By Mike Thayer
Crissy Cannoli is named the person of the year for bringing more homeless to the area and Karen Kubby is a finalist for*successfully* getting a tax hike in place for downtown businesses.
Wow. Talk about a lack of common sense by the DePressed Citizen Editorial Board. Rewarding a homeless magnet and a socialist. Isn't that great?
The DePressed Citizen has been issuing their "Person Of The Year" award since 1997. Past recipients include the Englert Civic Theatre Group in 2000, Rudolf Juarez in 2006, and Atul Nakhasi in 2007. How is a group a person? And isn't that the same 'Englert' person that begs the city of Iowa City for money every year despite promises they wouldn't? Rudolf Juarez wants Iowa City to become a Sanctuary City. Atul Nakhasi's big "Person of the Year" accomplishment was fighting a proposed city ordinance that would have raised the entry age to Iowa City bars from 18 to 21 after 10 p.m.
Given who the DePressed Citizen decides to give this *award* to annually, it doesn't deserve much credibility.
This year's recipient, Crissy Canoli, is the Executive Director of Shelter House, a homeless magnet. She has a record of compounding the homeless problem in the Iowa City area. She doesn't work to reduce the number of homeless, she works to make things more attractive to the homeless, to draw more homeless people here. Hey, pssst, Iowa City is a better hangout than Cedar Rapids....
The DePressed Citizen gave an award and recognition to a person that mismanages and literally compounds a problem as opposed to reducing the severity of it.
Does that make sense to you? That's journalism?
Look, people complain and rightly so when a corporate CEO mismanages a company; bad decisions make production costs go up; the demands on employees increase; as a result the profit line remains stagnant or in many cases even declines. And yet the CEO still gets a big annual bonus..... Rewarding substandard performance and failure makes sense? Nope.
But these same people for some illogical reason don't complain when a homeless CEO mismanages the mission; her bad decisions result in public subsidy costs going up; demands to address larger *needs* (results of more bad decision making) increase; more homeless come to the area because of the new, bigger, has-more-features-and-subsidized-offerings $4 million facility (build it and they will come); feared dangers about a growing number of homeless have become reality. And yet the homeless CEO is praised and rewarded? How is the poor management of Shelter House Executive Crissy Canoli any different than the poor management of the hypothetical corporate CEO above? Mismanagement is mismanagement. Rewarding substandard performance and failure makes sense?
The DePressed Citizen's Person Of The Year story rewarding Crissy Canoli for failure was their Front Page story, that's understandable, a person of the year story.... But the person they selected is not understandable. The DePressed Citizen is guilty of overkill too, not only did they plaster their front page with homeless *needs* propaganda, they carried the story over to page 8A, the entire page, above the fold and below the fold to tell us how what Crissy does is soooooooo important. Heck the DePressed Citizen even used their Opinion page to further paint a sympathetic story to Crissy's plight in helping the homeless. The DePressed Citizen is sympathetic to Crissy's liberal-minded approach and agenda.
Question: Compounding a problem is helping? Another Question: Issuing a puff piece of propaganda is journalism?
And all that article content and we're not told how much money Crissy makes to compound the area's homeless problem?
Think about what the DePressed Citizen did here....
They're saying "Thank you" to a person who mismanaged a 29 person a night homeless facility, that provided more "features" than a regular shelter, which in turn attracted more homeless causing overflow issues, causing additional stress to area resources and services. Are you following this so far? This "Person Of The Year," who mismanaged the old facility and the mission, somehow convinced people into letting her mismanage a new $4 million 70 person a night facility, that added even MORE features, attracting even MORE homeless to the area, that only after six months of operation started experiencing overflow issues, resulting in additional and continued stress to other area resources and services, this person now wants to re-open the old 29 person a night shelter and she wants more funding......... We're as a community supposed to be thankful for that and reward Crissy Canoli?
She builds a homeless magnet for crying out loud. Taxpayers would be better off making rent subsidy and mortgage payments to keep people in their homes - I'm not advocating that at all, but it would be cheaper than what Crissy Canoli does. But no, then the Shelter staff couldn't justify their jobs.
The mission isn't to build more shelter space with added features and bells and whistles resulting in attracting more homeless to the area, the mission is to reduce the number of homeless. Crissy has completely lost site of that and so has the Iowa City DePressed Citizen. Crissy isn't building an effective tool to address the homeless problem, she's constructed a house of cake and confectionery, with window panes of sugar. Of COURSE homeless people are going to come for that!
And you have to 'love' that name huh? Shelter House. The place used to be called the Community Housing Project..... But Shelter House sounds so much warmer and fuzzier don't you think? That's what liberal-minded folks do, forget the substance, make it sound warm and fuzzy.... It's more important the focus for the football team be a big stadium and look good in expensive, flashy uniforms, rather than teach players to execute the fundamentals and play well. For those of you who live in University Heights, the afforementioned is called an analogy.
And why is one of the Shelter goals to GROW the organization? Shouldn't it be to minimize its need? Isn't Canoli doing the exact opposite of what she should be doing?
And before you liberal-minded folks start disparaging me and claim that I don't care about the homeless, think before you speak. I care, I really do, I believe in helping people truly in need and do what I can at the drop of a hat. My family practices it. But what I'm seeing in the Shelter House is coddling and job justification, it's an approach that fails to address the root problem. When tough love is needed for example - here's a bed to sleep in, now tomorrow I've arranged for you to go over to the ABC restaurant and sweep floors and if you prove yourself moving forward you might learn some cooking skills - Crissy instead gives us a taxpayer subsidized Shelter House commercial grade kitchen and culinary training.
PROMO: You too can attend the Crissy Canoli Culinary School for the Homeless! There's no enrollment fee, no tution! FREE food! Learn how to make delectable dishes to go! Take advantage of our drive-thru program! Here at the Crissy Canoli Culianary School for the Homeless, if you don't like having to work at life that's OK! If slicing potatoes isn't your thing, don't worry! You can drop out, go back to running the circuit of area homeless shelters, travel to Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, and come back to re-enroll anytime you like, we'll fix another meal for you! You don't even have to push a broom!
I contend that back in the '90's, before the arrival of Crissy Canoli, the then more aptly named Community Housing Project more appropriately served the community need to address the homeless problem and they did so with less. Demand wasn't created, it was addressed.
Crissy Canoli's approach to addressing the problems of the homeless is counter-productive. And the Iowa City DePressed Citizen has once again demonstrated that newspaper journalism as we once knew it, is dead.