I have sent this to the Daily Progress in response to their recent article on the Greater Charlottesville Area Development Corporation report on poverty in Charlottesville.
I could have written pages on how ridiculous the proposal made by the Chamber of Commerce is, but was forced to express a thought or two in only 350 words.
Some things to consider- “Development Corporation” should really be the big giveaway in all of this. The Chamber is not interested in poor people, it is interested in making lots of money. While the data provided is accurate, its actually nothing new, and they seem to have found poverty a beautiful reason to get everything they want, more business, more growth, and a big new dam and pipeline.
Don’t fall for it.
here’s the letter, hope they publish it-
I am intrigued by the recent study of the GCADC as outlined in the Daily Progress on 9/26/11. While the data is solid, the Chamber of Commerce only offers solutions that suit their desires for more profits and which do not create more jobs, higher wages, or lower bills. Eliminating poverty needs to be a priority for our city, we have to do more than rely on business competition.
Competition for contracts keeps wages low and won’t create many jobs. Something that UVA could be doing now- but doesn’t – is ensuring that contracted employees get paid a living wage and ending the use of prison labor. More contractors only encourages those practices to continue.
More contracting with the military is counter-productive to building an economy that works for all people. Over half of every tax dollar is spent on the military and it’s contractors, and it is making us poorer.
I propose a jobs center where all people can access work through the private and public sector, find temporary employment, job training and be guaranteed a job at a living wage. A local workforce should be used for all city contracts. Public works could employ great numbers of residents by upgrading our town to be 100% sustainable and accessible. There would be room for a contractors hub, and I support light industry, but the focus should remain on the needs of those seeking employment not businesses.
Further, I call for an end to all public service shut-offs, expanded free service and reduced rates. We could do this for much less than the $142 million it will take to build a new dam and pipeline, a plan that Ridge Schuyler, author of the study, has pushed for aggressively. His water plan will increase the amount paid by residents on their bills, despite 1 in 5 not being able to pay their bills already.
The Chamber of Commerce is not interested in eliminating poverty, they are interested in increasing profits. If you seek a meaningful approach to poverty please visit my website and vote for Brandon Collins on November 8th.