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Having saturated the rural landscape, shuttering local stores in small town America along the way, now, in the wake of stagnant sales and increased competition, Walmart desperately needs to expand into urban markets.
And what better urban market than one full of eight million people? While the big box retailer is eager to enter the Big Apple, challenges loom large. Given the negative reputation Walmart has earned for being hostile to workers among other problems, many New Yorkers are skeptical, to put it mildly.
To counter the opposition, Walmart is positioning itself as the solution to urban food deserts – areas where finding real food is next to impossible. But as Anna Lappé has eloquently argued,
(Note: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins’ post first appeared yesterday on Green for All.)
America is not used to playing catch-up, not since World War II. We’ve built a massive, unparalleled economy through an always-evolving blend of entrepreneurship, public and private investment, and innovation.
We still lead the rest of the world, but we’ve slowed. Stumbled. Meanwhile our competitors are picking up speed – particularly in key sectors that promise long-term growth.
President Obama is presenting his [third] State of the Union address tonight, at the outset of a year that will culminate with a fiercely contested battle for his position. It may be the President’s last opportunity to establish the agenda that America needs in order to be competitive over the long term – while putting people to work immediately.
It is a moment for boldness – a time at which the President can outline a plan of action that shifts America’s focus to the future,
On December 29, 2011 the State Supreme Court dealt California’s 400 redevelopment agencies an unanticipated death blow. This includes the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, where I have served as a commissioner since 2002. Based on the court’s decision and the legislation that eliminated redevelopment agencies in California, the L.A. CRA and all other agencies will shut their doors on February 1, 2012.
The demise of redevelopment agencies, however, does not mean that we have to abandon the noble and necessary goal of public investment in distressed communities. To do so would punish those most in need and make it virtually impossible to address the poverty and unemployment currently faced by millions of Californians.
It is now up to the state legislature to act quickly to give cities a new tool to create good jobs, affordable housing and more sustainable communities. Here are three steps the legislature and Governor Jerry Brown can take to make this a reality.
Can government play a critical role in the creation of good jobs, and target those jobs for economically distressed communities?
Skeptics should look carefully at Construction Careers, a nationally proven tool pioneered in Los Angeles that could bring more than a quarter-million good jobs and up to $72 billion to the local economy.
The L.A. coalition supporting Construction Careers – a policy that combines wage, benefit, and safety standards with hiring requirements for impoverished communities – is asking the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to adopt such an agency-wide policy for its Long Range Transportation Plan, which includes several major transit and highway projects. The vote will be Thursday, January 26 at the MTA Board meeting.
Construction Careers policies have already been successfully adopted and implemented locally by the Exposition Light Rail Phase 2 project, the Port of Los Angeles and the Department of Public Works, among other agencies.
Here is a visual guide to how the Construction Careers policy at the MTA would bring real benefits to the region.
On October 12, 2011, in Lamont, California, Armando and Eladio Ramirez went into a composting drainage pipe, wearing only painters’ masks for protection – and breathed in fatal amounts of hydrogen sulfide. Armando, 16 years old, went in first to clean out the pipe, and died almost immediately; Eladio, 22, went in after his brother to help him, and was rendered brain dead, dying the next day.
These deaths happened at a green waste processing facility run by Crown Disposal Services – a prominent player in L.A.’s commercial waste and recycling market – and are being investigated by Cal-OSHA, the CA Department of Labor and the United States Department of Labor.
Several weeks after Armando’s and Eladio’s deaths, a group of recycling sorters, waste hauling drivers and helpers filed a formal complaint with Cal-OSHA, chronicling a litany of severe health and safety violations taking place at American Reclamation, a waste and recycling company in Atwater Village that also plays a significant role in L.A.’s commercial waste and recycling industry.