time to go big with Peace?

Raining volunteers who grow good stuff.
Raining volunteers who grow good stuff.

UnorthodoxFinancing

From the American World service Corps National Service Congressional Proposal

(G)                Donations by the Forbes Richest Americans  (The  2% Forbes 400 Solution)                                                                Over the last 30+ years, the wealth of America’s richest taxpayers has increased disproportionately as compared to the stagnated and declining wealth increase among America’s low and middle classes.  Fed Chair Allan Greenspan expressed his concern about the increasing income and wealth disparity between upper and lower classes in his March 2, 2005 testimony before Congress.  His answer to spreading wealth was to increase educational opportunities for Americans.  As Greenspan noted, the GI Bill of Educational Rights gave America an opportunity to build and strengthen their middle class.  The AWSC proposals increase America’s educational quality and capacity, while building our economy and national character

(H)                Consequently, a public web site linked to the AWSC web site will list the Forbes Richest 400 Americans, who have benefited most from our nation’s human and physical infrastructure.  Merely to be on this list in 2015, one had to be a BILLIONAIRE worth 1.7 billion.

Those who live in luxury bestowed in large part by the skill and education of all Americans will be asked at the web site, “What have you contributed this year to help make the world safer for today and tomorrow’s children?   Each month the web site will list donations that America’s richest have made to implementing the AWSC and reducing its cost to America’s taxpayers.

(I)                      Donations by certain low tax paying corporations.  — A large number of Fortune 500 corporations annually pay little or no taxes, according to such organizations as Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).  At the AWSC website, with additional information supplied by other relevant federal agencies and information sources, those corporations who have paid none, little, or received federal tax paybacks (negative taxes) for the past five years would be listed.  This section of the AWSC web site would strongly urge these light or none paying corporations to contribute to underwriting the cost of making the world safer for them, their businesses, and their children.  The site will remind them, including their stockholders, that by doing good — companies can do well.

These donations would be listed alongside their researched nominal and effective corporate tax rates and tax payments.  Such socially conscious donations could significantly reduce the AWSC’s cost.  For those who paid little, none, or negative taxes, Congress should not allow the donations to be tax deductible.  (See http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2016/03/07/27-giant-profitable-companies-paid-no-taxes/81399094/  for some details.)

(J)                    An AWSC spreadsheet for America’s highest compensated celebrities.

(K)                  An AWSC spreadsheet for America’s highest compensated athletes.

(L)                   An AWSC spreadsheet for America’s highest compensated CEOsCould these donate to AWSCNS escrowed account? http://www.forbes.com/lists/2012/12/ceo-compensation-12_rank.html  An AWSC spreadsheet listing CEO compensations of those who have received federal bail outs.

(M)                Charitable Trusts, Philanthropic Foundations, etc.  – Trusts and foundations may find the American World Service Corps meshes well with their goals of improving world and nation and reflect that in grants and donations.  If the Gates Foundation wants to eradicate AIDS, a robust army of American volunteers can make that happen by doing the hard, face-to-face groundwork.  If we want to reverse climate degradation, we will need more than 4,000 power point presenters, we will need tens of thousands of AWSC volunteers working daily for years with a variety of effective NGOs.  Foundations’ contributions to those NGOs (non-governmental organizations) working under the AWSC umbrella would also be listed at the AWSC site.

12)           Daily Stipend Costs of AWSC volunteers serving in NGOs

Initially, this AWSC proposal leaves the daily service stipends paid to those who volunteer for NGO service as the NGO’s funding responsibility.  However, the unorthodox (or as yet non-traditional) funding mechanisms listed here offer NGOs another means of funding some or all of their volunteers’ daily stipend expenses, as our proposed 2% Forbes 400 Donation graphic depicts.  Congress could allow those donated funds to cover daily stipend costs.

 

DC9-16

The American World Service Corps National Service  (AWSCNS) Congressional Proposal  opens up filled jobs, provides new jobs, trains and educates for the environmentally beneficial jobs and needs of the future, makes stronger friends and neighbors with enhanced civic IQs.

Over ten years ago, People’s Lobby started working on the AWSCNS Congressional Proposal with a unanimous endorsement from the 2006 California State Democratic Convention.

This Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) did not think that a decade later I’d still be pushing to enact this needed, overwhelmingly good, and cost effective piece of legislation.

The AWSCNS would ramp up over seven years by adding about 150,000 paid volunteers per year.  In the seventh year, one million volunteers would serve annually through already effective do-good organizations, such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat, Doctors Without Borders, Head Start, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Americans Friends Service Committee, TechnoServe, Heifer, Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, State Conservation Corps, In-Need Schools, Hospitals Therapy Wards, Homes for the Elderly, etc.  After 20 years of one million serving annually, directly addressing needs, and building sustainability, Congress would consider the AWSCNS for sun-setting after its 27th year.

In 2009 Congress implemented the Ted Kennedy Serve America Act.  Nonetheless, even at its proposed unmet largest, the Kennedy Serve America Act is 1/4th the size of what is called for in the AWSCNS Proposal,  and, as we warned, its budget was whittled on soon after memories of Senator Ted Kennedy faded.

Could you set up a time to meet with the Senato/Congressman, Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, or appropriate senior staffer during the week of September 18th-24th in hopes of building additional support for the AWSCNS Proposal?

The AWSC National Service Proposal would stimulate and strengthen America’s ability to peacefully and economically solve problems.  With its proposed coming-of-age non-traditional funding mechanisms moved further along by Gates and Buffet pushing their Giving Pledge, enacting teh proposed AWSCNS  could cost effectively involve the richest .1% in voluntarily building worldwide sustainability.  A summary of some of these benefits is here.

For a PowerPoint overview of the essence of the AWSCNS Proposal, view the first 12 slides at this link.

When I discuss the details of the AWSCNS Proposal to large audiences, they overwhelmingly support it.  It would do the same among the constituent audiences of those visionary congresspersons who push, introduce, and support it.

Included in the AWSCNS Proposal is a call for other nations to deploy their own similar armies peacefully on the battlefields of need.  In 1989 People’s Lobby was instrumental in moving visionary Congresswoman Boxer to introduce HR 1807, calling for the creation of a US-USSR Peace Corps.  Recently, we have asked her to do it again before she retires, but her ride into the sunset may be too close.

Therefore, we’d like to see whether you would be interested in resurrecting this visionary piece of HR1807 legislation.  Imagine how much more beneficial Bear and Eagle relations would be today if 20,000+ Americans, Soviet Unioners, and Russians had served together by 2016. View 8 slides on the US-Russian Peace Corps here.

It is never too late to start something that could do a lot of good. Investing in volunteers in do-good groups in turbulent political and climate challenged environments often returns the most good, especially in communities with needs.

We look forward to meeting with you or appropriate DC staff in September.  Thanks.

Dwayne Hunn Ph.D.

People’s Lobby Executive Director

415-383-7880

Represented by Congressman Huffman, California’s 2nd

CASA housing explained

Workplace Housing

Skylark Meadows, Novato sets state affordable ownership record
Skylark Meadows, Novato sets state affordable ownership record

Affordably Owned by not-super rich folks

Section 8 rental subsidies for generations?

Section 8 tax dollars taken from your taxed wallet to help low income households for generations?

Or

Own a home and its appreciation in the North Bay?

One time financial partnership assist to boost your toward financial independence?

FANNIE MAE

(Federal National

Mortgage Association)

1990 Blue Book National Model

CASA (Community Assisted

Shared Appreciation)

FANNIE MAE recommends emulating CASA across the nation

What is CASA?

Allows low and moderate income households to share in the benefits of homeownership in overpriced areas.

How?

The household buys in partnership with a non-profit, public benefit trust fund, foundation or public agency.

Why?

Allows civil servants, teachers, nurses, small businessman to live in their work community, share great American dream of equity appreciation thereby building true community and reducing traffic and environmental pollution caused by forced commutes to distant housing.

Town house, condo, starter home costs $225,000.

3 person household =  $40,000 income, good credit

Saved, family gift     =  $20,000 down

 Qualifies $125,000 9% mortgage, $1,0005 monthly

 Sales price                   $225,000

Less down & mortgage    -(20,000+125,000)

Shortfall                        $80,000

$80,000 = from Affordable Ownership Fund (CASA)

Funded from?

MCFoundation Affordable Ownership Trust Fund

Redevelopment Agency Fund

Open Space District or replica

Marin’s Most Pressing Need Trust Fund

Developer in-lieu fees…

Combination of above

How repaid?

Deferred principle and interest 2nd mortgage

“Sleeping Second Mortgage”

How is financial independence gained by homeowner?

Homeowner shares proportionally in appreciation.

20,000 down + 125,000 mortgageHomeowner’s share

$225,000 Sales Price                         Unit Sales Price

$145,000          =      65% homeowner’s share

$225,000

Homeowner will live in home, maintain and care for it, take tax write-offs, and if and when he/she sells it reap 65% of the appreciation.

How is solvency of CASA (Workplace/Affordable Ownership Housing Fund) maintained to continue program?

CASA contributed $80,000 toward purchase price.

$80,000    =  35% CASA’s share

$225,000

At sale CASA will receive 35% of appreciation which will return to the CASA fund to provide funds to repurchase that same or another house for the low/moderate income household seeking affordable ownership housing at that time.

X years later the CASA assisted buyer sells

Selling Price  =             $400,000

Less original costs         -225,000

Appreciation                 $175,000

CASA fund receive 35% or $61,250

of appreciation/contingent interest to assist next low/moderate income buyer.

Homeowner receives 65% of the appreciation or $113,750 to buy another home.

General Plan Update

San Rafael should add this to Housing Element as:

  • Corner stone of its affordable housing program.
  • In-lieu fee contribution to CASA Fund should be option available to developers rather than just prescribed %age of low income units in their developments
  • Benefits employers whose employees want to own and not commute long distances.
  • Adds option to developer’s available tools.
  • Workers prefer owning to renting.
  • Builds community pride.

Fund this program via:

  • Budgeting it as line item
  • Transferring some Redevelopment Agency funds to it
  • Proactively pressing the Marin Community Foundation to fund it
  • Educating the community on the more pressing need to fund it versus such less needed well-funded programs such as the Open Space Acquisition Fund.

The dearth of affordable housing – and the traffic congestion it causes – is Marin’s most pressing need – not more open space.

The family is best educational source children will ever be exposed to.

The house you live in is the schoolhouse you’ll learn the most from.

Every family should have the opportunity to proudly own a home near where they work.

To build strong families and the benefits they bring to the community, this should be a priority program in every General Plan and every endowed public benefit agency in pricey Marin.

3 person household =  $40,000 income, good credit

Saved, family gift     =  $20,000 down

 Qualifies $125,000 9% mortgage, $1,0005 monthly

 Sales price                   $225,000

Less down & mortgage    -(20,000+125,000)

Shortfall                        $80,000

$80,000 = from Affordable Ownership Fund (CASA)

Funded from?

MCFoundation Affordable Ownership Trust Fund

Redevelopment Agency Fund

Open Space District or replica

Marin’s Most Pressing Need Trust Fund

Developer in-lieu fees…

Combination of above

How repaid?

Deferred principle and interest 2nd mortgage

“Sleeping Second Mortgage”

How is financial independence gained by homeowner?

Homeowner shares proportionally in appreciation.

20,000 down + 125,000 mortgageHomeowner’s share

$225,000 Sales Price                         Unit Sales Price

$145,000          =      65% homeowner’s share

$225,000

Homeowner will live in home, maintain and care for it, take tax write-offs, and if and when he/she sells it reap 65% of the appreciation.

 

CASA program a model

Novato Advance       May 9, 1990

Viewpoint

 CASA program a model

        By DWAYNE HUNN

Some interesting things have been happening at Novato Ecumenical Housing recently. Last month NEH was notified by the Federal National Mortgage Association (FANNIE MAE) that our Community Assisted Shared Appreciation (CASA) home ownership program for low and moderate income households will re recognized in FANNIE MAE’S  1990 Blue Book as one of two national models shared equity home ownership programs. FANNIE MAE uses its prestigious annual publication to recognize programs that it believes should be emulated by other cities across the nation.

The national recognition does not come without some irony. For years, NEH  has struggled to obtain additional funds to expand our CASA program in Novato and throughout the county. So many political, environmental, and bureaucratic boulders have been placed in our path that we often feel like Sisyphus, the mythological figure who was compelled to roll a stone to the top of a slope, the stone always escaping him near the top and rolling down again.

Perhaps the uphill fight, taking place among the rolling hills of exclusive Marin, is part of the reason the program has been recognized. CASA has assisted more than 60 low and moderate income families in purchasing their first homes in Novato. Families earning as low as 34% of Marin’s median income have purchased homes through this deferred principal and interest second mortgage home ownership program. Our average second mortgage assistance been $37,000 per family and their average income has been $22,700.

NEH is proud of the award. We are prouder, however, that we have been able to help many starting families obtain the Great American Dream. Our assisted owners are not, as our uninformed opponents like to portray them, low-lifes. They are nurses, sheriff and police department employees, private entrepreneurs, secretaries, hard-working, single moms, etc. They are essential service providers and they have an almost  non-existent mortgage failure rate.

NEH has been able to raise more than $2 million to fund this program. The sources from which we raised the funds might help explain to some who oppose our work why we often argue on behalf of sensible, long-term environmentally sound developments. Source of Affordable Ownership Housing Trust Funds:

  • 53 percent developer contributions. Densities have been cut so drastically in Novato that no new sources of in-lieu fees are foreseen in the near future.
  • 18 percent Community Development Block Grants. We have not received and additional CDBG funds since 1984.
  • 15 percent NEH’s recapture of its equity share and second mortgage. Soon NEH will be the second largest supplier to its own program. Unfortunately, that means the program is not growing to handle the increased need.
  • 11 percent San Francisco Foundation. The San Francisco Foundation was replaced by the Marin Community Foundation.
  • 4 percent Marin Community Foundation.

As you can see, most of our funds which allow us to assist Novato residents in purchasing their own Novato homes come from developer contributions. When reasonable densities are drastically reduced to such a low point  that developers cannot justify the expense of affordable unit development or developers are not required to contribute in-lieu fees, we cannot help balance the jobs/housing imbalance.

The Brookside development is an example of how drastic density reductions hurt Novato’s ability to balance housing with the purchasing power of local residents. Ten years ago Brookside was approved for 120 units, of which 34 were  to be affordable. The Novato City Council then cut the allowed development to 70 units on 59 acres with no affordable units. Now come “concerned” citizens want the density to be cut to 0 units and want to you to assess yourself a parcel tax to purchase the Brookside  land for open space.

This desire for more open space is taking place in a county where more than 84 percent of the land is set aside in open space, agriculture reserve and park land. The petitions are being gathered in a city where, in 1980, the city averaged four units per acre and where today that average has dropped to about 2.4 units per developed acre. Politics, like awards, often has an ironic character to it.

For more information, call 892-8136.

 

 

 

Canal Alliance Wilson

CanalAllianceLetterHead

 

May 5, 2016

To whom it may concern:

I am writing to support People’s Lobby’s American World Service Corps (AWSC) National Service Proposal.

By implementing a national service program, communities can engage their residents in community service through nonprofit organizations and receive a stipend for their work.

National service would be a wonderful way for young people to acquire skills and insights as full-time national service volunteers while becoming part of the service fabric that helps knit our nation together.

As a nation we seem to be losing the cohesiveness that grew out of the Greatest Generation. That cohesiveness grew in no small part from the tremendous number of Americans who did a variety of National Service projects at home and abroad.

I hope you will support bringing character-enriching national service back to America.

Thanks for your consideration.

Tom Wilson, Executive Director

Canal Alliance

(415) 306-0426

91 Larkspur Street, San Rafael, CA 94901

"Take the initiative."