Dear Barack Obama,
I highly doubt you will read this, but hopefully one of your aides and campaign works will. What went wrong in Ohio, New York, and subsequently, Pennsylvania is that you need to hit home new economic solutions with low income workers. They care most about the economy, pardon me, "stupid". There needs to be a new policy suggestion to help the poor and downtrodden. That is what makes you a democrat and these people currently aren't seeing that. More effort needs to be given to these people directly. More than just changing healthcare, education and getting out of the war or appealing to their distrust in Bush. They are looking for a new approach for their economic blight. As much as I can see the booms in the 1990s was more attributed to new gadgets created by Microsoft and Apple than any industrial policy. I am a student in public administration in Miami, FL and I am interested in Local Economic Development. In the U.S. we have used the HUD's programs for engaging local communities but that is not enough. We need to refocus and launch a new attached on the less-fortunate communities and help them spur their economic competitiveness in the global economy.
Barack, you have not talked about this sufficiently. It can't be just that we will reassess NAFTA and CAFTA--that is okay but its not sufficient to really look at how to help the small towns build up. Why not engage these communities in the same grassroots efforts as your campaign and engage them to find pro-poor portable solutions to their economic problems. Their ingenuity in assessing the lack of concrete a industrial policy will make the difference. Below is what I proposed when I wanted to have dinner with you. Today, I am not so sure, I'd like to have dinner with you! You need to reach out and talk about the economy straight-on and reach out to the disenfranchised, who don't care about party unity nor, black white divides, but about their pocket books.
Now please, you are my hope to changing this around. Please focus on this section of the population that needs some solutions, especial now and into the future as these gas prices and foreclosures rates go up and up.
Grassroots “Opportunity Zones” for Economic Revitalization
Why not revitalize the HUD’s Renewal community program by providing block grants and technical assistance directly to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for commercial activities and job-training programs? Such a policy will strengthen your grassroots political efforts by bring more financial services to the communities in-need. It will not only create a market-place effort for American communities to compete for federal financing (requiring private sector support for legitimacy and efficiency) but it will also provide direct technical assistance to strengthen the at-risk economy. Currently HUD’s Renewal community program is seeking congressional commitment for the third round of support. The CDBG, hosted separately, needs further revitalization for assisting American cities where the highest percentage of our poor resides. Your campaign could assist to strengthen America’s most prevailing community based programs CDC’s to perform better—by engaging citizens, assisting the poor and promoting economic development through urban revitalization. By transferring this public program to direct beneficiaries, instead of the government bureaucracies, this policy could make CDCs already successful role in development even stronger.
The ultimate result would be like a low-income housing tax credit but for commercial activity and job-training programs to speed-up local economies. Grassroots “Opportunity Zones” for Economic Revitalization is a similar policy I am working to execute in Latin America, the area of my expertise.
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