Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The last great reason to support Measure A...

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins is the CEO of the South Bay Labor Council. Don Gage is the sole Republican on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. What are they doing teaming up for Measure A? Providing some solid reasoning why it deserves support.



Here, then, from today's Mercury News:



Measure A - Saving Lives and Saving Jobs
By Don Gage and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins


Special to the Mercury News
Article Launched: 10/28/2008 06:58:29 PM PDT


As the economy slows down, voters tend to focus on one issue above all others — jobs.
So here's some good news in tough times.

Measure A — the Nov. 4 bond that will make Valley Medical Center earthquake proof — will also generate good jobs, a pot load of them.


You've probably noticed one of the effects of the national housing slowdown. Not many new homes are being built. With consumers tightening their belts, not many new stores or factories are breaking ground either. What's the result? Large numbers of construction workers aren't drawing paychecks.


A "yes" vote on Measure A immediately begins to address that problem. Iron workers, electrical workers, plumbers, carpenters, and countless others will be back on the payroll.


Everyone benefits


They'll be building structures that benefit every family in the valley — hospital rooms to protect victims of auto accidents, fires, or major disasters.


And hiring construction workers is just the beginning. When a carpenter isn't working, he also isn't buying. The decline in construction jobs translates into lower sales for cars, appliances, restaurants, home computers, cell phones "... into lower sales for just about everything that is produced in our region. Lower sales mean slower raises, fewer promotions, and eventually layoffs for people in all walks of life.


What voters should remember — and this is a critical point — is that the economic slow down described above can go on for years before it turns around. However, approving projects like Measure A can help shorten the period of decline. Recessions become deep and long because every individual family and business does what seems to make perfect sense for themselves, but the cumulative effect of the individual decisions makes things worse for all of us. A business that sees sales decline, lays off workers. Families experiencing or just worried about layoffs cut back on purchases. This second reduction in buying forces businesses to cut back further. Every individual action is reasonable; together, the result is a painful economic down cycle.


To break the cycle, some significant institution has to take the action that no individual family or business will take. It has to invest and buy right in the middle of bad times. Only the government has the capacity to play this role. As you may have heard, the federal government is planning a massive economic stimulus package to accomplish this task within the next few months. Measure A can be considered an economic stimulus package for Santa Clara County. It will help jump start a pattern of hiring that will spread. According to the multiplier published by the California Trade and Commerce Agency, every new construction job creates an additional 1.12 jobs elsewhere in the economy.


Double stimulus


In fact, Measure A provides a double stimulus to the regional economy. If the measure doesn't pass, state law will require in 2013 that the county close important parts of Valley Medical Center. Hundreds of health care personnel will lose their jobs. Their families will stop buying too. That's the last kind of economic impact the valley needs as we struggle through this difficult period.



Our economy will be that much stronger if those nurses, operating room assistants, radiology technicians, and numerous support personnel stay on the job, continue to make purchases, help local businesses survive, and thereby keep the rest of us on the job too.


Measure A can provide this valuable economic stimulus at the same time that it preserves the health and safety of our community. Valley Medical Center is a special kind of business with a special kind of mission. It saves lives. Whose life? Anyone who needs a trauma center or a burn unit or a spinal cord injury center.



In a large metropolitan area, tragedy does strike. It's unexpected. It's unfair. It's cruel. But it does happen, and when it does there is no substitute for the skilled staff and unique equipment that Valley Medical keeps ready 24 hours a day.


Vote Yes on Measure A. You'll be voting to protect your job and to keep Valley Medical Center doing its job — to save lives.

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