VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!! RUN LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATES IN NEXT ELECTIONS!!!
OUR LOCAL PUBLIC MEDIA OUTLET WYPR HAS A 'LINES BETWEEN US' PROGRAM THAT PAINTS A PICTURE THAT MANY WOULD FIND BIASED TOWARDS THE STATUS QUO THAT IS WIDELY KNOWN TO BE A VERY CRIMINAL AND CORRUPT SYSTEM OF DEVELOPMENT THAT SEEKS THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR FOR ALL WORKING CLASS LABOR INVOLVED IN BUILDING ALL ENTERPRISE ZONES.
YOU CAN LOOK AT THE VOICES THAT ARE MISSING AND THOSE CHOSEN TO SEE HOW A HISTORY IS CREATED INVOLVING GRAVE INJUSTICE FROM ALL AVENUES IS GIVEN LEGITIMACY THROUGH THE LACK OF BALANCED JOURNALISM.
These series of interview also look at Baltimore development as it is presented by local politicians and we see in media. What you don't hear/see in this presentation is the bounty of both media, investigative journalism, and justice organizations who all paint a picture of lies, misappropriation, and real abuse in the system. This is all part of what is called 'CRONYISM' as the mainstream outlets like local TV news and public media deliberately omit the warts. The problem for most people who are quiet while this happens is that you get a State of the City address that moves people further into poverty in order to sustain the BROKEN SYSTEM THEY ARE TRYING TO EXPAND!!!
What you hear most from everyone working for REAL justice in Baltimore is a fear of shouting out directly at what many feel is the 'hand that feeds you'. THIS CAPTURE BY POVERTY IS JUST WHAT THIRD WORLD LEADERS USE AS THEY MANAGE AN OPPRESSED SOCIETY......THE EXACT WAY.
The middle-class are now feeling the brunt of these regressive policies as their jobs are being cut....wages lowered, and workplace rights disappear. TEACHERS, FIREFIGHTERS, POLICE ALL LOOKING TOWARDS THEIR SUNSET YEARS WITH NO RETIREMENT. The upper-middle class had better know they are next!!!! In a third world autocracy it is only the administrative class working in government that must be paid to maintain loyalty. The crime and corruption in Baltimore is no different than that in Uzbekistan
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE AND LET'S MOVE BACK TOWARDS DEMOCRACY IN MARYLAND!!!
MY COMMENTS TO THE ARTICLES BELOW.....PART OF A WYPR POVERTY AND WEALTH SERIES.
This is what we know: Nilson, the mayor's lawyer says the city cannot tell developers who they can hire. That's easy, only allow developers that sign on a dotted line to meet all Baltimore's hiring needs the right to develop.....that is all that is needed.....it is simple. Does Baltimore really needed to hand everything to developers just to get them to develop? Of course not. Much of the money used on these luxury developments in Baltimore's Enterprise Zones comes from banks that still owe the state billions of dollars in corporate fraud penalties. If we had an Attorney General who enforced Rule of Law the City of Baltimore would have money in its government coffers and not in the pockets of fraudulent business owners. So it is not necessary for the city to partner with developers who demand they bring their own workers from out of area or how demand millions in tax breaks just to exist. BALTIMORE IS OWED MORE MONEY THAN IT NEEDS TO DEVELOP DOWNTOWN....IT IS THE WORLD-CLASS DESIGNATION THAT REQUIRES THESE SHADY INVESTMENTS. Let's look at Carl Stokes and his attempts to appear working for the public in a bizarre Lexington Development deal that included a requirement for a dozen underserved housing units and a share of the profits from future earnings by the Lexington development. What Stokes did was to write into the contract the very terms that made it not meet the criteria for giving the tax credit. So, Carl basically told the developer that when you start to make a profit from this location simply sell the Lexington connection....only need a shell company...and VIOLA....NO PROCEEDS COMING TO THE PUBLIC. Those dozen underserved meeting the description of multi-income housing? REALLY? All of this is what makes Baltimore development the open little crime and corruption storyline across the country. Even the Maryland legislature required that the school building funding be tied to state oversight because of the crime and corruption in all of the city's Public Works. HOW DOES THIS NEVER MAKE THE HEADLINES OF BALTIMORE MEDIA? IT PAYS TO OWN THE OUTLETS!!!!
You really do need to have more outlets for voices in these discussions. As an academic looking at this issue for example I would see your three choices for interview as biased along the lines of giving positive input.....which is what you recorded for the most part. That makes sense as WYPR is Hopkins and Hopkins is development in the city. Not so good as a public media outlet where people want to get the real picture behind what we know are shady policy practices. Can you image Carl Stokes, head of the Finance and Development Committee and Council Person for a district heavily underserved stating that Baltimore's policy deliberately excludes his constituents? Of course not. The developer Duncan certainly would not, and not to pigeon-hole this pastor but I speak with Baltimore's pastors all the time and hear of their fear of retribution regarding public grants/resources for the poor as a reason these pastors back people and policy that hurt the underserved in Baltimore. So, given that knowledge one would not go to the very pastor most deeply involved in services to get an unbiased report on hiring. WHAT I SEE IN EACH OF THESE 'LINES BETWEEN US' ARE CAREFULLY SELECTED INTERVIEWEES THAT FAIL TO PRESENT THE SITUATION AS I KNOW IT.....AND I MAKE A LIVING RESEARCHING THE REALITIES OF SOCIETY.
The Lines Between Us: Do Developers Create Neighborhood Jobs?
February 1, 2013 Lawrence Lanahan WYPR
When controversy erupts over big developments in Baltimore, developers often counter with this tantalizing promise: "We've got jobs!"
How often do they come through? There's not much standardized data that would provide an easy answer. As Melody Simmons reports in this week's "The Lines Between Us" episode, many developers work with the Mayor's Office of Employment Development to find local hires, but MOED doesn't keep data just for big developments. (Although if you're talking city contracts over $50,000, MOED says 40 percent of the 3,000-person workforce are city residents.)
Maryland Economic Development Corp. is developing a lab in the footprint of the $1.8 billion East Baltimore Development Inc. project. Simmons reported that MEDCO's goal is to employ 100 local residents. So far, out of the 293 workers, 76 have been from East Baltimore.
The developers of the "Superblock" project on the west side of Baltimore's downtown signed a local hiring agreement with an alliance of Baltimore ministers. Bailey Pope, who is managing the development for Lexington Square Partners, says this "economic inclusion plan" sets a goal of 20 percent of all jobs being held by city residents, and 50 percent of all new hires being local. (Many outfits bring their own crews from other cities for early work like engineering and construction.)
What are the rest of the details on the Superblock agreement? See for yourself: Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes provided us this copy.
The agreement does not penalize Lexington Square Partners for failing to meet local hiring goals. Although Baltimore has extended a multimillion dollar "payment in lieu of taxes" tax break to Lexington Square Partners, a failure to meet local hiring goals does not jeopardize that break. (You can see the City Council legislation regarding that deal here.) The developers will provide quarterly reports to the committee behind the agreement and to two City Council committees.
Sheilah Kast asked if those reports would be made public. "I suppose they should be public," said Bailey Pope.
"They will be public," followed Carl Stokes. He says the City Council Finance Committee will also hold occasional hearings to check the progress of local hiring at the "Superblock."
Strict local hiring quotas seem unlikely to fly. When Baltimore City Council President Jack Young proposed a mandate for local hiring in city contracts, City Solicitor George Nilson responded that it would be unconstitutional, according to the Baltimore Business Journal.
Mark Reutter of the Baltimore Brew drew our attention to a legislative memo from the Department of Planning estimating that the average salary for a local hire on the Superblock project will be $20,800. Reverend Todd Yeary, who helped negotiate the local hiring agreement with Lexington Square Partners, told Sheilah Kast that this project will bring unemployed and government assistance-dependent populations into the workforce.
Reverend Todd Yeary, senior pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church. Picture from douglaschurch.org."We want to take the working poor and get them into a process where they can grow into a career," said Yeary. "So there may be some folks who start in the $20,000 range, but with the building of experience, I think there will be room for growth and expansion." Some developers in other cities say failed drug tests and criminal records have kept projects from reaching local hiring goals, according to the news website DNAinfo. Stokes, Yeary, and Pope did not have concrete answers for how drug tests and criminal records will affect local hiring on the Superblock project. "In most cases," said Stokes, "those are handled on a case by case basis."
"We're not saying that there's any automatic disqualifier except something that's real obvious," said Yeary, such as a failed drug test or showing up late for work. He noted that getting jobseekers ready for a job is a part of the "economic inclusion plan." "Do you have transportation concerns, are there issues around child care?" said Yeary. "That's where the community's role is. That's not the developer's role."
In this on-air segment: first, reporter Melody Simmons looks at recent projects to see how often developers follow through on promises of jobs for city residents.
Then, we'll get the specifics on local jobs on the westside Superblock from three players. Carl Stokes represents the 12th District on Baltimore's City Council. Rev. Todd Yeary of Douglas Memorial Community Church is part of a ministerial alliance that negotiated a local hiring agreement with developer Lexington Square Partners. Bailey Pope is senior vice president for The Dawson Company, the development manager for Lexington Square Partners.
We have some web audio extras: the full unedited interview with Pope, Stokes, and Yeary; an explanation of who will do the training for the Superblock's local workforce; and an update on the status of the property--located within the Superblock--that was the site of a 1955 civil rights sit-in at Read's Drug Store.
Will big developments like Walmart, Horseshoe Casino, and Superblock provide good jobs for city residents? That's the Question of the Week from "The Lines Between Us." Tell us your answer.
First, we need to know that it is Johns Hopkins as largest employer in Baltimore that presses the lowest wage possible in all business sectors. That's why we have subcontracting to subcontractors, tourist businesses, and a minimum wage from the dark ages. More importantly it has businesses like Walmart which was ready to commit to higher wages for opening this store in Remington being asked by Baltimore pols not to pay more. So, we have poverty wages coming with Walmart. Again with Horseshoe, even as pols had all kinds of labor unions promoting the casino legislation they knew that Horseshoe has a history of fighting unionization and providing the worst of labor conditions for its employees. So City Hall knew these would be bad jobs. We have United Workers marching and testifying to Cordish Powerplant and other Enterprise Zone wage and workplace abuses.....wages being stolen by contractor hired to build in Enterprise Zones, and we have Unite Here 7 fighting to organize Hyatt workers even as Hyatt has connections to City Hall as a partner in business. The Baltimore Hyatt has some of the worst working conditions for Hyatt in the nation......and it happens in Baltimore because public leadership likes it that way!!!!
Disappearing Middle Class Neighborhoods What happened to the Baltimore region's middle class neighborhoods?
A study from the "US2010" project says they were replaced with rich and poor neighborhoods.
In 1970, two-thirds of Americans lived in "middle-income" neighborhoods, according to the study. As those neighborhoods declined by 32 percent, the proportion of both poor and affluent neighborhoods doubled.
The study says Baltimore ranks 18th in the nation for income segregation. You can see income segregation grow in the animated map above, which we created using maps generously provided by researchers Sean Reardon, Kendra Bischoff, and Anna Ponting.
The dark colors represent the extremes: blue for poor neighborhoods, and red for affluent ones. The lighter blues and grays and oranges represent middle-income neighborhoods. In 1970, reds and blues dot the landscape. By 2009, they dominate.
Why have middle-income neighborhoods disappeared? It's not just that the middle-class has disappeared and we don't need them anymore. It's also that more Americans are sorting themselves by income--you're just less likely to see upper-income families in middle-income neighborhoods.
On Friday, we'll talk to researcher Sean Reardon and to Jennifer Arndt Robinson, who has decided to stay in a neighborhood near Patterson Park even though her family could afford to "move out to the county."
My comments on the Disappearing Middle-Class Neighborhoods:
In the 1980s the Master Plan of city development was drawn and it included the transition of the city center to affluent/ luxury communities of a World Class city. So a decision was made to defund those communities slated to become affluent and as such the working class neighborhoods slowly became blighted as people lost jobs and the city failed to invest. This was the same time Clinton's 'reform' of Welfare ended any ability for people not able to find work to access a safety net and the only way of making money became the criminal activities like drug dealing. One can see a recipe for devolution. So these working class homeowners watched as the city's policies allowed all of their equity disappear making these once middle-class neighborhoods empty. Remember, there were plenty of people needing homes, plenty owning homes....there simply was a policy to let these communities fail as the plan of affluent development needed these populations out. I speak today with families having lost everything through this policy and then the second round of policy meant to clear even more of the downtown working class/poor sectors....the subprime loan fraud.
It is no coincidence that the banks targeted the urban homeowners in this fraud. They wanted what was to become very expensive real estate for rock-bottom prices so targeted all of the communities they knew would bite free money because they lived at the border of poverty. Their homes were their only equity. All of City Hall knew this subprime loan scheme was filled with fraud and would end badly for these working-class homeowners but the objective was to clear them out to move affluent in and having them owning property didn't meet that objective.....so they let them be openly fleeced and then, as we see now, watch as these same hard working families received nothing ($1,900) as justice failed.
The domestic economy is stagnant because:
Massive frauds have moved tens of trillions of dollars to the top and to offshore accounts creating huge wealth inequity that has sucked the economy dry. We simply need to recover the fraud.
Allowing corporations to go global has created unaccountable and criminal entities that kill democracy and control the economy. We all know that is not good so we simply need to downsize these mega-corporations and make them good corporate citizens...recovering the fraud will start that process. Electing labor and justice pols/voting out corporate pols will too.
The Fed's policy of 0% interest and QE is all about giving free money to banks and corporations to invest in the stock market rather than work and hire.....get rid of the Fed policy and allow interest rates to rise to 3-4%.
Corporations are growing in spades overseas as that is where Third Way corporate pols so growth. Holding domestic markets stagnant with high unemployment makes labor desperate for work and lower work standards....maximizing corporate profits. So this stagnation is deliberate and completely avoidable. Your Third Way corporate democrat is working to maximize profits at your expense!!!
A farewell to jobs If the employment decline is not temporary, bold action will be needed
By Bill Barry 12:30 p.m. EST, February 7, 2013
In all of the clamor about deficit reduction and fiscal cliffs, the assumption is that the U.S. economy is basically fine. The "jobs slump" is just that — a slump — so with proper government intervention (or lack thereof), the happy days of full employment will return. After all, the "recession" is just temporary, isn't it?
There is a more devastating prospect: that the lost jobs are gone forever, leaving tens of millions of Americans, concentrated at opposite ends of the age scale, who may never work "permanently" again. If you think this is hysteria, ask your middle-age friends who have lost their jobs about their prospects. Consider that young adults under 25 have a much higher unemployment rate — and 85 percent of recent college graduates say they may have to move back in with their parents. In Maryland, the unemployment rate for ages 16-24 is the highest since World War II.
So where did all of these "permanent" jobs go?
•Technology: From factories where robots make all of the products to each of us who uses an ATM, BGE smart meter or E-ZPass, millions of jobs have been replaced by technology. The relentless push for even greater technology investment also means reduced employment.
•Corporate mergers: As businesses conglomerate, "operating efficiencies" eliminate many jobs that will never return.
•Increased productivity: As the recession of the mid-2000s deepened, employers were both laying off people and assigning additional work to the remaining staff. Gradually, the laid-off workers were permanently replaced.
•"Offshoring": The exporting for the past few decades of U.S. jobs overseas has eliminated millions of jobs at both ends of the skill scale. Not only are repetitive tasks like clothing manufacture and call centers shipped out, but X-rays, for example, now can be read anywhere in the world. As a measure of this loss, the U.S. trade deficit in November was $48.7 billion.
•Decrease in government jobs: Government was long considered the employer-of-last resort. No longer; in December alone, government jobs decreased by 12,000 as a result of decreased tax revenues. Increasing unemployment, of course, will further decrease tax revenues. "Sequestration" cuts would eliminate another 1 million jobs. So where will these displaced workers find another spot?
•The underground economy: With the surge of millions of undocumented workers into an already precarious economy, many "jobs" don't officially appear as such; they are day labor, cash only or private contractor.
•Part-time work: Especially in the hospitality sector, like fast food, there is no "normal," so nearly every employee is considered part-time. Workers face erratic and unpredictable hours. The announcement by some chain owners that they would further cut hours to avoid providing health insurance is simply an extension of industry practices. As work is de-skilled, it becomes not only possible but desirable for employers to bring in part-time or underground workers instead of full-time hires.
•The recession: the scapegoat that conceals the permanent loss of jobs. Yes, the recession has hurt, but it was in part the product of the change in the economy as demand from workers who are losing their jobs dried up.
So, the question is: Now what? We have to drastically change the U.S. economy to put people back to work. Here are some things we should do:
•Shorten the workweek. The eight-hour day was a union demand in the 1870s and the 40-hour week became standard in 1935, and even as productivity soared the hours have not dropped. All of the gains have gone to the top 5 percent as profit and dividends. John Maynard Keynes in 1930 predicted that technology and productivity would be so powerful that the 15-hour week would be "normal."
•Lower the retirement age to at least 60. In the 1930s, when Francis Townsend developed a plan for Social Security, one of his goals was to make it so attractive for people to retire that jobs would be opened up for younger workers. The numbers of workers filing for Social Security at younger ages today is a prime reflection the desperate economy.
•National health care. A grievous problem with the loss of a full-time job is the loss of health insurance. President Barack Obama's health care program is inadequate to the problem; only a national single-payer, "Medicare for all" plan would stop the anxiety that comes with unemployment when your children need to see a doctor.
•Increase the minimum wage. If the federal minimum wage had increased with inflation since 1968, it would be almost $11 an hour — not enough to live on, but enough to give a huge boost to economic demand.
•Expand unionism. All the numbers demonstrate that unionized workers get higher pay and better benefits, and that these standards are passed along to nonunion workers. This is the basic reason why the top 5 percent want to eradicate unionism from the U.S.
Would these proposals drastically change the US economy? Absolutely. Would they — gasp! — redistribute the wealth? Positively.
Would they require a whole new political movement, away from the two parties controlled by the wealthiest 5 percent? For certain.
And yet without such a bold plan, the overall U.S. economy will continue to sink, propped up by unsustainable deficit spending that puts us eternally at the edge of the financial cliff, wasting trillions of dollars in interest payments that could otherwise be spent productively. More importantly, without such a change our children will never know the security and employment that we have known — a human element that should be the most urgent motive.
Bill Barry is the retired director of labor studies at the Community College of Baltimore County-Dundalk. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.