How much is a Spanish-speaking poet laureate worth to you?
Earlier this week the city of Houston sent out layoff notices to more than 300 firefighters stemming from a budget crisis connected to the recently passed Prop B and Mayor Sylvester Turner's inability to manage the city's finances.
Since the passing of Prop B Houston's city government initiated a hiring freeze, but still managed to give jobs to almost 900 people. Many of those people still had their jobs as recently as April 2019.
Despite laying off all those firefighters, Mayor Turner still managed to find $20,000 to hire the city a "poet laureate".
The press release reads:
Leslie Contreras-Schwartz will work closely with the Houston Public Library and the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs to carry out her community outreach project focusing on outreach to people with mental illness and mental health workers. She will also conduct eight workshops in partnership with Houston Public Library and mentor the Houston Youth Poet Laureate.
So what does $20,000 worth of poetry afford the city of Houston?
We were curious, so we looked up Leslie Contreras- Schwartz on YouTube and here's a sample of one of her poems.
Here, have a listen for yourselves!