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October 21, 2011     West Seattle Herald
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October 21, 2011
 

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6 Friday, October 21, 2011 West Seattle Herald C MMENT ,11 Nrlr]rln  11 Widening the Circle of Prosperity By Mike McGinn the inequality we face. That's just going to We are living in.a time of deep inequality. Statistics show the United States is experiencing the worst ncome inequality since 1928. The top 1% control 34% of the nation's wealth. And it hits unevenly. Communities of color and those who were already experiencing low incomes, even during the boom. are struggling the most. Unemployment is at 9.1% - that's lower than it was at the peak of the recession, but still too high. Those who still have jobs aren't necessarily better off. The New York Times recently published an interesting statistic. The recession technically ended in June 2009. And we have been slowly adding jobs. But since the end of the recession two years ago. household incomes have actually declined by 6.7%. That's at the same time as bankers are taking home record profits and huge bonuses. Even in what is supposed to be a recovery, we're still seeing inequality widen. There's a lot of anger and frustration out there. And for good reason. Look at what is happening here in Washington State. The state legislature is facing another $2 billion deficit. They're looking at closing that gap by making cuts to schools and to human services - and that's on top of the big cuts they've already made. That won't reverse make it worse. The public sees a growing disparity. The public is worried about how they're going to make ends meet. And they don't see politicians responding. Nearly a month ago, on September 17, a few dozen protestors res )onded to a call to "Occupy Wall Street" to protest the growing inequality in our society. As the movement began to grow, others echoed the call and began to occupy prominent public Dlaces in major cities across America. It is not surprising that Occupy movements have started in urban places. Cities are where you can most clearly see the stark differences between those that have security and prosperity and those that don't. Many of those who are hurt most by our nation's economic policies live in cities. They gather here to express themselves. This is a moment that has been a long time in coming. When I talk to mayors across the country, we share the public's anger at our unequal economy. We are upset that we have people sleeping out on the street and families going hungry but face state and federal budget cuts that make it more difficult for us to do something about it. Our sympathies for the protestors and their cause must also bebalanced with our sworn obligation to uphold the law. Here in Seattle we have been working hard to protect public safety and the public interest in park spaces, while ensuring that individuals can express their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly. Mayors in other cities have facedthe same challenge. But this movement is about more than tents and park rules. It's about the need to confront inequality and to start figuring out what we as a community and a country are going to do about it. We can continue the policies that favor the rich at the expense of the poor. Or we can come together and build the kind of jobs and make the kind of investments that build a prosperity that is shared and sustainable. Seattle is a city that does not turn away from injustice. We have a long history of social and economic justice movements that have helped to widen the circle of prosperity. But it is clear that in this moment of inequality and persistent economic weakness there is much more that has to be done. Seattle can and should lead the way forward by not only naming our problem - but by determining how we will solve it Mike McGinn is the mayor of the city of seattle. He can be reached on the web at www.seattle.gov/mayor/contact.htm Take Two #1: The Boomerang Kid By Kyre-lin Horn It's a bird[ It's a plane! It's..."Hi Mom and Dad, I'm home!" One of the latest media 'it' topics is that of the boomerang generation, n general this refers to the 18-25 years-old range recently designated by demographers as the new tweeners. According to them, we're not adolescents anymore but we're not quite adults either. By returning home after college, I have become a 22 year-old walking statistic. Many of you may (or may not) remember me as the author of the column "In Transition" published in this same paper, which ended about four years ago. When last left all of you I was graduating from Garfield High School, set to start my freshman year at Loyola Marymount University in California. "In Transition" was an exploration of oncoming maturity and. hopefully, an honest glimpse into the lives and opinions of teenagers at that time. Now, I find myself at yet another crossroad. I graduated last May, after four years, with Bachelor's Degrees in both Asian Pacific Studies and Screenwriting (very practical, I know). I was both in the Honors Program and on the Dean's Honor Roll all four years. The first semester of my junior year was spent studying abroad in China, a place I returned to the following summer on a grant for independent research. And was awarded multiple scholarships for academic excellence. Stay with me, I swear I have a point. After all of that, one might expect me to be fast-tracked to the fancy domain of so-called maturity and 'adulthood.' Don't feel bad. I was suckered too. The truth of the matter is that my credentials are not really all that special or unique. Many of the 'boomerangers' have transcripts and resumes that could grind mine to dust. And it's becoming more and more true that higher education doesn't equal increased job security. So I have boomeranged back home to this growing neighborhood soon to be collaterally quarantined by the viaduct closures. Am I bitter about the system? Not particularly. Frustrated perhaps. Maybe even cognitively constipated but not yet bitter, rm young, educated, well spoken (when I want to be) so it shouldn't be overly difficult for me to find a nice comfy salary once I really put my mind to it, right? According to a study by Twentysomething Inc. and popularized by almost every US news distributor, 85% of the college graduating class of 2011 will be forced to move back home. According to all of these articles, the contributingfactors can be wound down to three conspirators: vast student loans resulting from s.oaring tuition rates, decreased availability of above minimum wage jobs and increasingly high housing costs. If you've kept in touch with the news, you know all these things already. So what? What aren't they telling you? Well for one, the claim that the negative stigma associated with moving back home is all but gone is false. We may no longer judge each other by these standards of inde oendence, but we certainly judge ourselves. The reason that demographers don't consider us adults is that we don't know how to be adults. We try and we try to be as independent and self-respecting as we can, but how grown-up would you feel if your parents still decided when your friends could come over? That decision (and multiple others) is and should be entirely within parents' rights - I am absolutely not saying that it isn't. Subtle restrictions like these are damaging to the confidence many twenty-somethings have in their self-worth. They make us feel like kids. Anc even kids only like feeling that way on their own terms. Finding the balance between social and economic practicality and emotional and LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Wh ere are the people of color? Dear Mr. Robinson, Hello, my name is Mary Poi. I am 10 1/2 years old. I am using the West Seattle Herald for homework that is due at the en(J of October. on my community. I was wondering can your newspaper put pictures of all colors of people? My homework is on my community and my community in West Seattle has many colors of people. The West Seattle Herald mostly has white people - always? Where are the other people, the rest of the community? I want an A+ on my homework, but it won't happen without colorof the Rainbow, that is my title. Thank you, Mary Poi Bullying is unacceptable To the editor: I was touched by Jennifer Hall's re;)ort on 'Froshing' at Solstice Park, or more accurately punched in the stomach. On June 8, 2007, I was fifteen years old, and I was attacked by three students I didn't know from Garfield High School. They grabbed me and tried to put me in the trunk of a car; all in the name of "froshing". I remember that day clearer than anything. As freshmen we are told that this is some rite of passage that we have to put up with the bullying to be part of a friend group, and we receive the message that if we say something the authorities won't take us seriously. Ms. Hall is right, it is bullying. Many freshmen feel they can't come forward. Many are tortured, and then two years later put new freshmen through the same pain they themselves were put through. This is disgusting. Why should we allow anyone to check their morals at the door during school spirit days? was lucky enough to escape and to have real friends and a good family that supported me through the difficult time. Many freshmen aren't that lucky. As ran down the street away from school, I called my mom in hysterics. What else do you do? I have never wanted my mommy more in my ife. I ran to the office and talked to school administrators. Later I decided to press charges and talked to the cops. There were security cameras in the building I was in. The authorities never checked the tapes. I learned who two of the three assailants were, they didn't care. They told me they would do nothing until learned who the third assailant was. As read Ms. Hall's article, it all came back. I couldn't help but feel just as scared as I was that day. Just as helpless, t had psychological maintainability is up to each individual family unit. No two are the same so the rules shouldn't be either. But there should be rules. For me it is monumentally mportant that I contribute to the household. especially since I am allowed to live rent- free. It makes me feel less the worthless freeloader that I am. Increasing people's self-confidence is an extremely lucrative in ustry in this country. We obviously value it. Everyone wants to feel like they are worth something. So to conclude the first column of my new series. Take Two. I'd like to remind parents with grads living at home like myself that the majority of us want to be grown-up. Don't coddle us. We aren't long lost children wandering in from the desert. We're adults who need a little help finding our way on the map even if that occasionally means rolling it up and hitting us upside the head with it. Kyra-lin Horn is a 22-year-old local recently graduated from Loyola Marymount University with degrees in Screenwriting and Asian Pacific Studies. She lives in West Seattle. She can be reached care of Ken Robinson at kenr@ robinsonnews.com. no idea what they might do to me. could have been beaten, sexually assaulted, and left somewhere with no way to get home. That possibility was as frightening, or more frightening, than having to fight off the assailants. No one should ever have to experience that kind of feeling and I am greatly disturbed by the fact that despite my efforts, students, parents, administrators and the Seattle Police Department stil fail to respond to this issue. In that moment I would have done anything to protect myself. If I were a student who carried a gun; I would have used it, and that scares me. How can we, as a community, live with ourselves if we do nothing? Doing nothing IS tol do something. It is to say that these assaults can continue. People are getting hu. How can we, a-s a community, not stand up and protect our students? No type of bull/ing is acceptable, especially in the name of school spirit. Abbie Lorensen