query: community benefit agreements
colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Sat Jan 20 08:38:32 CST 2007
[ed: Jacob replies to the group on the neo-liberal aspect of CBAs.]
From: Jacob and Sarah Lesniewski <jshm at uchicago.edu>
Thanks so much for the varied responses, both directly to my
inbox and those on the listserve. I haven't been able to
respond because I'm stuck in outsourcing purgatory with Dell
I think the question of "are CBAs neo-liberal" is asking
whether the implementation, and necessarily the movement for
them, will devovle into the market based, supply side,
micropolitics model of CDCs and other neo-liberal community
development efforts. The concerns that crop up in
1. Enforcement vs. Program Implemenation: How do
organizations, in light of the fact that many CBAs lack
legal enforcement mechanisms, hold developers accountable,
and at the same time manage the various programatic aspects
of the "benefits." The literature on CDCs suggests that it
is rare for one organization to be able to combine real
grassroots organizing with programatic content, especially
in the light of:
2. Potential for co-optation through partnership. What will
the relationship between implementing agencies and benefit
providing developers, etc? The nonprofit management
literature is chock-full of the negative consequences for
advocacy of subcontracting and private-public partnerships.
What will protect CBAs from this problem.
3. Finally, to what extent do CBAs allow government
agencies, developers, and the general public to continue to
believe the myth that urban redevelopment/poverty reduction
= physical redevelopment? Also, to what extent are CBAs
predicated on a specific, rather unique moment in American
urban history (at least for some cities) of unprecendented
urban revitalization and growth?
Those are what we're concerned with, and at the heart, they
are implementation questions. I know alot of CBA invovled
organizations talk about CBAs as tactic and not strategy,
but there is a real tendency for tactics to become strategy
by default (I think the civil rights movement is an example
Anyhow, sorry for the long, belated answer. You guys rule
University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
jshm at uchicago.edu
colist at comm-org.wisc.edu wrote:
> This is a COMM-ORG 'colist' message.
> All replies to this message come to COMM-ORG only.
> [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
> National Housing Institute/Shelterforce Magazine
> 74 Clinton Ave.
> Montclair,NJ 07042
> colist at comm-org.wisc.edu wrote:
>> This is a COMM-ORG 'colist' message.
>> All replies to this message come to COMM-ORG only.
>> [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
>> 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:
>>> This is a COMM-ORG 'colist' message.
>>> All replies to this message come to COMM-ORG only.
>>> [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
>>> 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.
>>> Jacob Lesniewski
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