Small business owners are saying all over the downtown area....THIS CITY HALL DOES NOT SUPPORT US! Indeed, this car race isn't about bringing in tourists to fuel the economy in the city.....it isn't about building a sustainable event for which the city can be known....IT IS SIMPLY TO PROVIDE A VEHICLE FOR INVESTORS TO MAKE MONEY AND THE CITY TO GET ON ESPN.
We know this......the city reduced considerably the amount of money this operation pays up front so rather than taking millions of dollars in loses because the race fails to pay its bills to the city.....the city simply does not charge the race and the public loses revenue. Just about every vendor.....just about every race employee from ticket sales to customer service...from bleacher assembly to media consultant comes in from out of town. Even the city's poor that try to sell water bottles and local vendors with permits that usually sell in this area are pushed out to make way for out of town vendors. The gulag fencing gives the local bars and restaurants the ambiance of WW2 Poland. Ticket sales.....they will be like last year we are told...NOTHING.
I went to both days of the race and spent the entire time walking the perimeter and inside the race areas to see what this race brought to Baltimore. Most people around the track were employees of the race or its contractors....thousands of people....all working the race and from out of town. The bleachers were empty throughout and the people coming locally to the race seemed to be government employees given tickets to the race as a perk. When the city and race officials had been embarrassed by the lack of crowds in the bleachers....they told the race employees to go and sit in the bleachers and act as fans.
CITY HALL IS SELLING THE CITY.....TO ANYONE OTHER THAN THE PEOPLE ALREADY LIVING IN THE CITY. This city really hates working/middle class people....small businesses and grassroot workers trying to earn a living. They want the BEST OF THE BEST SAYS RAWLINGS-BLAKE. The problem for Baltimore is that we have the WORST OF THE WORST MAKING ALL OF THE PUBLIC POLICY DECISIONS AT CITY HALL AND BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. The kind of policy that comes from these people would make Chinese politburo members proud.
I was talking to a new resident to the city who lived over on Hartford Rd in Baltimore....he was glad to see my community garden. We talked of what was being planted in the city and he spoke of an incident that says it all about development in Baltimore. He said....you know, they are planting Maple trees along the sidewalks in our community and no one wants maple trees....everyone knows those trees have roots that come to the surface and ruin sidewalks...why would they plant those trees there? I said....the same reason they drop big burlapped trees along city streets in July and August and then never water them.....half of which die and they do that over and over again. It's the same reason the city pays a private contractor to maintain a city park or playground that looks like a vacant lot because no one comes to take care of it. The Baltimore Public Works gives contracts to large development/management corporations who for example have an over abundance of maple trees from another project and save money by dropping those trees into holes whenever they have a chance. Coming back to replace them again and again allows the nursery selling them to earn great profits....SO IT CREATES JOBS! Just not in any areas that have to put up with all this garbage service.
So, the Indy race is about sustaining this tourism policy where hotels are filled with people being forced to be migrant laborers brought from one town to the next by a business that no one wants. These out of town employees are temporary and nomadic and fill downtown hotels and eat at these national chain restaurants and have little money to spend outside of that. THIS IS A DELIBERATE ATTEMPT AT AN ECONOMY THAT IMPOVERISHES THE WORKERS AND FAMILIES...IT WEAKENS LABOR FROM ORGANIZING AND WORKERS FROM PROTECTIONS OF LABOR ABUSES AS THEY WORK FROM ONE STATE TO ANOTHER. It brings little tax revenue to the city so if the goal of Baltimore Development is to starve government coffers and enrich corporations....this is exactly the kind of city development you want....
ERGO.....AN INDY RACE NO ONE WANTS!
What we are seeing is an attempt to make the American worker into what has been immigrant labor all over the world. Moving labor all around the country.,....and if these TPP deals continue.....moving many families overseas for work creating an impoverished and disconnected citizenry. LOOK AT THIS INDY RACE.....LOOK AT LOCAL PUBLIC WORKS BIDDING THAT BRINGS WORKERS FROM OTHER STATES TO WORK IN BALTIMORE.....it is just the same as third world immigrant labor.
Anyone looking for a job in the 21st century needs to read this article.
Transient Servitude and Work in the 21st Century
By Richard D. Vogel
Copyright © 2011 by Richard D. Vogel
Permission to copy granted
Transient servitude and FTZ labor
The future faced by increasing numbers of workers in the developing world is employment in a FTZ, transient servitude, or no work at all.
Work in free trade zones is provisional and unprotected. In these "workshops within nations" the duration of jobs, wages, and working conditions are controlled by transnational corporations through local contractors, FTZ administrators, private security forces, and charro unions viii -- the existence of democratic labor unions is all but impossible. Consequently, prevailing wages in FTZs are held at subsistence levels and work is often dirty, dangerous, and demeaning.
For working people in developing countries, transient servitude, in both legal and extralegal forms, offers a poor, but often the only, alternative to work in FTZs. Generally, legal work contracts and visas are short term (3 year contracts are the norm), without benefits, and renewable only at the request of employers. Although work contracts formally recognize workers' rights and employers' responsibilities, enforcement of those rights and responsibilities is problematic. In the case of labor disputes the labor-sending countries which should be the guarantors of their citizens' rights usually side with employers and officials in the labor-receiving countries. This contradiction plagued the Bracero Program and prevails in most modern temporary labor programs.
At best, transient servitude offers minimum short-term relief for workers and, at worst, provides a political safety valve for governments that are willing to act as labor brokers for transnational capitalism.
The neoliberal agenda that dictates government and international policy severely limits the political actions available to the working classes of developing nations. The key challenge to neoliberal globalization will come from within the developed nations where employment opportunities are plummeting and the social conditions of working class communities are continuing on a downward spiral.
Work in the developed world
Today, the future faced by increasing numbers of workers in the developed world is low-paying service jobs, casual employment in the informal economy, military service protecting the assets and investments of the transnational corporations, or lifetime unemployment without a social safety net. The United States, which 30 years ago was the workshop of the world, has been reduced to the level of a failing state that does not offer a future to an increasing proportion of its youth nor care for the welfare of its citizens at large. The USA, once a dynamic democracy, has been subverted by a government dominated by neoconservative politicians and hordes of corporate lobbyists.
Keep in mind that Congress is close to passing infrastructure funding in the hundreds of billions for city sewers and water pipeline so you can bet that the companies forming now are all the ones that will be soaking all of this Federal funding for all it is worth. THIS IS THE TENS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CORPORATE FRAUD THAT NEEDS TO COME BACK TO GOVERNMENT COFFERS. Simply reinstating Rule of Law will pay the entire $16 trillion in national debt.....state and local as well.
Here is a commenter with a good idea of what is happening:
Nilson is just making $#!+ up. Just because the DWSD (Detroit Water Sewer District) suspension was reversed doesn't mean it was never suspended. Also Maccob County still has an active civil suit against Inland for breach of contract to the tune of $25.5Mill. Baltimore bidding rules should have precluded it from being awarded with such litigation still pending for violating exactly the kind of contract it is seeking from this city. Inland's settlement with bankrupt Detroit ($4.5Mill settlement of a $380Mill suit) was a sweetheart deal by a desperate-for-cash-now bankrupt and sinking ship of state. To call Inland's bidder re-instatement by the criminally run, now non-existent DWSD an un-indictment is laughable. Even the most piss-poorly run municipal infrastructure authority with its back against a wall, even they called the company what it was..."a non-responsible bidder" once evidence of extortion, financial mismanagement, and fakery started piling up against primary contract Inland in federal court. The fact that the Baltimore board had to invent fabrications of these facts inorder to try and preserve their selection of Inland is on its face evidence that they are being motivated to flagrantly disregard their own rules by something other than the citys best interest.
Baltimore Brew Stirring up News and Views in Baltimore Maryland
Inside City Hall: $269M in sewer contracts approved over protests
A detailed look at two contracts awarded this week by the Board of Estimates. Mark Reutter August 16, 2013 at 4:18 pm
Baltimore’s spending board awarded a contract to a Detroit company connected to the racketeering convictions of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
For a glimpse at the murky world of Baltimore municipal contracting, consider these two contracts that came before the Board of Estimates this week.
They were SC 877 (“Enhanced Nutrient Removal Process at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant”) and SC 907 (“Improvements to Sanitary Sewers in East Baltimore Region of the High Level Sewershed”).
Collectively they are worth $269 million.
Both came under vigorous protest from rival bidders but were approved by the spending panel.
This despite the failure to comply with the city’s bid-change initializing rule by the company awarded SC 877 – and the involvement of the company winning the second contract in the recent racketeering and extortion convictions against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
To begin with the award of $263 million to Archer Western Contractors to build facilities to denitrify incoming sewage at Back River.
A rival bidder, American Infrastructure/PC Construction, accused Archer Western of altering the original forms of a minority contractor by “whiting-out” the subcontract amount and inserting in a new number.
Attorney Eliot Schaefer submitted a copy of the disputed document – page 64 of the Archer Western bid, which Thomas Corey, chief of city’s minority opportunity office, agreed seemed to be altered.
But Corey said his office could not determine whether the document was altered before or after the bid was submitted to the City Comptroller’s Office.
The subcontract price on upper left was apparently whited out and changed without required initials, as noted (in capital letters) at the bottom of the document.
Harriette Taylor, clerk of the board, said the company’s vice president signed the bid document on June 11, but a typed-out notation, reading “as of 10:30 AM 6/12/13,” also appears on the bid sheet.
At the bottom of the document is the city’s warning (in capital letters) that “Any changes to the information on this form must be initialed by both parties.” But there were no initials reflected on the document, said attorney Schaefer.
Because of this infraction of the rules, he asked the spending board to reject the Archer Western bid and award the contract to American Infrastructure/PC.
When his request was met with silence by the board, Schaefer asked that the award be deferred for a week.
Called up to testify, Rudolph Chow, chief of the water bureau, said he would not recommend a one-week deferment.
“We are already in danger of non-compliance,” Chow said, with a December 2016 deadline to complete the project – a statement that’s technically correct, even though Chow recently told The Brew that he fully expects the completion date (set by the Environmental Protection Agency) to be pushed back until 2019.
CORRECTION: The above deadline is “part of a whole series of state-Chesapeake Bay deadlines and guidelines related to the flush tax,” not to the EPA consent decree, says Kurt Kocher, spokesman for DPW.
If Chow’s opposition was not enough, the disclosure that the American Infrastructure/PC bid was $15 million higher than Archer Western’s appeared to convince the board to unanimously reject the protest and award the contract to Chicago-based Archer Western.
The American Infrastructure/PC team gather in front of the Board of Estimates Wednesday to protest a $263 million award to a rival. To left is DPW director Alfred Foxx and City Council President Jack Young. (Photo by Mark Reutter)
In the second matter, a protest over a $5.3 million contract was thwarted by ab initio, the Latin term for treating a legal action as invalid “from the beginning.”
Am-Liner East protested the award of the SC 907 repair contract to Inland Waters Pollution Control Inc. because the company had failed to disclose that it had been suspended by the Detroit Water and Sewage Department. (The city requires disclosure of legal actions taken against a bidder or its principals.)
But George Nilson, the city solicitor, countered that the Detroit agency had lifted its suspension after Inland agreed to pay a $4.5 million settlement. Countering the claims of Carol O’Riordan, Am-Liner’s attorney, Nilson said Inland had no obligation to disclose the suspension to Baltimore City because it was void ab initio or “never existed.”
The Kilpatrick Connection
Inland’s suspension stemmed from a much bigger issue – the federal indictment of former Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick and other city officials that led to Kilpatrick’s March 2013 conviction on 24 charges, including racketeering and extortion.
The convictions involved a raft of sewer contracts, some that involved Inland, as well as the supply of private planes for trips to the Bahamas for Kilpatrick and his family by the then-majority owner of Inland, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. The newspaper said Inland was identified as “Company I” in the federal indictment.
Inland also was the general contractor on a sinkhole repair contract that was rife with inflated and fraudulent invoices, according to a related lawsuit filed by the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District that is still pending in federal court. Among the lawsuit’s charges is that the contract ballooned from $29 million to $54 million due to fraud and mismanagement.
These matters were not brought up at the board meeting.
After rejecting the protest by Am-Liner, all five board members – Nilson, Public Works Director Alfred H. Foxx, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Comptroller Joan Pratt and City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young – awarded the $5.3 million sewer contract to Inland.
We need to be aware of the positioning happening before the next election. Both O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake are being taken to national positions in the neo-liberal caucus because they have totally disassociated themselves from the citizens they serve by protecting and augmenting this systemic corporate fraud by Wall Street and national corporations. Both of these pols are guilty of Aiding and Abetting fraud in the policy decisions they pushed and the appointments they make to public oversight boards that are silent as all of the fraud and corruption unfolds. O'Malley just proposed a former energy executive for the Maryland Public Service Commission for goodness sake as Exelon prepares to soak citizens for all capital investments and operating costs. O'Malley says he is making that appointment for Maryland families.
Obama is of course ground zero for Aiding and Abetting. It would have been Hillary if she was elected...the point is that the DNC is controlled by neo-liberals working only for wealth and profit. Corporate fraud is simply profit after all! The last thing these crooked pols want is for citizens to actually elect people who want to hold all this crime and corruption accountable so Obama and Clinton are sending their political machines in to state and local positions to make sure the candidates in the next election are all suffering from 3 MONKEY SYNDROME...see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. We see Obama attached to Baltimore where much of the fraud and corruption occurs in Maryland and Obama attached to Anthony Brown....the clone of O'Malley ready to keep all of the current corporate protections in place at the state level. It seems that these neo-liberals think that all black voters are still thinking black candidates will work for them. I think that ship has sailed but there is a farm team waiting to work to maintain the status quo.
Maryland has captured labor and justice organizations that promote the very candidates that harm middle/lower class citizens the most. We encourage everyone....we are all workers and people seeking public justice....to make sure your organizations are led by people working for people. Make sure you are running candidates against neo-liberal incumbents in all elections!
Baltimore Brew Stirring up News and Views in Baltimore Maryland
Obama operative appointed mayor’s chief spokesman Washingtonian Kevin Harris replaces Ryan O'Doherty.
Brew Editors August 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has appointed an Obama loyalist and Democratic Party operative to replace Ryan O’Doherty as her chief spokesman and speechwriter.
Kevin R. Harris, 29, will become director of the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Communications on September 3.
Harris has served as a campaign spokesman for the Democratic National Committee (where Rawlings-Blake was recently appointed secretary) and as a political appointee in three federal agencies.
He got his start as a grassroots organizer during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Following his boss’ election, Harris came to Washington and took jobs at U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, White House Office of Legislative Affairs and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. He is currently communications director for Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.).
Has “Fond Memories” of Baltimore
In a press release today, Mayor Rawlings-Blake said, “Kevin will play an important role as we continue to look for new and better opportunities to keep our communities safe, provide economic opportunity for all and build more sustainable neighborhoods free of blight. Kevin has spent his entire adult life in public service, and I welcome him to our great city.”
In his prepared statement, Harris said, “I am truly humbled by this opportunity to serve the citizens of Baltimore under the leadership of Mayor Rawlings-Blake. I have fond memories of my time in Baltimore over the years, and I have the fondest respect for the character of the city and its citizens. Baltimore is a city that is on the move.”
During the 2012 campaign cycle, Harris oversaw messaging activities for the DNC in 15 states and also helped coordinate constituency press outreach, according to today’s release.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Harris received a B.A. in journalism from Howard University and an M.A. in government from Johns Hopkins University.
For those wanting a smaller military budget we are seeing yet again smoke and mirrors in this sequestration that neo-liberals toted as holding the military responsible for paying down the debt. What we are seeing is civilian military losing their jobs while private military contractors become the majority of the US military. We are seeing military troops with wage and benefits cuts and VA health care being turned into a Medicaid program financed by charities. As this article suggests.....we are seeing the further consolidation of all business to the mega-corporations as small businesses are dying on the vine from lack of Federal funding and crushing monopolies that kill competition.
THIS IS HAPPENING IN ALL AREAS OF BUSINESS....AS IN BALTIMORE ALL BUSINESS IS BEING DIRECTED TO LARGE CONTRACTORS WHO ARE PUTTING LOCAL BUSINESSES OUT OF BUSINESS AND SUBJECTING WORKERS TO EXPLOITATION.
Military worried small business suppliers will disappear during sequestration
Friday - 3/1/2013, 6:10am EST
By Jared Serbu
Jared Serbu, DoD reporter, Federal News Radio Download mp3
Under the sequestration cuts that will slice away indiscriminately at the federal discretionary budget starting today, DoD leaders have said that the first big impact to the military will be a crisis in the readiness of the armed services; acquisition programs will survive for some time before they begin to suffer major harms. But that's not necessarily true when it comes to small businesses. While sequestration and the broader defense drawdown will no doubt have a broad impact on the defense industrial base eventually, the Pentagon is not worried about defense contracting giants such as Northrop Grumman or Raytheon going out of business anytime soon. Those firms have seen the writing on the wall for some time and have begun streamlining operations, downsizing workforces, building up cash reserves and mining other sources of revenue in preparation for a downturn.
Lt. Gen. Charles Davis, military deputy for acquisition, Air Force
But acquisition leaders in each of the military services say they're very worried about the fate of small businesses who either contract directly with DoD or serve as second, third or fourth tier suppliers to the large prime contractors. "It does not take long for a small business to get in trouble very quickly," said Lt. Gen. Charles Davis, the Air Force's military deputy for acquisition. "They do things like building the fuses for most of our weapons. It's a challenging thing and it's an underappreciated thing, but it's the one thing that will cause the reliability of our weapons to fail instantly. They're not necessarily the leading edge on our weapons systems, but they provide things we can't execute these programs without."
Falling behind on small business goals
Even before sequestration really kicks in, this year's budget problems already have hurt some of DoD's ability to meet its small business contracting goals. The operation and maintenance accounts that fund military training, civilian salaries and a host of other functions, also pay for small contracts issued by individual bases or military commands.
Davis said as each military service has scoured those accounts for savings in order to pay for immediate wartime and training needs, those contracts have been pared back already.
"Anything across our bases and installations, just the most routine services, those are generally all set aside for small businesses," he said. "A very large chunk of that goes to small businesses to do maintenance on buildings, to do military construction, which we have virtually no money for. We know we're already $170 million behind on our small business contracting goals compared to this point last year. That's because base commanders have started pulling back their obligations on O&M because they know what's coming, just to be able to keep our squadrons flying at a certain level."
But the lasting effect of sequestration may not be the short-term cuts or delays, but the long-term loss of key suppliers.
For the last two years, DoD has been building a sector-by-sector, tier-by-tier map of its industrial base so that it can avoid surprise failures of firms that build "must-have" products or services and potentially intervene in the marketplace where necessary to keep the most critical firms afloat.
But that task becomes more difficult in an environment in which the Pentagon itself is more or less clueless about its budget for the next few months, let alone the next few years, said Heidi Shyu, the Army's assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology.
"Due to the instability of the budget, it's very difficult for even the prime contractors to do any kind of planning, let alone determining the impacts to the lower tiers. This is the biggest concern we all have across the board," she told the House Armed Services Committee Thursday. "My fear is that we can't tell these companies who provide a niche capability what they need to do to survive the downturn. We don't have any visibility in terms of what the gap is."
Survival of some vendors in jeopardy
Even before sequestration, the federal budget limbo has had a significant impact on small businesses. Since continuing resolutions have recently become commonplace in each budget cycle for at least part of the year, agencies have had to delay awards for new-start contracts for at least the first few months of each fiscal year.
Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition
Sean Stackley, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said this year's CR already has begun to jeopardize the survival prospects of some small companies the service can't do without. "The Department of the Navy is extremely unique in terms of some of our platforms like nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers. We build them at very low rates and nobody else builds them at all, and the components that go into these platforms are made largely by small business," he said. "It's almost a cottage industry that builds small numbers of critical items. We have to work that small business base directly to ensure its long term viability, come all of the ebb-and-flow of the budget cycle."
The same is true in the Navy's aviation programs, Stackley said.
"There's one small business manufacturer in the entire country that's responsible for forging and machining most of the rotor heads for all of our rotary-wing aircraft," he said. "That's a single point of failure, and in fact, he's struggling at this particular time."
If the military begins to lose small businesses that provide critical services, it will have to look for ways to rebuild those capabilities down the road once the federal budget cycle returns to normalcy. It will also have to rework its plans for each of its procurement programs to cope with the 9 percent reduction sequestration will take from each of them, officials said.
The Army's Shyu said her service will try to recover later what it will lose this year as a result of sequestration, but building those plans right now is next to impossible.
"You can only recover if you have a full understanding of the limitation of the cuts and what's going to happen next," she said. "If we had a budget for this year and had some understanding of what's going to happen in future years, we could at least begin to do that detailed planning. But right now, it's hard to judge what the impacts are without knowing what's going to happen. I have some significant concerns about that."
The broader impacts of this year's sequestration cuts on big military acquisition programs won't all be immediately apparent this year, Davis said, and won't be known until future years, by which time most programs will have been delayed to some degree, and after the procurement workforce has had to break apart each of their programs to determine how or whether they can survive under immediately-reduced funding levels.
"We ask our acquisition folks and program managers to navigate the most complex, chaotic, overregulated and overseen process in the world. And as they come to us, we can't tell them any of the most basic questions all of that activity demands," he said. "We can't tell them what baseline to begin their program from, we can't tell them what the changes will be or whether the continuing resolution will allow them to move money from one program to another. What we are able to tell them is that everything they've produced, sent up for review and put on the books until now is basically invalid, and they have to go back, do all the what-if drills and restructure those programs all over again. And when we send them back, we're telling them that they probably are going to take a 20 percent pay cut for the rest of the year."