Friends of GEO

Preparing For The Storm With A New Economy

It's Our Economy - January 22, 2018 - 7:00pm
Just as we must end the extraction of fossil fuels and minerals from the Earth to lessen the impacts of climate change and stop the poisoning of our communities, we must also end the extraction of wealth from our communities that fuels extreme wealth inequality. A democratized economy, described in greater depth on It’s Our Economy, gives more control over and benefit from the economy to people and reduces the wealth divide. This week, we highlight work that is being done in the United States and other countries to transform economic institutions so they serve people and protect the planet. “Creating the new world” is an essential piece of the two-part strategy to shift political power. We must organize to resist harmful policies and projects such as the drug war and fossil fuel infrastructure and we must build alternative systems to replace the current extractive and exploitative systems.
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News

A Public Bank Could Relieve Seattle’s Housing Crisis

It's Our Economy - January 20, 2018 - 3:00pm
Like hundreds of cities in America, Seattle is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. During a one-year period in 2015–16, Seattle rents increased by 9.7 percent — four times the national average. In 2017, the cost of an average two-bedroom topped $2,000. The results have been predictable: nearly half of Seattle renters are currently “housing-cost burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. They may be the lucky ones. A recent Zillow study cited the connection between even modest rent increases and resulting homelessness; meanwhile, King County’s 2017 One Night Count tallied 11,643 homeless people. The Seattle region’s unhoused population now trails only that of Los Angeles County and New York City — and the survey’s flawed methodology means the true count is almost certainly higher.
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News

Retail Company Eliminates 90% Of Competing Cities

It's Our Economy - January 20, 2018 - 12:00pm
Like hundreds of cities in America, Seattle is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. During a one-year period in 2015–16, Seattle rents increased by 9.7 percent — four times the national average. In 2017, the cost of an average two-bedroom topped $2,000. The results have been predictable: nearly half of Seattle renters are currently “housing-cost burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. They may be the lucky ones. A recent Zillow study cited the connection between even modest rent increases and resulting homelessness; meanwhile, King County’s 2017 One Night Count tallied 11,643 homeless people. The Seattle region’s unhoused population now trails only that of Los Angeles County and New York City — and the survey’s flawed methodology means the true count is almost certainly higher.
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News

Lessons From Finland: Building Co-Operative Economy

It's Our Economy - January 20, 2018 - 12:00pm
From Finland’s high-tech businesses through to an extensive network of regional co-ops that ensure that there are banks, stores and other services within two miles of residents throughout the year, there are co-owned services in every sector stretching right across a country 40% larger than the UK. We have much to learn from countries like Finland and, across Europe, there has been a welcome strengthening of trade relations and contact between the 160,000 co-op enterprises which provide jobs for 5.4 million European citizens. My recent trip to Finland coincided with the start of the Lapland tourist season: the plane that brought me there boasted a seven metre high picture of Santa Claus on the tail. But I was there for a more prosaic reason, visiting some of the country’s leading co-operative enterprises.
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News

Tip Stealing Rule Would Cost Workers $5.8 Billion

It's Our Economy - January 20, 2018 - 11:00am
The Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed a rule that would make it legal for employers to pocket their workers’ tips, as long as they pay those workers at least the minimum wage. The proposed rule rescinds portions of longstanding DOL regulations that prohibit employers from taking tips.1 We estimate that if the rule is finalized, every year workers will lose $5.8 billion in tips, as tips are shifted from workers to employers.2Of the $5.8 billion, nearly 80 percent—$4.6 billion—would be taken from women who are working in tipped jobs.3 DOL has masked the fact that this rule would be a windfall to restaurant owners and other employers—out of the pockets of tipped workers—by making it sound as if this rule is about tip pooling. Of course, once employers have full control of tips, one of the things they could do with those tips is distribute them to “back of the house” workers like dishwashers and cooks.
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News

Locally-Owned Businesses Fight Back Against Subsidies To National Chains

It's Our Economy - January 20, 2018 - 11:00am
Lanning is widely recognized for her work. Even though she finds traditional economic development planners to be frequent adversaries, in 2014 the International Economic Development Council awarded her a Citizen Leader of the Year Award. She considers that a turning point in planners’ recognition of the value of local businesses. Arizona Business Magazine named her one of the 50 most influential women in Arizona, and the American Planning Association named her Distinguished Citizen Planner for her work on the reuse of old buildings. In November, at a conference of the nonprofit Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, for which Lanning is an incoming co-chair, Lanning told me of the sources of her passion for local business.
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News

From Georgia To NYC: Civil Rights Roots Of Community Land Trusts

It's Our Economy - January 19, 2018 - 7:00am
When New Yorkers discuss the community land trust, they often describe it as a complicated land ownership structure, one that’s already proven its success in Bernie Sanders’ Burlington and in Boston. But the community land trust’s origin story reveals that it’s not simply a wonky policy tool dreamed up in the Ivy tower; rather, its roots lie in the life-and-death struggle by Blacks for civil rights in the deep South. In the model, a community-controlled nonprofit owns land and ensures the buildings or other assets on that land continue to serve the community, such as by requiring homeowners to abide by sales restrictions on their homes. The “Arc of Justice,” a documentary released last summer and screened at the New School on Wednesday, explores the founding of the United States’ first community land trust by civil rights leaders in southern Georgia during the 1960s.
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News

Barcelona Kicks Microsoft Out In Favor Of Open Source

It's Our Economy - January 19, 2018 - 6:00am
A Spanish newspaper, El País, has reported that the City of Barcelona is in the process of migrating its computer system to Open Source technologies. According to the news report, the city plans to first replace all its user applications with alternative open source applications. This will go on until the only remaining proprietary software will be Windows where it will finally be replaced with a Linux distribution. The City has plans for 70% of its software budget to be invested in open source software in the coming year. The transition period, according to Francesca Bria (Commissioner of Technology and Digital Innovation at the City Council) will be completed before the mandate of the present administrators come to an end in Spring 2019.
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News

Day Of Typical CEO Pays More Than Year For Typical Worker

It's Our Economy - January 16, 2018 - 7:00am
Fat Tuesday is Mardi Gras, a day of revelry, gluttony, intoxication and showers of shiny plastic beads. It is the party to end all parties because it’s followed by Ash Wednesday, when Lenten sacrifices commence. Fat Cat Tuesday is the day – Jan. 2, 2018 – on which the boards of directors of America’s biggest corporations handed their CEOs more money than those same CEOs would deign to pay their workers for an entire year of labor, 260 days. It was a day of revelry, gluttony and private jets for CEOs and worthless shiny plastic beads for workers. The occasion is commemorated in Britain as well. There, though, it took CEOs three days to accrue more compensation than the total annual wages of the typical worker. That’s because American CEO pay takes the cake – and we’re not talking Mardi Gras King Cake containing a tiny plastic baby Jesus figure because no Son of God would be associated with U.S. CEOs’ sinfully gluttonous pay packages.
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News
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