Posts Tagged ‘Jobs’

What Is This Nameless…

July 19, 2018

July 13, 2018 reporting for The Newark Advocate Kent Mallet wrote about Downtown Benches Becoming Beds For Some. The bulk of the article was about the Newark Development Partners, Safety Director, Mayor and how this is carryover from when the Gazebo was there (and why it had to go!). The buried lead at the bottom of the article (“Donna Gibson, director of operations for St. Vincent Housing Facilities, said they do drug testing for the 26-bed St. Vincent Haven men’s shelter and the 24-apartment Gardens on Sixth transitional housing. Those who test positive are not allowed in the facilities, but they try to get them help, she said. “We’ve seen a huge influx in people coming and asking for food, a huge influx of homeless people,” Gibson said. “We do the best we can with what we have. We’re full. We’ve never had a waiting list, but we’re telling people to come back.” Drug use has become an even bigger problem recently, Gibson said. “It’s been overwhelming lately,” Gibson said. “We’ve moved beyond an epidemic. It’s a plague. Meth seems to be the biggest problem we’re dealing with.””) speaks rather succinctly of the enormous reality of American bodies infected by addiction having no place to call home in contemporary America (literally homeless). Analysis finds many corollaries that illuminate this tragedy, outlining its invisibility. In his book, Between The World And Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates quotes from another author, another book (Thavolia Glymph, Out Of The House Of Bondage) – “And there it is – the right to break the black body as the meaning of their sacred equality. And that right has always given them meaning, has always meant that there was someone down in the valley because a mountain is not a mountain if there is nothing below.” In one of his lectures at The College Of France, Michel Foucault (French social/cultural critic and philosopher) asked two simple questions —

Question: What is a wage?

Answer: It is an income.

Q: What is an income?

A; It is a return on capital.

As Analysis has often indicated, with the collapse of the Berlin Wall there is only one game in town (or globally). That is capitalism. Like it or not, we are now all capitalists. Only no one told that to those bodies sleeping on the courthouse benches. Which makes for the quandary posed to the DeLawders and Laymans of the Newark Development Partners Community Improvement Corporation, and for Newark’s Safety Director Steve Baum as well as the unawares Mayor Jeff Hall (“said he had not heard about people loitering downtown or sleeping for extended periods on the benches.”). Without capital there is no income. Without income one cannot play the game, the only game in town. Those without income are not only homeless but likewise useless and worthless within capitalism (they have no capital). Today we are all entrepreneurs. Our equality is purchased by our entrepreneurship, some more equal than others. To be an entrepreneur requires some capital, any capital, even if only that of a body to be sold. What is this nameless body sleeping on a bench, this “someone down in the valley because a mountain is not a mountain if there is nothing below”?

 

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Returning Citizens

April 5, 2018

The defunct (and “historic”) Licking County Jail, located on South Third Street in Newark, is of limited value to the people of Licking County. As a monument to discipline and punish it detracts and diminishes the highly promoted tourist attraction of Canal Market (“Look mommy. That building looks scary. Is it Dracula’s castle?” “No dear. It is the old jail where the police put bad people to languish and rot.”). Other than a party house for over age and nostalgic Goth’s, it is of no benefit to, and serves little purpose for, the people of Licking County. Cuyahoga County opted for something a little more practical and relevant to its current citizens. Cory Shaffer for cleveland.com (4-5-18) headlines: Former Bedford Heights Jail re-opens as comprehensive reentry facility. “Cuyahoga County leased the facility after Bedford Heights closed its jail in 2015. It spent $500,000 renovating the facility as officials hashed out details and logistics over the last two years, [Director of Corrections Ken] Mills said. The Bedford Heights center will house up to 200 male inmates sentenced to 60 to 90 days in jail for nonviolent, nonsexual, low-level felony and misdemeanor charges, Mills said. For the last three years, Cuyahoga County offered similar services to approximately 80 inmates in the Euclid Jail. That facility will continue to offer those services to female inmates.” “Towards Employment [“a nonprofit organization that provides job counseling and training services”] will teach job training, resume building and computer skills in the jail’s computer lab, and give them emotional counseling and conflict resolution training, [executive director Jill] Rizika said. The Cuyahoga County Library System will teach GED courses, and Mills said plans are in the works for Cuyahoga Community College to teach manufacturing skills. The facility will also allow the county to expand its culinary arts program, a nine-week course that gives inmates a certification to be a cook. The jail partners with Edwins Restaurant and different hospitality management groups in the area.” Practically speaking, Licking County has the same resources (CTEC, College, non-profits engaged in counseling and job training, etc.). Practically speaking, Licking County Commissioner Tim Bub would never express what his counterpart in Cuyahoga County had to say: “”We would expect somehow [former inmates] would rejoin the community and be productive members of society almost magically, and it just doesn’t happen that way,” Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said.”

Don’t Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows

April 2, 2018

Anyone who has recently experienced the local evening news at Columbus ABC 6 or Fox 28 found themselves inadvertently subject to a kind of “Nicene Creed” solemnly articulated by the station’s anchors (sincere, earnest, and almost contrite). This goofy ritual has left many puzzled as to its origins or necessity. Sure, Sinclair, which owns the Cols. affiliate, has always used their format to editorialize on any and every news matter (something other stations have respectfully refrained from pursuing). But this daily profession of fundamentalist faith goes a bit above and beyond the call of duty. We learned this week (from many news sources) that it is de rigueur for all Sinclair news anchors to profess allegiance with each broadcast. Erin Nyren, for Variety (4-1-18), headlined “Sinclair Broadcast Group Faces Backlash Over Scripted Promos: ‘This Is Extremely Dangerous to Our Democracy’”. Some back story was given: “Earlier this year, CNN’s Brian Stelter reported that Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner of local news stations in the country with over 200 owned or operated, would be requiring local news anchors to read a scripted promo that reflects a mistrust of the media.” More relevant back story (in light of Dear Leader’s tweeted promotion of Sinclair news as true and authentic): “The heightened scrutiny of Sinclair’s must-run segments comes as the FCC is nearing its final decision on Sinclair’s $3.9 billion takeover of Tribune Media. That deal promises to extend Sinclair’s reach into the nation’s biggest markets for the first time with more than 40 additional stations. Opponents of the deal have cited Sinclair’s centralized approach to aspects of its news operations as a reason that the FCC should limit the company’s expansion.” After the FCC’s recent Net Neutrality Nyet, Analysis wouldn’t count on Sinclair Broadcasting being restrained in its takeover. Nyren also included the full transcript obtained through ThinkProgess:

“Hi, I’m(A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…

 

(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our _____ communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that ____ News produces.

 

(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.

 

(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.

 

(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.

 

(B) At ____ it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.

 

(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to ____ news.com and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.

 

(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.

 

(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback.

 

Analysis wonders if the weather person will need to recite the creed.

Red Herring

March 4, 2018

Red herring: “noun, something, especially a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting.” No, Analysis is not going to consider immigration (DACA has run out), nor how hot one has to be to obtain an “Einstein visa”, or the links of chain implicated by such legitimation. Rather, Analysis would like to stay with a recent interrogation – reliable, accessible, affordable and sustainable Public Transportation in Licking County. Though the need for Public Transportation has been covered many times in the past, a recent study jumps out with its contribution to the current urgency. Late last week an MIT study was released that was covered by many news outlets. Analysis will quote from “Uber, Lyft Drivers Earning A Median Profit Of $3.37 Per Hour, Study Says” by James Doubek for NPR (3-2-18). “A working paper by Stephen M. Zoepf, Stella Chen, Paa Adu and Gonzalo Pozo at MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research says the median pretax profit earned from driving is $3.37 per hour after taking expenses into account. Seventy-four percent of drivers earn less than their state’s minimum wage, the researchers say.”  Inevitable “push back” will be around the methodology (as it usually has been with tobacco effects studies, the demise of the honey bee studies, and climate change studies, yadda, yadda). “The conclusions are based on surveys of more than 1,100 drivers who told researchers about their revenue, how many miles they drove and what type of car they used. The study’s authors then combined that with typical costs associated with a certain car’s insurance, maintenance, gas and depreciation, which was gathered in data from Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book and the Environmental Protection Agency.” “Drivers earning the median amount of revenue are getting $0.59 per mile driven, researchers say, but expenses work out to $0.30 per mile, meaning a driver makes a median profit of $0.29 for each mile.” Analysis finds a local area university reimburses its employees at 54.5 cents per mile, the IRS rate for personal vehicle deduction. This corroborates the claim that “MIT authors also calculated that it’s possible for billions of dollars in driver profits to be untaxed because “nearly half of drivers can declare a loss on their taxes.” Drivers are able to use the IRS standard mileage rate deduction to write off some of the costs of using a car for business. In 2016, that number was $0.54 per mile. “Because of this deduction, most ride-hailing drivers are able to declare profits that are substantially lower,” researchers write. “If drivers are fully able to capitalize on these losses for tax purposes, 73.5% of an estimated U.S. market $4.8B in annual ride-hailing driver profit is untaxed,” they add.” Of course, an Uber spokesperson said of the study that “its methodology and findings are deeply flawed.” Yadda, yadda. In light of the recent meetings on Public Transportation in Licking County, the study nets a plethora of quandaries. No, not the need for more immigrants to work at jobs that don’t pay enough to sustain minimum standards of living, let alone allow one a future. “Uber and Lyft both have “notoriously high” turnover rates among drivers. A report last year said just 4 percent of Uber drivers work for the company for at least a year.” And the existing LC Transit Board says it has a hard time retaining drivers! A bulwark of the GOP solution to most problems (in Licking County, Ohio, and the nation) is to opt for the free market to “take care of” the problem through the incentive of tax credits, abatements and cuts (or no tax at all! see recently passed US tax code with its partiality to business tax cuts). Indeed, we are repeatedly told by Republican free market ideologues that “the market” is the solution to all problems, including epidemics, health care for all, as well as individual retirement (Dear Leader or John the governator makes little difference). “Both Uber and Lyft have been fighting legal battles for years against initiatives to classify their drivers as “employees” instead of “independent contractors” — meaning drivers don’t receive benefits like health care or sick leave.” Contractors (whether independent or not) are what currently the LC Transit Board, as well as others, rely on as a solution for public transportation needs. “According to MIT researchers, 80 percent of drivers said they work less than 40 hours per week. An NPR/Marist poll in January found that 1 in 5 jobs in the U.S. is held by a contract worker; contractors often juggle multiple part-time jobs.” Analysis finds that though ride sharing (contractors) may appear to be affordable and accessible, it is actually unsustainable and unreliable. Promoting a virtual platform as a solution for Public Transportation in Licking County is in fact, if not intent, misleading and distracting.

Arbitrary Notions About How Much Things ‘Should’ Cost

February 16, 2018

“The more books I read the more passionately I embraced the truth that widespread human well-being demands a system that clearly defines and protects private property rights, allows people to speak freely without intimidation or legal repercussions, refrains from interference with private parties’ agreements and exchanges, and allows human action—rather than arbitrary notions about how much things ‘should’ cost—to guide prices” (Charles Koch from 2015 Good Profit found as mission statement on Charles Koch Foundation website) Remember the Constitutional Convention to Balance the Budget initiative promoted by Ohio’s governor and other GOP leaders? Of course you don’t after the GOP’s tax cuts of December 2017 followed by the national budget just recently passed. Both covered the “deficit” in manure and kept it in the dark so it could mushroom. But back then “One of the two main groups pushing an Article V convention is the Convention of States, a project by Citizens for Self-Government, a nonprofit that doesn’t disclose its donors and has a variety of connections to David and Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist brothers whose eponymous company is one of the country’s worst polluters and who have become synonymous with both overt and covert political spending in pursuit of limited government. Another nonprofit supporting the movement is the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, an organization “dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism” that brings corporations and lawmakers together to draft model legislation that is then introduced in the states. ALEC doesn’t disclose its members, although the group’s opposition to climate change measures, gun control and voting rights has led to a recent exodus of member corporations and lawmakers.” (The Koch Brothers Want To Rewrite The Constitution Josh Keefe, International Business Times, 6-14-17) Locally ALEC’s agenda is heavily prevalent at Licking County GOP Commissioner Tim Bubb’s radio station. More on that later. All of these folk are elbowing each other to be in the driver seat of the Right To Work (but can’t get there because of lack of public transportation) bus. GOP state legislators “John Becker and Craig Riedel have proposed a package of six separate constitutional amendments that would limit how unions are funded, ban project labor agreements where the state or cities require union labor for construction projects and eliminate prevailing wage, which sets a floor wage for skilled labor on publicly funded projects.” “Their proposed constitutional amendments:

Private-sector right-to-work: Eliminates requirement employees pay fair share dues. Employees would have to opt in to pay dues.

Public-sector right-to-work: Eliminates fair share dues for public sector unions.

Prevailing wage: Repeals Ohio’s prevailing wage law, which sets a minimum hourly wages and benefits for skilled workers on certain projects. A standalone bill on this issue has not advanced in the Ohio Senate.

Dues withholding: Prohibits state and local government employers from withholding union dues or fees from workers’ wages. Unions could not spend dues on political activities without workers’ consent.

Project Labor Agreements: Bans state and local government entities from requiring project bidders or contractors to enter into project labor agreements, which are pre-hire agreements that set timelines for project completion and methods for resolving disputes, among other terms. A standalone bill was introduced during the last legislative session but did not pass.

Union recertification: Requires annual “recertification” where workers vote to renew public collective bargaining units.” (Right to work’ could be on the ballot in Ohio with support from lawmakers 1-23-18, Jackie Borchardt, cleveland.com) Another tactic of the Koch ALEC coalition is the promotion and legitimization of parallel or multiple unions which can be “funded” variously (by foundations such as Chuck and Dave’s), and offer lower health care premiums, retirement, etc. (so laborer’s can have “choice”). Of course they also dilute any kind of worker negotiating capacity. All of which begs the question of why? Why, in a free market, is it so outrageous for labor to negotiate what it has to offer and contribute in return for an agreed upon wage?  “allows human action—rather than arbitrary notions about how much things ‘should’ cost—to guide prices” Maybe the GOP County Commissioner’s radio station could inform us as to the answer. In addition to school closings plus hogs and frogs reports, the service is underwritten by a plethora of advertisers. Vying for first and second position are not big box food stores and car dealers (remember public transportation?), but rather gun dealers and jobs creators – and we ain’t talking about temp services which were number one years ago. The jobs creators, the lions and kings of the Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! economy are now neck and neck with multiple gun dealerships, from feed stores to boutique “we aim to please” specialty shops (no bumps in price here). And the jobs creators aren’t advertising their products or services. They are looking for employees to fill positions right now. Analysis finds this unprecedented scale of help wanted advertising to be indicative of a wide spread lack, a need. For them to be profitable requires someone to tote that barge, lift that bale. “The Art of the Deal” isn’t required reading to recognize that when it comes to negotiating, admissions of lack, of need, are a vulnerability. One solution for a business to set the price (wages) while maintaining hegemony in negotiating working conditions and benefits (if any) is to eliminate collective representation. Collective representation is the only way that “allows human action—rather than arbitrary notions about how much things ‘should’ cost—to guide prices” of actual labor costs.

Cracks In The Clicking Economy

February 4, 2018

The recent testimonials from the Licking County transit board members left Analysis with a Karl Rove math aftertaste (from previous post: Though budgeted to employ 45 drivers, they can only fill less than 35 positions. Their wish list is 60!). One of the prime reasons given for the lack of drivers was new applicants’ inability to pass drug tests. This was likewise elaborated by Jay Hottinger in the meeting referenced. Indeed, even the Governor and his entourage of wannabees touts this same refrain. Ohio’s 77th district representative, Tim “Pee in the cup” Schaffer, gained notoriety for his repeated legislative attempts to purge the food stamp, TANF and unemployment compensation recipients through the use of “drug tests.” Just for tickles, how many people in the U.S. have a substance addiction? EZ to say illegal immigrants are criminals and killers. Not so EZ to verify the accuracy of the claim. This is not the case with statistics dealing with populations that are not illegal (are you legal?). LiveScience reports in September of 2016 that Federal estimates show over 21 million Americans afflicted with a substance addiction. Of these two thirds would be alcohol, one third drugs (prescription, opioid, etc.). Well, “How many people in the U.S.?” you ask. Good question. The Census gives an estimate of 323 million (latest). Well, EZ, just divide the users by the totality. Not so fast. True, true, true, some kids may be hooked on Bud Lite but according to Kaiser Family Foundation 24% of the U.S. population is under 18 (you wouldn’t want to thin the CHIP enrollment through drug tests, would you?). Then again Kaiser lists 15% of the total population being over 65 (generally not considered in the pool of eligible workers). This leaves 61% of the total population eligible for employment. 197 million Americans are lumped into the employment eligible pool. 21 million of that has substance abuse issues, just over 10% of the normally considered work force population. We are told that our unemployment rate is just over 4%. Analysis finds there to be people already employed with substance addictions. But drug tests don’t screen for alcohol (which is legal). So one third of substance addiction in the U.S. is drug related (which is screened by Tim Schaffer’s test of choice). 7 million Americans with drug substance addictions is 3.5% of the eligible work force and not likely to pass a urine test. Which leaves roughly over .5% of eligible working age Americans (currently unemployed) to fill the 4% unemployment gap that drives so much of the “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!” rhetoric. No wonder the Karl Rove math leaves so many people scratching their heads! True, true, true the “elderly” over 65 are plagued by substance abuse. Analysis also finds them still working. Likewise true that pre 18 year olds are working, but likewise also entering into substance addiction. Analysis finds the inability to fill jobs to be a very real need, though 5% unemployment was traditionally considered full employment as 5% were deemed “unemployable”. I guess the clicking economy is operating on an accelerated efficiency. Every man, woman, child and machine must be at full capacity to keep up with the global competition. Please excuse the digression. Analysis finds the actual “employable” population statistic to have a great bearing not only on transportation’s importance as a public service, but the real rate of earnings (wages), as well as the real need for immigrants. Then again, we could all hold two jobs in order to make America great again.

In Need Of Invitation,Not!

February 3, 2018

As rescheduled, the Community Meeting For Public Transportation presented by the Freedom School in Licking County took place at Newark’s Trinity Episcopal Church, Saturday morning (2-3-18). It was very well attended by those affected by the glaring inadequacy of Newark’s public transit, people actively engaged with public transportation as well as community advocacy, and a smattering of politicians. The dense population of attendees “in the know” spoke out about the need for public transportation, the various actually existing incarnations present within other Ohio municipalities and counties similar in size to Newark and Licking county, and various wish lists for our own situation. There were attendee testimonials of the absolute maddening INABILITY to rely on Licking County’s current mode for any kind of scheduled/rescheduled appointments, job access or medical/disability necessities. Maps and statistics from the failed 2011 attempt’s researched studies showing the concentration of those who would benefit most from such access and the prime destination on the other side of town (or county) were trotted out. In addition, recently updated census statistics showing the area’s 21% poverty rate as well as over 50% ALICE “one step away from poverty” rate were cited. These in turn were reinforced by anecdotal evidence. Yes, Virginia, there is a great need for public transportation in Newark and Licking County. All the facts, reasoning and logic were plainly on display. Invisible was the Central Ohio business community. No one from Licking County/Newark’s large employers took an interest, showed up, or spoke up (out walking with a doc?). It was mentioned that they needed to be invited. Analysis finds this already to be an elitist class approach as a large crowd actually appeared without invitation, from contemporary postings and announcements re: the community meeting (no RSVP required). Their lack of presence appears to indicate that the large businesses in Central Ohio have no “need” for public transportation. But this is the irony of it all. Amazon gives it as a prime criteria for location of its projected 50,000 employee HQ. Several recent news reports show employers in Ohio reaching to Puerto Rico to enlist workers for jobs going unfilled (and paying their first 3 month’s housing, education, etc.). At a Newark Think Tank on Poverty meeting with Jay Hottinger, Mr. Hottinger initiated the conversation by stating his recent interaction with business leaders reveals that they can’t find employees to fill their job vacancies. Continuously we are told by our government “leaders” that there are jobs out there going unfilled. This was likewise borne out at the meeting itself by testimony from administrators of Licking County’s current system . Though budgeted to employ 45 drivers, they can only fill less than 35 positions. Their wish list is 60! Yes, Virginia, large businesses need people who can get to work. Analysis finds it indisputable that the “really clicking” central Ohio economy needs people who can show up to fill job offerings each and every day, reliably. Analysis likewise finds it appalling that these same “needy” businesses couldn’t be bothered to show up and take an interest in helping to create a solution.

Next meeting in 3 weeks, be there.