April 15, 2010

Expanding Food Stamps in the District

Today, the Washington Informer reports on the expansion of food stamps in the District, as celebrated here at Bread for the City last week in a press conference with Councilmembers Michael Brown (I-At Large) and Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3).

The actual implementation of the Food Stamp Expansion Act (introduced by Brown and unanimously approved by the Council) was way delayed, but finally an additional 4,800 DC residents are eligible for food assistance. It's good news at a time when the low-income residents of DC need more of it. We are proud to have partnered on the push for this policy with Councilmember Brown's office and DC Hunger Solutions.

But can we just take a step back to last week, when the Washington Post covered this story? (I know it's lame to blog about something that's like a whole week old; yet it was a busy week around here, and there's something about the Post's article that really sticks in the craw.) Check out how WaPo's Tim Craig caps off his article with an out-of-nowhere conclusion:

"Still, for some residents both inside and outside the city, the fact that city officials are bragging about increasing the District's food stamps rolls is sure to generate debate, and reinforce conservatives' criticisms of the District government's priorities."
Okay -- hold on. Is that a fact that Craig is reporting? Is such a debate actually happening somewhere? Would any District resident really think it's a bad idea for our city government to claim federal funding (free money!) that will both alleviate miserable hunger and stimulate $1.73 of local economic activity for every $1 of food stamps? Or was this paragraph written because the practice of journalism demands that the 'other side' get its say, regardless of reason, morals, or even presence?

We are not journalists, so maybe we just don't understand. But we do think that Craig could have put this precious column space to better use by, say, reporting on the fact that Councilmember Mary Cheh has another food stamp expansion bill in the works, one which will bring relief to 4,000 more District residents (working families, homeless people, and self-employed individuals) and is already unanimously-supported by Council. That sounds like news to us.

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