Thursday, August 06, 2015

Four Simple Words

  I listen to a lot of podcasts.  My job requires a lot of travel and solo computer work, so to pass the time, I listen to podcasts....around 35 in a given week.  Some daily, some weekly, some whenever they come out.  The vary in length from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

  They generally fall in to two categories,  News/politics and sports.  I was struck on my way home last night from a fundraiser by a story on one of my long time favorite public radio shows, APM Marketplace.

  The story was about a credit union, Hope Credit Union, in the bayou of Louisiana that has opened several branches in the last few years.  There were two things mentioned in the article that made me think of Memphis.

  One, was what he called banking deserts,  We are all familiar with the concept of food deserts where there is a lack of grocery stores providing ready access to fresh food in poor neighborhoods.  Banking deserts are similar.  Here's the comments I am referring to:

He says the picture serves to remind him of the credit union's mission: to invest and lend in high-poverty, low-income communities, the types of places often neglected by big banks. 
"It is frustrating to drive through the Delta and through low-income communities and see street corner after street corner, shopping strip after shopping strip littered with payday lenders, with check cashers with financial predators, but no bank to be found," Bynum says.

This is a common site throughout Memphis and parts of Shelby County.  Areas where there is no bank that people have easy access to bring investment to the  community.  Or the bank is a large multinational one that doesn't have the incentive to reinvest as much.

The second line refers to a Bloomburg report from 2013.  Since the recession began in 2008, 1800 US bank branches have closed.  Ninety three percent of those have been in low income communities.

Now, you are probably saying to yourself.  Okay, what is the point to this.  The point is that we need to decide about the candidates running for office here and what they could do to bring about reinvestment.

Who do you trust to bring development on a large and small scale, to the neighborhood level, to Memphis?
Who do you trust to bring good jobs to Memphis in all neighborhoods, not just certain zip codes? Who do you trust to look out for the builder, not just the developer?
Who do you trust to make sure good public schools are something every child should have?
Who do you trust to be a watchdog and make sure that things are done fairly and in the open and not behind closed doors to line their pockets and provide a cushy outside job?
Who do you trust to work tirelessly to work as hard for the city of Memphis and county of Shelby to succeed, and not just the district and his friends?
Do you trust someone who has known struggle, known discrimination, known poverty, known what it is like to fight for everything or do you trust...well, the exact opposite?

Four simple words for Memphians in the council races.  Four simple words to think about at the ballot screen.  Four simple words to ask yourself when choosing a candidate.


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