LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Another view of Jeff Hayden

letter to the editorIn the absence of any communication from Senator Hayden regarding supportive strategies for new arrivals in our subsidized senior citizen highrise, we are now told that a 10th of our units are newly reserved for individuals coming out of the homeless shelters around town, and we are discovering, not surprisingly, that survival habits from life on the street don’t vanish easily and often don’t fit well in our midst.
I wonder just what my expectations ought to be regarding the current incumbents representing Senate District 62 in the State Legislature.
Nothing from a state senator who knows full well about transitional housing challenges. Nothing we can bring to our discussions with upper management. Nothing to call to the attention of our newly elected City Council member or our mayor. Nothing that addresses the continuing cultural diversity with which we all must cope in this part of town.
It’s not like this is a passing concern. The shortfall in transitional housing is chronic and touches all manner of challenging personal situations—homeless youth and  families, chronic chemically-addicted individuals who are very unlikely to escape these woes without serious support, mentally unstable individuals who frequently have been adrift for years, and, to be sure, many seniors who are  dispossessed because of other medical and/or low-income realities.
The Sanders folks urge me to ask Jeff to change his support from Hillary to Bernie before the March 1 caucuses are upon us. What I see is a weak reed who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, a ranking member of the upper house who apparently “goes along to get along.” Not the Jeff Hayden I worked with over the past couple of decades. Not someone I can honestly recommend to the new electorate we are all discovering. Perhaps State Senator Hayden and for that matter State Representative Karen Clark have passed their respective “use by” dates. It’s not like these social safety net issues don’t matter. It’s more about who will come knocking on corporate doors and how major public funds will be put to use in our vicinity. And who bothers to keep in touch.

– Fred Markus

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