Business, Commerce, &
Commerce, and Industry
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
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
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.
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
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.
begins with a clear strategy that has a long-term plan that leads
to action and accomplishment.
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.
industry is one example:
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.
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?
should be aggressive in pursuing, recruiting, locating, retaining
and helping to grow businesses
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.
can be reduced when people can get good paying, skilled jobs;
paying and skilled jobs require people to get training and
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;
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