Brian Smith (scorpio398) wrote in i_heart_tacoma,
Brian Smith
scorpio398
i_heart_tacoma

Rally for Local Living-Wage Jobs and Worker-Affordable Housing

Rally for Local Living-Wage Jobs and Worker-Affordable Housing
tell Rick Talbert & Tacoma City Council to Support Sustainable Growth
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 5:15pm
37th Street and South D St., Tacoma (Pierce County Health Dept)

Luxury high-rises and hotels are going up in Downtown Tacoma and condos are
listed for $1 million and up. Developers get millions of our tax-dollars in
subsidies to increase these projects' profits. Yet, these projects are also
built and serviced on the backs of mostly immigrant workers in poverty-wage
non-union jobs. None of these condo projects are affordable for
mixed-income workers.

This scheme is causing a job and housing crisis in Pierce County, more
poverty, environmental damage, an eroded tax base, and a widening gulf
between rich and poor as explained in a previous JwJ email. Unfortunately,
that's the way most developers and government officials hope to keep it so
far.

Deputy Mayor Talbert Pits Luxury Developers over Workers and Environment
The Tacoma City Council has refused to link good jobs and affordable housing
to these subsidies despite respectful proposals and dialogue. Deputy Mayor
Rick Talbert leads the charge for this subsidy scheme to high-end property
developers while fending off a sustainable growth plan. It doesn't have to
be this way. We can coexist well if we implemented responsible development
policies already practiced in scores of growing West Coast cities despite
developer protests in almost every instance as "the end of the world."

Now Mr. Talbert is keynoting a public forum to school us on how to make our
"political system more responsive," on "influencing policies," and how to
become environmentally sustainable and promote "environmental health
policy." This is the same Rick Talbert who so far is not responsive, obeys
the influence of money over people, and whose development scheme generates
more green-house gas and climate change.
see below for more background

Our plan
We will model for Mr. Talbert how to make our "political system more
responsive" by holding an outside picket and leaflet before the forum. The
Pierce County Health Dept has welcomed the entire public to attend this
forum at which Mr. Talbert is scheduled to field questions from the
audience. If you liked our protest at the Maersk Port of Tacoma terminal
earlier this month, this one promises to be even more creative and fun.


Background
Corporate Welfare Gone Wild
While Tacoma officials pioneered this poverty-generating development model,
it is now a virus overtaking Pierce County and is potentially spreading
statewide. In a race to the bottom, Lakewood and Puyallup have recently
implemented similar tax breaks. Current government subsidies include:
· 8 and 10 year full tax breaks for new developments
· Low interest loans such as for converting the Winthrop to a
five-start hotel and condo complex
· Over $60 million in free environmental clean-up for exclusive Thea
Foss waterfront property
· Below-market rate land sales such as the downtown Marriott
Courtyard Hotel
· Above-market rate land purchases such as bailing out the ill-fated
Crosswater Condominium
· Eminent domain threats such as the "Tombstone" parking complex
· Free infrastructure like underground parking and utilities.

Who Does Rick Talbert really represent?
· At least 3 times, Mr. Talbert was a "no show, no call" at meetings
with delegations of labor and community leaders to discuss this topic.
· Rather than explore common ground, Mr. Talbert has campaigned to
defend the current tax, job, and housing scheme. In public forums, he has
opposed standards such as living wages, union apprenticeships, and local
resident access to jobs at these subsidized projects.
· Mr. Talbert publicly claims that the luxury property projects
"won't pencil out" unless developers operate with poverty-wage non-union
jobs and are not required to build a single affordable housing unit. This
is the same thing developers said in scores of West Coast cities before
proven wrong by working sustainable growth policies. Just like earlier
bogus claims that these subsidized luxury projects benefit all residents, we
want to see the data to support this claim.
· Mr. Talbert has run from informal approaches by old friends on
this topic. Instead of chatting, Mr. Talbert indirectly accused one friend
in an awkward professional setting of raising inappropriate topics
· Mr. Talbert claims to support urban density to reduce commuting
but his scheme has people working far from homes they can afford and living
in places far from the jobs that finance this high-end living. His plans
are adding thousands more polluting commuters to our already clogged roads.

Job and Housing Crisis in Pierce County
For the last 3 years, Jobs with Justice has helped organize public forums
hosted by our region's elected and community leadership to expose this
crisis driven by a new low-wage service economy and property development
scheme, local disinvestment and deindustrialization brought on by "free
trade" treaties, broken immigration policies, and union-busting. Local
governments have produced voluminous studies to identify and address this
crisis. Even the pro-developer News Tribune admits to this crisis. As
Tacoma Housing Authority Executive Director Michael Mirra says "if our local
housing crisis was measured in food terms, we have widespread malnutrition
and pockets of starvation." Development industry specialists agree that the
local workforce is not paid enough to buy the newly built and soon
over-saturated condos. When local workers at Tomlinson Linen, Alan Ritchey
Inc, Toray Composites, Pierce County buildings, Marriott Hotels, Columbia
Bank Building, and almost all local residential construction sites have to
endure the scientific terrorism of the modern union-buster campaign to
exercise their rights to organize for a living wage, we wonder how we
reverse this crisis without worker-friendly elected leaders.

Time To Take Action
We have worked to build consensus around effective strategies to end this
crisis among our region's elected and community leadership (see below JwJ
Workers Rights Board findings and resolution to act). Sometimes we need to
reconcile the "consensus to act" with real action. These are the times JwJ
mobilizes to hold decision-makers accountable.
South Sound office of Washington State Jobs with Justice3049 S 36th St #201
Tacoma WA 98409Phone: 253-459-5107 Fax: 206-441-5059Email:
southsound@wsjwj.org Website: www.wsjwj.org


Washington State Jobs with Justice Workers Rights Board
Findings and Resolution To Act

The Washington State Jobs with Justice Workers Rights Board makes the
following findings based on the hearing testimony on December 9, 2004:
· That living wage jobs and high levels of employment are integral
to the health of our communities and economy
· That exporting living wage jobs from our community without an
effective strategy to replace those jobs and provide laid off workers
transition to future decent living standards is cause for serious concern
· That not enough statistical information has been collected about
how much job exporting is happening and how it impacts us
· That we are concerned about whether job exporting actually
benefits our community as well as communities, such as India, receiving
these exported jobs
· That both government and the private sector should develop local
sustainable economy and community strategies to address the impact of job
exporting.

Be it resolved that we will work to build a sustainable economy of living
wage jobs and stable high employment in our community of Pierce and south
King Counties by:
· Identifying and focusing government subsidized development (such
as business recruitment and special worker training) in industry clusters
(such as biotech and enviro-energy) that provide living wage jobs
· Coupling corporate disclosure of job creation statistics and
government audits with direct and indirect government subsidies to
companies.
· Cataloguing business reasoning and how we respond to companies
that resist disclosure, audits, commitments to quantifiable living wage job
creation goals, and other programs that encourage and evaluate job retention
and creation initiatives.
· Reforming how government subsidizes the private sector to favor
rewarding and growing businesses that have a track record of investing in
stable living wage jobs in our community
· Engaging business community leaders who support our resolution to
join us in visits with local corporation leaders to discuss balancing values
of profit and sustaining our community. We will also educate about an
employee involvement model that evaluates and compares alternatives to job
exporting on a case-by-case basis.
· Approaching major media outlets to publicize the social impacts of
job exporting and solutions put forth in these findings especially the
employee involvement model that evaluates and compares alternatives to job
exporting on a case-by-case basis.
By: — Congressperson Adam Smith — Outgoing Chair of the House Trade &
Commerce Committee Velma Veloria — Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg —
President of Tacoma Ministerial Alliance Rev. Paul Warren — Vice Chair of
the House Financial Institutions Committee Rep. Geoff Simpson — State Rep. &
Business Retention Mgr of Pierce Economic Development Bd. Derek Kilmer —
Executive Director Associated Ministries Rev. David Alger — Tim Strege
Executive Director of William M Factory Small Business Incubator — Pierce
County United Way President* Rick Allen — Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma —
Pierce
County Council Member Tim Farrell
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