Talk radio and political pundits continue to fill the airwaves with talk about all of the "pork" in the President's economic stimulus package that he is urging Congress to enact.
I'll be the first to fess-up: I haven't read the 600+ page document. [Note: I'm trying to get a copy for further review.]
What I have seen relates to Dallas, Texas and it comes from a listing of "shovel-ready"projects that the City of Dallas has requested be included in the funding measure. The total tab on these projects: $1,235,145,000.00.
So, how would our fair city spend over $1.2 billion?
Mainly on infrastructure improvement. You know roads, bridges, public safety, water and drainage, sanitation and transportation matters, including airport improvements.
There are also provisions for energy conservation, creation of "green" jobs, and additional police officers (20).
Closer to my world, there is funding to cover demolition of two public housing developments, Turner Courts (where we've been working since 2000) and Rhodes Terrace, just up the street from Turner. Big, big neighborhood improvement here.
Then I found funding to build 55 additional dwellings at Roseland Homes, another public housing development where we have worked since 1996. Again, major improvement for the community.
I suppose one of the largest and most controversial projects involves $386,000,000 for a new convention center hotel, a major community endeavor being pushed forward by our Mayor, Tom Leppert.
Of course, this list is not just about money. It is about jobs and jobs in the short term. If my math is correct, we are talking about the creation of almost 12,000 new jobs that pay a livable wage.
For the life of me, I can't find any pork, not even an "oink," at least not in the portion of the bill that has to do with Dallas, Texas.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting with one of the chief assistants to a member of the U. S. House of Representatives. He informed us that President Obama had called a meeting of Democratic leaders last week to chastise them for including items in the legislation that did not relate directly to stimulating the economy. According to this source, the meeting was very direct and challenging. That sounds like good news to me.
The situation we face today cannot be about politics. Far too much is at stake. It is time for a renewal of community spirit in this city and nation.