Sunday, July 12, 2009

Editorial: Plan on aging is a bad precedent

Okay, so I read Cindy Barks' Thursday story about this Commission on Aging thing, and today I read the unnamed Courier editor coming out against it. But nowhere in the coverage do I see anything about what this proposed commission would actually do.

So I went over to the Mayor's 2050 site to have a look, and, after some digging around, found these snips:

Recommendations (to Council)

• Create a Commission on Aging for Prescott to aide (sic) the Mayor and City Council in prioritizing the issues and driving solutions for problems of older adults.

• Develop and execute an ongoing Adult Information Campaign for adults of all ages to encourage planning ahead for future health, family, and fiscal requirements.

• Create a central information and referral system – a one stop repository of information about all the existing public and private adult & senior services available- to promote the general public’s access to these programs.

• Enlarge the workforce of caregivers and other employees of senior industries by appropriately training, paying, and efficiently supporting them with information.

Recommended Commission on Aging Duties:
• Advise the City Council, Chamber of Commerce, and other City agencies on senior issues and on intergenerational programs of benefit to the community.
• Identify, improve, and develop services and opportunities for the senior population.
• Create implementation plans for programs, utilizing available community resources including volunteers.
• Establish the Commission on Aging’s long-range goals.
• Advocate on behalf of older individuals, including legislative actions.

After he cribs most of his space allotment from Cindy's story, the editor offers this smackdown:
"But a commission on aging would have even greater standing - on and (sic) equal level with the Planning & Zoning Commission."

Leaving aside that the 2050 group apparently uses the Courier's crack proofreading team, from what I read in the 2050 report, I don't see this proposal seeking any real power for the 'commission,' nor even any money to accomplish anything. The goals of the proposal are clearly well-meant, but tepid and I have to say vision-free.

The actual proposal to form the 'commission' reads much like the original proposal to create the nonprofit that operates Access13, amounting to seeking the City's blessing on a volunteer group. The difference is that in that case the City actually gave the group some significant responsibility along with its utter lack of funding.

Perhaps the mistake was in calling the proposed group a commission, which would indeed imply a certain significance to people who infer the relative power of organizations from alphabetical lists.

Maybe I'm still missing something, and there really is a subtle plot somewhere within the 2050 organization to divert more public funds for senior issues, or perhaps frog-march everyone under 65 into reeducation camps that feature daily screenings of South Pacific. If you know, enlighten me.

Till then it appears to me that both the Council and the editor have blown the whole thing out of proportion and reacted reflexively to ideas that no one's proposing. That said, I agree the proposal is a dumb one, but primarily because there's just no vision here worthy of special attention.

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