Monday, January 10, 2011

January is time to look forward to priorities

Scott Yeazle... Serving the Twin Ports

January is the time to look forward, make plans, and set goals. People always ask about my goals and priorities. Some wonder if I will run for office, but the answer is “not anytime soon.”

As chairman of Twin Ports Action Coalition I see things I want to accomplish and things I want to change. One is the amount for General Assistance and MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program). These rates are too low. The amount of money for people on General Assistance has not changed for more than two decades. It has been $203 since 1986.

I would like to see some of our legislators try to live on $203 a month. Many people on GA have a disability that makes it impossible for them to work or hold onto a job, yet the federal government does not recognize them as disabled. Minnesota should force the federal government to help make the process easier for those with mental or physical disabilities.

As a Duluth Human Rights Commissioner I see many changes needed in our society. We need to work to educate the public and prospective employers that stereotypes are wrong. This year our state legislature proposed immigration policy similar to that of Arizona, giving police the right to stop people on the street, question them about their immigrant status and demand to see legal documents.

Ending hatred or discrimination and making sure everyone has a home are goals, but realistically neither will happen in 2011. I will work for policies to ensure nothing gets worse. I hope that every elected body will work to enhance everybody and not tear down the walls of hard work that people have been working toward for years.

As a Hillsider board member, my goal is for this newspaper to keep shining a light on the good things going on in the Hillside and Lincoln Park. Last month we highlighted Paul Steklenski, who has recently retired from Positively 3rd Street Bakery. He worked in the East Hillside for 27 years and was “positively” a good influence.

This month we highlight the PASS program, which works to help parents get involved with the schooling of their children. Frequently I hear that this paper means so much to so many. I enjoy my time on the board, and I look forward in 2011 to working to continue to use this media as a way to build community in our neighborhoods.