published Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Cook: Reduce poverty by 25 percent

Dirtiest city.

Empty waterfront.

A slugworth of an Internet, certainly not the fastest one in the land.

A downtown to avoid.

No outdoor scene.

No aquarium.

No tourism.

No tech-entrepreneurism.

And now look at things.

"The Chattanooga Way," said Perrin Lance on Monday, at what may turn out to be the most remarkable lunch meeting of the year.

Over boxed Subway sandwiches, Lance and 20 others -- urban farmers, elders, students and nonprofit organization leaders -- talked about the power and history of the Chattanooga Way, and how they hope to steer such transformative energy toward what has become the life-and-death issue in our city.

Poverty.

And its eradication.

"A poverty-free Chattanooga," said Lance.

Wait, wait. I'll say it for you.

Can we really eliminate poverty from Chattanooga?

Is it even possible to create a poverty-free society?

These are noble questions, especially for philosophers (and columnists) with full bellies. My two cents: of course we can.

Humans can structure society any which way we want, and if a poverty-free land is our priority (other societies have deemed it theirs) then such a reorganization may be difficult, but it's not impossible.

Just because things are doesn't mean they have to be.

But you can't pay the rent with questions. We have reached the point when the asking -- is it possible? -- matters less than the acting. When the alarm rings, firemen don't sit and thoughtfully ponder the possibility of a city without house fires.

They act.

And our city is burning.

• Forty-two percent of children in Chattanooga are poor.

• Twenty-seven percent of our residents live below the poverty line.

• Chattanooga is the eighth most unhealthy city in America.

• In some of our poorest neighborhoods, 40 percent of residents have no high school diploma.

• We're facing a crisis of affordable housing, with housing projects set to be demolished and many urban renters already paying a dangerous amount of their paychecks in rent.

• Our poverty is feminized, with women heading up approximately two-thirds of our poor households.

• Black households in Hamilton County earn an average of $26,000 per year, compared to $51,000 for whites.

"For every household earning $200,000 or more, there are 20 earning less than $50,000," said Lance.

Our poverty rate is almost double the average for the rest of the country. Our number of poor children is almost twice the state average.

It is the Other Chattanooga, a trail of tears in slow motion.

"We can talk about the causes of poverty all day long," said Lance. "But I'm not interested in that. I'm interested in solutions."

Lance, executive director for Chattanooga Organized for Action, and Sparka Perry, a graduate student at Southern Adventist University, formed Poverty Free Chattanooga, a group open to anyone interested in the first step of a most glorious goal.

"Reduce poverty 25 percent by 2019," Perry said.

Monday's lunch was to begin forming a task force that would study and recommend the best anti-poverty practices across America. Conservative ideas and liberal ones. Secular and religious. Policies that change the individual and the system.

A comprehensive plan would then help unite as many influential groups as possible.

"Government entities, neighborhoods, public and private entities," Perry said.

And churches. We're known as the most Bible-minded city in the U.S., so shouldn't ending poverty be the one thing we can't quit thinking about?

"Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me," Christ says.

It's not as if this group is the first to work to reduce poverty. Many heroic men and women have been in the trenches doing the work, long before now.

But the boldness of their vision -- a poverty-free Chattanooga -- plus the dire nature of the situation -- our poverty rate is almost twice the national average -- pushes us to confront just how much we believe in The Chattanooga Way, and whether we will apply it toward social justice.

"Chattanooga can create a new model for how cities address poverty in the United States," Lance said.

If we can, shouldn't that also mean we will?

Contact David Cook at dcook@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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aae1049 said...

The real spike in local poverty began at the beginning of the housing crash, where poverty was about 17 or 18 percent in Chattanooga overall, then increased about 10 percent. We are still in an economic recession where under employment causes the poor to be impacted first due to a shift in jobs that educated workers will accept.

I believe that most people will work if employment opportunity is available. The flight of manufacturing and crash of the construction industry and housing starts are growing poverty, and liberals can talk and meet. It will have no impact until the economic drivers are repaired.

The real problem are the resources allocated by government to assist impoverished neighborhoods that is being siphoned and diverted in the trickle down from government to corporate welfare. I mean TIF is for "blighted" communities. What would $9 million dollars have done in the Westside vs. the Black Creek Golf Course.....the list goes on and on. What would the $1.1 million the city and county gift to the rich entitled at the Chamber of Commerce annually do for one small neighborhood. It is all about the government's priorities.

July 8, 2014 at 8:01 a.m.
conservative said...

When Liberals, especially Liberals like Mr. Cook talk of reducing poverty you better hold on to your wallet because he like all Liberals have picking YOUR pocket in mind.

Lots of statistics here.

I don't know if his statistics are true but I do know that one can lie with statistics and many Liberals do in their efforts to create more programs and get more checks to their like minders.

There are NO proposed solutions here just insistence that we (he means the taxpayer)can reduce poverty.

July 8, 2014 at 8:04 a.m.
zulalily said...

People who speak and write of reducing poverty are usually looking to do it with someone else's money. When I read about "free" breakfasts and lunches for Bradley and Hamilton County students this fall, my first reaction is that there is no such thing as a "free" lunch. This is just more of the liberal, socialist movement to redistribute wealth in this country.

At some point, people have to be willing to give up their stance as "victims" and do something to help themselves. They have to understand that most middle-class people have worked hard to get an education, they have worked hard at careers and jobs, and they are tired of paying for free stuff: housing, food stamps, Obama phones, and on and on for people who want to sit somewhere and play the victims.

I grew up in a home where my parents had grade school educations and they both worked hard from my first memories. My father did manual labor: farming, building fences, carpenter's helper, etc. When he ran out of work such as that, he picked cotton for area farmers. My mother cleaned houses, took in ironing, etc. They never sat around waiting for someone to hand them anything. What happened to people who are willing to work at whatever job they can get to take care of themselves and the children they choose to bring into this world?

So, what Cook doesn't say in his article is how much of other people's hard-earned money he wants to put into reducing poverty. He sounds like a politician here, sitting and dreaming about a world, NOT where people pull themselves up out of poverty, but a world where what middle-class workers have is taken and handed out to others who already are on the government dole.

July 8, 2014 at 8:20 a.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook wrote:

"Forty-two percent of children in Chattanooga are poor"

Liberals always bring that one up.

When I was kid it was close to 100%. We had child labor laws, ( still do).

I earned money mowing lawns, shinning shoes, looking for coke bottles people had thrown out for that 2 cents.

Why do Liberals keep saying that nonsense?

July 8, 2014 at 8:39 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Cook has a lot of self inflicted white guilt, and these kids were not even around for the bad behavior or civil rights.

July 8, 2014 at 9:09 a.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook wrote:

"Twenty-seven percent of our residents live below the poverty line"

Baloney!

A whole roll of baloney!

The lie is in the word "live."

Some people may earn less than the Federal Government poverty line but they are eligible for and receive many benefits at little or no cost to them.

These, because of government programs pay little or no rent, food and medical bills which account for most of "living" expenses.

These then do not "live" below the poverty line.

July 8, 2014 at 10:39 a.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook wrote:

"Chattanooga is the eighth most unhealthy city in America."

Who believes that?

July 8, 2014 at 10:49 a.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook wrote:

"In some of our poorest neighborhoods, 40 percent of residents have no high school diploma."

So what does being poor have to do with a free education for them, free transportation to school and free lunches?

I grew up poor and I got a high school diploma.

What does being poor have to do with the price of eggs in China?

July 8, 2014 at 11:06 a.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook wrote:

"In some of our poorest neighborhoods, 40 percent of residents have no high school diploma."

Maybe Mr. Cook has in mind poor morals. That sure could explain why.

Wait!

I take that back, Liberals like Mr. Cook don't talk about morals and won't have morals taught in school.

July 8, 2014 at 11:13 a.m.
LibDem said...

When I was a little kid, I worked from dawn to dusk to pay for a little food to keep me going - No, wait! That was zulalily's fantasy. I just starved to death.

July 8, 2014 at 11:16 a.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook wrote:

"Our poverty is feminized, with women heading up approximately two-thirds of our poor households."

Liberals have attacked morals concerning divorce, fornication, Homosexuality, adultery and children out of wedlock.

You reap what you sow.

And Mr. Cook and other Liberals still oppose Biblical morals being taught in school.

July 8, 2014 at 11:51 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Conservative, any criticism of the poor is your "racism" showing, you know that. Behavior can't be criticized.

July 8, 2014 at 11:54 a.m.
conservative said...

Those false charges are surely coming LaughingBoy.

July 8, 2014 at 11:59 a.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook wrote:

"Black households in Hamilton County earn an average of $26,000 per year, compared to $51,000 for whites."

Yea, and most of these "households" don't have a father as compared to white "families."

Again, a moral problem.

July 8, 2014 at 12:03 p.m.
conservative said...

I get it.

Don't blame me, I'm just the messenger.

July 8, 2014 at 12:19 p.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook quotes:

"We can talk about the causes of poverty all day long," said Lance. "But I'm not interested in that. I'm interested in solutions."

I have not seen one solution, just open to interpretation statistics and Liberal propaganda such as "Chattanooga is the eighth most unhealthy city in America."

July 8, 2014 at 12:39 p.m.
Ki said...

Unfortunately, like many other towns and cities, Chattanooga's solution to its poverty problems has been to round up its poor and dump'em to parts unknown, which only led to a worsening of the situation. Much of the violence in this and many other cities and towns can be traced to plans to gentrify (weed 'n seed) targeted poor communities to make way and seed-in people with higher incomes. Everything works with everyone sitting around a table in agreement, mapping out plans. Then comes reality and the devastation and chaos those ill hought out plans create, and not just for the poor.

July 8, 2014 at 1:02 p.m.
Hunter_Bluff said...

Connie, Who's biblical "values". If the examples of racism, homophobia and antipathy to anyone different from you are the values you derive from your bible - we don't need them. Why would we teach intolerance, pomposity, arrogance, disdain for others that you've been taught?

July 8, 2014 at 1:06 p.m.
conservative said...

"Monday's lunch was to begin forming a task force that would study and recommend the best anti-poverty practices across America. Conservative ideas and liberal ones. Secular and religious. Policies that change the individual and the system."

"Conservative ideas and liberal ones."

"Secular and religious."

Polar opposites, so there is not a chance that any meaningful agreement will come about.

Now, look at Hunter Buff's comment as an illustration. He is instinctually opposed to Biblical values.

He falsely charges me with racism as I predicted earlier.

He charges me with "homophobia" while my position is the same as that of God. Therefore God is "homophobic" in Hunter Bluff's eyes.

He is stridently anti Bible!

He is obviously intolerant as well and a hypocrite for using the word.

"Can two walk together except they be agreed?"

July 8, 2014 at 1:27 p.m.
perrinlance said...

Every fact cited in David Cook's article can be found, along with more, at our website.

http://chattaction.org/city-divided

Thanks!

July 8, 2014 at 2:08 p.m.
conservative said...

Reading on down I found this gem:

"...pushes us to confront just how much we believe in The Chattanooga Way, and whether we will apply it toward social justice."

"social justice"

Whoa, "social justice."

"Social Justice," a Socialist term if there ever was one.

I don't bet but I could bet a Coke that a "living wage" will be discussed in those meetings as well as other non productive and doomed to fail taxpayer funded schemes.

July 8, 2014 at 3:23 p.m.
aae1049 said...

David, direct for census and city data has more reliability than TFP, who has a liberal bias problem. TFP never lets the facts get in the way for the liberal agenda.

July 8, 2014 at 6:01 p.m.
una61 said...

What are the proposed solutions to the perceived problems?

July 8, 2014 at 6:36 p.m.
Ki said...

We could all start by doing away with the negative perception many have of the poor. That of being lazy, therefore somehow less human, less deserving than the rest of us. Somehow many have this negative perception of the poor that they are a moraless people who've created their own dire situation. From the time we cross paths with them to their children entering school they're often set up for failure. They are mirror images of us with less who are often treated horribly and punished for being poor.

The late Maya Angelou said: "If it's true a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, isn't it also true a society is only as healthy as its sickest citizen and only as wealthy as its most deprived?

July 8, 2014 at 8:09 p.m.
conservative said...

perrinlance said...

Every fact cited in David Cook's article can be found, along with more, at our website.

http://chattaction.org/city-divided

Thanks!

====================

I went to this site.

These people are community organizers!

Sound familiar? Think Owebama.

These people are a coalition of Atheists, Socialists, radicals, far leftists, Homosexuals/sodomites, environmental nuts, animal rightists.....

Get the picture?

July 9, 2014 at 8:02 a.m.
Ki said...

They must be on the right path, conservy. No doubt similar was said about your Christ in his time. ;)

July 9, 2014 at 8:53 a.m.
conservative said...

The difference is that it was false for Jesus Christ and true for these.

July 9, 2014 at 8:57 a.m.
Ki said...

You really think so? You really think! You really think so..... %)

July 9, 2014 at 9:01 a.m.
conservative said...

They identify themselves at their website.

http://chattaction.org/city-divided

July 9, 2014 at 9:14 a.m.
GaussianInteger said...

Conservative would be the guy hammering the nails if he was around during Christ's time.

July 9, 2014 at 9:19 a.m.
Ki said...

LOL! so true Gauss...so true! You hit the perverbial nail on the head with that one. Lol!

July 9, 2014 at 9:31 a.m.
sagoyewatha said...

ki, you seem to be running wild here. Who "rounded up and dumped" people in Chattanooga? When did this happen? Where? And what Maya said is just errant baloney.

July 9, 2014 at 9:39 a.m.
conservative said...

GaussianInteger

You can deny the word of God, but you can't refute the word of God!

No Homosexual/sodomite will inherit the kingdom of God, Gaussianteger!

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

July 9, 2014 at 9:39 a.m.
conservative said...

This is just one of the statements of unity of these community organizers:

"White people have power and privilege at the expense of people of color and peoples of the Global South."

http://chattaction.org/principles-unity

July 9, 2014 at 9:44 a.m.
Ki said...

sago, what? In the Sam hill are you talking about? Where did you get that round'em up and dumped in Chattanooga from? Who said anything about dumping anyone in Chattanooga?

reading is fun-da-mental/comprehension is price-less! Try it. ;)

July 9, 2014 at 9:51 a.m.
conservative said...

Ready for another statement of "unity" by these far left radicals?

"Men have power and privilege at the expense of women."

http://chattaction.org/principles-unity

unity?

Who are they fooling?

July 9, 2014 at 10:01 a.m.
conservative said...

It got quite.

Was it something THEY said?

July 9, 2014 at 10:25 a.m.
conservative said...

Here is another "unity" statement by the radical Chattanooga Organized for Action:

"Able-bodied people have power and privilege at the expense of people who are differently abled."

http://chattaction.org/principles-unity

July 9, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.
sagoyewatha said...

Ki: Rereading needs to be as important to you as remembering, since you can not recall what you wrote on this page. You wrote,"Unfortunately, like many other towns and cities Chattanooga's solution to the poverty problem has been to round up its poor and dump em (sic)in parts unknown..." Remember now? It is not true, but it sounds like a good plan. In fact, I'll drive the truck if you are on it. I didn't say it was your fault,I said I was blaming you.

July 9, 2014 at 6:02 p.m.
conservative said...

Here is another "unity" statement by the radical Chattanooga Organized for Action:

"Heterosexuals have power and privilege at the expense of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, and questioning people."

http://chattaction.org/principles-unity

July 9, 2014 at 7:27 p.m.
Ki said...

I know what I wrote, sago. You failed to comprehend what I wrote. I said nothing about dumping anyone in Chattanooga. I said Chattanooga, like other cities/towns, plans to dump their poor. Remember the local drummers and their marching bands and their letter writing campaigns to local news opinion sites and forums, openly hostile towards the poor and homeless? Demanding the last mayor round'em all up and dump'em across the stateline? Then when he refused to go along with their devious plans that same group started another campaign to smear him in an effort to have him removed from office?

July 9, 2014 at 7:32 p.m.
Hunter_Bluff said...

This article made connie so happy. He had so many people to hate, facts to question when he himself has no facts. Wonderful example of his bible. If only this article had been about poor gay people it would have been perfect for him. connie here's a bibilical quote from the part of the bible you never bothered to read.

From Matthew 34-40 "Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

July 10, 2014 at 8:01 a.m.
conservative said...

Sorry Hunter_Bluff, you lack understanding.

THE UNRIGHTEOUS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KING OF GOD!

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NAS

July 10, 2014 at 8:14 a.m.
conservative said...

Here is one black Liberal, Juan Williams, who gets it.

What he gets is the lack of morals and Godliness being taught in black churches and it's inescapable ties to poverty.

This from the latest Cal Thomas column:

"On Fox News Monday night, Juan Williams faulted the "black church" for not doing more to rescue African-Americans from cycles of violence and poverty. While he didn't make the connection, I will. Too many "reverends" have traded eternal truths for temporal power. While not ignoring slavery and discrimination, most once preached messages about righteousness, sin and redemption, which brought changes in behavior. Too many modern "reverends" have made their bed with the Democratic Party, which has delivered their people from nothing, and has mostly kept the poor mired not just in economic poverty, but a poverty of spirit."

http://townhall.com/columnists/calthomas/2014/07/10/chicago-a-town-that-wont-let-you-down-n1860534/page/full

July 10, 2014 at 10:16 a.m.
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