Statement Of Charles English
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
San Antonio, Texas
April 8, 2003
Jefferson Heights Association
My name is Charles English. I would like to thank Joel Karin and Eiginio Rodriguez for those very good reports that they have given you. I stand here as the president and founder of Jefferson Heights Neighborhood Association. What is alarming to me, as we talked about the seniors and respecting those seniors, why neighborhood associations are not here today. That is very alarming. If we are going to get the job done we are going to need that outreach. I'd like to focus on neighborhoods because we talk about the environment and we know the air quality and things that are not acts of God will also deteriorate structures. And those are the kinds of work we are attempting to do in Jefferson Heights where homes go back to 1890 and also most of them were built in the 1920s. Most of the residents are seniors who have lived there 40, 50 or 60 years. They are stressed out with the system. They cannot begin to compete with the process because the hurdle is so high, and therefore, no one is listening to them. I took it upon myself to go to Senior Day. As a young man, they found it unusual when I got on the bus to ride with them to the State Capitol and to hear their issues. They have the same issues that I, as a young man, have. What I am concerned about is that we present up front that they are only 37 percent effective. We utilize their numbers, however, when it comes to the Census as 100 percent. But when it comes implementing those dollars back into the communities in which they live, they don't have any sidewalks. That means that if they are walkers, they have to walk in a busy street. That's a public safety issue. That's also a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, its Title Six. But where are the agencies? We are paying you to do the job. Still today, I am very appalled to see that there are no neighborhood representatives here other than myself. I would also like to talk about our water issues. Something that was not presented here. Our water department is currently in tax dollars, in the form of a grant, to help pipe water into San Antonio to restore the aquifer. They want to go to the Colorado River, which is almost 150 miles away from here, to pipe water upstream and irrigate downstream. What will happen to the ranchers and the farmers up in those areas? This all about greed. What we need to do is displace the personality politics. Greed and mismanagement. Let's get them out of the process and let's get down to the real business of the day: treat our seniors with dignity and respect. Because our attitudes do determine our aptitude. If you think it will not haunt you to keep living, we soon will be there where they are. Thank you.