5/06/2012

Handing Out the Fish Once Again

If you give a man a fish he will eat today. But if you teach a man to fish he will eat forever. I don’t like to quote Christians, but this seems relevant to recent events that just took place inside Portland this last week. Mayor Adams just came out with his budget, and he said he was going to give 7.5 million to the Portland schools. Now that is counterproductive to what we need. If the city followed my scholarship plan, we would not need to be giving money to the Portland schools. With 7.5 million we could have funded about 300 scholarships in the first year. Instead we are just “giving them the fish.” This will not solve the problem. I can hardly call it a short-term fix, more like an exit strategy for Sam. It didn't work for G.W., and it won’t work for Sam. My plan would fight economic injustice by improving the city of Portland’s infrastructure for the long term. I want to give 500 full-ride scholarships over 5 years (100 scholarships a year) to youths who graduate from Portland Public Schools to a public Portland college of their choice. The city could also provide optional room and board located near the campuses. In return I would ask that the students work 80 hours a month as union employees in the different city bureaus. This would help these students improve their work experience, live, become educated, and pass it along to the next generation of Portland, investing in the city’s future and their own future. It would make families want to live inside the city of Portland to compete for one of these scholarships. It would increase property values if more people started to buy houses in the city or even live in the city. It would even increase school district enrollment. This means we wouldn’t be closing schools, firing 110 teachers and being in the loan shark business. This isn’t The Sopranos for gods sake. The job of the mayor is to grow the city and the population. One of my opponents thinks she can fix the schools. She is throwing a really good pitch to be superintendant of PPS. Watch out Carole Smith. However, I’m in it for the whole city and trying to move in the right direction for a future we won’t have unless someone new steps up. More people means more tax revenue for the city to spend on its dying infrastructure. Now that doesn’t seem that bad if you ask me. In fact, it’s what we need to be doing. As civic leaders we need to be teaching people how to fish rather than just giving them that damn fish.