Monday, November 21, 2011

OccupyDC: Pied Pippers for Democracy

What Can YOU Do - Bake occu-PIES!
Frustrated by our lack of ability to effect the comfort and accommodations of the patriots at Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square, my associate, and fellow NCJC board member, Linda Yahr set about to bake a half dozen pies for a theatrical event on Sunday at McPherson Square.   When we got there with a the box of pies Linda went to park the car and I went in search of someone to give them to.  I arrived at the mess tent just as Lunch was being served.  In a moment of inspiration I yelled "... OCCU-PIES for the OCCUPIERS!  It was immediately taken up by the "mike-check" process ... because there are no formal communication systems, every time someone says loudly, "Mike Check," everyone within hearing distance repeats at the top of their voices whatever follows. "... and so it went around the encampment.  "occu-PIEs being served at the lunch tent."  Unfortunately the few pies Linda baked were soon gone!

An Idea is Born!
Still, it fed a few people,  injected a moment of levity, and brought a bright spot in the day has given us an idea!  We could use that play on words to generate interest and possibly to create some much needed revenue.  Suppose we used that hook to get create a logo and license people around the country to use it if they donated half of what they made to the Occupy movement?  Even if we only got the folks in DC to start on it ... this could become a quirky sort of promotion and awareness campaign ... really.

Main Street Knows How to Bake Pies
Here's my idea ... we should tweet and retweet my original tweet (@peloquin) on twitter.  Let's see if we cannot engage the system here to move this along.  The idea being to get the folks who support us (64%) to show that support by baking some occu-PIES!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The 99% Crash the 1%'s Party - They GET the Message

Mobile Counter Media

Last night members of The National Capital Jobs Coalition, (NCJC) joined the McPherson Square the Freedom Plaza OWS groups as we brought attention to the 1% as they partied at the DC Convention Center last night.  The Koch Bros held a party at the convention center.  We were not invited.  We did not crash the party, but we did make our presence known.  I've attended many marches in my life.  I marched in Cicero and at the Democratic Convention in 68' ... We joined with The Jobs and Justice movement in January ... This was the first time I have ever seen an effective multi media component in a social justice movement.

This event combined physical elements ( a large pneumatic "Fat Cat," float) and a very hot and relevant video projected onto the side of The DC Convention Center.  Also present and engaged was a New Orleans style marching group complete with trumpets, drums, and flute.  March management also presented a karaoke video that employed a parody of the famous "Buy the World a Coke" commercial.  Here's the link really kicks ass!

After you've seen the video you'll understand how we all need to sing this at every event where we make the point.  The Machine is Definitely Broken!

A Specially Produced Video Made it's Point
Stand up and be proud!  We are ready for Prime Time.  

The Tea Party - They are Weak Tea

If there ever was a question about the focus and dedication of this movement, the professional, well produced, and on message video should close the door.  This is no amateur production.  We will become a force that both parties will need to address.  Compared to this The Tea Party is WEAK!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Solidarity with Occupy Washington DC - Jobs and Justice

A Formal Endorsement.

Last January 14th on the holiday commemorating Dr. King's birthday, The National Capital Jobs Coalition marched from his new monument (still under construction at the time) to the Lincoln Memorial, site of the "I  Have A Dream," speech.  We marched with our friends Dr. Paul Zeitz, Linwood Martinez-Bentley, Jeff Wolf, Tizzy Giordano, Linda Yahr and a host of others.  We stood on those historic and majestic steps and rededicated ourselves to his vision of Jobs and Justice.

Today we join in solidarity and add our voices to vox populi,  Citizens all over this country are rising up in outrage over the bare faced theft of our nations wealth by a minority of 1% of our population.  We have watched our vote essentially co-opted by corporations  As lobbyists dictate fiscal and foreign policy.  We have watched as Congressmen actually changed laws to allow the few to get their hands more deeply into our pockets.  All parties, Democrat and Republican have been suborned by this voracious global greed machine.   All of it made possible by the bargain basement sale of our representative democracy and its conversion to a republican oligarchy.

The National Capital Jobs Coalition finds the goals of our brothers and sisters on Freedom Plaza and at McPherson Square entirely consistent and congruent with our policies of equal opportunity, transparency, and personal and political integrity.  These are qualities noticeably missing from today's model of governance.  Therefore we formally advocate and endorse OSW (Occupy Wall Street) movements as we firmly believe it represents and exemplifies the moral will of the people.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Finally A First Source Bill that Can Work!

Reformed DC First Source Jobs Bill clears
Committee on Housing and Workforce Development
Establishing the highest residency hiring requirement in District History

Washington, DC-

Following introduction last January, a public hearing last spring, and over 30 subsequent meetings with diverse constituencies including; the non-profit sector, organized labor, community activists, businesses, and governmental agencies, the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development, chaired by Councilmember Michael A. Brown, At-large, has passed bill B19-50 “District of Columbia Workforce Intermediary Establishment and Reform of First Source and Living Wage Amendment Act of 2011.”

Highlights of the legislation, crafted to place DC residents into DC funded jobs are:

·         Creates a bifurcated policy that preserves the 51% new hire requirement on projects receiving government assistance between $300,000 and $5 million and applies enhanced industry-specific First Source hiring and reporting requirements by total hours worked on projects receiving $5 million or more in government assistance. 
"Total hours worked is much better than the prior Legislation which left so many DC workers out in the cold and encouraged out of city workers to moonlight our jobs."
·         Increases the focus to include projects and services that are not construction related.
·         Strengthens monitoring and compliance by updating reporting requirements, by including additional pro-rated fines for not reaching specific hiring requirements and by providing the Mayor debarment authority for repeat violators. 
"Compliance will be the big battle.  This is where the special interests will try to weaken and hamstring the legislation.  We need to keep up the pressure to assure these well thought out provisions are NOT edited out of this Bill."
·         Allows beneficiaries to double-count hours worked by District residents who are “hard to employ”, whichbenefits the business and the worker.
"An excellent provision as many of our unemployed citizens are "hard-to-employ" and will need full time mentors"
·         Allows beneficiaries to “roll-over” excess hours worked on past projects.
·         Establishes a workforce intermediary pilot program that will coordinate new and existing training opportunities to match job seekers to businesses and projects with job openings.

The Council of the District of Columbia will conduct a first reading of the Reform of First Source bill on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at their legislative meeting.

For language of the bill, visit-

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Green Jobs Initiative - The Family Fish Farm Network

New Green Jobs AND Community Economic Development

We have consistently and repeatedly made the case for new industry and new jobs here in The District.  Time and again our entreaties have fallen on deaf ears.  So, as we explained in our last post, we are going to take the initiative and create new green jobs.  We can neither wait for WalMart who will most likely cost us more jobs than it brings, nor can we expect any large scale manufacturing to move here to DC.  Honda is NOT going to build a plant here in Washington, DC. (I used to be Technical Training Manager for Honda America Manufacturing)  The Family Fish Farm Network will help solve a number of societal, environmental, and economic problems faced by our city as a microcosm of urban poverty and disintegration.

What is," The Family Fish Farms Network."
... and what are we trying to accomplish?
"A Network of Urban Farms, Owned and Operated by the people who live in our communities"
We plan to create a national network of small,  highly productive and profitable aquaponics urban farms These farms will produce high quality seafood based protein (fish, bivalves, and crustaceans) as well as,  in a small physical footprint.  Food will be grown in the same community where it is consumed.  Each of these urban farms will be interconnected through the  Internet. see:

The Farms will be operated by a worker/owner team and supported by a centralized administration. This will provide quality standards, training and national branding and marketing team.  The Family Fish Farms Network will be a sustainable, profit making social business with the following goals:

  • Run as sustainable, profitable, and just business
  • Eliminate farm source pollution
  • Save fresh water
  • Cut the carbon cost of food
  • Create NEW Green jobs

The Family Fish Farms Network will consist of a network of discrete urban farms each producing one or more varieties of seafood and vegetables that are organic quality and fresh from harvest to the table.  This preserves the perishable enzymes and trace minerals often lost in packaging, long transport times, and through chemical and mechanical processing.   Approximately 25 Million Americans do not have access to such fresh food!  There is a significant pent up demand for fresh local food.

To learn more about The Family Fish Farm Network Go

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Community Economic Development AND NEW Green Jobs

Our Mission Mandates New Job Creation

Last year in response to the rampant unemployment, the economic crisis, and the unfair employment practices of many employers, a group made up of Clergy, Organized Labor, and Community Activists and under my leadership formed The National Capital Jobs Coalition to support the new First Source Legislation ( In our attempt to create more public awareness and participation in a solution, we conducted public awareness sessions, picketed select construction sites, testified before City Council, and on several occasions, met with the framers of the new law.  So far, not much has changed and unemployment continues to rise.

The City is NOT Happening here!

With unemployment in double digits and seemingly on the rise, there is an urgent need to create hope and opportunity. This initiative is intended to create new green jobs.  In addition it is intended to enlist community support and involvement.  In seeking a practical solution, we are committing our abilities and resources to the enrichment of the lives of our neighborhoods and communities.  With this goal in mind, we are announcing the formation and prospective launch of:  The Family Fish Farm Network, Inc.  

Family Fish Farms will be a for profit corporation that will bring a NEW and innovative business model to Washington DC.  The initial plan is to build and operate a network of Aquaponic farms within our neighborhoods and communities (social and faith based)  These urban farms will provide local high quality organic fresh seafood and vegetables.  The farms will be owned and operated by the persons within our community.  This business model is intended to provide jobs, pride in ownership, and a necessary source of clean, fresh, local food.  In addition to this, our goal is to reinvest a large percentage of the profits into the respective communities by helping fund education and training programs for our youth.  It is our further intention to provide both organizational and financial transparency.

This is Crowd Sourcing !!!

Finally, we are reaching out to our entire community to help fund and implement this plan. In the near future, we will be announcing a series of meetings to be held in wards 4, 5, 7, and 8 as they are the most affected by unemployment. At these meetings we will present our plan, welcome community feedback, and seek your participation. Please visit our website This will be one of the mediums that we utilize to communicate our plans and to engage the energy and participation of the community. There will also be a blog.  Our goal is to create decent green jobs in DC.  It is our plan to make this a sustainable community economic development project.   Our goal is to build strong communities one business at a time!

We are willing to take the risk … if we can get some help.  Please let us know your thoughts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Here Comes a First Source (with teeth)

When Dr. King met with President Lyndon Johnson, he told the President that the country needed a strong civil rights bill.  President Johnson replied, "... I know we do, now ... make me do it."     Prompted in part, no doubt by massive unemployment in the neighborhoods, the City Council and Michael Brown who chairs the relevant committee,  has moved their collective will to attempt to level the playing field for DC workers. This is NOT the best law possible, but it is a well crafted and serious attempt and we need it badly.   For this we owe them our appreciation and gratitude.  We will withold our respect until we see how far Council will go in rescinding key provisions of the bill when under pressure from the special interests.

All Who Seek a Just and Equitable Workplace
 Need to Mobilize in Support of this Legislation

The powerful construction and development industries do not want to see this new amendment enacted and they will exert considerable pressure on Council to bend them to weaken or even vote down this amentdmant.    All of us who seek a just and equitable workplace need to mobilize in supprt of the bill.  The bill: District of Columbia Workforce Intermediary Establishment and Reform of First Source and Living Wage Act of 2011, will be subtly attacked by council members who represent developer and contractor interests.  The way it will be done is to render the enforcement provisions useless by cutting the budget to the monitors.  to, in effect, pull the teeth of the bill.  Remember big, very big campaign contributions are riding on defeating this bill. We have to pressure the Council into supporting ALL of its provisions.

The Bill will be presented to the Council for vote sometime during the next session.  We need to be ready, organized and in force to offset the big money behind defeating it.  Watch for NCJC's coming program to support and reinforce the bill's sponsors in the coming weeks ... Watch This Blog.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Green Jobs: The Center for Urban Micro Enterprise

Here's The Plain Truth - We know that the new DC has no place for the hard working, under educated residents of our neighborhoods and communities.  The city of large institutions (Universities, Hospitals, and Gov't Agencies and Departments) will never again employ the throngs of low-skilled workers as it once did.   What recourse do we have to provide gainful and meaningful employment for citizens?  We are not sending all them to UDC ... trust me.  They are NOT going back to school.  What then, can we do to build opportunity?

Here's What We CAN Do - We can train them ... train them to operate and run their own profitable small businesses.   The time for education has past them by... but training is always an option.  This small growing business can become the cornerstone of a revitalization of the communities in which it exists.  Micro enterprise has helped rekindle commerce in the slums of India and the villages of Africa.  It can and will work here.  

Enter the Micro Franchise - Traditional small businesses have a 40% failure rate after two years.  However, if the business is part of a franchise then the rate drops dramatically to only 7%.  That's because a franchise is documented and training intensive.  It is standard operating procedure driven..  The plain truth is: The Franchise Model Works.  This is sustainable economic development.  This is an opportunity driven American solution.

The National Center for Urban Micro Enterprise
We need to establish a fund and an implementation strategy based upon a training (not education) model.  We need to establish the DC Sustainable Economic Initiative Fund.  We need to create The National Center for Urban Micro Enterprise.  We need to seriously foster a viral infestation of small growing businesses that are owned and operated by the people in the  neighborhoods.  How we do that and what businesses will work are legitimate questions that will be answered in the next blog... stay tuned DC.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Training? Eduction? For What? Find The Jobs First!

FIRST, Let's stop lying to the people of this city.  I mean those who live in the real DC.  The DC of Ivy City, of Trinidad and Anacostia of Wards 7 and 8.  Here's my take on the priorities of DOES and the of non profit alliance who maintain their lifestyles by training people for this "no decent jobs" environment.  There is an organization called putatively, The DC Jobs Council.  It has little to do about new jobs. It is in fact an association of non profits who provide so called job training for the unemployed here in the district.  Mostly, in my opinion, they train people for jobs that do not exist.  The DC Jobs Council is essentially a trade association that seeks the interest of those who earn their respective livings (and jobs) training people for low paying, food stamp and medicare subsidized jobs.

SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN DC HAVE FAILED!  Though a product of, and an advocate for education as a concept - at the secondary level, at least or DC, education has largely been a bust. We have lost the war for the hearts and minds of many if not most of our teenagers here in DC.  The metriculation rate, if you get the real numbers ...? around 50% ,,, half of our inner city kids make it. ... if we use jobs as a measure? The unemployment rate for high school grads and non-grads being only onepercent apart (19vs20% respectively. The value of a high school
education to a job seeker here in DC (unless one seeks post secondary advancement) is zero, zilch, nada!

The structural problems of the neighborhoods resulting, at least in part, from the palpable failure of primary and secondary education Will NOT be solved by any intervention that uses traditional education as abase strategy.

I realize that there are no simple answers and I do not have a
comprehensive solution but there seems to be no one out there

THIS I BELIEVE ...The focus should not be on jobs training but jobs CREATION. Find the jobs! Create an incentive for employers to come! Guarantee them trained workers by training for the specific jobs. Usehigh tech potable training facilities that can be moved from site to site.  Use journey level trained instructors.  Honda did it in Ohio...and with illiterate workers.

I would switch the PRIMRY focus from GENERAL education to technical english and general arithmetic (so people canread and comprehend manuals and instructional media) Also ... teachremedial math using mediated individualized instruction (validated computer based training) I would stop all non-specific job training and place the responsibility on employers to train on demand, eliminating the need for any level of education to be required.  How many people are being "educated" for jobs that DO NOT exist (not jobs that require the
employee to apply for food stamps)

I question the fundamental value of a system of jobs training that isdedicated to produce an underclass of people who will live in subsidized servitude as the flotsam of the late information age.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

First Source, What's Next ...?

Where Are The NEW Jobs?

The National Capital Jobs Coalition has largely achieved its first objective of establishing a First Source Law that will improve the number of construction industry jobs available to District residents..  The amendment to the original law will close the major loopholes and provide reasonable enforcement provisions.  The law could be improved and we will continue to work to improve it, but we must now turn ourselves to our second objectives of NCJC;  The creation of new green jobs. 

The Jobs Are All Gone
It is time to stop lying to the people of DC.  It is time to stop promising what you cannot deliver.  Do not be deceived by the hollow promises of the politicians and those who profit from training people for jobs that do not exist.  There are no d ecent paying green jobs with a future.  Why, because they simply do not exist.  It is time to stop the charade. 

Years ago The Federal Government and the large institutions, Universities, Hospitals and others no longer will hire the large numbers of hard-working, low-skilled citizens of the neighborhoods of this city.  Automation and the out sourcing of jobs to contractors has largely eliminated gainful employment for our residents.  There are two DC’s.  The DC of large institutions where one needs a masters degree to be a file clerk. Then there is the DC of Ivy City, Trinidad, the DC of 30% unemployment and higher illiteracy rates.

The Old Jobs Are Gone
DC must diversify its commercial base.  There are no factories coming to Anacostia.  There is no Silicaon Valley ready to spring into being in Trinidad. 
DC cannot look to the past to find the future.  We need to look to innovative and creative means to bring these new green industries to our city.  We are actively engaged in this process.  We see two exciting possibilities.  One is Urban Farming and the other Commercial Energy Conservation.  We will address both of these in future blogs.

Friday, June 10, 2011

NCJC Position on First Source Amendment

A Law With Teeth - It is also of merit to note that when legislators intend for a law to be enforced, they include both the specific regulation, substantive penalties for infractions, and the funds to implement all elements of the law and the regulations.  Let  us hope that this will be the case here.

Here's What's Needed - One, there should be a First Source Officer who is a single point of contact for all questions and documentation.  That person should be personally liable for the accuracy and validity of all data supplied in reference to the law.  This is not without precedent.  The GMP’s (good manufacturing practices) regulations call for personal responsibility AND criminal penalties for failure to adhere.

Visual Display by Prime Contractor - We also feel strongly about visible displays.  I suggest that a graphic sign equal in size and visibility to the contractor and prime be co located in a prominent place visible to the public. 

The sign should display:  The name of the prime contractor and major sub contractors on the sight.  The sign also should contain t he following:  1) The name of the First Source Officer along with contact information.  2) The number of all trades and laborers working on the site.  3) The number of trades and laborers who live in DC.  3) The percentages of labor hours required by First Source and the average percentages of hours worked by category over the previous reporting perion (month, quarter, etc)  At the bottom.  These should be adjacent to each other for easy comparison.  Finally, there should be  a tally board and back up documentation should be maintained by the First Source Officer at his desk on the site.  This board should be kept updated (with penalties for failing to do so) and available on demand by any person or organization with standing.