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Dems Have Ideas About Being Business-Friendly

The Tucson chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America applauds the article "Off the Charts Poor" (June 23) as it beautifully documents the result of a generation of political policies on our community. It is true that Tucson depends on tourism, retirees and students to bring money into the community, and it is also true that our economy is not diverse, and that our education system needs improvement.

Lately, we have heard much about creating a business-friendly environment. We differ with the usual and customary definition of that term. Instead of slashing taxes and granting incentives, it is time to explore different types of projects. We would like to bring these points to the attention of the Tucson community in order to stimulate discussion and eventually action.

Here are some ways to make Tucson more "business friendly":

• Establish a meaningful way to fund public education, guaranteeing not only basic skills-acquisition for all, but also vocational education geared toward new and emerging fields.

• Strengthen the offerings and the modalities of Adult Basic Education.

• Require workforce-development providers to hire highly qualified faculty, utilize student-oriented learning systems, and develop curricula and on-the-job-training experiences that lead in meaningful directions.

• Ask educational providers to develop new curricula leading to national credentials.

• Work with unions to develop and enhance training experiences.

• Develop a community investment bank with funds from local public and private sources to strengthen the economy and the prospects of our residents.

• Utilize private funding to create a program to launch micro-enterprises.

• Create high-quality and affordable child-care facilities so parents can work with confidence that their young are nourished.

• Solicit donations of computer equipment so that a network of "computer shacks" can be opened around the county, offering not only training, but safe recreational experiences for our residents.

• Require that all work receives meaningful compensation so that a person can live in this community with dignity.

• Enhance protections for workers in regard to compensation, working conditions, safety and health.

• Pass a progressive rent-reduction ordinance to stimulate small and large business startups, as well as the development of not-for-profits. If a rental space is not rented in a specific time frame, say three months, the asking price of the rental will be lowered by a specified factor.

• Improve air service in order to move people and materials in and out of Tucson more efficiently, as well as to and from more destinations.

The Tucson PDA has recently started an Issue Organizing Team (IOT) for Economic and Social Justice. This IOT is to be an action-oriented team with the goal of making the economy in Tucson and around the country work for the benefit of everyone, not just the already-rich.

You can contact us at pdatucson@gmail.com and follow our blog at pdatucson.blogspot.com.

Richard L. M. Brodesky

Coordinator, Economic and Social Justice Issues Organizing Team, Tucson Chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America


Robin Gomez Has Questions About D-M and Tucson's Future

Dave Devine asks the key question in "Noise vs. Jobs" (Currents, June 30): In order to retain jobs at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, is an eventual transition to the F-35 in the community's best interest? The answer is simple, although the biases are strong: In the short term, it depends on the cost to the community. In the longer term, it depends if there are better alternatives.

The F-35 is at least four times louder than the A-10. The Julia Keen Neighborhood had to shut down its neighborhood school in 2004 for safety and noise reasons. The principal planes flying over were A-10s and from the expanded Operation Snowbird. This, of course, affects neighborhood property values.

It can reasonably be expected that with the louder F-35, Barrio Centro, Arroyo Chico and Broadmoor will follow Julia Keen, with increasing annoyance levels in Sam Hughes and Blenman-Elm. The residents of these neighborhoods will pay the cost. Those living off the flight paths or in the foothills will obviously not have to pay. Moreover, if people are fortunate enough to sell goods and services required by the expanded air activity, they will make out quite well.

Apart from the neighborhood impact, will the increased noise harm Tucson's overall attractiveness? Will having several older neighborhoods in midtown, with residents reluctant to invest in improvements, add to the worn cityscape? Will the city's main job creator, eco-tourism, be enhanced? Will its second-most-important job creator, the UA, be enhanced by over-flights?

Over the longer term, can Davis-Monthan attract missions that do not rely on expanding over-flights of the fastest and noisiest planes? Does Tucson have other assets that might attract jobs at lesser cost or damage to the city environment? For example: high tech bioscience businesses related to UA research, medical services to Mexican and foreign clientele, and retirement communities linked to the university.

How Tucsonans answer these questions will shape Tucson's future.

Robin Gomez


Correction

In "Incompetent or Ingenious?" (Currents, July 7), we reported that Jan Brewer recall organizer Mimi Pryor is from Mesa; she actually resides in Chandler. Also, at one point in the story, we reported that the recall period was five months; it's actually 120 days (about four months).

We apologize for the mistakes.

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