Poll: Comittee or Ordinance?

Somerville activists have taken to City Hall several times in support of local hiring, including this 2010 rally.

Mayor Joseph Curtatone’s recently announced Local Jobs Committee comes in the wake of a long-running campaign by union organizers and other labor activists in Somerville to pressure the City to adopt a local hiring ordinance.

The ordinance, proposed last year in the Board of Aldermen, would require Somerville residents be given preference for jobs stemming from projects that receive subsidies from the City. Curtatone has said he would not support such regulations, but the Local Jobs Committee is tasked with finding ways to increase local hiring in the city.
Does the idea of the committee sound promising to you? Or would you rather see more direct action? Sound off in the comments or take our weekly poll.

Should local hiring be a priority for the Curtatone Administration?

  • Yes (89%, 94 Votes)
  • No (7%, 7 Votes)
  • Not sure (4%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 106

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10 Responses to “Poll: Comittee or Ordinance?”

  1. As I’ve commented before, I feel this is a step in the right direction, but it’s also very “typical” Curtatone with its predictable inclusion of the same names & faces that you see on other boards and commissions.

    We can all appreciate the acknowledgement of the issue by the creation of this committee, however, I would like to see the appointment of a resident and someone who is well versed in Union relations.

  2. Mary Jo Connelly says:

    I believe that local hiring needs to be a critical priority for the Curtatone administration because if it is not, many current residents will be ‘pushed out’ by the rising rents and high cost of staying here. Somerville went through this once, when the Red Line came to Davis Square and many families ánd businesses were ‘pushed out, so let’s hope we have learned something. Development projects are promosted as something that will benefit residents in two ways: 1) increased tax revenues; and 2) more job opportunities. But in the current big development, Assembly Square, Somerville won’t see increased tax revenues for at least 30 years, thanks to the DIF that the City gave the developers. So the only way left for residents to benefit is jobs, and I hope that the City will take an active role in making sure that local residents get the new jobs. There are many things a city can do to assure that residents have the skills and opportunities to get these jobs, including a First Source Hiring system and local hiring requirements. This would be a fair return for residents, who (through our city, state and federal taxes) have paid for the $100 million in public subsidies that have gone into Assembly Square, including the $25 million in DIF bonds. I don’t know if the Mayor’s Advisory Committee (SJAC) will prioritize the needs of residents–and particularly low and moderate income residents who are at risk of being pushed out by the very development that their taxes helped pay for–but I hope it does. Many of us will be watching closely and continuing our own efforts.

  3. Van Hardy says:

    85% of the working population of Somerville have to commute to work. As a tutor in the public school system, I see everyday the toll work schedules have on families. For over a year I’ve worked with the Jobs for Somerville committee on how to increase local hiring. Linking public investment with job creation is a proven way to insure a return on investment for taxpayers. Rather than taxpayers passively subsidizing the extraction of wealth out of Somerville, the Jobs for Somerville committee made several attempts to engage the Mayor in a dialogue about “best practices” linking Somerville residents to publicly subsidized employers. Our goal: to provide a well trained, screened, stable workforce from Somerville to work for employers, and to hold employers accountable to hiring that workforce. First source hiring programs are successful in many innovative cities and local hiring ordinances are just one tool that can be used. Jobs for Somerville believes that when city officials, community activist, unions and employers work together, they can address the issues we face as a community as we move forward.

    We disagree with the Mayor about the Local Hiring Ordinance and will continue to fight for strong policies that connect local jobs to local people and ensure that public investment results in public benefit.

  4. Sal Q. says:

    If the city is using my tax money to help these developers make money in my city, wouldn’t it make sense to hire the taxpayers of this city that helped them make the money.

  5. Alex Pirie says:

    I second all those motions, particularly Sal Q.’s

  6. The Economist says:

    This whole thing is very silly.

    Somerville is a small (but important) part of a much larger labor market called ‘The Boston Metro Area’. Working in the community where you live is rare throughout America, and most often people choose not to live in the community where they work when they have that opportunity. Most city employees are already Somerville residents, and imposing this idea on private employers is both a bad idea and probably unconstitutional.

  7. beenthere/donethat says:

    “Most city employees are already Somerville residents…”

    As in ‘people employed by the city’ or ‘people who live in and are employed in the city?’ Seems to me there’s been some fudging around the former over the years and the latter is possible, but I’d like to see some statistics backing it up.

    As to silly? No, maybe idealistic, but not silly. Sure, we’re part of a larger metropolitan area and it is possible, as seems to be at risk of happening, that the city is becoming so expensive to live in that the lower paying jobs will have to held by people commuting in from some distant ‘poor city’ and the higher paying jobs will be held by people commuting in from some distant ‘rich city (read ‘suburb’).

    And it’s possible that this ordinance along with the push for affordable housing won’t do the trick and we’ll wind up looking like Cambridge with the poor shoved into a few dense neighborhoods and projects and the rest of the city a million bucks and up (Davis Sq. already). But it’s worth struggling with this and trying to preserve the wonderful mix of people that we have.

  8. Peter Blaikie says:

    I agree that Local hiring is the best method of Somerville residents to pay for and receive the benefit of jobs for our residents. Not all employees who work for the City live in the City, you would be surprised by the number of employees who take that paycheck elsewhere. Local jobs employ workers who will not be burdened with commuting costs and will bring them pride when the job is done and they can proudly see their handiwork everyday in their home town.

  9. Joe Lynch says:

    While I’m in full support of the adminisration using all the tools available to them to get entites to hire local residents, the creation of a local hiring ordinance is a double edged sword.

    First, the courts have and will continue to strike down this type of municipal ordinance. Second, and in my opinion, this type of action is extremely dangerous to the tens of thousands who are currently and in the future will seek employment outside of Somerville.

    Others have stated this before, but I can’t help to wonder “What if”.

    What if Cambridge and Boston based businesses and develpers hired only Cambridge and Boston residents first, then if there were remaining positions, hire Somerville residents?

    What if the many small local Somerville based tradespeople were told everytime they bid on jobs in Foxboro, Medford, Peabody and Woburn, sorry guys, we only hire companies from our own towns.

    Just imaine if Mellon Financial in Medford said “sorry Medford residents only”. Or our friends at Fenway Park hired only those who lived in Boston………..

    It’s a very sippery slope.

  10. Reader Reactions: Should City prioritize local hiring? « Somerville Scout | Somerville Events, News & Culture says:

    [...] Last week’s Scout.com poll attracted its share of feedback. Asked whether — and to what extent — the Curtatone Administration should prioritize local hiring, readers were compelled to speak out beyond the three options the poll presented (Yes, No, Not Sure). For what it’s worth, 89 percent said yes, the Mayor should prioritize local hiring. [...]

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