Stimulus + Mass Transit = Opportunity

blackwell.06_01_30.jpgI
generally avoid cable news like the plague but I’ve been tuning in
lately hoping to find some interesting discussion of the federal
stimulus bill. Despite my low expectations of the medium I’ve been
amazed by the inanity, the lack of substance and the incredible amount of Republican demagoguery being allowed to make it onto the airwaves.

Rather
than digging in to where the federal money is actually going and what
the impact of that might be on everyday Americans, the cable nets are
obsessed with the question of how many Republicans might vote for the
bill and what Obama needs to do to woo them.

If there
are any CNN producers paying attention, here’s a suggestion: Get Angela
Glover Blackwell in front of a camera, would ya? Blackwell, the founder
and chief executive of Oakland-based PolicyLink has a letter in this morning’s New York Times that really nails some important talking points that the American people need to be hearing right now:

To the Editor:

Your editorial about the stimulus package’s
lack of attention to the concerns of low-income Americans (“Sins of
Omission: The Forgotten Poor
,” Feb. 2) was right on target. Though the
package does include expansion of food stamps and jobless benefits,
social services alone will not meet the needs of the poor.

The
huge infrastructure spending already included in the package could
easily be retargeted to dramatically improve the lives of millions of
low-income Americans and their communities. By expanding mass transit
and providing operating funds for cash-strapped transit agencies, we
can create and save thousands of jobs and connect residents to economic
opportunity throughout their region.

By using tax incentives to
lure grocery stores to poor neighborhoods, we can create long-term
retail jobs and ensure much-needed access to healthy food. By investing
in successful job training programs, we can build a vibrant
21st-century work force.

The stimulus package provides a
once-in-a-generation chance to make good on America’s promise of equal
opportunity for all. Smarter social and infrastructure spending is
vital to making that promise a reality.

Angela Glover Blackwell

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