|Five Bold Step into the Future
Imagine the Portland of our future:
The "greenest" city in the world. The lowest water and energy costs.
The lowest crime rate.
The healthiest population.
The highest employment rate--with living wage jobs.
Students with high academic achievement. Students who give back to their communities.
A fantastic tourist attraction.
We can gain our City of the Future in Five Bold Steps:
#1 City of the Future
In the City of the Future program, if businesses are rated as "good community citizens," they will gain many benefits. To be rated as a "good community citizen," the businesses must hire locally, provide living wage jobs, and provide health care for employees. Benefits Portland will provide include:
A higher deduction on their city license fees ($125,000 deduction within one year).
Lower energy and water costs because the city relies heavily on alternative energy sources and good water management practices and then passes the savings on to businesses. (Starts bringing savings within three years.)
Assistance in gaining the lowest cost medications for employees (within one year).
Additional Benefits for all businesses in Portland include:
Neighborhood fitness facilities and day care locations that are affordable to all employees (within five years).
Youth 16 to 25 years old who need work will have the opportunity in the City of the Future. Local programs, such as the Youth Opportunity Network and Outside In, will prepare youth for the work environment. Youth who have been prepared for work will enter the Show Me the Money program and gain apprenticeships and other forms of work.
How will this be paid for? Programs in energy, health care, employment, affordable housing, transportation, water and sewage will be tested on a small scale with existing partners of the city. They will be expanded in partnership with neighborhood groups and county, state, federal, and private programs. Test sites will be scaled up only when they show their cost-effectiveness and neighborhoods opt in.
Jobs are flowing from West to East. Portland has been losing high tech and manufacturing jobs to India, Southeast Asia, and other parts of the world. The mayor of Portland needs to team with key business leaders, the Governor, the Commerce Department, and the Small Business Administration to bring jobs into Portland that fit Portland's unique strengths, skilled work force, and geographic location.
We need to stimulate the tourism industry in Portland. The mayor's office needs to meet regularly with representatives of the tourism industry to ensure that a broad-based coalition is working on the effort to help match what Portland offers and what overseas visitors need. The Bold Steps to the Future need to be discussed in neighborhoods and then voted upon by the public. We need to decide together how we will become the City of the Future. In order for government to have our trust, it must support livable communities and low crime rates, as well as support living wage jobs and a good environment.
Bridge Among Cultures
All city employees need to be culturally competent. As an international center, we want our citizens, and those passing through, to feel valued when they interact with us. However, cultural competency is a skill gained from training and practice; it does not come naturally. Jerry has co-authored a guide and his company assembled other resources to support improvement in cultural competence.
All city employees will receive training and assessments each year to help improve cultural competence. Cultural competence will be included as one of the core measures of employee performance. A performance report will be issued each year to ensure that we are moving forward on this. In addition, an independent assessment each year should reveal that each of our communities finds improvement or satisfaction with the cultural sensitivity of city employees.
Our failure to meet this goal has been very costly to our citizens in both dollars and avoidable suffering. The failure has resulted in severe and preventable health conditions, such as diabetes, to progress to epidemic proportions within some of our communities. The failure has resulted in numerous damaging incidents between public servants and some of our communities. What is tragic is that it is a completely preventable problem.
However, "avoiding harm" is not enough. The best businesses carefully build a culture of caring within their organizations. They do not prescribe how to act so much as to recognize employees for going beyond the call of duty to ensure that the "customers," in this case Portland citizens and visitors, are well treated. Leaders model this behavior.
Each month representatives from each community of Portland will be asked to provide an example of a city employee who went beyond the call of duty in a way that was very helpful. The mayor's office will provide one or more of these examples to the media for recognition. Each year the mayor's office will officially recognize those performing exemplary work in a ceremony for the public.
Courtesy and kindness to those served will be an important part of employee performance evaluation each year. Cultural competence, courtesy, and kindness will not replace other measures of job performance, but will be added as essential qualifications to keep a service or supervision job with the city.
As we increase our standards for city employees, we also need to improve the work climate for them. During the first three months of the mayor's term, meetings will be held with all levels of employees to learn how their work climate can be improved. Where feasible, these improvements will be instituted.
We need to improve training, assessment, and community oversight of police to reduce lethal incidents, improve community policing, and replace a "military" style of handling crowds with a community policing style. Neighborhood security goes hand in hand with trust of the police. When citizens trust police, they provide good neighborhood intelligence to keep crime rates low. If neighbors fear their local police, on the other hand, we are less safe because police have poorer knowledge of what is going on.
At the same time, we need to retain the high quality of police staff we have for handling dangerous criminals and terrorists. We need to keep the toughness where it belongs and rein it in for the rest of us.
One reflection of a lack of trust between the people of Portland and the police is the underfunding of the police department. Currently, 53 positions are unfilled. We need to support the police department with sufficient officers so the officers are also safe and not overworked.
The Tired, Homeless, and Hungry
Portland is a city of great compassion. However, Oregon has the largest hunger problem in the nation according to a recent study. The mayor needs to work with the food banks, local churches, the food industry, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure that all food banks in Portland have sufficient amounts of staples, such as dairy, so that babies, children, women, elderly, and persons with severe disabilities have enough food to maintain health. Our campaign has assembled information so we can volunteer effectively to help others within Portland and surrounding areas.
The mayor's office also needs to work with nearby dental colleges to ensure that at least children living in homeless shelters have essential dental care; extended hunger can result in dental problems for children.
The mayor's office needs to work with local schools and colleges to develop community projects for youth, such as converting abandoned buildings into shelters for the homeless, community centers for families, or for sale. The youth gain experience and skills with real work, they contribute to the community, they gain course credit, and the community is improved. Some of the buildings can be sold to make the program self-funding.
In the City of the Future program, will will make 40 hours of useful community service a requirement for a diploma for high school students and college students.
The mayor's Office will provide a Report Card each year on the progress of Portland in implementing the Five Steps and other important indicators of wellness. It will be a comprehensive and graphic presentation of how the city is doing each year in relationship to the prior years and the goals. When we embody the City of the Future, we will not only know it by our day to day experiences, we will also have a "picture" of how we traveled the journey.
#2 Building Community Around Schools
The failure of Measure 30 was a failure of trust in government. The public no longer believes that more money for education will bring excellent results. The public no longer trusts how the local economy is being handled. Our government must have our trust before we can move forward to what's next, such as long-term, stable funding for education.
Building Community Around Schools will substantially increase student performance in one year. Research has shown that one of the greatest contributors to student achievement is the amount of time spent working on academic achievement. In other developed nations, they have increase the academic day for students. They have also made school a 12-month activity. Those nations now surpass the United States in student performance. Building Community Around Schools increases the school day for middle and high school students until 5pm or 5:30pm. During the extra time, students will be supervised by a "skeleton crew" of teachers plus mentors, college students, and family members who will assist the students with homework and classwork as needed.
For those needing better reading skills, reading periods will be established. Reading skill improves based on practice. Students with learning disabilities will be involved with remedial reading to address their particular learning disabilities. Students with English as a Second Language will have resources available in their native language, as well as English, whenever feasible. The extra couple of hours per day of homework completion and reading practice will make a large differenece on the academic success of students.
In addition, Building Community Around Schools includes school during the summer. Instead of losing skills during the summer, students will continue to learn at a good pace. This will strongly influence their annual performance scores. Again, more exposure to learning almost always increases what is learned.
One advantage to Show Up to Learn is that it fits the needs of working families. In many homes, an adult is no longer waiting for a middle or high school student to return home in the summer. The students therefore have significant periods without adult supervision. Building Community Around Schools is also geared to the global economy by making American students at least as prepared as students in other countries. The program can reduce juvenile crime and the growth of gangs.
In addition to extending the school day and making school a 12-month program, like the best schools in other parts of the world, Show Up to Learn includes keeping schools open at night as "Lifelong Learning Centers." The Internet connections, computers, and educational programs will be made available to families, but under the supervision of staff and community volunteers. Evenings will become a period of learning and exploration for the entire family. Family members can complete their GED's, take online college courses, learn a language, and more. Maybe they can even play computer games together. Research has shown that involving the family in the student's process of learning greatly incrases the student's commitment to learning. The student's commitment to learning, in turn, increases his or her level of success.
At first, Building Community Around Schools will rely on neighborhoods choosing and supporting the program, in partnership with the city. Once the increases in learning are proven, the people of the city will need to decide if they want to pay for an expansion of the improvements to greater learning and more areas of the city. The city must earn the trust of the people before a long-term, stable source of funding is likely to materialize.
Education is under the direct authority of the Portland Board of Education, but the mayor can use his or her position of leadership to support improvements in partnership with the Board. Since roughly half of income and property taxes are spent on education, it is important for the mayor to have expertise in education and take an active role in supporting it.
Business, high tech, and creative services jobs call for good community based training. Show Up to Learn will strengthen the community college system so you can get the background you need for today's workplace.
An emphasis will also be placed on working with colleges and universities to attract the best research programs and faculty, while growing specialties to fit emerging education needs.
#3 Energy-Free by 2023
Current estimates predict that the world's known oil reserves will start to give out within 15 years. Between now and then the costs of fossil fuels will go up a great deal. Once we start running out, then the costs will be extremely high. We should not get caught in this trap.
In addition, global warming has already started and is the result of excessive use of fossil fuels. The increasing costs of fossil fuels (compared to excellent alternatives) and the damage from fossil fuels make it imperative that we, as a city, move forward toward energy self-sufficiency. The goal is for Portland to attain almost complete energy self-sufficiency by 2023.
Wind energy is now cost-competitive with other sources. The main drawback of wind energy is that it is intermittent, while peak loads are not. We now have a technological solution. Fuel cells are now commercially ready, from at least one company, to store the energy as it is produced, making it available as needed. We can, therefore, greatly expand our energy from wind by increasing the number of wind generators and using fuel cells to store the energy. We are all in this together and we all benefit from cutting back on peak-time electrical usage.
Using the same fuel cell technology, we can store electrical energy at night, during non-peak periods, and make it available during peak periods. This can be done by energy plants, factories, and homes. Doing this reduces the need to expand fossil fuel plants--and reduces costs. The city can use its financial leverage to make such units available to the businesses and people of Portland at the lowest possible cost and with the most reliable installation.
Solar roofing is now cost-effective. Such roofing can reduce electric costs substantially, even in cloudy Portland. The technology has been fully tested. (President Clinton implemented a program to put the roofing on a million homes.) Likewise, the city can use its financial leverage to ensure the least cost and best installation for such roofs in Portland. The city can add such roofs to selected city offices and include such roofs with new buildings
A source of energy we have not yet tested is water turbine power from the Columbia (or Willamette) river--without use of a dam. On a river, we would use a series of underwater turbines that are moved slowly--but with great power--by the tides and the flow of the river. A series of turbines on the coast could be powered by the simple rising and lowering of the tides. The environmental impact of underwater turbines could be minimal if we test and build them properly.
In transportation, we can provide incentives for the use of "neighborhood vehicles," recently approved in federal law (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 500, 49 CFR 571.500). For example, we can make licenses easy to obtain for three-wheel and four-wheel electric-assisted bicycles and similar vehicles. We can set city standards for such vehicles so they can operate safely within traffic--and not impede traffic--on residential streets. We can prohibit their use in areas of high-speed traffic or during peak traffic to further increase safety.
We can model the use of such vehicles by city employees who need to move primarily within the downtown area. We can offer bulk purchase rates to the public of such modified vehicles to encourage extensive use in neighborhoods. Use of electric and electric-assisted vehicles reduces costs for the owners and improves the quality of air for all of us. Our campaign has assembled some examples of active transportation.The Energy-Free by 2023 program will encourage the use of electric and electric-assisted vehicles downtown by placing "electrical refueling stations" in key parts of the city and by providing appropriate parking spaces.
Our campaign has assembled some Web resources to demonstrate renewable energy sources and Jerry has developed a guide.
Low energy costs can help attract new industry and jobs for Portlanders. In addition, developing renewable energy sources can provide employment and training opportunities.
We need to be sure to include sufficient parking for all vehicles when we add new buildings and new developments. Although "green" vehicles are preferred, it is important to the quality of life that new dwellings support sufficient parking for both the residents and their visitors--even if their vehicles are not green. Before a new program in transportation is started, each neighborhood needs to be a partner in determining its own transportation priorities.
Water and Sewer
We can reduce consumption of water and sewage services--thereby reducing costs--without making sacrifices. For example, we can provide strong incentives for diverting rainwater from downspouts and harvest the water. Up to half of total water use for a household is for yards, but the water comes from city water rather than rainwater. In most homes and apartments, water goes directly from downspouts into the city drainage system. When it rains hard, the city drainpipes become over-filled and sewage spills into the Willamette River. Other cities have found programs for diverting water from downspouts to be a cost-effective solution. A Portland program is doing this, but slowly, with only 42,000 home in the program to date. The mayor needs to give the program a large boost.
We can provide strong incentives for installing newly effective "low-flow" toilets to greatly reduce water use and sewage costs. Other cities have found this to be a cost-effective solution. Portland is supporting this, but slowly. Our campaign has assembled Web resources for water conservation and a good source of information on low-flow toilets.
#4 Put "Care" into Health Care
Within 15 to 20 years, Medicare will be "broke," according to current projections. In fact, within 30 years, at current rates, the entire federal budget will not be able to keep up with Medicare expenses. This is an area that the city has not played an active role. The "Care" in Health Care means that we will ensure that everyone who has a vital need for preventive medications, such as statins to prevent heart attacks, will have them at an affordable price.
In the "Care" into Health Care program, Portland will use its financial leverage to purchase the least expensive versions of the most effective medications from the least expensive sources and then make them available at an affordable level. Within the Portland area, some of the most commonly used essential medications vary by as much as four fold in cost.
In addition, Portland will work with businesses to ensure that they have available a health insurance program that will provide preventive health medications, such as statins, as part of the package. By preventing catastrophic illness, Portland can greatly reduce health care costs within the city.
One of the most alarming trends is the progression of Type II Diabetes, a preventable condition. It is also very expensive and serious in its effects. We will work with leaders within ethnic communities where rates are as much as four times higher than the rest of the population and work on prevention and management through diet and exercise.
This program ties in strongly with the Show Me the Money program and the City of the Future program. Those programs ensure screening, fitness programs, and other services to help prevent illness and promote health.
#5 Habitat for Neighborhoods
We need to put the pieces of our puzzle together: We are thousands of units short of what we need on affordable housing in Portland. We have many abandoned or severly underutilized buildings. We have thousands of young adults without a high school degree and no career future--they are in need of work and a useful way to develop skills. We have many mentally alert and wise seniors who have no meaningful activity to keep them involved with their communities. We need skilled job opportunities in Portland. We need neighborhood community centers that include fitness programs, learning centers, health screening, and/or child care. Let's put the pieces together. For example, one way to put the pieces together is as follows:
We can locate abandoned or neglected buildings that are accessible to mass transit. The city can partner with the Housing Authority of Portland and others to take over such buildings. The partnership can work with the trade unions and youth job readiness programs, such as the agencies within the Youth Opportunities Network, to set up apprenticeships for the youth who will work under the supervision of union employees.
The buildings will be converted into highly energy-efficient structures that are used for affordable housing, neighborhood community centers, fitness centers, health screening centers, or other uses. The goal will be for every neighborhood to have financially-accessible fitness centers, child care centers, health screening centers, affordable housing, and community learning centers. Sometimes some of the functions will be combined in one structure, sometimes not.
Who will pay for this? The affordable housing will be funded from revenues from the completed structures. The partnership can work with local agencies and neighborhood associations to set up cooperatives to help staff the child care centers to keep the costs down. Seniors can be screened and hired (or volunteer) to help with supervision at community centers. Seniors can also engage in lifelong learning at the community centers. Basically, each community will shape the community centers to fit their needs and their ability to staff and fund. Such centers have already been strongly sought by the elders (as in "persons of wisdom") of ethnic communities. City, county, state, and federal resources will also contribute to these efforts.
The Habitat for Neighborhoods program will:
increase the availability of affordable housing
provide career paths for youth who will otherwise be "lost"
increase living wage jobs
improve the quality of life for every neighborhood
improve health and greatly reduce health costs
bring seniors back into our communities as valued contributors
increase the energy efficiency used within the city
build partnerships across agencies and programs that should be working together to solve problems
provide needed child care for low income families
Over a hundred years ago, this community-spirited working together is how we survived. We need to get our community spirit back, in a new form.
The Show Me the Money program works closely with the other Bold Steps for the Future. For example, the neighborhood health screening centers can be where the least expensive preventive medications are dispensed.
Watch for television version of KPSU interview on cable.
"Discussion For Change" on Channel 30 TV 9:30pm
Presentation on Channel 22 TV 7-7:30pm.
"Discussion For Change" on Channel 11 TV 8:00pm
K-Lite 106.7 Radio spots at various times
"Discussion For Change" on Channel 30 TV 8:30am & Channel 21 TV 11pm
Mayor's Forum MCTV 7-8pm
Presentation on Channel 23 TV 9:30-10pm
"Discussion For Change" on Channel 23 TV 12 noon & Channel 30 TV 7pm
"Discussion For Change" on Channel 22 TV 12 noon & Channel 30 TV 7pm
"Discussion For Change" on Channel 30 TV 3:30pm
"Discussion For Change" on Channel 23 TV 12 midnight, Channel 21 TV 3pm, Channel 30 TV 9:30pm & Channel 21 TV 11pm
"Discussion For Change" on Channel 30 TV 12 noon
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