FROED FBI RDA: THE DANCE OF THE ACRONYMS DISTRACTS
There are still poor people in Fall River. There are still unemployed people in Fall River. There are still homeless people in Fall River. There are still people dying of drug addiction in Fall River. There are still good people trapped in bad neighborhoods, living in sub-standard housing, fearful of the criminals on their block, worried about the quality of the schools their children attend.
As Fall River watches the struggle between Mayor Jasiel Correia and the Fall River Office of Economic Development, as we cheer or boo a possible FBI/HUD investigation that may or may not involve Correia, let us not forget that economic development is played for high stakes.
In recent months, The Herald News has done a series about the homeless and we are currently profiling recovering addicts. What we print every day echoes the steady drumbeat of addiction, armed robbery, joblessness, poverty, domestic abuse, and all the other ills that good jobs can help cure.
People in this city do not have the luxury of watching politics as though they are watching a ballgame.
That is more obvious if you’re considering the very poor, those who live very far from the centers of poor, and who wait, sometimes not patiently, for things to get better.
But all of us have a stake in how economic development gets done in this city, and who does it, and how successful they are in the doing.
If you’re a small business owner, do you want to do business in one of the state’s poorest towns, or would you like to be surrounded by middle-class consumers?
If you are a teacher, do you want to teach children who come to your class bearing the full weight of poverty, or would you like to start your day looking out at the faces of well-fed children?
If you are a police officer, do you want to deal always with the desperate?
“Economic development” is really just a phrase meaning “jobs,” and it should be a phrase meaning “good jobs.”
Somebody does the work of economic development. Those people do that work for all of us, or at least they should.
Politics touches that work everywhere, but neither those doing the work nor the public should forget that the work of economic development is supposed to improve the lives of the poorest, to make it possible for them to climb the ladder.
People are less likely to fall off into drug addiction or criminal behavior if good jobs are available where they live.
Watch the Correia vs. FROED “game” as a game, if you like, but don’t forget it really isn’t a game.