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The Answer to Unemployment

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By Gary L. Flowers

Last week, Congressman John Conyers (MI), Ranking Member of the United States House Judiciary Committee introduced much-needed legislation entitled, “The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act.” The bill number for the Act is House Resolution 4277/870. Congressman Conyers’ Act directly addresses American’s need to work and our current economic crisis, but also embodies the spirit of the original Humphrey-Hawkins “Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act” of 1978.

In short, the Act would tax stock and bond trades on Wall Street to finance a fund to create jobs for the jobless.

The “Full Employment and Training Trust Fund” would create two accounts to directly fund job creation and training programs. Monies taxed from Wall Street transactions would be distributed to each account, with 67% of revenues deposited in the job-creation account, and 33% going to the job-training account.

First, job-creation funds would be allocated based on the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula, modified to consider unemployment data. The U.S. Department of Labor would collaborate with local elected officials, labor officials, and community groups, who are closest to the needs of our communities on the ground, to identify workers for each project. Americans in need of a job would work on construction projects, renovating school buildings, weatherizing homes, neighborhood beautification, expanding access to broadband and wireless Internet, and other jobs. The program would be open to those who are unemployed for at least 26 weeks, or low-income individuals who have been unemployed for at least 30 days. New jobs would include: • Up to 30 hours per week
• Pay prevailing wages, averaging $12-15 per hour, with benefits Appropriate safeguards and strong anti-displacement protections would help to prevent substitution and ensure that workers are placed in jobs.

Secondly, funds would be distributed to existing programs covered under The Workforce Investment Act for job-training programs, including 1-Stop Job Training Programs and the Job Corps. Each account would be established through a tax on Wall Street financial speculation such as stock and bond trades. The financial transactions tax would cover: • Tax rate on each transaction would be ¼ of one percent—0.25%
• Tax rate for Futures Contracts to buy/sell specified commodities at market prices would by 0.02%
• Tax rate for Swaps of financial instruments between two firms—0.02%
• Tax rate for Credit Default Swaps where a contract is swapped through a series of payments in exchange for a payoff if credit instrument (loans) goes into default—0.02%
• And contracts between a buyer and a seller that gives buyer the right to buy/sell asset on or before expiration date (Options) at an agreed price

All evidence for America’s current poor economy points to un-regulated and un-enforced laws of the greedy, which disproportionately affected the needy. Therefore, Congressman Conyers’ legislation is needed now to put America back to work.

We should all contact our Congressional representatives to support H.R. 4277/870.

Gary L. Flowers is the Executive Director & CEO of the Black Leadership Forum, Inc.

Samaritan’s Feet “Cover and Protect”

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On Sunday, March 25, 2012, in the gymnasium of the Kansas Ave. SDA Church, located on the corner of Kansas Ave and Martin Luther King Blvd., hundreds of new pairs of shoes and socks were given an assignment: “Cover and Protect a pair of freshly washed feet.”

At the same time, in the parking lot just outside the gym, over 320 people lined up to receive a pair of these brand new shoes and socks. Many of the people were there several hours in advance. The “Samaritan's Feet” organization, partnered with the Men Of Kansas Avenue (MOKA) for the second year in a row, to provide this welcomed service to members of the local community. Although the weather outside was drizzly and overcast, no one seemed to mind, because the atmosphere inside the building that day, was quite inviting.

The guests were greeted warmly and waited just a short while to be seated. They were then given the opportunity to have their feet washed and dried. Then a new pair of socks and a new pair of shoes were given the opportunity to accept the mission to “cover and protect” as they were placed on the feet of the grateful guests. Conversations between the volunteers and the guests were lively and heartwarming. Smiles broke out and eyes filled with tears of joy and gratitude. The volunteers prayed with the guests. Little children, teenagers, parents and grandparents alike, received shoes, socks, encouragement and prayer. As they left, each guest was offered freshly baked, chocolate-chip cookies.

Many organizations contributed to making it a wonderful day, including: Trinity Housing, which helped with the purchase of grocery gift cards, McKay's Family Mortuary who assisted with the purchase of the shoes, along with the Kansas Avenue Resource Center, and over 40 volunteers from the host church, Kansas Avenue, which included Robert Harris and his group from the Adventures Club. Members of the Mt. Rubidoux SDA church came to help out, as well as Woody Rucker-Hughes of the Riverside School District.

Many of the guests also received free medical attention and treatment at the medical van provided by “Health in Motion”, so a special “Thank You” goes out to The Kansas Ave. Resource Center and Nirma Usher. Finally, Paul Arceneaux of MOKA, along with Royal and Sandra Watson of “Samaritan's Feet” are to be congratulated. Their hard work and tireless efforts paid off. It was a wonderful experience.

A good time was had by all, and in the end, over 320 pairs of shoes and socks were given freshly washed feet to cover and protect.

Arco AmPm Grand Opening

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Location is a key element when opening a business. And for business owner Meenu Sandhu, when opening her second brand value gasoline station, she currently owns a Chevron in Thousand Oaks, she chose to become a franchisee with Arco AmPm constructing a 2,000 sq. ft. convenience store off the busy 101 Freeway. Sandhu is the first female owner of an Arco AmPm in the area.

This weekend will mark the grand opening of the fruits of Sandhu’s labor as she invites the community to celebrate with her on Friday and Saturday, April 6th and 7th beginning at 11 a.m. Sandhu states that the Laker girls will perform both days, Bank of America will be offering debit cards, Monster and Pepsi representatives will be on hand, as well as a live DJ, clown, and face painting will be offered.

Sandhu states that Arco AmPm provides great franchise support. “There’s a system already in place to run multiple locations,” she said. “It’s a value branded gasoline that’s affordable,” she continued.

Arco AmPm is located at 2305 Borchard Rd., Newbury Park. Arco AmPm Gas station is open 24 hours with convenience store, food, handicap access, RV access, propane, ATM, and bathroom.

UC Riverside Alumnus Nominated as FAA Chief

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Michael Huerta is responsible for the safety and efficiency of the largest aerospace system in the world

President Barack Obama has nominated UC Riverside alumnus Michael Huerta to serve as the chief of the Federal Aviation Administration for a five-year term.

Huerta holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Riverside and a master’s in international relations from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Huerta has been serving as Acting Administrator of the FAA since December 2011. He is responsible for the safety and efficiency of the largest aerospace system in the world, overseeing a $15.9 billion dollar budget and over 47,000 employees.

“The FAA couldn’t be in better hands,” said Kyle Hoffman, assistant vice chancellor for alumni and constituent relations at UC Riverside. “He is incredibly capable and successful and a tremendous representative of this campus.” Hoffman said that Huerta won the Outstanding Young Alumnus award in 1986 and then was invited back last October to speak on campus. “He has served on the board of the UCR Alumni Association and he has always been there for us when we need to engage alumni in the Washington DC area.”

Huerta is an experienced transportation official who has held key positions across the country. His reputation for managing complex transportation challenges led him to the international stage when Huerta was tapped as a Managing Director of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The Olympics drew 2,400 athletes from 78 countries to Salt Lake City. Huerta was critical in the planning and construction of a variety of Olympic transportation facilities, as well as the development of a highly successful travel demand management system that insured the transportation system operated safely and efficiently.

Before joining the FAA, Huerta held senior positions at Affiliated Computer Services from 2002-2009 rising to the position of President of the Transportation Solutions Group; ACS is now a Xerox company specializing in business processes and information technology. Huerta was commissioner of New York City’s Department of Ports, International Trade and Commerce from 1986-89. He then served as the Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco from 1989-1993. From 1993-98, he held senior positions in the U.S. Transportation Department in Washington, D.C., serving under Secretary Federico Pena and Secretary Rodney E. Slater. CAPTION: Photo by Marty Katz UCR Alumnus Michael Huerta inside the Federal Aviation Administration.

Bloomington MAC Formally Re-Organizes

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The reconstituted Bloomington MAC met for the last informal meeting before formally organizing next month. The municipal advisory committee met this past Tuesday to speak on issues that would affect the county portion of the 5th District.

“The board is back together,” said community activist Eric Davenport. “We’ve had our discussions of what it should be. We will finally address the issues and this time we will push for the people to solve their problem,” he continued.

“We expect the MAC will have more clout and will solve problems, people will take notice, and come out and support the actions of the MAC,” stated Davenport. The Bloomington MAC will met on May 1st at the Old Timer’s Building at Ayala Park (Valley Blvd.) in Bloomington with the goal of improved communication between the county and community. Each meeting is on the first Tuesday of every month discussing issues that are important to the residents of the community.

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BVN National News Wire