Thursday, October 24, 2013

Roller Coaster and Part Two of my Answers to the Questionnaire

  The campaign trail is more like a campaign roller coaster and I have always loved roller coasters! 
Thank you all for your support!  Keep spreading the message for positive change in Youngstown!
YES we can!

This is the second part of the questionnaire that I filled out a few weeks ago.
What are your ideas regarding job creation in your jurisdiction?

I believe that as a region one of the biggest myths perpetuated is the one that leads folks to believe that some big company is going to come to town and “save the day”.  Although I believe more and more folks are coming to understand that this is a myth, there are still far too many people who ascribe to it.  It is of course essential that the city reach out to and appeal to businesses, both local and from out of the area.  However, I believe that the best thing we can do as a city is to create ourselves and our city into one where businesses do not necessarily feel that they are doing us a favor by locating here, but rather, businesses are being given an opportunity to locate in an area that is rich in resources, people, and community.  I also believe that it is important that we are a progressive city, one that appreciates diversity, encourages both entrepreneurial and artistic creativity, and supports social, economic and environmental sustainability.

We need to promote and utilize union apprenticeships and job-training programs that make concerted and authentic efforts to recruit and train minorities, especially minority youth and women.  We need mentoring programs in place so that job performance and job security can work hand-in-hand to guarantee a healthy workforce and workplace.  We need businesses that locate here to hire local people, offer a living wage and pay their fair share of property taxes and resource expenses, so that our schools can be viable.  Healthy schools are crucial to an active, engaged and aware citizenry as well as a viable workforce and a vibrant community.

We can create a diverse economy and progressive environment by emphasizing local production, local investment in neighborhoods, and opportunities for citizens, especially youth and the un- or under-employed, to learn the skills necessary to build a leaner and greener Youngstown.  We need entrepreneurs, mentors, apprenticeship programs and job skills training to work on repairing and improving our infrastructure, rehabbing houses and stimulating a diverse local economy.  We must utilize the County Land Bank to acquire abandoned properties with or without structures for those willing to put in the labor and reap the benefits.

City council's role is primarily one of legislation. It is their job to write legislation, review current legislation, and make overall improvements to the laws in the city of Youngstown. This is in addition to responsibility in budget appropriations and overall spending issues. Perhaps one of the least expensive ways to create the city we all want to live in, is to revisit some of the old ordinances on the books, and find ways to update them to be more in line with other progressive cities. There have been numerous studies and reports on the city charter, and many citizen recommendations.  I believe that council needs to begin the work of discussion of these potential measures in a transparent manner, and begin implementation of citizen ideas and recommendations.

What policies and procedures would you put in place to ensure equity in hiring and awarding contracts?

There are policies and procedures in place to ensure equity as outlined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There are also Affirmative Action policies in place.  These policies need to be followed and enforced.  It is time to remove “nepotism”, “favoritism” and “bias” from the qualifications for hiring and awarding contracts.
 How will you ensure that African Americans and Hispanics are included in the workforce, appointed to boards and commissions, awarded and issued contracts of publicly managed project funds?

There are policies and procedures in place to ensure a diverse workforce, representation on boards and commissions and issuance of contacts.  But unless these policies are utilized and enforced, there will be no equity.  My many years of residence in the city have led me to believe that our community is very divided along racial and ethnic lines, and this needs to stop. It is time for all of us to come together and recognize that although ethnic diversity should be celebrated, when it comes to government, the needs of all citizens must be addressed with fairness and equity. I find it distressing that though our laws offer the promise of equal opportunity to all, there are insufficient and inefficient services here, and this has helped to create the highest rate of poverty in the US according to A Brookings Institute Report.

I believe that it is very important to start the conversations and actions necessary to heal the many hurts that have happened in this community over many decades.  We need to work as a united community to foster the opportunities needed to improve the quality of life for all the citizens of Youngstown.

  What issue or factor makes you unique as a candidate for this office?

I have practiced positive and respectful engagement and communication with all fellow human beings in comfortable as well as uncomfortable situations for many years.  I believe that since I did not grow up here but have lived here for 20 years, that I have an “outsider’s” view of the positives and negatives that affect the social, economic and environmental health of our city.  For example, after I had lived here for about two years, I became aware that because so many folks here were born, raised and still remain in Youngstown, their affiliations tended to be with or for the same people that they had known their entire lives.  I noticed that folks didn't go outside of their comfortable social circles often, and that in fact, it was often discouraged. This is not helpful to our citizens as connections between people and groups of people often lead to increased knowledge, understanding and opportunities.  This type of behavior is blatantly apparent in our government. It is all too common to see officials working for the good of their own (friends, side of town, etc.) and not seeing the benefit of working for ALL sides of town and for ALL of the people. Finally, I love Youngstown and want to see Youngstown become a model of what can happen to a city when everyone comes together for the common good.

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