Alhambra creates "special economic development program"

City officials say a new hiring program should create 14 long-term and several hundred short-term construction jobs, reports the Pasadena Star-News.

The City Council last week amended the 2011-2012 Annual Action Plan to create a "special economic development program" to assist businesses and developers in creating new jobs "for low and moderate income persons."

The article goes on to say that the city will use up to $480,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds. City Manager Julio Fuentes told the Star-News that it would could create hundreds of jobs and that "in today's economy, construction jobs are extremely valuable."

Eric Sunada, a contributor to the Alhambra Source and creator of the San Gabriel Valley Oversight Group, asks whether the city needs more low-income jobs and retail development, and says that it is impossible to ensure that new businesses will create new jobs.

2 thoughts on “Alhambra creates "special economic development program"”

  1. Good idea by Eric, unfortunately the city council & city staff prefer to keep “things under wrap” by either not giving out correct information or half-information, thus everyone is “happy:; citizens thinking city council/city staff are really taking their interests into consideration, while keeping up their overdevelopment projects using tax moneys to favor big-time developers * in the process gaining donations from developers to win elections – after all money win elections, not ideas. Meanwhile as Eric writes “let us eat cupcake!

  2. I'll elaborate on my opinion.  The federal govenrment states that this grant funding is to be used to help low-income persons in our community.  Whether it is through low-income housing or projects that benefit those most in need.   But what the city is doing is to use this funding to subsidize retail development with the justification that it will create jobs.  But the large majority of the jobs at these retail establishments do not pay a livable wage.  Um, the idea is to create jobs for low-income persons, not low-income jobs with little chance of advancement.  Free-enterprise allows businesses to do what they need to in order to survive.  But when we give them our community grant money, we need to get more bang for our buck.  We need to request more concessions from such businesses in order to help those in need, whether it's a livable wage or provisions that workers will have health benefits.

    But better yet, why not use the funding for its intended purpose:  projects to help low-income persons.  Vocational programs to help backfill for the missing adult education program, literacy programs, ESL courses, recreational programs (like opening up another lane at the swimming pool), transportation and congestion mitigation programs, low income housing, or working to bring in manufacturing and commercial businesses that pay good wages.  All of these not only help our residents, but they also come with solid jobs such as teachers, administrators, life guards, and welders.  But instead, the city keeps funding new retail establishments that hold no promise of sustainability while promising only low-income jobs if they do.  (“It's the economy, stupid”).

    We, as a community, need to wake up and do a better job at holding our city officials accountable.  Earlier this year, the mayor spent numerous hours on a cupcake contest and subsequent awards ceremony during a council meeting.  Yet millions of dollars of our grant money gets passed with little to no disucssion.  For example, did you know that the city is giving $4.9M of future grant funding to the developer of the Kohl's center to grow that retail area into a complex called the Shops at The Alhambra?   Now how does this help close the income gap?  We don't need more places to spend our money.  We need to get more spending money to those in need.  But evidently city officials seem to think they know what's good for us.  Until we speak up, they'll continue to let us eat (cup)cake.

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