Tag Archives: wages

My job: create environment for jobs —Andrea Schruijer of VLCIA @ LCDP 5 Dec 2011

In a refreshing changes from “jobs, jobs, jobs” as everything, Andrea Schruijer, Executive Director of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA), told the Lowndes County Democratic Party meeting, 5 December 2011, that it wasn’t her job to create jobs, jobs, jobs; it was her job to create an environment that let jobs be created. Towards that end, she announced several new jobs at VLCIA, including a PR and marketing position. VLCIA Chairman Roy Copeland also spoke and helped answer questions from the audience, including about wages, workers, and green industries.

Perhaps not shown is her answer to my question about what does VLCIA do to promote new local industry. I believe she said VLCIA looks to the Chamber of Commerce for incubation, and helps once local businesses are established.

Here’s a playlist:


My job: create environment for jobs —Andrea Schruijer of VLCIA @ LCDP 5 Dec 2011
Andrea Schruijer Executive Director of VLCIA,
Monthly Meeting, Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 5 December 2011.
Videos by John S. Quarterman.

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Prison slave labor

You, too, can end up as a 21st century slave in the U.S.A.! For drugs, or debt, or especially for being black.

Rania Khalek wrote for AlterNet 21 July 2011, 21st-Century Slaves: How Corporations Exploit Prison Labor: In the eyes of the corporation, inmate labor is a brilliant strategy in the eternal quest to maximize profit.

There is one group of American workers so disenfranchised that corporations are able to get away with paying them wages that rival those of third-world sweatshops. These laborers have been legally stripped of their political, economic and social rights and ultimately relegated to second-class citizens. They are banned from unionizing, violently silenced from speaking out and forced to work for little to no wages. This marginalization renders them practically invisible, as they are kept hidden from society with no available recourse to improve their circumstances or change their plight.

They are the 2.3 million American prisoners locked behind bars where we cannot see or hear them. And they are modern-day slaves of the 21st century.

And who are these prison slaves? Continue reading

PSC lining up to vote for solar

Previously PSC Chair Lauren McDonald said he wanted Georgia Power to “come up with options in the next 30 days for expanding the tiny amount of electricity generated from solar power”. Yesterday, PSC Commissioner Chuck Eaton said “Solar is great for diversity, independence, research, and business,” and added that until recently he had discounted solar, but now he had seen it. And it turns out that Friday PSC Commissioner Tim Echols wrote an op-ed saying
It wasn’t until I entered the training room of Mage Solar in Dublin and saw 40 subcontractors in their solar academy that I got it. The growing solar industry is not just about funky collectors on a roof or left-leaning environmentalists who hate fossil fuel. It is about skilled jobs in manufacturing and construction, about economic development in Georgia, about consumers saving money on their power bill so they can spend it somewhere else, and about empowering people to essentially create their own power plant. This could eventually be big.
That’s three out of five commissioners. I’d call that a majority shaping up to do something in the PSC Energy Committee meeting of 16 July 2011. I couldn’t say what, exactly, since there nothing on the energy committee’s agenda about this. But something solar seems to be in the works.

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Local businesses help the local economy

Here’s a long list of studies that show that:
Independent businesses have been found to generate between 60% and 300% more local economic activity that chain retail stores do.
Somebody remind me why VLCIA’s main efforts are on bringing in big chains?

Or why people are so fascinated with Olive Garden, for that matter?

Well, I suppose if you want lower wages, big box retailers are good for that.

Hm, so the ultimate big box would be a private prison: a literally captive audience paid for by captive tax dollars and hirable at the lowest possible wages.

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VLCIA Biomass “Forum” Tonight: Do they have a plan?

According to the VDT’s What We Think of yesterday:
All citizens of Lowndes County and any other interested parties are encouraged to attend the Biomass Forum Monday night, hosted by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, at 7:30 at the Conference Center.
Forum? As in people will get time to get real questions answered? And the VLCIA might be interested in real input?
The authority has invited a half-dozen individuals to speak, which will last approximately 60 to 90 minutes, followed by “ample” time for questions to be answered, at least 30 minutes, according to the Authority.
Hm, 3 to 1 they speak we listen. Interesting definition of “forum”. Also, despite VLCIA’s many complaints that people didn’t get involved early enough in their previous public meetings about this plant, if this event is listed on VLCIA’s own website, I can’t find it. It’s not on the VLCIA’s facebook page, either.

Although on November 10th there are two VLCIA facebook posts saying:

The Industrial Authority stands behind its decision for the construction of Wiregrass Power LLC and feels like this green project will be a win/win for the community.
So much for looking for input.

Anyway, back to the VDT:

The Times has presented several stories with facts concerning the $140 million project, which will generate 20 to 25 local jobs once the plant is up and running.
20 to 25 local jobs.

Meanwhile, in other places that have a plan:

What’s our plan, VLCIA? How about we plant trees instead of burn them?

And I agree with the VDT on this:

And to the Industrial Authority and invited speakers, you are urged to not insult the intelligence of those attending. They understand what the plant will do. What they want to know is how this will affect them in terms of health issues, air quality and safety, burning sewage, the number of trucks on the highway so close to several schools, etc.

The onus is on you, the Authority, to handle this in a much more professional manner than the last Sterling project.

More to the point, why is the VLCIA wasting its political capital (and our tax dollars) on this one polluting plant when it could be working to bring in real clean energy?

Does the VLCIA have a plan to raise the local metro area out of the bottom 10 for wages? Or is this 20-25-job polluting plant the best the VLCIA can do?

If you can’t come to tonight’s “forum”, or even if you can, here is contact information for your elected and appointed officials, including the VLCIA board.

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Valdosta in bottom 10 metro areas for wages

Richard Florida writes about The Geography of High-Paying Jobs, including this map based on Bureau of Labor Staistics (BLS) data:

The Valdosta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) comes in the bottom 10 nationwide. That’s for overall average wages.

It doesn’t look quite as bad for specific classes of jobs (creative, service, and working class), but that’s mostly because there are almost no MSAs in the lowest pay tier. However, for service jobs, Valdosta is not as good as Tallahassee, and makes it into the bottom 10: Continue reading