query: community benefit agreements

colist at comm-org.wisc.edu colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Sun Jan 21 12:40:32 CST 2007


[ed: Bill continues the discussion.]

From: "Ward, William" <wward at health.usf.edu>


Jacob/Sarah,
 
What I would suggest is that CBAs/CDCs consider developing a for profit 
wing and utilize strategies developed by Younis and highlighted by 
Prahalad http://www.pearsoned.com/pr_2004/111104.htm. I say that as a 
left wing tree hugger. The Right Wingers have discovered privatization 
of social programs as a way of getting their fingers into another huge 
pie. USAID sets aside money each year for for profits.
 
Yours, Bill Ward
Tampa FL
 

colist at comm-org.wisc.edu wrote:
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> [ed:  Jacob replies to the group on the neo-liberal aspect of CBAs.]
>
> From: Jacob and Sarah Lesniewski <jshm at uchicago.edu>
>
> Folks:
> 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
> tech support.
> 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
> implementation are:
> 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
> of this).
>
> Anyhow, sorry for the long, belated answer.  You guys rule
>
> Jacob Lesniewski
> A.M Candidate
> University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
> 773-667-0162
> jshm at uchicago.edu
>
>
> colist at comm-org.wisc.edu wrote:
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>>
>> [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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