At a time when the nation’s leaders are providing more political rhetoric and party criticisms than actual solutions to the nation’s employment issues, it’s encouraging to see a city making an effort to fend for itself.

So concludes an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the City of Richmond efforts to develop good jobs for its citizens which also build wealth.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs is not enough. We need Good Jobs, Good Jobs, Good Jobs! As evidence by Rick Perry’s “Texas Miracle,” the quality of the jobs is as important as the quantity. Commenting upon the Texas job growth under Perry: “We have created jobs, but they are not jobs with good wages and benefits,” said F. Scott McCown, executive director, Center for Public Policy Priorities.

Similar to Cleveland, the City of Richmond is looking to add jobs and also build a “true ownership society.”

In nearby Richmond, a city of 120,000 residents with a 17 percent unemployment rate that is nearly twice the national average, city officials are trying different things.

The city has embarked on a program to help promote the growth of co-op businesses to create job opportunities and provide avenues to create stable incomes for unskilled and hard-core unemployed residents. . .

“Even in good times, Richmond has high unemployment,” McLaughlin says. “In hard times, cities like Richmond suffer even more.”

The city’s efforts have resulted in standing-room-only meetings at the city’s main library. City officials are discussing a plan to award extra points to local co-ops in city contract bids.

McLaughlin said the city could act as a conduit by hiring co-op businesses to provide services to the city.

City officials are now re-working a vendor ordinance that would allow a health-food truck co-op onto city-owned property.

The city Chamber of Commerce and its traditionally conservative Council of Industry have also expressed interest in the co-op project.

“Everybody is looking for alternatives and new ideas to stimulate business, and this is one of them,” McLaughlin said. “We can’t continue with the same strategies, and these co-ops offer the chance to create new jobs and build personal wealth.”

The program is still in its infancy, but there are already more than a half-dozen co-op efforts under way.

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