query: community benefit agreements

colist at comm-org.wisc.edu colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Wed Jan 17 10:34:12 CST 2007


[ed:  thanks to John for continuing the discussion.]

From: Joatlas at aol.com

I am writing a detailed account of Acorn's CBA in Brooklyn. You can read 
my early analysis in Shelterforce, the Battle of Brooklyn. Also, re: 
Barton. Was there ever a time when public-private partnerships or CBA 
were not the result ,at least partly ,from some struggle?


John Atlas

President
National Housing Institute/Shelterforce Magazine
Nhi.org
74 Clinton Ave.
Montclair,NJ 07042
973-746-6239



colist at comm-org.wisc.edu wrote:
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>
> [ed:  thanks to Stephen for replying to Jacob's query.]
>
> From: "Barton, Stephen" <SBarton at ci.berkeley.ca.us>
>
> I would have to reply with the question, what do you mean by 
> "neoliberal".
> If you look at it broadly, European social democracy is a community 
> benefits agreement at the national level, in which a democratic 
> government, strongly influenced by labor or socialist parties, ensures 
> that a capitalist, market economy supports a social safety net, a 
> major public sector, and operates within a regulatory framework that 
> provides significant protections to workers and the public. Local 
> agreements can be steps in this direction, or they can be inadequate 
> patronage deals that lead nowhere but sustain the existing systematic 
> imbalance of forces in the U.S.  Thirty years ago the buzz word was 
> "public-private partnerships", which sometimes meant just a fig leaf 
> over subsidy for business but sometimes meant getting important 
> community benefits in return. With rise of the hard right wing of the 
> Republican Party to political power such benefits became an 
> unnecessary compromise and the "Public-Private partnership" phrase 
> fell into disfavor.  It seems to me that the community benefits 
> agreements are often situations where community organizations are 
> fighting to get benefits that in a previous balance of political 
> forces was considered a normal and reasonable compromise by business 
> interests. I suspect the meaning of a community benefit changes when 
> the community has to fight for it, and build the political power to 
> win the benefit as opposed to being "given" it to buy support from an 
> existing power base.  Note by analogy the situation of unions in the 
> 1930s struggling to establish their power base compared to the 
> complacency of the 1960s. So I agree with the comment that community 
> benefits are not inherently anything, and knowing the detailed context 
> is essential.
>
> Stephen Barton, Ph.D. AICP
> Housing Director
> City of Berkeley
> 2180 Milvia Street
> Berkeley, CA 94704
>
> Tel: 510-981-5401
> Fax: 510-981-5450
> E-mail: sbarton at ci.berkeley.ca.us
>
> colist at comm-org.wisc.edu wrote:
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>> This is a COMM-ORG 'colist' message.
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>>
>> [ed:  please feel welcomed to copy COMM-ORG with responses to Jacob's 
>> question.  We have had some discussion about CBAs on the list in the 
>> past, and I always it useful to return to good discussions.]
>>
>> From: Jacob and Sarah Lesniewski <jshm at uchicago.edu>
>>
>> I'm a grad student at University of Chicago, and I'm working
>> on a lit review for a professor of mine, seeking to answer
>> the question "are community benefit agreements neo-liberal."
>> I'm having some challenge finding critiques of community
>> benefit agreements as well as trying to gain a historical
>> perspective of why this tactic or strategy has emerged.  Any
>> help or direction would be fantastic.
>>
>> Peace
>> Jacob Lesniewski
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