(1 of 2) My comments at tonight’s city council meeting, during the public hearing for A-17-02 (funding for One Southern Indiana).

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What I’ll be reading this evening during the public hearing. Thanks to Jeff and Randy for their input. Part 2 is here.

Tonight, One Southern Indiana concludes its annual visit to city council, hat in hand, asking for $30,000 to fund vocational training and career placement via 1Si’s WorkHub program.

Granted, $30,000 probably is less than it cost Jeff Gahan to put his face on Kroger shopping carts. I’m told there must be demonstrable progress before any more city funds go to this program. That’s well and good, and I have no illusions that a single “no” vote will be cast tonight.

But still, we must remember that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

1Si is a private lobbying firm which petitions government on behalf of private, paying clients — not in conjunction with public interests but, as often as not, in spite of them.

It is absurd for local government to pay 1Si for the privilege of being lobbied.

1Si’s support for the Ohio River Bridges Project and the subsequent tolling boondoggle, as well as its disastrous Regional Cities Initiative proposal, are merely the tip of the oligarch’s iceberg.

1Si famously endorses the agenda of the US Chamber of Commerce, which generally supports Republican political candidates. 1Si once began endorsing candidates itself, then backed down. I’d suggest that we need to keep a close eye on them lest partisan endorsements resume, and withhold all tithes if they do.

According to the organization called Chamber Watch, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce works against the public interest across a variety of sectors, including civil justice, climate and energy, health care, workplace safety and financial reform.

In addition, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and green businesses represented by the American Sustainable Business Council have fought the U.S. Chamber’s goals.

It should tell us something that AMIBA feels this way. 1Si’s bait and switch with regard to small, locally owned independent business surely helps pay salaries for those it employs to fluff the major corporate entities, but it does nothing to assist the most vibrant grassroots sector of the local economy.

1Si extracts fees from gullible indies hoping for “networking” benefits from larger corporations, which are firmly entrenched in the international order, and have no interest whatever in localism. This is trickle-down at best, and usually not even that. In fact, these businesses support 1SI, and not the other way around. Why should taxpayers do the same?

One of my favorite 1Si subdivisions is the Economic Development Council.

“The Economic Development Council is one of our most prestigious committees. Members provide strategic direction to 1si’s economic development activities, including new business attraction, advocacy, business retention and expansion, transportation, quality of life and recruitment of talent. Places on this Committee are restricted to proven investors.”

In other words, you have to have a certain amount of money to be welcomed into the discussion about economic development. You must be sufficiently well-heeled to comment about “quality of life.”

This tripe is plainly exclusionary, and it insults small business persons and every citizen who lives paycheck to paycheck, and can’t afford the ante to discuss their contributions to economic development every single day in this community.

$30,000 for vocational education? That’s probably tolerable, but let’s not forget what 1Si really is, and really does.

Thank you.

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