The City Council is barreling toward stripping more freedom from citizens and business owners in St. Petersburg through its proposed unjust “local hiring” preference. The ordinance passed a committee last week which also will recommend that the city hire a $150,000 consultant to study if the proposal has merit. That’s right, the committee approved the concept that forces city contractors to hire who they are told to hire without even knowing if it works. They will undoubtedly instruct the consultant to find ways to justify the ill-conceived concept. But that’s just another day in the operations of politics in St. Pete City Government: clueless politicians, bowing to special interest groups, wasting taxpayer money to oppress the very freedom of the citizens they claim to represent!
The so called local hiring preference would force any company that contracts with the city to perform a job of $2 million or greater to hire people that live in the city for 50% of the work. They would also be forced to hire at least 20% of those from a nebulously defined group of “disadvantaged” workers, which means unemployed, those with a criminal past and homeless. Local contractors are pointing out that they will not bother to apply for the jobs, which means competitive pressures will be gone leading to hire prices on the bids. Further local workers will be told they can’t move within 6 months of being hired! That’s right, the city will even tell people where to live. Ultraliberal city Councilman Charlie Gerdes proudly crows that he would like to see the limit lowered to a $250,000 job. Will it be long before every worker employed by the city must live locally? How about large jobs in the private sector? After all, the city has a codes department that enforces all sorts of mundane and meaningless rules for local contractors and property owners. Why not just require that everyone who re-sods their yard must pay a fee, run a bureaucratic gauntlet and prove that every person doing so has never lived outside the city for more than 6 months? That is the pathway these vapid politicians are paving for the city.
The reason for this is the so-called “Social Justice” group FAST. FAST is an ultra-liberal “community organizing group” that is an exact copy of the same corrupt groups run by Barack Obama in Chicago. Our President was the head of the “Gamaliel Foundation” there where he used the church as a religious disguise to bully local politicians in to bad policies that have led to Chicago being included on the 15 most bankrupt cities in America. FAST fielded at least 50 of the 120 people that showed up at the Budget and Finance Tax meeting to move this ordinance closer to final passage by the city. They have been exposed heavily for the morally corrupt organization that they are. The group actually takes from the church collection plate and uses it to hire professional “organizers” to agitate in political circles for what can only be described as socialist policies. But don’t look for the Obama administration to ever notice their violation of IRS rules on using church funds for political purposes. This is the same administration that refused to prosecute the Black Panthers for voter intimidation in 2008.
So the citizens are almost certain to see this local hiring preference pass as there are already four votes (Newton, Nurse, Kornell and Gerdes) in favor, and only 5 are needed. If citizens what to have a chance to stop this, they will need to show up in large numbers to ask for its rejection. They will need to elect council members who use common sense economics to pass public policy. They will also need to start publicly denouncing and rejecting FAST in their church and in the public square.