I have been given the liberty to change my column to write about CHANGE. I believe that I am the only officially recognized agent of change in Pennsylvania. I have the necessary skill set to write about change. Elements of change are everywhere around us, as we interact with media, institutions and individuals. I hope to be able to comment intelligently about changes that happen to and around us. Some of what I write is going to make people uncomfortable, but that is what change is all about.
Two months ago I wrote an article about wage slavery in the downtown, and just recently there has been a nationwide “Day Without Immigrants” protest illustrating my point.
Being the grandson of an illegal Italian immigrant who had trouble with the law, I have sympathy for the plight of the illegal immigrant. I also realize that in the cities, the economy, to a certain extent, relies on the ability to cheat the illegal immigrant on matters of wage, hours and conditions of employment because they have no redress in those matters.
The Main Street process has four points: Economic Restructuring, Organization, Design and Promotion. Promotion is always the one that has been my favorite, even though the economic restructuring is what everyone wants in the end.
Promotion is key in the strategic repositioning of the downtown. It is something to do when you come to a town. It is a draw for people to come to a downtown. For many people, it is what they think of the downtown.
In a past article, I discussed the potential for labor abuse involving illegal aliens in the downtown. The lack of redress of grievances based upon illegal immigration status leads to abuse in many instances. They are a large supplier of day labor for food service facilities and “hitching post” type parking lot labor availability sites, the most famous of these sites being the Acme parking lot in Manasquan New Jersey.
One of the issues that can arise when you are revitalizing is the potential for people from other areas and income groups to want to live in your (town) neighborhood. Many times the sudden influx causes demand in real estate, both residential and commercial. The commercial revitalization sometimes makes it hard for some stores to remain downtown when rents go up.
Good design in a downtown is always the hallmark of a revitalized community. It is always easy to see bad design if it is particularly bad. When you walk down a street in a downtown, your eyes do not focus on bad design in the form of a rusty fence or a broken sign. In every town there is something.
It was with surprise that I saw that Chief William Mossman retired from Phoenixville Police Department. His new employer will get a solid law enforcement official with street smarts and technical correctness. I always looked at my relationship with the Chief and the officers of the Phoenixville Police Department as a match made in heaven.
Immigration is a hot topic in the presidential elections, and I started thinking about my interaction with illegal immigrants. Really it starts with me, as my grandfather was illegal. He did not find that out until he was about 90-year old, retired on social security, receiving a steelworker’s pension, black lung benefits and living in subsidized housing. I also have had work experience relevant to the issue.
Change happens no matter who tries to stop it or promote it. When I go into a town to revitalize, by definition of the word it means change. You are taking what is in the town and offering either an enhancement, or repositioning in the regional marketplace. I always seek to look at how I proceed in terms of a linear programming model — To get from point A to point B in the straightest line possible, which will, in many cases be subject to constraints.
I have previously written about the internet bringing people closer together than ever. Social media lets us know people’s every move. It is now possible to let Google know your location, have amazon send all your needs through prime membership, or put your address phone number and birthdate on Facebook so all your “friends” know. We have become reliant on our electronic information stream and to form our social networks.
I have been advocating for a loosening of the system statewide to bring back Walking Around Money (WAM). There was a time before the single application when the money was awarded without an application, but it was then refined to the Community Revitalization Program (CRP), which at least had a paper trail on how the money would be used.
As I finish up with my career I am being a little more selective concerning what I work on and try to stay closer to home. Personal circumstances have dictated that I work in Pittsburgh. My father was ill and being “himself” I was drafted to look after his final days. Living in Pittsburgh part time was a little bit different and I remembered why I left every morning when I awoke. So, I decided it would be good to center most of my work back in the Philadelphia area after he passed away and I settled the estate.
Since the onset of civilization, there has been the practice of religion. Belief in God. I say belief because there is no proof one way or the other that there is a god. That is why people talk about their faith, as they have faith that god exists. I am not here to debate the existence of god, but in the changing political and social climate, the practice of religion has come under attack.
As we are moving to the ¼ mark of the new century, some of the downtown real estate has taken on a new dimension. In many cases, the return to the small town has been an “in” thing to do. Some towns have embraced the efforts to become the renewed center of commerce, while some towns have not been able to make that transition. The difference in towns affects the real estate values in the political subdivision, and in turn the income from taxes.
There has been an effort on behalf of some to initiate a global agenda in the United States. After all, we are part of the world, and we are all brothers and sisters. Global barriers are breaking down, and there is an effort for people to consider themselves citizens of the world, rather than a particular nation.
I always try to broaden my horizons. I did not care too much for school when I was young. I also did not do well. Most of my attention was not geared toward academic achievement. Most of the kids in my New Jersey High School were hovering around 97 – 99 percent on whatever that test was that measured our intelligence, while others like me did not score as well.
Yet another change in Health Insurance is on the horizon. I was looking at the proposed plans, and there seemed to be one common thread — the 40 percent excise tax is coming my way. People like me are looking at a one-year total of about $342 billion in increased taxes. As before, there is no help for me on the horizon. I am part of the old system and my kind of plan is now scorned.
I realized the other day that I am on a vast array of mailing lists from far left to far right, and pretty much everything in the middle. I did receive something about a month ago that made me wonder about the entire process of selection.