Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Looking forward (and West) at the potential future of our ports

Do you ever walk along Columbia St. or Van Brunt and wonder what's going on at the Marine Terminal? If not, the fact that this area is historically a port neighborhood or that American Stevedoring will remain active there for at least another 10 years should make you wonder. We should also think about the future of that industry in the area - including economic development, environmental impacts, the labor force that is employed there, etc. - given that they will be here for those 10 years and possibly beyond.

Today, the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy provided some insight into these topics at an event they held with the Sean Arian, Director of Economic Development for Los Angles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, in which he discussed LA's recent initiatives to clean up the Port of Los Angeles and improve the pay and treatment of the truck drivers who service the port. Following Mr. Arian's speech was a disccusion with local advocates for a variety of stakeholders effected by the Ports in the area, including U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler, New York and New Jersey Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward, environmental justice advocate Kim Thompson-Gaddy and President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16 Gary La Barbera.

Live blogging of the event, which is quite interesting, can be found here.

In addition, some video highlights can be found below:
Sean Arian on why ports cannot be sustained by a broken Third World labor model
Chris Ward on why the LA model of port reform is the right model for NY and NJ ports
Rep. Jerrold Nadler on how smarter land use could create middle-class manufacturing jobs
Kim Thompson-Gaddy on why New Jersey needs real port reform now, not later

Even though some of the discussion is about LA and New Jersey, the issues involved are also very much applicaple here is we are right next to our local port.

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