Showing posts with label DC City Council. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DC City Council. Show all posts

Friday, April 1, 2016

DC Ward 7 Economic and Social Data Analysis by Creative Investment Research, Inc

At the request of community groups in DC's Ward 7, William Michael Cunningham and Creative Investment Research are conducting a preliminary analysis of the Ward's social and economic condition. An informal straw pool is also underway. These efforts will provide information on the real time economic and social landscape of Ward 7.

This data may also be used as a preface for a Ward 7 City Council Candidate Forum and Straw Poll. The Ward 7 Candidates Forum and Straw Poll will be h
eld on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at H.D. Woodson Senior High School at 9am. The moderator for the Forum will be Harold T. Fisher of WHUR-FM Radio The Daily Drum along with two Youth Mayors from the Marion S. Barry, Jr.'s Youth Leadership Institute.

Our preliminary economic and social data analysis reveals the quality of life in Ward 7 has declined. Further analysis reveals that this is due to the protracted lack of economic opportunity and an increase in certain negative social issues directly related to the lack of economic opportunity. Although, the population has remained predominantly African American, it is noted that the lack of economic opportunity is caused by major disparities in key areas and not by the mere fact that the ward is heavily African American.

The informal straw pool can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Ward7CommunityPoll.

Monday, September 7, 2015

#BlackLivesDoNotMatterToTheDCGovernment

As noted in Testimony to the Council of the District of Columbia on Thursday, March 12, 2015: “Our 2016 Fully Adjusted Return® forecast for the City suggests a crisis may be coming soon in the August/October (2015) timeframe." 

(The testimony can be found at:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx3S91AlzNJ4RGF0WTZQd05Ha3M/view?usp=sharing and https://youtu.be/rlr_DomOais below:)


One newspaper recently reported a "growing fear that the District is less safe. This fear resides with the City’s gentrifiers, not its natives, since Black male DC natives have been subject to elevated
murder risk for decades. The truth is that as long as Blacks are the victims, Washington, DC's murder rate has never been a concern for the DC City Council or their masters, the Congress of the United States, our Constitutionally anointed overseers.

Failing to recognize that synthetic drugs, domestic violence, and illegal guns are all factors in the increase in homicides anchors this lack of actual concern to a desire on the part of the Congress and the City Council to score political points on the backs of the DC victims, again, as long as those victims are Black. The lack of concern also shows up in other ways:

·         “The D.C. Council gave..$33 million in tax breaks for LivingSocial to keep the growing company in the District ..yet, LivingSocial has no male African-American DC natives in the management ranks.

·         The City recently 'sold' the former site of the R.L. Christian Library at 1300 H Street NE to FundRise, another DC firm that operates in a discriminatory manner with respect to employment
and with respect to offering development or investment opportunities to African Americans."

·         And, then, there's this: "District officials,,(spent) more than $475,000 during their visit to South by Southwest in March..to convert a restaurant near Austin’s convention center into a
'We DC' lounge and work space during the day, and a party venue for attendees to socialize at night. The rental and food costs alone would be $251,500 over five days." Really? We spent $300 creating a "South by Southeast" conference focused on Black tech talent in Anacostia. (See: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/martin-marion-tech-william-michael-cunningham-am-mba?trk=pulse_spock-articles)

To deal with the crisis the City has proposed sending in the Police, having unveiled a crisis management plan that calls for “deploying more police, expanding police powers of search and seizure, targeting parolees, spending more money on crime-fighting tools such as surveillance cameras, GPS tracking and forensic technology.”

Our most recent DC forecast suggests these “solutions” are not likely to work, since they lack a collaborative nature and confirm that the City will not seek assistance from the whole community. This, in turn, takes us back to where we started: #BlackLivesDontMatterToDC

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Your Freedom will not be brought to you by Comcast, Sprite or Google...

We are delighted that an idea and initiative we suggested has begun to get traction, as evidenced by an effort launched in July called “Venture DC 2015”. Sponsored by Comcast and supported by DC’s Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), the well funded Venture DC initiative claims to seek to “empower emerging entrepreneurs who are addressing and solving some of DC's most pressing challenges related to health care, education, housing, economic security and access to financial services, specifically in Wards 7 and 8.”

Perhaps a little background is in order. On January 19, 2015, Martin Luther King's Birthday, we convened several DC-based Black Tech firms, policy analysts and others at a meeting in Washington, DC to discuss social innovation and technology. For more, see: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/martin-marion-tech-william-michael-cunningham-am-mba

“We focused on the role technology might play in addressing Black Male safety and security issues. The meeting resulted in a discussion about developing an app/apps to address Black Male Health Issues, specifically including the problem of elevated homicide.”As we noted at the time, this is extraordinarily difficult. But we also asked “what is the point of having tech skills if you cannot use them to improve lives, ALL lives, including the Black ones?”

(Besides, there's already an app that is being used to complain to police about Black and homeless people and to report non-crimes. We doubt this came up at the Comcast event.)

Venture DC 2015 probably did not address these issues. This is one reason having a truly diverse (race, gender, income) group discussing these issues, as we did on 1/19/15, matters. The picture below shows attendees at our meeting in contrast to one photo from the Venture DC 2015 meeting.

Left, Jan 2015. Right, Aug 2015


The Comcast event also follows my March 12, 2015 testimony to the DC City Council Government Oversight Committee on the lack of performance with respect to health care for DC residents, Black contracting. The video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/rlr_DomOais and the details of the testimony can be found at "DC's revealed Black Economic Development "Plan"" https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dcs-real-development-plan-william-michael-cunningham-am-mba

Unfortunately, if you are an African American male actually from Wards 7 or 8, the City’s revealed economic “development plan” for you is to offer limited low wage employment (I know..I know...better than nothing) while devoting millions of dollars in funding to non-minority companies. 

For example, the D.C. Council gave nearly $33 million in tax breaks to Living Social and "gave" several valuable public properties to a firm called Fundrise. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-wire/post/dc-council-approves-livingsocial-tax-breaks/2012/06/26/gJQAQAvv4V_blog.html  and http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/fundrises_plans_for_the_r.l._christian_library_on_h_street/9772

As we have noted before, our economic research reveals the following: there is not a single city in the United States of America where the majority of Black people resident before gentrification have been better off post-gentrification. Not one. See:  http://twisri.blogspot.com/2015/04/gentrification-and-black-people-in-dc.html

Clearly, the issues we raised in January and March remain unresolved, even after we outlined (for the Chair of the DC City Council and the head of DC's Economic Development Department) two entirely new socially responsible financial instruments to help with these problems, 

Unfortunately, issues of honest inclusion limit the ability of the Comcast-funded effort to legitimately serve the needs of the African American portions of the Ward 7 and 8 community. This is, of course, not surprising. Your freedom will not be brought to you by Comcast, Sprite, or Google.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DC's Revealed Black Economic Development "Plan"

DC's Revealed Black Economic Development "Plan" https://youtu.be/rlr_DomOais
DC's Revealed Black Economic Development "Plan"

DC has the highest rate of HIV infection, the highest Black/White income disparity and the most rapid gentrification in the United States. These facts are not unrelated. Together, they point to the true economic development policy, at least for Black people, in the city. My analysis and experience, described in detail below, supports this contention.
Since 2005, we have been managing an effort to bring crowdfunding to small businesses in DC. My firm was selected to develop a crowdfunding program for the District's Great Streets Program. The effort we undertook was initially funded at $85,000, was reduced to $25,000 and further reduced to $20,000. DC has actually paid a fraction of this amount. Despite this, we moved ahead.
At DC's Historic Metropolitan AME Church, we worked with four innovators to launchcrowdfunding projects in support of their DC-based businesses.
We helped increase positive perception of economic development officials in DC. A senior official at the US Small Business Administration complemented these efforts, stating that:
“It's good that the DC team (DMPED) continues to explore innovative paths to support entrepreneurs and civic-centered projects.”
Our efforts resulted in an innovative partnership between the US SBA and DC.
On March 6th, I testified before the DC City Council and provided detailed comments on economic development in DC.
The bottom line is this: male African-American DC native owned firms receive far less consideration from the DC Government, relative to the favors accorded and afforded non-minority (white-owned) firms in the city:
“The D.C. Council gave..$33 million in tax breaks for LivingSocial to keep the growing company in the District after members deemed it essential to city efforts to brand itself as a hub for start-up and technology companies…the deal will save the five-year-old company about $32.5 million in taxes over a five-year period beginning in 2015. Yet, LivingSocial has no male African-American DC natives in the management ranks.
The City recently "sold" the former site of the R.L. Christian Library at 1300 H Street NE to FundRise, another DC firm that operates in a discriminatory manner with respect to employment and with respect to offering development or investment opportunities to African Americans.
And, then, there's this: "District officials are slated to spend more than $475,000during their visit to South by Southwest in March.. half the budget would be used to convert a restaurant near Austin’s convention center into a “We DC” lounge and work space during the day, and a party venue for attendees to socialize at night. The rental and food costs would be $251,500 over five days."
Really? We spent $300 creating a "South by Southeast" conference focused on Anacostia. It was very successful in highlighting talent in DC. The reason the City did not support this is that we were focused on Black talent. This lack of support is consistent with the "development policy" noted above.
These different standards reflect the true, or revealed economic development plan for the City. It is one that ignores firms owned and operated by male African-American DC natives, women and minority firms, preferring to focus on firms owned by white 20 something entrepreneurs.
It is this policy and behavior that gives rise to the income and wealth gap pictured above.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hearing on Fossil Fuel Divestment

The video below is of testimony before the DC City Council on the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act of 2013. The bill requires "the divestment, and prohibit(s) the investment, of public funds in the stocks, securities, or other obligations of certain companies which hold the largest fossil fuel reserves and..provide(s) for the identification of companies with the largest fossil fuel reserves."
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As a recent Forbes article noted, investor concerns about fossil fuels are growing.
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