Economic recovery starts with saving jobs
After three body blows to the Sacramento City economy, we’re hurting, but the fight isn’t over. Last week Comcast announced the closing of a Natomas call center costing the city 300 good jobs. A few days later Campbell’s Soup announced the shuttering of its historic South Sacramento cannery costing 700 families their livelihood. And, yesterday, the 25-year-old flame of Ford’s Hamburger’s was snuffed out. (Watch my video this morning outside Ford’s.)
Individually, each of these businesses had different reasons to close operations. Collectively, however, the City cannot afford the dangers of a healthy business leaving (Comcast), not predicting the decline of a major employer (Campbell’s), or to misunderstand the precarious state of our small businesses with hobbled profits and predatory litigation (Ford’s).
We are well past the point of needing to fight back to help get Sacramento’s job market back on its feet. This is why I’m proposing a three part strategy to turn this around by stabilizing and diversifying our City’s economy:
1. Create a City Rapid Economic Response Team in partnership with our Chambers of Commerce, plus state and federal agencies to immediately connect with displaced workers ensuring that they are signed up for benefits, enrolled in training programs, and create a job matching service to rapidly re-employ laid-off employees. We may not be able to always stop these layoffs, but we must be proactive in getting people back on their feet by giving a hand to help them up.
2. Found an Economic Crisis Hotline with a direct line to the City Manager and the City Council to identify and support businesses in distress to help them before it’s too late. We can identify government and private programs to help these employers in fixing regulatory problems or connecting them with important financing options, so no jobs are lost simply because no one cared enough to save them.
3. Proactively create a Sacramento innovation fund to assist our small businesses, especially tech entrepreneurs, and our social innovators to catalyze our economy. I will donate my City Council salary as seed money to start this fund and challenge the community to help leverage this ten-to-one so we have at least $500,000 a year to invest back into our economic recovery.
Finally, I am calling on the Governor’s office and the State to help small business cope with predatory lawsuits by reforming state law to prevent abuse and to create financial tools so small businesses can modernize without having to close down. I’m committed to working with our legislators and the Governor to create a sustainable solution.
We may be struggling, but we ARE NOT helpless. I will work with you and the business, labor, and civic leadership of our City to save our jobs and rebuild our economy for a better and brighter future for all of us.
As always, I welcome your ideas and energy. Please email or call me with your thoughts. We’re in this together, and we’ll get out of it together.