It's important to keep in perspective the goal of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: to help families experiencing food insecurity make ends meet ["Counting Cards," WW, May 15, 2013].
The audit revealed that public-assistance programs like SNAP operate with 99.98 percent integrity in Oregon. The federal government has the bulk of the authority to legally investigate fraud, especially those committed at the retailer level.
Fraud is unacceptable, but let's resist the urge to vilify struggling families. Every effort should be made to prevent fraud. Let's not overreact and create a lengthy and bureaucratic process that unduly burdens the vast majority of SNAP recipients that use the program responsibly.
I just wished the credit and subprime mortgage industries would have exercised the same degree of integrity as SNAP did in Oregon.
Part of the solution to this is to expand what you can buy using those Electronic Benefit Transfer cards. They do not cover such things as toilet paper, toothpaste, paper towels, basic toiletries. Expand the ability to buy those, and I can bet some "missing cards" would no longer go missing.
PORTLAND LOO AND YOU
I'm a big fan of the Portland Loo, and have found them convenient to use a few times ["Money Bucket," WW, May 15, 2013]. They offer enough shelter and privacy to get the job done, but not enough for drug-dealing or sleeping. They don't require self-cleaning technologies, just a hose to wash them off.
If the city won't market them, I sure will. Go to one and watch the number of people who use it. Then picture those people (if the loo wasn't there) walking into neighboring shops or restaurants to ask if they have a restroom. At off hours, or if they're drunk, picture those people finding a bush, back alley or storefront in which to do their business.
I suspect the loos provide a more functional, safer and cleaner city for all of us. I would love some hard data to back that up.
This is what happens when so-called leaders forget how to say no, or when there is no one around to stop them. Crazed individuals (toilet = bubbler, really?) will team up with an enabler (here, Randy Leonard) to gold-plate public facilities and turn them into white elephants, while giving themselves and their collaborators jobs.
CLEANING UP THE MUSTARD
Isn't that nice to use a four-letter word about the Catholic nuns and their mustard ["Yellow Bellies," WW, May 15, 2013]. You should be ashamed of yourselves. But I did find a four-letter word for your publication: The Willamette Wipe.
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