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Hilbert Morales

The working class of San Jose, CA often refuse to comment about local issues which have been neglected by City of San Jose Administration and its elected officials. On January 1, 2019 the official minimum wage becomes $15 per hour which equates to $31,200 per year. This in a Silicon Valley micro-economy wherein the mean income is $85,000 per year.

The neglect by many public policy decision makers is apparent and disappointing. Especially when one considers that much more attention is paid to the needs of business and commerce than to the needs of the working-class residents who have head of family household responsibilities and duties. It is outrageous that no elected official has convened a hearing to learn more about the challenges ordinary folks face in this community. Gentrification deals with the displacement caused by corporations whose plans bring l2,000 employees to their corporate facilities. Civic leaders habitually respond to the needs of these profit-oriented firms.

Their neglect of addressing the many issues which need to be placed upon the conference table so that each issue may be addressed.

When my friends talk to me about ‘the affordable housing shortage’, I often see disappointment on their faces because local agencies and officials are not proactive in anticipating the volume of housing units needed. About 25% needs to be ‘affordable housing’ located within zoning areas wherein higher priced housing is located. Service personnel who earn low salaries need to be located within 5 miles of their job sites. It is totally wrong to ask these low wage employees to commute from homes located 2 hours of commute time away.

Civic demographic data indicate continued population growth. Whose responsibility is it to transform that data into an estimation of near future affordable housing needs? Google has plans to develop corporate facilities near Diridon Transportation hub which will employ 12,000 individuals who have technical training as coders. Most coders I know are Caucasian. How is it that our local high schools and community colleges are never informed pro-actively that Google will need technical employees who have knowledge and ability to code? Is an effort made to inform those who train students from low income communities? It seems to me that a high communications gap exists which contributes to the current situation of firms not employing enough women or persons of color.

I know it takes time to communicate and to train, but these efforts must not be neglected.

How do we get those who generate the data to ask themselves, “Who needs to know?” and then responsibly make an effort to convey information which leads to timely training of unskilled individuals (especially women and low-income folks who are usually persons of color)? To many administrators, executives and planners do not analyze and project the domino effects of their plans. If they did, they would have some idea regarding “Who needs to know” proactively.

It is fortunate that many ordinary working-class folks do not know how many Fortune 500 corporations which distribute dividends, do not pay any income taxes (recently reduced down from 35% to 21%). Yet every employed resident religiously files their IRS 1040 income tax statement and pays their income taxes. If they knew, they would become outraged; angry; and disappointed because what is transpiring is simply not right or fair. These actions lead to income disparities and contribute to the concentrated wealth. It is no wonder that some 65% of this nation’s wealth is owned by only 0.1%!

I get very concerned when Mr. Trump, as CEO/CIC of this American nation decides to shut down portions of the Federal Government simply because his demands for $5 billion for ‘That Wall’ are not funded by the U.S. Congress. Where is the detailed planning and cost estimate for the wall that he envisions is needed? Will a similar wall be constructed along the American-Canadian border? And what steps are being taken (and cost estimated) to ‘shut down’ the immigration of those who arrive at the 50 international airports with visitor’s visas. And why not also include the illegal human and drug trafficking which happens at all borders and international airports? I note that hardly is the data revealed that the current volume of refugees seeking asylum or crossing to take advantage of seasonal harvest work is now 20% of prior volumes (An improved economy makes jobs now available in Mexico).

I really get outraged and angry when I consider that no elected official nor high level civil servant presents the rationale for having every unemployed person receive ‘a guaranteed annual personal income’ which enables recipients to pay for housing (rents), food, clothing, education and training. No one mentions the obvious: when folks live monthly check to monthly check, the entire amount of funding received immediately is expended in a local micro-economy. Those funds enable the individual recipient to continue being an involved consumer essential to sustaining the American Consumer Economy which is what really sustains America as a ‘super-power’. So, it is essential that corporation pay a fair share of taxes which enable ‘guaranteed annual personal incomes’ because our domestic economy needs those folks as consumers with money to spend (and make choices).

Some folks I talk to simply have tuned out because whenever they tune in, they become cynical, disappointed, enraged, or angry at the short-sighted ineffectiveness of certain business logic which contributes to increasing number of homeless – some of whom were former employees replaced by robots and automaton or simply moving production jobs offshore to wherever lower wages are paid. That is what some firms have done who park their profits offshore in order to avoid payment of their fair share of taxes needed by government agencies to fund social services and sustain the infrastructures we all use daily (e.g. roads, public transportation, potable water, & public health services).

Mr. Trump’s attempt to extort $5 billion for ‘That Wall’ is outrageous because by shutting down 25% of Federal government impacts some 800,000 federal employees who use their monthly paychecks to pay their bills. These innocent folks will end up paying late fees and damaged credit ratings because of late payments. This decision and strategy is not right because it injures employees who did not create the undocumented immigrant issue. When will the Federal government increase staffing of ‘special immigration court system’ which can process less than 20,000 cases per year and is not effectively dealing with a backlog of 800,000 cases. The result is adjudication delays which lengthen retention of those refugees who are asking for asylum.

Mainstream media has focused upon separation of families and two juveniles who died while being detained by Homeland Security Agency practices. There is much anger and extreme disappointment in the community. These are all consequences of making policy decisions without first learning the truth, facts, and acquiring the needed useful know-how.

Let us all resolve to give voice directed to the right party during this coming 2019 New Year. Our frustration, disappointment, rage and anger can be transformed into the energy required for actions which hold civil servants and elected official accountable and responsible. These proactive actions will give us all some satisfaction and comfort because we did the right thing for the right reasons. Enjoy the 2019 New Year!