y not enforcing this basic health and safety ordinance, the city becomes partners with all the notorious slumlords in Hannibal.

On Thanksgiving Day my wife Pat and I delivered free meals on behalf of the American Legion here in Hannibal. These meals went to folks in abject poverty, the forgotten elderly, and the discarded disabled. These fine folks all had one thing in common, most lived in illegal and dangerous slumlord housing. The only exception we saw was the wonderfully rehabbed, historic tax credit project for seniors at the historic Mark Twain Hotel.

Pat and I have been around and working with underserved people all our lives, so you wouldn't think any of this would be a surprise. Yet, we were dumbfounded by how much worse the problem is today.

How can this happen? I believe there are many reasons but two come to mind right away.

The first issue is illegal and substandard housing. Our City Manager, through his ineffective leadership and apparent lack of respect for our citizens safety, has chosen not to ensure enforcement our existing rental inspection ordinance. This program mostly pays for itself through registration fees and fines. By not enforcing this basic health and safety ordinance, the city becomes partners with all the notorious slumlords in Hannibal. Not enforcing this ordinance hurts the people, our property tax base and quality landlords.

The second is a national issue. Record corporate profits and wealth accumulation at the top has been staggering and unprecedented in recent history. Deregulation of these corporations, financial institutions, theft of decent wages and tax laws allowing the rich to get richer are obvious reasons. Whether we should regulate these entities or not regulate them is not the question. The question is simply how to effectively regulate them, so they don't steal from working people to increase their unearned wealth.

The more unearned, stolen wealth these people at the top accumulate, the more unearned political power they amass. The more political power they amass the harder it becomes for the majority to get fair wages, retirement, reasonable health care, clean air and water, healthy food, quality education, a fair playing field for small business and decent housing. History shows us that these inequities can only stopped with reasonable regulation.

Capitalism today isn't working. Capitalism can work, but only if government stops those at the top from stealing from the majority.

Local, state and federal government can only correct these issues if the majority stand up and take action. I urge everyone who cares, to consider running for office. From city council to congress, we need the majority running this great experiment we call America, not incompetent City Managers or thugs and thieves with stolen wealth and unearned political power. Get involved!

— Bob Yapp, Hannibal