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Detroit-based Businesses Call on City Leadership to Support Community Benefits Agreement

Detroit-based Businesses Call on City Leadership to Support Community Benefits Agreement

(Detroit, MI- October 30, 2014) — The Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (MBCC), with access to more than 72,561 African American businesses in Michigan and 32,490 in the city of Detroit, endorses the adoption of a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) ordinance into the Detroit City Charter to establish trust, reduce economic disparities and increase government and private sector accountability to Detroiters and local entrepreneurs.

Although an increase in the number of development projects in Detroit shows promise for the city’s future,it is crucial to make sure local residents and community stakeholders share in the economic benefits of these large-scale projects. CBAs are designed to do just that, according to the American Planning Association.

“CBAs ensure that large scale development provides for local hiring, procurement opportunities, neighborhood services and a qualified community voice in the development process itself,” said Ken Harris, President and CEO of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce.

Detroit’s proposed CBA ordinance seeks to ensure that communities affected by large, often government-subsidized developments or public-private partnerships would be guaranteed benefits in the form of contracts with local developers; these contracts would provide specific procurement goals, services or hiring obligations in the footprint or general area of the proposed development.

Despite negative opinion-driven reactions to the proposed CBAs from some of Detroit’s leadership, CBAs are not just effective in providing economic protection to local communities, but also in energizing the local economy. Detroit’s proposed CBA is designed to stimulate job growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, but most importantly, minority, under served and economically disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods. Detroit is a majority minority city with more than 80% African Americans in population and 90% ethnic minorities and women.

The MBCC believes Detroit’s proposed community benefits ordinance would also benefit developers by establishing a clear framework and expected outcomes for businesses and residents to interact.

Across the country,CBAs have proven effective in both ensuring local employment and boosting local economies that are experiencing major or large developments with a clear oversight and monitoring policy.

There are already clear models for successful CBAs in city centers nationwide. One notable success comes from Los Angeles, when major airport renovations, with the implementation of local hiring requirements, increased the local employment rate in 2006. Since then, numerous instances in the CBA movement have demonstrated that economic development works better with community members at the table. CBA models have been implemented in many other urban centers,including Baltimore, Portland and Milwaukee.

“Without a CBA, large-scale development projects do not guarantee jobs to local residents and contract opportunities for Detroit-based businesses,” Harris said.

Marathon Oil, for example, received tax abatement worth $175 million in exchange for producing only 11 jobs for Detroiters in 2012. In the future, several large-scale development projects – which will utilize public subsidies, tax abatements and the acquisition of public land– are going to take place in Detroit’s under served and impoverished communities.

“It’s time to move away from personality-driven leadership by adopting policy-driven benefits that help to foster economic development and job growth for Detroit’s local residents and small business owners,” said Harris.

Today, the MBCC calls on Mayor Duggan, the Detroit City Council,Detroit-based Businesses and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) to support the adoption of a CBA ordinance into the City Charter.

For more information please contact kharris@michiganblackchamber.com

The Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce(MBCC) is Michigan’s first statewide Black chamber of commerce with access to more than 79,000 black-owned businesses in Michigan; the MBCC has become one of the largest and most influential chambers of commerce in the country with local Black chambers in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Pontiac, Southfield, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Flint, MI. For more information visit http://www.michiganblackchamber.com/

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Action Alert, Call Council: Select a candidate that will fight for a CBA Ordinance

NEWPeoplesPlatformLogoCBAbuttonsSMNovember 3rd, 2014

There are numerous reasons why the Community Benefit Agreement Ordinance should be approved by Detroit City Council. This week we encourage Detroit People’s Platform members and supporters to Contact Council (again, if you’ve already done so) to share these and your own points about the CBA Ordinance.

Select a new Council Member
that will fight for a CBA Ordinance.

Contact ALL Council Members and demand that they consider candidates position on the CBA Ordinance when selecting the Council Member who will replace Saunteel Jenkins. The new council member will serve “at large”  and along with Council President Brenda Jones will represent community city-wide. Council’s selection of a candidate that prioritizes the needs of the community alongside that of private interests will help create a equitable future for all Detroiters.

Dispel the “Shake Down” Myth.

The Detroit News called the CBA Ordinance a “Shake Down” that would hinder development. Equitable Detroit Coalition Member and West Grand Boulevard Collaborative President Mildred Hunt Robbins corrected them in a printed letter:

“If the word “shakedown” is to be used, it is more appropriate to describe the millions of taxpayer dollars given to developers in the form of grants, exemptions, tax abatements, land transfers and low interest loans. A CBA, on the other hand, is an efficient means to facilitate what developers say they want, which is to be good community partners who give back to the communities whose taxpayer dollars support their investments.” read the full letter

Support small, Black and minority-owned businesses.

The current way of doing development overlooks small, minority-owned business. The CBA ordinance will allow for broader benefits which will support increased participation by small business owners, minority-owned businesses, and Detroit-based businesses as well.  Last week, in a press release Ken Harris, President and CEO of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce called on Mayor Duggan, the Detroit City Council, Detroit-based Businesses and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) to support the adoption of a CBA ordinance into the City Charter.

“It’s time to move away from personality-driven leadership by adopting policy-driven benefits that help to foster economic development and job growth for Detroit’s local residents and small business owners,” said Harris. Read the full press release

#DetroitCBA

The Detroit People’s Platform is a member organization in the Equitable Detroit Coalition. Visit the EDC site for more information on the CBA Ordinance.

Update: There is a revised ordinance that the Equitable Detroit Coalition is in the process of reviewing. We will issue an opinion on this revision next week. 

Reasons to Support the Community Benefits Agreement Ordinance

  •     Nearly 2000 Detroiters have signed the petition calling for a strong and enforceable Community Benefit Agreement ordinance and the number of signatures is growing.
  •     Detroiters deserve the type of economic development where all Detroiters benefit not just a few wealthy individuals and big corporations.
  •     When our tax dollars and public lands are used to benefit private investments, Detroiters deserve a strong and enforceable Community Benefit Agreement ordinance on the books to protect our interest.
  •     We call on each city council member to support a strong and enforceable community benefit agreement ordinance!

COUNCIL CONTACTS

Brenda Jones, President, 313.224.1245, bjones_mb@detroitmi.gov
George Cushingberry, Pro Tem: (313) 224-4535, cushingberryg@detroitmi.gov
Scott Benson: (313) 224-1198, bensons@detroitmi.gov
Resigned – Saunteel Jenkins: (313) 224-4248, councilmemberjenkins@detroitmi.gov
Gabe Leland: (313) 224-2151 lelandg@detroitmi.gov
Raquel Castaneda-Lopez: (313) 224-2450, councilmemberraquel@detroitmi.gov
Mary Sheffield: (313) 224-4505, councilmembersheffield@detroitmi.gov
Andre Spivey: (313) 224-4841, councilmanspivey@detroitmi.gov
James Tate: (313) 224-1027, councilmembertate@detroitmi.gov