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Human Resources Software Is Absolute Rubbish

Today LinkedIn sent me a job posting for an Editorial Copywriter at Revolve in Cerritos, California. The ad needed me to include a link to my blog, so I added it to a specially saved version of my resume. Then the next screen showed how Taleo.Com’s ludicrous software imported the information from my resume.

Look at this insane cut and paste job for yourself:

application education

So here, Taleo decided I earned a Ph.D. in 2011, something I never claimed to have on my resume.

application work 1

Here, Taleo claims that my most recent position was as a proofreader at Picture the Homeless, something that I never claimed. It lacks a start date, and a bunch of gobbeldygook was lifted from all over my resume and shoved together:

Legal New York, NY Clients included MTA New York City Transit, Summit Financial Printing 02/15 – 06- 16 Compared contact information from submission papers to computer records. Proofread legal contracts made on EDGAR relating to pharmaceutical products and real estate. Public Relations Picture the Homeless 10/13 – Met with press and represented the organization. Quoted in stories published or aired in outlets including The Riverdale Press, Democracy Now ! Jacobin, Liberation News, New Bloom Magazine Discussed urban homelessness and low-income housing at conferences hosted by Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture , Planning and Preservation, New York City- sponsored event Talking Transition, American Planning Association, New York University Law School, United Nations High School, Hunter College School of Social Work , The Bronx Museum. Represented Picture the Homeless in meetings with policymakers such as Steven Banks (New York City Human Resources Administration), Gilbert Taylor and Lorraine Stephens (New York City Department of Homeless Services ), Jumaane Williams (New York City Council Subcommittee on Housing and Buildings), Louisa Chafee (New York Governor of Health and Human Services), Elizabeth Brown and Sarah Stefanski (New York City Independent Budget: Housing, Budget, and Infrastructure), City Council Members Mark Levine and Stephen Levin. Co- developer of the board game, Trustville; co-author of the whitepaper, The Business of Homelessness, and the comic book, Fighting to Save Our Communities.

application work 2

So for my next most recent position, it claims that I was an Editor/writer from January 2003-January 2018 for an unknown company. Another word soup grabbed at random from my resume is placed in the description box:

Write about topical themes for trade publications. Themes span real estate, medical sales and technology and public health trends higher education and career development. Topics also include film scores and film. Clients have included Colorado Spaces Institute ( , ), Arachne ( , 2016), Hopes & Fears ( , 2015), DOTmed Business News ( , 2007-8), The Baum Bugle ( , 2004), Film Score Monthly ( , 1998). Generated SEO- driven content. Bolt Web Solutions ( , 2012), Best Real Estate Service ( , 2012), and Remilon / Education- Portal.com ( , 2010). Authored bibliographic citations for Medical Debt Resolution / RIP Medical Debt (The Patient, the Doctor & the Bill Collector), published , featured on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: https: / http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxUAntt1z2c. Wrote on medical issues for DOTmed.com and Always Your Choice . Currently doing same for second book (2018). 69 Productions; researched film festivals online, researched doctoral dissertation for company president. Motéma Music; Researched African and Asian Studies departments at universities throughout the world for tours by Randy Weston and A Moving Sound. Wikipedia: Created and expanded numerous articles as described at https: / en. wikipedia.org / wiki / User: Scottandrewhutchins Film / Television / Video and Web Production Research, Writing, Directing, Editing, Composing, and Web Design Clients included R. L. Migdal Creative Multimedia / Bank Street Bookstore ( , NY, 2012), 69 Productions / Maruti Transit ( , 2012); Motéma Music ( , 2011), JB Productions ( 2005), WFYI- PBS (Indianapolis, IN, 2003) Produced, wrote, and edited segment for Across Indiana, WFYI’s Peabody award winning documentary series The PBS segment On the Trail of John Hunt Morgan, aired February 3, 2003: http://www.wfyi.org/acrossIndiana/segments.asp?episode=-1916013356 Edited video and audio content with Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere. Created websites using Unix editors, FrontPage, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Flash Placed advertising segments in day time television programming. Edited and revised master’s level material into doctoral dissertation. Theatre Production and Playwriting Wrote three stage plays, five screenplays, a novel, an opera, and shorter works of fiction, non- fiction, and drama. Researched and wrote on a variety of topics including film, literature, juvenile literature, music, hooliganism Directed and assistant directed stage productions.

The third position it got more or less right:

applicattion work 3

The purpose of this software seems to be to winnow the applicant field by filling the application process with unpaid busy work rather than allowing the job seeker to move on to do productive work applying to other relevant positions. It also leads me to wonder about all those jobs I apply to where there isn’t an option to edit what I’ve given them. Has my resume been similarly ripped up and patched back together with overtly false information as stitching? It would certainly explain why my response rate is below 1%.

Because of formatting issues, I haven’t updated the most recent version of my resume on WordPress to the page (tabbed above). I paste it here to show how badly misrepresentative of what I submitted Taleo made. You can argue that I could have spent the time doing the busy work Taleo wants from me, but considering how common this problem is, and how many times I have gone ahead and done the busy work, I think it’s appropriate to broadcast how dishonest the application process is. As far as I’m concerned, Taleo and companies using Applicant Racking System software are intentionally misrepresenting applicants to employers and ought to be shut down. No human being being shown what Taleo did to my resume would consider me for a job, and no human being seeing my actual resume would interpret it the way Taleo did. By becoming a middleman between applicant and employer, ATS software commits fraud, and therefore, the company responsible for that fraud needs to be shut down.

Scott Andrew Hutchins
[address redacted from blog]
scottandrewhutchins@yahoo.com
https://scottandrewhutchins.wordpress.com
SKILLS SUMMARY

Months after the publication of my article, “Cyberspace Without Living Space” in December 2015, Arachne editor Dorothy Howard wrote, “I think it’s one of the most vital articles Arachne has published.” (https://twitter.com/anacreon_club/status/853288052482912256, April 15, 2017). To supplement my income, I temped for King Teleservices as a customer service representative and did office work for MTA, including significant proofreading. I formatted the endnotes for Robert Goff and Jerry Ashton’s The Patient, The Doctor, & the Bill Collector (2016), a vital text in the health care reform movement and am doing the same for their second. I have temped as a legal proofreader for Summit Financial Printing, proofread liner notes for Motéma Music and was an adjunct professor of English for Boricua College. I have written for stage, screen, television, trade and academic journals, zines, and SEO, and have produced and edited segments for PBS and Bank Street Bookstore. I have represented Picture the Homeless before members of the city and state government as well as the press. I am Adobe Certified in three web design applications and have bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

EXPERIENCE

Editor/Writer/Researcher, 2003 – present
• Write about topical themes for trade publications. Themes span real estate, medical sales and technology and public health trends higher education and career development. Topics also include film scores and film. Clients have included Colorado Spaces Institute (Boulder, CO, 2018), Arachne (Seattle, WA, 2016), Hopes & Fears (Brooklyn, NY, 2015), DOTmed Business News (New York, NY, 2007-8), The Baum Bugle (San Francisco, CA, 2004), Film Score Monthly (Los Angeles, CA, 1998).
• Generated SEO-driven content. Bolt Web Solutions (Brooklyn, NY, 2012), Best Real Estate Service (Great Neck, NY, 2012), and Remilon/Education-Portal.com (Mountain View, CA, 2010).
• Authored bibliographic citations for Medical Debt Resolution/RIP Medical Debt (The Patient, the Doctor & the Bill Collector), published February 2016, featured on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxUAntt1z2c. Currently doing same for second book (2018). Wrote on medical issues for DOTmed.com and Always Your Choice (2007-2008).
• 69 Productions; researched film festivals online, researched doctoral dissertation for company president.
• Motéma Music; Researched African and Asian Studies departments at universities throughout the world for tours by Randy Weston and A Moving Sound.
• Wikipedia: Created and expanded numerous articles as described at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Scottandrewhutchins

Film/Television/ Video and Web Production
Research, Writing, Directing, Editing, Composing, and Web Design 2003 – present
• Clients included R.L. Migdal Creative Multimedia/Bank Street Bookstore (Bronx/New York, NY, 2012), 69 Productions/Maruti Transit (Jacksonville, FL, 2012); Motéma Music (New York, NY, 2011), JB Productions (New York, NY 2005), WFYI-PBS (Indianapolis, IN, 2003)
• Produced, wrote, and edited segment for Across Indiana, WFYI’s Peabody award winning documentary series
The PBS segment “On the Trail of John Hunt Morgan,” aired February 3, 2003:
http://www.wfyi.org/acrossIndiana/segments.asp?episode=-1916013356
• Edited video and audio content with Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere.
• Created websites using Unix editors, FrontPage, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Flash
• Placed advertising segments in day time television programming.
• Edited and revised master’s level material into doctoral dissertation.

Theatre Production and Playwriting
• Wrote three stage plays, five screenplays, a novel, an opera, and shorter works of fiction, non-fiction, and drama.
• Researched and wrote on a variety of topics including film, literature, juvenile literature, music, hooliganism
• Directed and assistant directed stage productions.

Proofreader/Legal Proofreader New York, NY
• Clients included MTA New York City Transit, Summit Financial Printing 02/15 – 06-16
• Compared contact information from submission papers to computer records.
• Proofread legal contracts made on EDGAR relating to pharmaceutical products and real estate.

Public Relations New York, NY
Picture the Homeless 10/13 – present
• Met with press and represented the organization. Quoted in stories published or aired in outlets including The Riverdale Press, Democracy Now! Jacobin, Liberation News, New Bloom Magazine
• Discussed urban homelessness and low-income housing at conferences hosted by Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, New York City-sponsored event Talking Transition, American Planning Association, New York University Law School, United Nations High School, Hunter College School of Social Work, The Bronx Museum.
• Represented Picture the Homeless in meetings with policymakers such as Steven Banks (New York City Human Resources Administration), Gilbert Taylor and Lorraine Stephens (New York City Department of Homeless Services), Jumaane Williams (New York City Council Subcommittee on Housing and Buildings), Louisa Chafee (New York Deputy Governor of Health and Human Services), Elizabeth Brown and Sarah Stefanski (New York City Independent Budget Office: Housing, Budget, and Infrastructure), City Council Members Mark Levine and Stephen Levin.
• Co-developer of the board game, Trustville; co-author of the whitepaper, The Business of Homelessness, and the comic book, Fighting to Save Our Communities.

Freelance Adjunct Professor/Tutor (English Composition) Brooklyn, NY
Boricua College , Champion Learning Center 09/09 – 02/10
• Tutored students in English composition.
• Promoted to adjunct professor in 10/09, teaching one first year composition course.

EDUCATION and CERTIFICATIONS

Certificate in Web Page Design from New York City Department of Education 2011
Master of Arts in Cinema and Media Studies (GPA: 3.5) 2005
The College of Staten Island/The City University of New York
Bachelor of Arts in English (GPA: 3.5) and Communication Studies (GPA: 3.0) 1999
Indiana University – Purdue University at Indianapolis
Adobe Certified Associate, for Adobe Dreamweaver, Flash, and Photoshop

PROFICIENCIES

• French literacy and moderate speaking fluency; study of Latin and etymology
• HTML, UNIX; Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Chyron, Movie Magic Screenwriter; Quark Xpress
• Microsoft Office Suite: Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, PowerPoint, FrontPage

HONORS

The Frederick E. Otto Fiction Award, The International Wizard of Oz Club Away from the Prosaic Gas-Light: A Theatrical Celebration of the Works of L. Frank Baum 2001

Video
• Editor, promotional videos, Bank Street Bookstore/R.L. Migdal Creative Multimedia, October 2012: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkFtwsyWPiBj1xKfKTtzbPh4aQdxeLSTM
• Editor, promotional videos, Motéma Music.
• Writer/Cinematographer/Director/Editor, 2005 16mm short film, “Broken Panes,” starring Jacqueline Milena Thompson
• Writer/Director/Videographer, Oz En Gage, 2004 documentary featuring Mimi Kennedy, John Fricke, and Sally Roesch Wagner
• Writer/Producer/Editor, WFYI/PBS segment, “On the Trail of John Hunt Morgan,” February 3, 2003:
http://www.wfyi.org/acrossIndiana/segments.asp?episode=-1916013356
• Crew, Unity of New York: Manifesting Miracles (John Howard Swain, 2011) http://youtu.be/rHFmM-1cR4Y?t=6m46s
• Crew, Playing Doctor (Jazzmyn Banks, 2014 [shot 2004]) http://youtu.be/XucHgDIKOJg?t=1h7m59s

Articles
• “Cyberspace Without Living Space.” Arachne. December 8, 2016. http://arachne.cc/issues/03/cyberspace-without-living-space-scott-andrews-hutchins.html
• “A Revised and Expanded Oz Filmography” [edited by Marc Berezin] The Baum Bugle 48: 1 (Spring 2004), 11.
• “Who Says Obscure Video Is Dead?” Video Watchdog 106 (April 2004), 80.
• “Ease on Down the Groove” Film Score Monthly, July 1998.
• “Trapped in the Kafka-eqsue Revolving Door of the NYC Shelter System” Hopes & Fears, April 28, 2015. http://www.hopesandfears.com/hopes/city/city/168899-homeless-essay
• DOTmed.com
o Old Into Gold column in DOTmed Business News, November 2007-February 288.
o “UK Scientists Laud Proposed Four-Year Delay in Implementing the EU Physical Agents Directive”: http://www.dotmed.com/news/story/4966/
o “Surgeons Say Teo is Full of Himself”: http://www.dotmed.com/news/story/4099/
o “Hospital CEOs Anxious–Doctor and Nurse Numbers Low”: http://www.dotmed.com/news/story/3910/
• FilmScoreMonthly.com, 1999-2000:
o Review, Pryde of the X-Men soundtrack album: http://filmscoremonthly.com/articles/2000/12_Oct—CD_Reviews_Shanghai_Noon_Pryde_of_the_XMen.asp
o Review, The Brave Little Toaster score: http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/articles/2000/16_Mar—The_Brave_Little_Toaster.asp
o Review, The Fearless Vampire Killers score: http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/articles/1999/10_Nov—The_Fearless_Vampire_Killers.asp
o Review, Il rosso segno dellafollia score: http://filmscoremonthly.com/articles/1999/02_Nov—Rosso_Segno_della_Follia.asp

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SiCKO Film Review: Titicut II

This was written on request for, and rejected by, DOTmed News, June 25, 2007. It was believed that my review would be offensive to some current or potential clients, and I was not given the opportunity to redo it. At least it was written while on the clock.

Intro (this would have shown before the article was clicked on):
Michael Moore’s SiCKO may be the most important health documentary since Titicut Follies, if even a tenth of the reform that film brought about comes to pass.

Body (the article as it would have appeared once clicked on):
In 1967, Frederick Wiseman made a documentary called Titicut Follies. The title referred to a variety show performed by the patients, but the real follies depicted were the harsh and inhumane conditions at a mental hospital in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The film’s existence led to a great deal of reform within the health care industry, though the film itself was banned from viewing by all but specialists until 1992, when PBS brought the great shame of Bridgewater before the community at large. Even before it was banned, Wiseman was forced by the Supreme Court to state that “Changes and improvements have been made at the Bridgewater Mental Facility since 1966,” which he presented on a card preceded by another card stating that the Supreme Court required him to include the next card.

Similarly, Michael Moore is now in legal trouble related to the climax of his new film, SiCKO. Through the course of the film, he demonstrates that the current health care system rewards thieves, maimers, and murderers while true heroes are left to rot, unable to pay their bills. The culmination of this fact is that inmates at Guantanamo Bay get free state-of-the-art medical service. When he brings a load of 9/11 rescuers with health problems to Gitmo, their presence on what is legally U.S. soil is ignored, so he takes them to Havana Hospital and asks them to get the same care an average Cuban would get, which is all free and better than they could get in the States. For this humane act, Moore is facing federal charges, for little reason other than, as argued in the film, that the U.S. government dislikes Castro, while in Canada, Tommy Douglas, who began the socialized medicine system, is regarded as the most important Canadian of all time. If Moore is able to bring about a tenth of the reforms in the health care system that Wiseman, who ultimately regarded his freshman film as ineffective and trying too hard, brought about, we will all be much healthier.

Is Humana Humane?

Moore has selected a much bigger target than Wiseman did in choosing a single facility, and in doing so, his argument is necessarily diffused over a broad spectrum. The most heinous organization presented in the film is Humana, in which the doctors themselves were given quotas of patients to turn down, and given bonuses for turning down more patients. Linda Pino, who rose to the highest position and eventually resigned in disgust, testifying before Congress to the fact in material from C-Span 2 in addition to being interviewed directly by Moore. The film makes clear at the beginning that the film is not about people without insurance, as it details horror stories of an uninsured man who lost two fingertips in a woodworking accident and could afford to have only one replaced, such horrors are carried out more indirectly on those “living the American dream” with health insurance.

Moore’s principal argument in the film is that socialized medicine is as necessary as a socialized fire department, police department, post office, schools, and libraries — all essentials that should not have a market price, even though the postal service is certainly supplemented by one. The case against socialized medicine is presented by clips from Red Nightmare, one of the most ludicrous propaganda films ever made, and by a vinyl record made by Ronald Reagan. The reasons they despise socialized medicine are all the things we have with HMOs — inability to choose a doctor, one-size-fits-all care, etc.

Public Enemy #1 — Richard Nixon and Kaiser Permanente

Moore traces the origins of the current health system to March 17, 1971. Nixon is shown in black and white footage saying “I like that” to a private health care plan offered to him by Kaiser Permanente that makes more money the fewer people it serves, then shown looking brazen on television the next day, calling it a plan for “all Americans.” Rush Limbaugh used to present a treatise on taxing the poor because they contribute the least to society, but, according to his book, The Way Things Ought to Be, would append it saying that “only those in Rio Linda,” his favorite target of a place of low intelligence, would take it seriously, but Moore asks us if this is much different from what is going on with HMOs.

Throughout the film, Moore visits other countries in the free world with socialized medicine, saving the strongest praise for France, where the taxes are extremely high, but where the average citizen’s purchasing power is much higher than in the U.S, and the government even provides people to wash citizens’ clothing free of charge. The doctors in these other countries are appalled by a system that would force a man to choose which finger he keeps and which is buried in a landfill. In contrast to the inaptly-named Humana, at NHS a very wealthy doctor tells him that “the better we do for our patients, the more we get paid.” Who could argue with such a system, save perhaps a minority of people with a great deal to lose? Indeed, in such countries, pre-existing conditions cause doctors to take especial care, rather than eliminating care entirely. Moore shows that some insurance companies claim transient, minor health conditions from coughs to yeast infections for dismissal of charges on pre-existing grounds.

War of Words and Magic Bullets

Moore indirectly cites and utilizes the “magic bullet” psychological theory that films such as Red Nightmare were made based on — that the message goes directly to the receiving person and is accepted as true. “Cuba is where Lucifer is. That’s what we’ve been told for over 40 years,” for example. Editing back and forth from Red Nightmare to a Soviet musical featured in the documentary East Side Story is used to show American socialism by other names in the name of socialized medicine. Moore probably does not expect us to take his message as a magic bullet, but his detractors argue that he manipulates his material to have such an effect. Certainly, the scope of the topic requires omissions, but what he did use brought in a great deal of applause in the Upper West Side audience with whom I viewed the film.

Who loses? Based on what is shown in Moore’s film, only the drug and insurance companies have anything to lose from such a plan. With the state paying for everything, doctors in England and France have plenty and live lifestyles as lavish or more so as American doctors. Although medical equipment manufacturers and dealers were not directly dealt with, being subsidized with state funds appears to be something that would benefit such people as well. The spending cap for UK patients on medicine, no matter what the quantity, is £6.55, roughly $10 U.S., and the cashier at the hospital pays out transportation expenses and collects no money. Moore includes the story of a little girl named Mychelle who dies because her mother could not provide her with car transportation to a Kaiser Permanente hospital, since her local hospital could not treat her under her insurance policy. Moore argues that this is tantamount to murder.

He presents a take on Americans faking common-law marriages in order to get free medical care from Canada that echoes the morality expressed by Charles Chaplin’s final speech in Monsieur Verdoux — echoed by Moore as, “We’re Americans. We go into other countries when we need to, and it’s allowed.” This section of the film does strain his argument a bit-he depicts American news footage discussing how long Canadians have to wait for bypass surgeries with people simply waiting at clinics where such procedures are not done emphasizing how brief their wait time actually is. This raises a red flag, but it is also an inevitability given the sheer number of facilities that he, unlike Wiseman, is taking on.

Human Values or Monetary Values?

Moore presents a lesson in the form of former British parliament member Tony Benn, who tells how that National Health Service formed out of a desire to help one’s fellow citizens in the years following World War II, after the British had been experiencing the equivalent losses of 9/11 on a daily basis. Rather than go after “potential” threats far and wide, “If you can find money to kill people,” says Benn, “you can find money to help people.” Bush, not unexpectedly, is readily brought up to blame. At one point, Moore uses the technique of sound advance, placing much of Bush’s voiceover on an image of a dog looking in a window of the previous interviewees. Noted early in the film is that Bush’s Medicare act supposedly to help seniors got its fourteen largest Congressional backers positions at health insurance companies for which they resigned their government posts. Even in dealing with those affected most directly by 9/11, New York Governor George Pataki is shown giving a speech at Ground Zero listing restriction after restriction leveled against the health benefits to 9/11 workers and calling it “fair,” which Moore presents as being limited only to those employed by the state.

Moore places a large emphasis on values. He begins subtly by positioning Kelly Malles, an employee in an HMO call center who breaks into tears about how much of a “bitch” she is on the telephone in order to stave off the emotions associated with denying people in need, in front of a nativity scene. Subtle references toward civic and religious values are culminated in images of community rebuilding after storms and enormous search parties to find lost children, asking what makes medical care any different from these. One of Moore’s biggest detractors would have been forced to shut down his hate page because of his wife’s medical bills, so Moore sent him an anonymous check. Unfortunately, noting as such in the film gives him the effect of self-aggrandizing for which he is already accused.

Moore’s bullet may not be magic, but it is an important volley giving the government and the insurance companies a great deal to answer for. A core argument not to be overlooked in Moore’s film is that the American government keeps the U.S. in fear and apathy, while in other free countries, the government is afraid of the people, and responds to mass protests to avoid revolution. The purpose of the Second Amendment was to protect against a corrupt government, not to defend fearmongering. In the words of Mary Shelley, “it is by words that the world’s great fight, now in these civilized times, is carried on.” Insurance companies have been challenged to their right to exist, but should be glad that the people’s current defender is a Michael Moore, but prudent, lest their actions give rise to a Tyler Durden.

Testimony Before the New York City Human Resources Administration on the Proposed Rule for Vouchers, August 21, 2018

My name is Scott Andrew Hutchins, and I am a six-year resident of the New York City Department of Homeless Services system. I am medically limited to a desk job due to issues in my lower back and limbs, and my CUNY master’s degree has not been enticing to employers. The past two jobs I have had have been temporary, and yet I have been expected to leave the shelter on them based solely on the fact that they lasted longer than expected. Both ended suddenly, and both were before March 2018, when the client contribution for a mere room was 30% of income, the same as for an apartment.

From August 2015 to June 2016, I was employed as a temp in the exams unit at MTA making $12.60 an hour. On Thursday, June 2, 2016, a number of us were taken individually into a conference room and told that tomorrow would be our last day. The project to which they had assigned us was deemed not worth finishing, and they believed they were overstaffed. At least the most recent of us got an accurate estimate of three months for the assignment. My first LINC voucher came the following week, and my case managers actually expected me to use it, despite my already low income being replaced with unemployment insurance, paying less than half of what I was receiving when working.

With the Obama-era unemployment insurance extensions long gone, I accepted an assignment paying even less—the soon to be minimum wage of $11 an hour—in late October 2016. This assignment was expected to last only a few weeks, but when the project started getting three-week extensions every few weeks, my case managers started to interpret that the job would become permanent no matter how much I explained that when the project reached a quorum of proxy votes, the assignment would be over. The final extension was for April 18, 2017. On April 10, about 45 minutes into the workday, they announced that the quorum had been reached, and nearly seventy of us were told to clock out, laid off permanently. While my case managers harassed me for not using my LINC voucher for a room, there is no way I would consider giving up my stored property to rent a room that would never hold the majority of it, particularly with the job ready to evaporate at any time. Had I been able to successfully use the LINC voucher, I would have both lost everything I own and been sent back to housing court. I do not understand why anyone would act incredulous that I would not elect to do this. What could be more stressful than losing all one owns and going back to housing court so soon after getting out of the shelter system? Oh yeah, I lost my mother during that time, too.

The system is designed to fail. By lasting only five years, and expecting formerly homeless people to get a 70% raise over the course of that time to make up for the progressively reduced subsidy each year, nearly everyone in the program would cycle back into the shelter system, but not until Mayor DeBlasio had been term limited out. I think most New Yorkers would berate you in town halls if you tried to claim that 70% raises over five years is normal. With the average annual raise at 3% per year, it is totally unrealistic to expect low income subsidized tenants’ income to go up 70% in five years, yet you will force them to pay 70% more toward rent in the course of five years.

Even with the changes from LINC to CityFHEPS, the income levels and expectations are still far from realistic, and do nothing for someone whose income is unsteady as mine. I am a freelance writer, currently on a W-2 to a remote employer whose estimate of $1,000 a month in income from working has yet to be reached. A retaliatory transfer from a hotel shelter with WiFi to an armory shelter near a library with brief hours and no air conditioning had a direct impact in reducing my ability to do my job, as did financial issues on my employer’s end.

I implore the city to come up with more realistic solutions for ending the housing crisis.

OMG my 10th great aunt and uncle were sold as slaves in Barbados

They’re the only white people it happened to, and it happened because they were poor Quakers who could’t pay off the Puritans. It was the subject of a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier.

http://ancestryisland.blogspot.com/2015/02/monday-is-for-mothers-cassandra-burnell.html

Their great niece, Sarah Southwick (1693-1749), married Thomas Hutchins (1693-1747) on January 7, 1719, and their children were the first Hutchinses in my bloodline born in North America.

Testimony Before the New York City Council General Welfare Committee Hearing on Shelter Model Budget, June 21, 2018

 

I timed this speech at three minutes and had to shorten it for the two permitted, but the written testimony went on record as follows.  Omitted portions from the oral presentation are italicized.

 

My name is Scott Andrew Hutchins, and I have spent six of my over 14 years in New York living in the New York City shelter system, having earned a master’s degree here in 2005.  As a member of Picture the Homeless’s research committee, I am one of the principal authors of “The Business of Homelessness.”

I was appalled when I discovered the director of the so-called non-profit that ran the shelter where I was living at the time made nearly half a million dollars a year, and that the seven top executives at the organization received about half of the entire city compensation the “charity” receives.  According to the IRS, “Charities may pay reasonable compensation for services provided by officers and staff. In determining reasonable compensation, a charity may wish to rely on the rebuttable presumption test of section 4958 of the Internal Revenue Code and Treasury Regulation section of 53.4958-6.”  It is simply not plausible that running a shelter in which residents live in squalor is reasonably compensated at a rate of half a million dollars, which the U.S. Census Bureau considers to put one in the top 5% of earners in ManhattanIf the “nonprofit” provided people with homes, one might be able to justify such an extreme compensation, but a painful cot, a locker, meager and poor quality food [this portion was moved up to after in squalor”], public restrooms, inept housing specialists, dubious case managers, and poor building upkeep hardly justify such an extreme portion of the resources being used as compensation to executives.  In this case, it was the second highest CEO salary that we found, but executive compensation was in the case of many shelter providers the single largest percentage of where the money went.

At my current shelter, just two days ago, a sprinkler pipe fell down and flooded the case managers’ office, dousing much of the paper documentation.  I told the Department of Buildings, and they told me that they were familiar with the building’s many code violations, but said that they would forward my message to DHS because, they said, DHS owns the building (and apparently not the nonprofit).  As with most of the eight shelters in which I have stayed, mice and cockroaches are a common sight, and someone else in my room said he often sees rats near the radiator.  Even the hotel shelter I was in previous to this one had the bathroom floor cave in (we had to use the employee restroom, which wasn’t anything special, for the next six days) and collapsed drywall behind the wallpaper.

Most of the shelters have job specialists, but I have yet to meet one with the competence to help someone with high education and medical challenges that make the low wage physical labor that they know how to get people untenable, and most “housing specialists” are completely oblivious to the daily reality of source of income discrimination, suggesting that the word “specialist” is being very loosely applied.

This shows that far more oversight as to how shelter contracts are written is necessary.  As it stands, the money is effectively being given away and raided by a few executives, while crumbs go to the intended effects that keep the shelters unlivable.  The service providers clearly do not know how to properly use city funds, and need to have their discretionary spending severely curbed until they can demonstrate that they can properly prioritize their resources.  It is hypocritical that shelter providers have so few restrictions while shelter residents and public assistance recipients have so many.

 

 

Many of the people who testified before me were service providers complaining that their social workers were being compensated at only $30,000 a year and benefits at 26%.  I wish I had had that at any point in my life.  I was told that their faces were stunned when I told them how much their capitalist masters were stealing from them.  I was trying my best to look up from the paper enough to not be boring while not being told to stop my testimony to look at anyone except brief glances at the committee.  The source of our data for anyone who doubts what I say is true is NYC Checkbook and the New York City Independent Budget Office.

DSS Loves Retaliation

It used to be that Friday was the best day to go to the Human Resources Administration of the Department of Social Services (HRA/DSS) because of reduced wait times. I have realized that Friday has become a bad day, or is at the Waverly location, but am concerned that no other days have gotten better. As it was, when I went on June 8, things seemed to be going well, as I was called almost immediately, but the imbecilic automated reception sent me to the food stamp office on the fourth floor, which was the wrong place. I was then given paperwork and a ticket to go to the second floor, then after another ten minutes, a ticket and paperwork to go to the third floor, which is where I was expecting to go to begin with.

After three hours of the typical HRA nonsense (a worker comes out calls someone who is not there, then goes back inside without calling anyone else, another worker comes out and calls for tickets with headings no one has—the only exception comes when they take attendance of ticket numbers who have held out after 6 PM (doors close at 5), which just misleads people into thinking that they are finally being called), during which one cannot eat, and going to the bathroom is a good way to lose ones place, since they like to call the numbers wildly out of order (they apparently assign each case to a particular caseworker early on rather than as caseworkers finish with a client going to the next one in order), I was finally called.

I had two goals here: let HRA I know that DHS had transferred me to another shelter (since even though these are both DSS agencies, one never knows what the other is doing because the system is radically inefficient) and to determine why my case had not become active. Shortly before the transfer, I was given a notice stating that my case was still pending on grounds that I needed to provide “proof of immigration status,” a ludicrous demand considering they have scanned my birth certificate umpteen times, most recently in late April 2018, and it clearly states that I was born in “Marion County, Indiana” (why it doesn’t say “Indianapolis” I do not know—I was born in 1976, and the location where I was born was annexed under the Unigov system in 1970), and that my father was born in Massachusetts and my mother in New Jersey. The worker insisted on treating my application as a new case and would not tell me why. She noticed the damage to my wrist from the briefcase my coworker, Tricia Hinds, gave me when she was sick of me seeing the now-discontinued Queens Library plastic bags around, which has been ripping apart under the weight of my laptop and asked what it was. I don’t know if she was showing concern or building a case against me in her mind. The worker attempted to schedule an eligibility verification review (EVR) appointment on June 15. This is when things got difficult. I explained that I had just gone in April and that I still did not have an explanation why I had to go again. She told me that my case was close. When I asked why, the only answer that she would give me was that I was found in eligible. When she refused to give me a straight answer, I started to get loud. She called over security, and I explained to them that the problem was that I was not getting a straight answer, at which point I pulled out my birth certificate and explained the situation. She insisted that she was about to explain it to me, but that was clearly just an attempt to save face in front of the security staff, which included an HRA cop named Backus, who looks like a Hispanic Tor Johnson with a build more suggestive of steroid use than anything else, and numerous FJC security guards. The worker said she refused to work with me, and I was told that I had to leave. I said that I refused to leave unless I got a valid explanation why my case was closed. At that point, a white-shirted FJC security guard told me that the valid explanation was for me to get out of the chair and leave the building. I can’t quote it exactly, but it was that level of a non sequitur. They threatened me with arrest as I collected up my IDs and shelter residency letter so that I actually could leave, and, as detailed on this blog, the one arrest of my life was also by an HRA cop when I raised my voice at a worker’s unreasonable and unprofessional behavior, and did not want it to happen again, even though a government office is public property and any arrest for yelling is unconstitutional. I yelled as I left, the occasional obscenity, but mostly accusing them of theft, fraud, criminality in general, fascism, and that I am in physical pain because of them (as my gout pain is on the increase from my lack of medication and other pains from being turned away from physical therapy for lack of an active Medicaid case—both choices made by HRA). Backus and the security staff followed me into the elevator, and once the door was closed, the white-shirted FJC security guard threated to rough me up if I didn’t stop yelling in his face. I told him that he’s a security guard and not a cop and could go to prison for assault if he did. At this point, Backus, who is at least a head shorter than me but looks like the bruiser for which the worker seemed to be mistaking me, said, “No he won’t, he’s one of my men, and he has my permission to do it, and if you don’t like it, you can take it up with 311.” This is clearly a threat of a criminal nature, but as it is my word against his, and he had at least five men with him, it’s not something I would attempt to challenge in court, so I shut up until I was out of the building, but that just worked against me, because it made me looked crazed to those who did not see what happened before.

Now I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that there is retaliation going on for my participation in “The Business of Homelessness” research paper, which is patently illegal and unconstitutional, and it appears I will need a lawyer to restore my benefits. Without a LINC voucher, there will be no way to leave the shelter system without a major increase in hours at my current job, or being hired for a job with similar wages and longer hours, and I certainly can’t afford medical care as a part-timer, and with my storage unit costing $300 a month, I’ve had to spend $900 of my savings and counting (not counting the $100 a month to store the property Mom was storing in her house before she passed away), which sucked away my entire April paycheck. At present, I am concerned that I may not get my broken phone replaced because Assurance Wireless phones are dependent on eligibility for public benefits. I doubt a lawyer could make them put that $900 and counting toward my storage to make up what I have had to pay out of pocket and should not have had to, since I am clearly being singled out to not get this benefit, which is standard for people who live in the shelter system. I have been criticized for seeing this as something owed to me, but if I’m being singled out to not receive something for which I, as a shelter resident of extremely low income, and eminently eligible but am being singled out, how is it not something owed to me? I’ve already inquired with a benefits lawyer who said that a one-time bequest as low as what I got when Mom passed would not affect my eligibility. It’s only twice what I got when Dad passed, and that was what staved off my homelessness between 2008 and 2012 when I got few interviews or hires (and those were for part-time work, as I have now), and with rents being what they currently are, would probably last me only about as long before I become homeless with no future reprieves of this nature ever again (and people wonder why I’d rather have Mom alive rather than the money), even if I left New York City, since the odds of me getting a job somewhere else, given what I can and can’t do, seem unlikely. My boss suggested a town in Mexico with which she is familiar, but not only can I not wrap my head around that now (it’s pretty far down on places I’ve had an urge to visit, and I studied French, not Spanish), it would still cost more per month that I have been able to get working for her.

With a new policy as of March 2018 that a room renting for up to $800 would cost me $50 a month, I am no longer against renting a room with a LINC voucher (the previous policy was that either a room or an apartment was 1/3 of a client’s income, but I guess they figured out that I’m not even close to the only one with an apartment’s worth of storage not willing to spend so much for so little at a cost of 90% of one’s worldly goods—now only the apartment is 1/3 of one’s income), but with HRA refusing me this voucher on false pretenses, they are criminal scroyles trying to perpetuate my homelessness. If anything happens to me as a direct result of being deprived of my blood pressure medication, that ups my charge against HRA to attempted murder, assuming I live.

Thoughts on Giōrgos (George) Lazopoulos’s Medousa

Frossō Litra as Christina

This review should also be appearing on the Internet Movie Database, marked as having spoilers.

This film has a really slow pace, and since the audience knows that it’s a retelling of the Medousa myth, all the police procedural scens can be tedious, since there isn’t a whole lot of wit and humor beyond the fact that Christina seems to be the smartest of the police detectives. It leads one to wonder if she’ll be the one who sets things aright.

Such hopes are dashed by the end of the film and we realize what is happening. I had never wondered what happened to women who saw the face of Medousa, which is a big concern in this film. I remember the original story had Perseus turn King Polydectes and an entire crowd to stone with the severed head of Medousa. Given ancient Greek culture, the crowd potetnially could have been all men, but that would not have crossed my mind as a kid. I didn’t know then about the punishment for women who were caught watching the Olympics, for example. In some versions, the mirror even turned her head to stone. In this film, Medousa is not a monstrous person or full-on monster, but a curse that affects only women. If Medousa is seen by another woman, Medousa disintegrates and the curse is passed on to the next woman, making all women in the diegesis effectively monsters and men their hapless victims. Christine is the final Medousa in the film, although it’s only implied (and I’m spelling out something conveyed a bit obliquely in the film).

Still there are huge plot holes, particularly in regard to the film’s rules. If ten years have passed since Meda was distintegrated, why are the police only now discovering stone men? Does the Medousa curse take hold of a woman slowly, giving Perseas’s mother enough will to drive off without harming him? Meda put the stone bodies in the villa’s basement, but the current Medousa, who may or may not be Perseas’s mother, leaves them to be found easily. It’s implied by some dialogue near the beginning that Perseas will ultimately kill his mother, but we are never shown definitively that his mother is the Medousa he kills. Katia looks at her body, but all the audience sees is the disintegration of the body. Perseas kills her without looking, realizing the curse has passed onto her. The thing is, Katia was completely nude, and immediately goes up to put on Medousa’s robe, wig, and mask, which the Mother clearly didn’t do. It’s possible this is because she was made aware of them earlier in the film. Perseas seems to want to spare her from intentionally killing anyone, but when the cops dig her up, she turns the men to stone and disintegrates, passing the curse onto Christina. Christina isn’t shown going for the robe, though.

The film doesn’t have a lot of nudity (only Katia in the aforementioned scene) or violence (some blood when Katia is killed), and the Lazopoulos seems to be thinking more of art film than exploitation, perhaps middlebrow in his approach. It’s more disturbing and creepy to the mind than it is to the eye, in particular the disintegrations–the mind makes it more gruesome than what ois actually shown.

I’ll be interested in seeing the interview with the director. Since he plays the guy Perseas tries to sell knives, I imagine knife throwing is a personal touch on the story.

The film is atmospheric, well acted, and shot, and the women are beautiful, but the pacing and misogyny knock several stars off it for me.