Business, Commerce, & Industry

Business, Commerce, and Industry

¨       Why does Northampton government have the reputation of being unfriendly to business? Regulations, cumbersome process and procedures, lots of committees making decision, lack of coordination among city departments: these are some of the reasons.

¨       Northampton decision makers simply forget to include “impacts on businesses:” when plans are put into place. A parking scheme was launched to reduce the operating costs of the garage. It hurt businesses. Snow plowing, street cleaning, litter, panhandling --- all these have major impacts on small businesses throughout the city.

¨       The retail, entertainment, and restaurant businesses have become the backbone of Northampton’s economy. It’s time to measure our decisions and actions and procedures against the health of that economy. This has nothing to do with being “pro-business” or “anti-business”; this has to do with good sense. 

¨       Doing things, or failing to do things, with the result of hurting business, puts local people out of work, reduces money in the local economy, and decreases the out-of-town trade that we depend on. At the same time, it makes shopping for residents more and more difficult.

Sustainable and Healthy Local Economies: Cities have healthy economies only when leadership is deliberate and active; healthy economies never happen by accident. We can have strategies that slowly build the economy in ways that are beneficial and productive: good jobs, good pay, good benefits, new revenues for the city, attractive commercial areas, and so on.

Sustainability begins with a clear strategy that has a long-term plan that leads to action and accomplishment.

¨       Part of any strategy for Northampton should include its role and place in the region. Northampton is the social, cultural, and economic hub of the region north of Springfield. It can draw strength from productive collaborations with other cities and towns, and from major regional efforts. At the same time, solutions to pressing problems --- transportation, housing, income, social services, health care access and costs, quality education --- are all regional issues. Northampton cannot solve all these alone; it can solve them with partnerships and coordination.

New industry is one example:

¨       Northampton should be working with the region’s Economic Development Council, with the colleges and universities in a sixty-mile radius, and all the current companies.

¨       We should be asking all of them: what would it take to keep them near us, or to start new companies in Northampton and keep them here? What sort of education and skills development do we need to provide to the people in our workforce? What does it take to make for Northampton to fulfill its role, and stimulate and host good, clean, sustainable industry in our city?

¨       We should be aggressive in pursuing, recruiting, locating, retaining and helping to grow businesses

Social Issues and Development: I bring economic, business, social, and cultural concerns together.  These are not issues competing with each other; they are not in conflict. A healthy society --- one that is caring, supportive, encouraging, inclusive, and sustainable --- is vibrant in all these areas, and understands how they all fit together.

¨       Poverty can be reduced when people can get good paying, skilled jobs;

¨       Good paying and skilled jobs require people to get training and education;

¨       People can turn their lives around in a self-reliant society, where they are treated with respect, where they are helped to change, where they can get the skills and jobs and incomes they need and want;

¨       It takes more than an affordable house: it takes a caring community with a comprehensive program and strategy.

Northampton should have, as its goal, the elimination of poverty conditions for children and seniors, and we can achieve this through action.

 

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Paid for by
The Committee to Elect Rick Feldman
Carolyn Mazel, Treasurer
31 Olive Street, Northampton, MA