I don't know if any of you out there in Blog land know this already but I discovered this newsletter(click title above) on the Yvonne Brathwaite Burke website announcing that "Paying for groceries with Food Stamp coupons has become a thing of the past".
I've been hearing about Mrs. Burke a lot lately in regards to her support of the ACLU suing the City of Los Angeles in order to have the symbol of the cross taken off of the Seal, and since I used to live and go to school in the district that she supervises I decided to check up on her.
Regarding the ACLU thing, from what I've gathered so far she, along with two other board supervisors, voted to negotiate with the ACLU to have the cross removed.
In regards to the newsletter, after you get past the gaudy, horrible design, scroll down to the bottom section where it talks about a new food stamp program dubbed the EBT program, which stands for "Electronic Benefit Transfer" card. This card will be used by the "participants" as a means of first collecting their "benefits" and then utilizing the card to purchase groceries or obtain cash advances from ATM's. Amazing!
They boast more than 5000 retailers so far (remember this is old news so who knows how many more) that will honor this card, including banks and credit unions. Prior to this interesting tidbit she mentions that over 150,000 "participants" are already using this card and another 140,000 will begin in March of 2003 (like I said, this may be old news to some of you), My math is very rusty, but doesn't that add up to 390,000 "participants"!? Close to half a million, right? Fascinating! How many total residents are in L.A. County? If you know, let me know. I think it is close to ten million. This was not the kicker though, for me, the kicker was the last paragraph talking about the advantages of such a program as EBT. The benefits was, for one, "There will no longer be the stigma of using Food Stamps coupons..." And two, "...instances of lost or stolen benefits will be reduced..." And three, "...EBT will help to mainstream welfare recipients into the commercial banking system" said Yvonne Brathwaite Burke. Incredible!
I don't know about you but I feel so much better now that I can receive handouts from the government without worrying about being "stigmatized" and feeling as if I don't really deserve it, or God forbid, being embarrassed that I am not out working and earning money for a living. Perish the thought. Thank the Lord for Yvonne Brathwaite Burke looking out for the "participants" of the L.A. County Welfare program.
Don't get me wrong here, I am no stranger to AFDC, my mom received it when I was a kid, for quite some time even. And while we were taught to be thankful for what we did have, I always new and understood that it was not a good thing to be on AFDC. This I learned from my father.
Lets clarify, it is good that it was available to us in a time of need, yet it was not a good thing to have to need it.
Somehow over the years this has been forgotten. I am reminded of Ward Connerly in his book Creating Equal : My Fight Against Race Preferences where he talks about a time in his young life when he and his "Mom" had to go on welfare for some time due to times being rough in the Sacramento area. He said that after no more than a month or so he got tired of the visits by the social workers and their condescending questions, and firmly demanded that he and his Mom not receive anymore checks. He then ran across his neighborhood to a local businessman and requested that he help him find work, within a weeks time he had a job making about $20 or $30 more than he was getting from AFDC which at that time (1950's or 60's) was about $60 per month.
This mentality seems almost nonexistent today and only serves as another example of how our foundation has been so damaged. Here we have a newsletter boasting about a new welfare program that makes it easier and more convenient to be in need. Throughout the entire newsletter no mention is made of welfare to work success stories or how the number of recipients or should I say "participants" has dropped or any such language. What is the job of a District Supervisor, or any public servant? To make the lives of the needy easier, better, or niether? How do you define easier or better? And how should one go about doing this? I would love to know your opinion on this matter.