This is just a blog – just one man howling in a sea of wolves (in all the wolf forms – patriarch, matriarch, pups, etc. – all that is beautiful about wolves). And I’m not even howling – just pointing towards the obvious in a time where the obvious makes the MOST sense, but no one considers it.

Dear Mr. Mayor Elect Adams… From your communique:

• Nearly half our city’s eighth graders drop out before receiving a high school diploma. This is an economic and financial time-bomb: dropouts earn on average $300,000 less over their lifetimes than high school graduates. Meanwhile 75% of state prison inmates never graduated from high school.

• Portland is facing local impacts of what some economists fear will be the worst national recession since the Great Depression. It is estimated that up to 30% of Portlanders are trying to make ends meet
at a poverty wage job or are unemployed.

This global depression (recession, whatever you want to call it) is begging for thinking that goes “beyond the box.”

Let us use all the key phrases that gets measures, bonds, bills, etc. (ie. policy) passed by the majority/double majority when needed – such as “investing in our future,” “sustainability,” “economic development,” etc. (I know, there are a lot of “etc.s” here, which is sort of my point), and connect the dots to find that:

These dropouts – and really, a lot of today’s kids, no matter what grade and what “passing” level they’re at – are telling us something obvious – that the system is broken. We are paying more attention to this now because the entire global financial system is broken… or at the very least, breaking.

We also know that these children – all children – are the key to our future. And it’s not because they will be able to recite passages from famous text.  It will be because we will give them the opportunity to follow what is true in life.

We need to invest in our children – our future – by allowing them access to the real meaning of life. The art of growing a garden. The art of connecting humankind with its surroundings. The art of calling bullshit, bullshit – that “fair trade” with China isn’t fair. And what’s worse is that it follows a path that led us into this global mess.

Our children, in these times, are asking to be engaged differently (in the round-about-way teenagers ask).

Mr. Mayor-Elect, invest in our future. Don’t encourage change that in reality asks these children to simply digest textbooks to help them pass standardized tests – ask them to provide for our future. Ask them to tend a garden. Ask them to build bicycle frames. Ask them to design greywater systems that restore natural habitat and save tax payer’s money. Ask them to re-code city policy that allows for greywater systems!

Embrace the role of “non-traditional mayor” and right this ship. Remind us of what is important in life.

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