Saturday, January 2, 2010

Updated: Synopsis of Today's "Community Jobs Forum" / Submission to the White House

The following synopsis of today's "Community Jobs Forum" is in the exact form that it was submitted - albeit by different means - to / Organizing for America tonight.  Your thoughts are welcome [please utilize the comments section] on any and/or all of this as well!

"Synopsis Community Jobs Forum January 2, 2010, Kingston NY [As submitted by Nancy Smith, City of Kingston Citizen Activist and Blogger]

Out of 35 to 50 invites - primarily folks that I know are active in the community politically or otherwise - only three people officially signed up for this forum - and none of them showed up. Thus, only myself, my husband and another City of Kingston resident that we met on site ended up collectively discussing and answering the questions provided.


Perhaps that is a word [other than sad...] that best captures what is going on in Kingston, NY... with more evidence of same being that I also asked a group of six to eight men that were present on site [at least some of whom stated that they were City residents] if they wanted to participate / answer the questions - and they laughingly [like it was a bad joke...] said [I won't reveal "all" that they said...] no.

My husband, whom I will refer to as BS, did not make any notation in regard to question number one. The other gentleman that participated, whom I will refer to as JC, stated that he had viewed some material on the "President's Jobs Forum" - and his response to question number one: "From what you have seen, or seen reported about the President's Jobs Forum on December 3rd, what seemed relevant to your community?" --- was "Nothing!."

My response to this question - having watched the Allentown videos [one and two, as covered by C-SPAN and placed on You Tube) focused on the commonalities between Allentown and the City of Kingston - such as the loss of manufacturing jobs [one after another... bunches!]; the high rate of business closures and turnovers (real bad!); the increase (big time!) in home foreclosures (and all that comes with "same" (including increased traffic at homeless shelters, food pantries, etc.); the way in which the greed and waste inherent in our health care system factors into all of this...; the lack of local employment opportunities for our youth; and the fact that the issues that are now striking the middle-class and working-class [big time] - have been present for decades (sometimes a lifetime / sometimes generation after generation] for some of our City's working class [low wages; p/t jobs; lack of health care; etc.] and poverty level households (individuals and families) --- although [and I think this is an important point!] a number of those receiving services and/or in shelters, jails and prisons appear to be getting better benefits (health, dental, etc.) than those that are working and /or at least volunteering / participating in community action [this factor can breed some serious (I know this from speaking to a number of others) resentments...].

On Question number two, "What parts of your local economy are working or thriving? What businesses and sectors are expanding and hiring?"

BS stated that the City of Kingston is a "government and not-for-profit heavy economy" and that "all of them are experiencing a hiring freeze."

JC stated: "None." And --- "those that don't depend on government handouts or dependency..." "Darwinism [meaning "survival of the fittest?"] vs Keynseism" [I had to look up "Keynseism" - which, according to "Webster's New World College Dictionary", 4th Edition; P. 785 - means "in accord with the economic theories of Keynes and his followers, which hold that full employment and a stable economy depend on the continued governmental stimulation of spending and investment through adjustment of interest rates and tax rates, deficit financing, etc..."

And I stated: None. The City of Kingston, the County of Ulster and the State of New York are all in serious fiscal trouble. In fact the City of Kingston was paying employees via a bond towards the latter part of 2009 - and seriously contemplating filing [as a City] for bankruptcy. There are, in my opinion, way too many not-for-profits in the City of Kingston --- which is dominated by City jobs/workers, county jobs/workers and not-for-profit (religious and non) institutions (at least some of which appear to pull in a pretty hefty profit in terms of funds and/or prime property that is kept off the tax roles...). The only buildings and businesses that seem to keep going up and/or moving in are drug stores --- and I think that, again, speaks of the downtrodden state of this City - our disfunctional health care system - and of the people that are suffering --- buying full tilt into the "medical model" --- and/or self-medicating ---- in an attempt [offtimes counterproductive] to survive.

On Question number three, "What parts of your local economy are not working or thriving? What businesses and sectors have been hit the hardest? What are people struggling with the most?"

BS responded: "There is no growth in the private sector. All businesses are affected and people are struggling with basic needs - food - shelter - transportation - health care."

JC responded: "(A & B...) This community suffers from too many stores, pharmacies, restaurants and box stores, which drive down wages. [and] (C) taxes, government expansion, and serious nepotism and patronage."

I responded: Nothing really seems to be working or thriving. The City, County and State have all been hit hard. Businesses have been hit hard. The citizens - especially at the working class and middle class level - have been hit hard. The elderly are struggling and (often, this from conversations...) full of fear. The communities youth have little to aspire to. In general, there appears to be a great deal of apathy, fear, anger and bitterness afloat...

On question number four:

"What are the opportunities for growth in your community? What businesses and sectors seem poised to rebound? What do you see as "jobs of the future?"

BS responded: 1. "None. None." 2. "Future - Solar energy, service jobs, education..."

JC responded: "A) None B) Few C) Solar & construction... rehab" [not clear on what he meant by "rehab..."]

I responded that the City needs to find a "niche" - such as tourism - and try to go with that.... but that the outlook [apathy has a heavy hand...] is currently bleak....

It seems to me that this City needs some radical restructuring (in terms of taxes, not-for-profits, "separation of church and state" issues, nepotism, etc...] and that the City of Kingston would benefit from some objective agency coming in - from the outside - to take a look / evaluate certain situations / engage in some problem solving / and put forth some practical suggestions.

It may well be that some new legislation is required - as it appears as if the City of Kingston is - as one active citizen puts it [This is a major and "hot" issue] --- Ulster County's "dumping ground...". [The City of Kingston reputedly gets (to house, feed, provide health services for, rehabilitate, etc...) somewhere around 70% of the social welfare cases in Ulster County (including those recently released from jails and prisons in Ulster County and elsewhere...)]

On question number five: "What are the obstacles to job creation in your community? What could make local businesses more likely to start hiring?"

BS responded: 1. "Old money... Petrified thinking..." 2. Jimmy Carter's old CETA [Comprehensive Employment Training Act] program!!"

JC responded: 1. "Government" 2. "Enforce [underlined] immigration laws, thereby allowing legals to work!!" "Restaurants in this community are supported by illegals."

I responded: 1. Too many not-for-profits. Too much nepotism and croynism. Too much entanglement between "Church and State." Too much discretion allowed as to who receives grants and what they are used for. Way too little accountability in terms of the City Government and not-for-profits. There is not enough support - in any sense - for the business community. Plus, the proliferation of dollar stores / big box stores [such as Wallmart] - in the City of Kingston and/or nearby Town of Ulster --- are taking a heavy toll [too many manufacturing jobs have gone out of the country... too many items are selling too cheap due to slave labor... too many people are in need of such items... a LOT (locally, nationally and internationally...) needs to change...] on any smaller businesses that do try to make it. We need to start to honor (on all of these fronts --- all across the board --- basic human rights (living wage issues, health care issues, etc.)! Perpetrators of crimes seem to be granted more rights (and supports) than the victims [and potential victims] of crimes... Not-for-profits [some of which earn a big "ahem..."] seem to be taking over the legitimate business realm. And the hiring that is being done - in a lot of cases - appears to be [in far too many cases...] questionable at best [ex-cons working with vulnernable populations] and an atrocity... at worst.

[It should also be noted that the smoking laws and the high tax on cigarettes have hurt businesses and individuals - both locally and nationally - and that these new laws and high taxes are hitting the working poor and impovershed ('tis close to being a discrimination issue in my book...) in major [unjustifiable?] ways. Prohibition on booze did more damage than good - and the same - in my opinion - is going to be true [is in fact, already playing out...] in regard to nicotine products. To discuss reducing the Rockefeller laws whilst increasing taxes, laws, fines and penalties related to cigarettes is an oxymoron I find really hard [not to mention the booze issue...] to digest!] [Yes, by all means, protect the children in every way possible! But adults are adults - and will probably act that way - unless they are treated like children...]

In regard to question number six: "What other issues and ideas should the President consider?"

BS responded: "Partial unemployment. Return to Income Tax structure of the 1950's - High and Exorbanant Incomes were Taxed Over 80% [underlined]... Force banks (they were bailed out) to loan money - especially for small businesses... Mandate and train workworthy people to contribute to thier benefits - !!!"

JC responded: "Strict [underlined] enforcement of Immigration Laws... No bailouts of corporate [corporations?] or individuals... Take personal responsibility for your actions. Government is there to give a hand up NOT [underlined] handouts!!"

I responded: The system appears to be operating upside down... How about turning it right side up????? The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives [or whatever it has been renamed] should be [as a violation of the "separation of church and state"] dismantled. The military should be utilized for our safety and defense - but not for agressive "bully-type" actions. We should get our own act together [invest in America!] and stop interfering [through weapons and/or missionaries] in the "homes" and "norms" (because, when all is said and done, that is what they are...) of others. We should get seriously on board the Human Rights and ethics train. And we should evaluate every single law on the books [in regard to economical and criminal matters] in order to see who these laws truly serve and if they are truly working in the best interests of the average honest American citizen...

If absolutely necessary - I believe President Obama should make a few executive decisions (as did Bush Jr...) - but this time on BEHALF of the average working class to Middle Class [health care, dental care, education, a living wage, tax-payer funded elections, etc.] American citizens."


Truth, Love, Equality, Peace and Humane Justice,


[ When all of the information related to the "Community Jobs Forums" around the country have been submitted, I think the information (or some of it) will be available at:  "The U.S. Government's Official Web Portal":   On a quick check, via searching this site, I found this:  "Checking in on the Community Job Forums: Mayors Stand Up"; Posted by Jesse Lee on December 30, 2009 at 12:17 PM EST; "The White House Blog"; ]

Addendum:  In reading some of the material from the last link, I wonder if the Mayor of the City of Kingston was asked to participate in this - and if so, why he did not?  Or... for that matter, someone like Mr. Finkle???  I don't seem to be able to generate any big turnouts --- but it sure seems like they could...

Our problems here - for sure - for sure - are not going to solve themselves!


Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:13am... Thank you.


To the person that posted "I need a riddle........." with a url posted way down where I almost didn't notice it...?

Not happening.

But please feel free to share on the topic.

Thank you,