Just a slight shift in perspective yields much insight. Problems, problems Canada? Hot Chinese real estate money and bottomed-out oil prices bringing you down, or bringing you over the border to shop your brains out?
All economies are suburban now.
Canada’s economic crunch and Western New York
A semi-disposable Internet moment caught suburban-poverty.com’s attention yesterday. It illustrates succinctly one of the themes we’ve come back to often.
Seems a young woman in Western New York ran afoul of the sheriff for having to resort to making her own license plate. Her cardboard plate looks like something a kid would do in art class. Even has the little New York state map in the middle of a crooked row of letters and numbers. It’s kinda cute.
Mainstream media networks picked up the story. This “going viral” prompted Erie County resident, Amanda Schwieckert, to come forward and tell The Buffalo News her side of the story. Looks like she struggles a bit to get by. Insurance, registration fees and a parking ticket had whacked Amanda financially. Yet, she could not keep her hotel industry job without her car. The state took her plates. Amanda made her own.
This kind of moment is straight from the pen of Barbara Ehrenreich or Linda Tirado, two popular writers chronicling how tough it is for working people to get by in America these days. Amanda exemplifies the dual nature of working class motoring. The expenses for a set of wheels often take things from bad to worse, can be unpredictable and enormously consequential. Amanda is facing some steep charges including felony counterfeiting. Ouch.
We can’t help but think that a little Jane Jacobs would go a long way in the life of Amanda and the millions of workers like her. Community design, or the general lack thereof, reinforces poverty. So much of North America is so totally car dependent its inhabitants cannot function in their native landscape without cars. Many cannot even intellectually conceive of life organized at any other level than that of total mediation by automobile.
Hopefully Amanda’s resourcefulness is a sign she’ll be okay.
Black Suburbia: From Levittown to Ferguson at the Schomberg Center (New York Public Library)
The workers catering to the Hamptons’ super-rich: ‘this is not paradise for me’. Among the women paying $1,000 for a massage and the men lounging in $100m homes in the billionaires’ playground of the Hamptons is a largely unseen, mostly Latino, workforce toiling all summer in order to survive the winter
image: screen grab theguardian.com
Heavy weather stories are often carried far and wide. And then are promptly dumped for some other easy-to-handle, self-contained media topic. Buffalo’s insane recent few days of lake effect snow has been a typical example. Impressive images of the speed and ferocity of the snow preceded features of the neighbours-helping-neighbours type. Then the news machine simply moves on. That’s why we liked this item on The Buffalo News.
See also: (421) Let it snow
Anti-poverty groups push for local living wage Windsor Star
Pretty much like they do everywhere else…
A push to give steadier shifts to part-timers New York Times
image: waiter wearing a mask in Taverne de Paris, St. Denis St., Montreal via Archives Canada
Sign of the Times is the recent project of a New York City artist/activist named Andres Serrano. Mr. Serrano went around the Big Apple asking to purchase the cardboard signs used by people begging in the street. The result is this: a rather profound short movie.
The point is that any approach to poverty worth anything requires creativity and respect.
image: via YouTube