Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Gulf Coast Civic Works Act (HR 4048)


Monday, November 5, 2007

Read this online: http://www.sjsu.edu/news
Contact: Scott Myers-Lipton, 510-508-5382, smlipton@sjsu.edu
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

GULF COAST LEGISLATION Gulf Coast Civic Works Act (HR 4048) Introduced in Congress SAN JOSE, Calif., -- Prompted by a proposal developed at San Jose State University, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren has introduced in Congress the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act (HR 4048), groundbreaking legislation offering a renewed federal commitment to rebuild communities destroyed by hurricanes Katrina and Rita by empowering the region's greatest assets, the disaster's survivors.

Reps. Charlie Melancon of Louisiana and Gene Taylor of Mississippi are co-sponsoring the bill. "Students have figured out what many others have yet to discover, and that is Gulf Coast residents and evacuees need living wage jobs to rebuild their own communities," said San Jose State Professor Scott Myers-Lipton, a national poverty expert.

"During the New Deal, the federal government established public works programs that created jobs for over eleven million people who built and repaired thousands of hospitals, schools and playgrounds. This is exactly what the Gulf Coast needs now."

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights have also been active participants in the creation of HR 4048. Professor Myers-Lipton estimates at least $4 billion in federal funding is needed to implement critical infrastructure projects that would result in 100,000 jobs for residents of hurricane-ravaged communities in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

HR 4048 would also give local residents and businesses top priority for jobs and contracts, and create a civilian conservation corps for young adults working on environmental programs to rebuild wetlands and urban greenery.

Project HistoryHR 4048 is based on the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project, which was founded at San Jose State in November 2006. Professor Myers-Lipton wrote the original proposal for the project, which combined his academic interests in poverty, service learning, and social change with student outrage over the hurricanes' aftermath.

His students followed up by building a national network of college students and faculty supporters, many of whom have visited the Gulf Coast to learn from the local people about what should be included in the legislation. "The situation remains urgent," said Victoria Chavez, president of the SJSU student chapter of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project.

"Four of seven general hospitals in New Orleans and 65 percent of schools remain closed. Sixty thousand families throughout the Gulf live in 240-square-foot trailers that were meant to be temporary housing. Eighty percent of the public housing units in New Orleans remain closed, and the FEMA funds available to rebuild public infrastructure only covers one-eighth of the damage suffered in Louisiana alone, despite needing to cover five states."

Next Steps: Students across the country will discuss these issues at the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project's next major event, "A National Campus Sleep Out: A New Deal for the Gulf Coast" [click here] beginning at sundown Wednesday, November 14.

At SJSU, the event will take place on Tower Lawn, where university community members and Katrina victims will watch films, hear speakers and discuss HR 4048 advocacy efforts. HR 4048 has been in assigned to Education and Labor Committee for further consideration.

Read HR 4048 at http://thomas.loc.gov/.

Read more from Rep. Lofgren on HR 4048 at http://lofgren.house.gov/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=1846 .

Read more on the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project and the National Campus Sleep Out at http://www.solvingpoverty.com/ .

Read more on Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights at http://www.rfkmemorial.org/.

Read more on ACORN Louisiana at http://www.acorn.org/index.php?id=8219.

San Jose State -- Silicon Valley's largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 4,000 employees -- is part of the California State University system. SJSU's 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation's 10th largest city. ###

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Coast New Deal urged Civil works project pushed: HR 4048

We did make it into the Mississippi Sun Herald! You can read below or at http://www.sunherald.com/212/story/179230.html

It is interesting, they focused on the CCC side of it. scott ml

Coast New Deal urged Civil works project pushed

By MARIA RECIOSUN HERALD WASHINGTON BUREAU WASHINGTON -- In a proposed return to the New Deal, Rep. Zoe Lofgren,D-Calif., has introduced a bill to create a Gulf Coast Civil Works Project to train young people in the areas hit by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Bay St. Louis, and Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La.,are co-sponsoring the bill that would organize work teams on recovery,conservation and mitigation projects."I introduced this legislation to help ensure that the critical infrastructure along the Gulf Coast will be rebuilt in an efficient and responsible manner," said Lofgren.

"It also establishes framework to protect the interests of local workers, businesses, and communities while moving the rebuilding efforts forward."Lofgren said the program would help speed industrial and commercial development along the Gulf Coast. "I believe that it is the responsibility of every member of Congress to ensure that the federal government responds to the needs of all Americans," she said.

The projects would be done in cooperation with local governments and would be coordinated with other recovery efforts.Nonprofit groups, which support the plan, said it would create 100,000 jobs.

"Communities across the Gulf Coast suffer from crumbling roads and water systems, ill constructed flood protection and closed police stations, firehouses, schools and hospitals," said Stephen Bradberry,head state organizer of ACORN Louisiana. "We have an opportunity to jump-start the recovery by empowering communities with the resources they need to lead."

In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps played a major role in rebuilding the nation."During the New Deal, the federal government partnered with communities to create 4 million jobs in two months building or repairing thousands of hospitals, schools, and playgrounds through public works programs," said Scott Myers-Lipton, San Jose State professor and Gulf Coast Civic Works Project organizer. "This is exactly what the Gulf Coast now needs."