(1181) Taking public control


Handing off public assets and revenue sources in exchange for a short term cash hit or cost saving has never seemed like a hot idea to us.  While partnerships between public entities and corporate power appear to be balanced and sensible compared to the outright sale of an asset there is still reason for high level caution, as this article shows.
Financiers are now controlling public works, much to the public’s confusion
utoronto.ca
image: Ken Lund via Flickr/CC

(1178) This week in Ontario poverty


Here’s a hint or two at what poverty was like this week in Canada’s richest, most populous province.
Job vacancies in Windsor-Sarnia some of the lowest paying in Ontario
windsorstar.com
Hamilton’s poverty activists clash with business groups, Tory MPPs over labour reforms
hamiltonnews.com
Women, recent immigrants to see big benefits from minimum wage increase.  Of the 633,000 people who would receive raises in Toronto, 58 per cent are women and 17 per cent are recent immigrants
thestar.com
Demanding a fair share. Protecting worker’s rights in the on-demand service economy
ccpa.ca (links to 26-page .pdf file)
image: Peter Vanderheyden via Flickr/CC

(1177) FCM document for poverty strategy


Consultations within Canada’s federal poverty reduction strategy can count an impressive and sensible report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities among the front rank of contributions they have seen.  For us it worked pretty well as summer reading material, too!

Ending poverty starts locally. Municipal recommendations for a Canadian poverty reduction strategy
fcm.ca (17 page .pdf file)

(1176) Tonawanda moves forward


Between the Niagara River and Route 266 in Tonawanda, New York sits the blocky red hulk of the Huntley Generating Station.  For most of a century it brought the power to a series of major industrial customers that gave the town and the region much if its economic life.  And a robust life it was.
Until it wasn’t.  Like many towns throughout the American rust belt, Tonawanda is fully compelled to face a mixed new post-industrial reality.  While not easy it looks like the town, directly north of Buffalo, has the beginnings of an interesting and powerful template for moving itself forward into an economy after coal-fired electrical plants and manufacturing.  It’s always very nice to find positive stories and this seems to be one worth considering.
Rising from the ashes, a Buffalo suburb ends its dependence on coal
Grist/billmoyers.com
image: Deutsch Fetisch via Wikimedia Commons

(1174) Suburbs matter to cities


US president 45’s inaugural address entered America’s uneven popular culture almost before he finished it, full, as it was, with references to urban social disaster.  The Donald’s portent-laden words seemed to reinforce and reflect still widely held beliefs about US communities, ones that deny urban success stories and suburban difficulty.  With that in mind, we read with tons of interest a recent survey of US city-watchers, and what they feel their issues are..
What’s the greatest risk cities face?
politico.com
image: Sean Davis via Flickr/CC

(1173) Australia minimum


Australia’s minimum wage has risen by an amount just ahead of inflation and so is now $18.29 per hour.  Living wage territory, just about.
One hundred Australian dollars is worth one hundred Canadian dollars and six cents, by way of comparison.  This feature discusses the increase from several angles, most of which will be familiar to Canadians.
Fair Work Commission rules minimum wage to rise by $22 a week
smh.com.au
Shrewd businesses support $15 minimum wage and decent work
thestar.com

(1172) Ferris Bueller face first into the economic meat grinder of American reality


Lake County, Illinois is apparently not what it used to be.  In the 1980s it had been well off for so long it was the natural setting for a flamboyant but really kind of annoying movie about the problems of an affluent white youth.  Half of the movie is an excuse to look at a red 1965 Ferrari 250 California GT and there’s also some whacky moments as young Ferris gyrates selfishly between parents, friends and his love object.  Why it ever became a cult classic, though, is beyond us.  Now, this not being a film blog anyway Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is only here as an entry point to a new Lake County that represents a changed American sprawl.  If it were made today this movie would have a more realistic title like Ferris Bueller’s Permanent Layoff.  The car would be a rotted out Geo Metro, too.
Ferris Bueller’s daily grind: how poverty in Chicago went suburban. On the surface, Lake County, Illinois – the setting for John Hughes’ 1980s films of affluent suburban angst – is all detached houses, swimming pools and malls. Hidden from view, though, is the growing need
theguardian.com
image: Carmen B via Wikimedia Commons