The Providence Journal doubles down on cluelessness

I am familiar with the old adage, never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.  But the Providence Journal has fewer reporters, the paper is smaller, the circulation is shrinking, and they are buying less ink.  In addition the right wing racist millionaires who own it do not frighten me.  To be labeled a BANANA by such a clueless organization seems to be a badge of honor, thought of course the label is untrue because I, and many others that the Providence Journal wants to label as obstructionists, would like to see lots of things get built in the city, it is just different stuff than the millionaires might think we need.
The Providence Journal can not think of any actual fact based reasons that the people opposing the Fane Building, the LNG facility in Washington Park, or the invenergy fracked gas power plant in Burrillville, so they have started calling names.  Maybe it is presumptuous of me to assume that at least some of the Pro Jo’s name calling was directed at me, but since I more straight forwardly than anyone else attack the totally misguided economic development model that the Texans who call the shots at the paper want to foist on us, I am proud to wear the label, and challenge the Providence Journal to debate the facts in public.,  I am pretty sure they are way too chicken to get on stage in front of the public and discuss the basic models of economic development that will be useful in an age of climate change and greater inequality since all of the ideas the Texans and The Editorial Board are touting are based on lies and their pet experts are just that, pets bought and paid for by millionaires.   I challenge Edward Mazze to provide one fact based study that demonstrates the correlation between business climate and growth rates.
Fact 1.  I said the first floor of the proposed Fane Tower will regularly flood 100 years from now.  It is proposed for a lot that is within 5 feet of current sea level.  Does anyone actually think that if we continue on the economic development path we are on that there will not be more than 5 feet of sea level rise in the next 100 years?  The Providence Journal while claiming to understand climate change actually never factors it into anything they write about the economy.
Fact 2  Greater inequality has been determined to be one of the key factors that will harm the economy, slowing growth and making cities much less governable.  Does anyone at the Providence Journal think the development strategy that they and Governor Wall St offer will not give rise to greater inequality?
Fact 3.  Rich people have no trouble finding a place to live in Providence.  There are plenty of luxury building built in recent years that had trouble selling. We do not need any more of those, but rather need thousands of units of housing for working families and low income people  There is nothing in any of the plans that the Providence Journal touts that will help us make a real dent in the affordable housing crisis, and it is more than likely that the proposals the Projo loves will make the problems worse.  What is really galling is that the rich come to us for subsidies to build luxury condos and for other buildings designed to be used by the rich.  If the rich can not build without subsidies, the entire model of economic development is a fraud.
Fact 4  Study just came out of Baltimore that points out that the economic development strategies that cities are taking around jobs for the extremely well educated do nothing for 90% of the people and neighborhoods of the city.  In fact the types of development most touted by the “professionals” end up leaving more and more people behind and make housing more expensive.
Fact 5  Using the medical industrial complex as a key component of economic development primarily makes health care unaffordable.   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/22/opinion/sunday/our-costly-addiction-to-health-care-jobs.html?_r=0  .  The unbalanced approach to health care, with way too much money going into high tech health care and way too little going into community health and public health shows up easily in the fact that life expectancy in the USA is going down.  Betting all the marbles on a strategy that results in shorter life expectancies seems a really big waste of the public’s money,  
 
Maybe I do my research in the wrong places.  I carefully read the UN reports on sustainable development and the millennial and sustainable development goals and plans.  Currently i am reading a brand new UN report of the economy which is pointing out the tendency towards a bubble economy that real estate and financially driven economies are traipsing towards today, and how the world growth rate is likely to go down even without taking into account ecological collapse and climate change.  I subscribe to and read monthly reports from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  I have been reading economic development plans in New England and Rhode Island for well over 20 years, and have watched as they mostly sit on shelves because they do not address the real issues, which involve the economic opportunities in low income communities. The rich do not need our help despite what the “experts say”  And when the plans are implemented, the government throws money at rich people, which the World Bank repeatedly reminds us is the least useful way to do economic development if our goal is to end poverty rather than just line the pockets of the rich.  I also do extensive research on the issues of climate change, forests, resource depletion, waste, compost, agriculture, and unlike most of the people doing economic development planning in Rhode Island, I work hard to make sure that the ecological and the economic work together rather than at cross purposes.  
 
For years I have used the tag line “You can not heal ecosystems without ending poverty, you can not end poverty without healing ecosystems.”   Rhode Island continues to plan as if poverty and ecological collapse have nothing to do with the economy, and as if if they gave rich people enough benefits that our growth rate would go up.  And in keeping with the wishes of their ownership, the Providence Journal continues to tout its fantasies about where the Rhode Island economy would go if the public would get out of the way and let the rich have their way.  No wonder that such an out of touch bunch is losing their audience. 

BND essay 2018

The regulars asking for money on the corners and medians of North Main Street have been there so long that I greet each one as a regular acquaintance as I walk by and they greet me the same way, even recognizing each other when we meet in other parts of the city.  I became more friendly with the person who worked the corner closest to my house. He now has supportive housing, though he was living rough when i met him first.  And he has not been on the corner the last few weeks as he has picked up work as a painter, though not on any regular payroll, and likely to end as soon as it gets too cold to work outside.  No one has really claimed that corner, though it gets used regularly by various folks, so he is likely to reclaim it this winter.
The unemployment rate in Rhode Island is as low as it has been in a generation, but there are still thousands of people being left out of the economy or subsisting right at the edge.  While unemployment is low, it is because so many people have just plain dropped out of the labor markets, knowing that they will never get hired for anything, with skills, health (physical and mental), regularity, and so many other factors leaving them out.    A Meds and Eds economic plan, mixed with tax stabilizations for luxury housing, will never reach them and welcome them back into the work force or provide opportunities for a bountiful life.
Hurricane Michael crossed a record warm Gulf of Mexico and slammed into Florida as a category 4 storm with a record increase in wind speed over the last day at sea.  A month after Florence tore up and flooded the Carolinas.   There is no doubt that warmer temperatures are creating ever warmer oceans, are spawning bigger and more powerful storms that carry ever more rain.  But the same way our political system ignores the people on the corners of North Main St, the powerful and the willfully blind ignore all the signs of climate change and continue to insist it is a Chinese hoax as people die,. The real estate industry complains when we refuse to let folks build in flood zones after the neighborhood was washed away. And climate deniers demand their god given right to rebuild exactly in the same place with tax payer dollars.  The climate deniers the hurricane victims keep sending to Congress are making things worse rapidly, while also providing anti environment cover for ignoring the flood zone maps, and in the case of North Carolina, saying it is illegal to use the new maps since they take into account sea level rise.  I suspect that if the climate deniers are not sent packing soon, a lot of their voters are going to turn into permanent refugees.
We have public officials trying to cram fossil fuel infrastructure  (think Burrillville) down our throats even as they set up task forces to study climate adaptation.  The way this works is the study commissions study to death while nothing gets done, the storms get worse, the costs to repair communities skyrocket, and our opportunities to remedy the problem recede into the haze.   There are many already mourning the loss of the habitable planet, but thankfully many more are continuing to organize.  Recently the word came down that the judge had acquitted 3 activists in Minnesota of tuning off a pipeline as the state supreme court had ruled they were allowed to make a necessity defense,  i think the judge and state did not want a real trial after that as some very powerful testimony about the harms of fossil fuels would have come out.
And I look at what the people of Burrillville have done right here in little Rhody, fighting invenergy to a stalemate until the facts caught up with the situation and the plan began to fall apart of its own weight.  And remember what so many of you are doing between now and the Day after Thanksgiving, November 29, a day we in RI gather together as many winter coats as we can and distribute them to those in the community who have need of one.
We started the Buy Nothing Day Winter Coat Exchange because it was what we could do to address poverty and  address environmental destruction together in a unified and synergized way while providing tangible benefits to those most in need in our community and tweaking the noses of the powerful who insist consumerism is actually a good thing for our community and inequality and ecological collapse is grand.
Lauren and Pam have thankfully relieved me of the actual work of organizing the event, finding the sites, seeing who is running them, making sure the publicity gets out, and lining up the inclement weather site.  The site is way more organized and orderly than when I ran it, but the spirit lives on and the good works get done.  So I once again encourage all of you who can donate a coat, organize a coat drive, help with publicity, and volunteer on the day of, to do so.  And i welcome all who need winter coats for themselves, their families, and their communities, to visit the site on the Statehouse lawn, and all the other places around the state holding events that day, and take the coats that will keep you warm in the wintry days ahead.