Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Friday, June 05, 2009
  You might have noticed....
I have turned on the comment moderation feature for blogger. It will stay this way through the election.

While I have always valued open debate and even enjoyed the the bare-knuckled rancor, I am now running for office and this blog is, whether I want it to be, or not, part of my public persona. Hence, I will not allow my own blog to be a tool for those who would intentionally cause my campaign problems. If you want a civil discussion, I will certainly allow that on the blog, but character assaults will not be approved for posting.

And, after reading some of the sillyness on the topix threads, I think I made the right decision. If you want to bash me, go over there.

As always, I welcome your emails and comments that you prefer be kept off the record. Keep 'em coming.
Greg...You do not give enough credit to those that read your Blog with an eye toward the rational. I am not a fan of "comment moderation" in any form. Sure there is sillyness out there but when you are in the public eye you have to take the positive along with the negative. That is one of the Mayor's big problems, he can't take any criticism.
A positive public official can listen to all points of view, even those that attack him, and learn from all.
I believe comment moderation is sensible unless the people who post comments identify who they are along with the comment.

The problem with the idiocy over at Topix is that anybody with an axe to grind can do it behind the cloak of anonaminity. What you end up with is a bunch of crazies who post snarky comments just for the fun of it.

Since you are now a public figure, some form of defense against these anonymous bullies is only self preservation.
Oh I forgot Greg....Good Luck! Hope you succeed in your quest.
Ugh. I can't even read those topix threads. The ratio of insults to actual ideas is just way too high. Discussion? All for it. Anonymous and angry drive-bys like you find there? All those personal assaults? Meh.

Admire you for jumping in to the fray, and for not being intimidated by all the ugliness. Democracy lives or dies by ordinary citizens being willing to jump into politics. Way to keep it alive, Roach.
I always thought CHBPOD reminded me of Cheney. Even W knows enough to keep his mouth shut about successors.
Topix is funny and boring all at the same time.
Thank you Greg for allowing me to post-- I would like to verify your position on housing-- in you press release== you said that you wanted to reduce the number of afforbable houis uits in the city-- but a blogger who attended one of you meet and greets said that you denied that and what you wnated to dowas re-distribute povert throughtout the city based on the "new" idea (actually very old) that poverty breeds pvert and that if you take people out of the povert ghetto and place them in middle or working class neighborhoods- they will emulate thir nrighbors and aspire to greater things---please clarfy that ---because I think it is a harebraned proposal-- but I would like for you to set me straight on this---I may have misread something in the translation--chbpod
let's try it again---just what eaxctly is your proposl on affordable housing?? reduce the number of units or redistribute them throughout the city---I have rw-ead the first one in yor press release and heard about the second one from someone who attended a meet and greet--please explain---thank you chbpod
Clark - I'll get to your question this afternoon. I spent most of yesterday in the emergency room for an infection and still feel like crap.
OK GReg- it's about 7:30 AM on Thursdau as I type---sorry you feel like crap--and the waether has been pretty darn depressing--sorry I double posted but I thought my first one had been deleyed so I took out the snidleys--and re-posted--I really would like to hear your proposal--I may disagree- but at least I can re-act to you directly and not you by hearsay--thanks--- chbpod
Clark- As you probably know the city owns quite a bit of housing. Most of it is either section 8 or section 202. For a city our size, our percentage publicly owned housing stock is too high.

Here comes the tricky part -

Section 202 is a good thing for the city to be involved in. Helping elderly residents does not create the same social costs that section 8 housing does.

Section 8, when clumped together in projects, tends to become a magnet for problems. As you put it on topix, poverty begets poverty, and concentrated poverty has higher rates of crime, domestic abuse, substance abuse, etc....

Unlike your characterization of my proposal to lower the city's ownership, my plan does not necessarily reduce affordable housing in North Adams. Many (most) private landlords in NA take section 8 and we currently have a glut of housing in our community.

Those who truly qualify for subsidized housing will not have trouble finding an apartment or house to rent. What you might lose by having private landlords involved in the screening process are the "hangers on" who tend to be at the center of many of the problems.

To put it bluntly, North Adams has enough subsidized housing - 12% as of 2000 - Probably somewhat higher now. Property values in the city are way below the state average. If somebody needs a place to call home, North Adams is already affordable for both subsidized and non-subsidized households.

The communities that need to focus on "affordable" housing are places like Williamstown, etc... where a police officer salary cannot qualify a decent house. And if you are poor in Williamstown, you had better hope that you find one of the few landlords that take section 8 - otherwise, you are going to end up in..... North Adams.

We do far more than our share already.
So Greg, just to clarify, how do you solve the problem? How do you "break up" established neighborhoods, even if it is for a greater good?

Is there a lack of mid-level housing that would suddenly become available if you up the rents and stop taking section 8?

Do you start condeming more buildings and take a knocking ball approach to drive down the supply?

I'm not being snarky, I'm just really curious because it seems to to be a short term problem for a long term solution.
Amy - Attacking the cycle of poverty that exists in North Adams will take a multi-fronted decades-long approach. Downsizing the city's role in section 8 is only part of it.

As for the supply versus demand, the city's ownership of such a high percentage of the low-income housing stock is actually a hindrance in determining what "the market" actually is in our town.

While properties like the Greylock projects are very well built, both MoFo and Brayton Hill are cheap construction that will need to be replaced in a generation, regardless of who owns them. I think a private developer should play a role in determining whether certain structures should stay or go based upon whether they can make money, or not.
OK Greg this is what had me stumped--- the City of North Adams does NOT own any "affordable housing" units--- none- nil - nada--rethink your position and propsal-- you may be correct that there are too many affordable housng units in the City- but the City owns none of them----- check it out--I did - you said it so authoratative that I thought you might be correct-- if you were it had escaped me all these years---my bad ---chbpod
Allow me to rephrase - The North Adams Housing Authority, created under state statute, whose board is appointed politically and locally, controls the properties.

And I hope you are not intentionally mixing the terms Low Income and Affordable simply to try and trip people up. They are distinctly different definitions under the law.

The city council and the mayor can do quite a bit to put a collar on public housing controlled by the NAPHA.
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"Livability, not just affordability." - Dick Alcombright

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