Who Controls Money?
In Ithaca, You Do
by Paul Glover
Control of money is more important to democracy than voting. That's because, to a large extent, control of money decides where jobs are available and for how long. Control of money decides who owns land and what gets built. Control of money decides what is legal and what's a crime. Control of money decides who lives well and who struggles. And ultimately, control of money decides who lives longer and who dies sooner.
In the United States, most money is controlled by boards of directors of the largest banking, investment and manufacturing corporations, through the Federal Reserve Board, which controls interest rates.
The people of Ithaca are among the few citizens to directly control money, because we print our own money and we decide who gets it. We reward those who back HOURS by being listed in HOUR Town. We make grants of HOURS to local groups. And we make loans without charging interest.
From 1991 till now, HOUR policies have been made by the informal monthly Barter Potluck, based usually suggestions by an all-volunteer Advisory Board. Now that Ithaca HOURS is incorporated, we're holding our first election.
If you're listed in this issue of HOUR Town, you're eligible to vote for these candidates for Ithaca's first local currency Board of Directors!
Candidates for HOUR Board
I've encouraged others to earn and spend Ithaca HOURS. One reason I'm interested in being on the board is to help find ways that more people with a wider range of skills and professions can begin to use HOURS. There are some of us who wonder how how particular (and maybe even peculiar) knowledge and skills can be incorporated into the larger effort. In the more immediate future, there are concerns such as widening the number of merchants and service-providers that use HOURS; increasing the various ways people can use HOURS; broadening the number and diversity of people who do use HOURS in any way, perhaps through more visibility. I've lived in Tompkins County 1956-1978; 1994 to present, serving on Ithaca, Tompkins County,and Southern Tier Planning Boards, and on the County Board. I can bring a long view and a familiarity with local structures and attitudes.
I earned my first HOURS in 1993 for repairing a friend's bicycle. Since that time I accept HOURS whenever I can and spend them mostly at the Farmer's Market. I like that HOURS help to increase local economic activity and keep money in the community. As we move increasingly toward a global economy, it seems evermore critical that we keep our local economy healthy and functioning. I would like to help to increase the role of HOURS in our community. I served on the board of EcoVillage at Ithaca and the GreenStar Council, and I was a member of the Bylaws Committees of both those organizations. I am detail oriented and enjoy setting up organizations and structures. I have an analytical mind tempered by a sense of humor and a sensitivity to group process. I am experienced with facilitating meetings and keeping things on track. I would enjoy bringing these skills to the board of Ithaca HOURS.
I'm pleased to be a candidate for the Ithaca HOURS Advisory Board. Although I have not yet been listed in HOUR Town personally, I receive HOURS as part of my salary as an employee of the Autumn Leaves bookstore and have spent HOURS at a number of local businesses. I have also developed a familiarity with the Ithaca HOURS system through working with the HOUR Bank at Autumn Leaves. I would like to serve on the HOURS board because local currency encourages business to be conducted locally. Supporting local businesses is important now, at a time when corporations have been replacing government. I hope to see the use of local currency increase in this community and continue spreading beyond.
I'm listed in HOUR Town as a potter, have earned HOURS for pottery and data entry, and spent them mostly on food.
I have a PhD in economics, I've worked in the research departments of the Richmond Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund, and I have taught economics. I now work at Cooperative Extension, running the Compost Education Program. I've served on the HOURS Advisory Board since moving to Ithaca three years ago. I've done office work for the HOURS system, fundraising research, and public speaking about HOURS.
Local currencies provide a unique way for people to develop and explore new opportunities, expand their skills and income, improve their environment, and strengthen their community. HOURS encourage us to think in fresh ways about sources of value and about how we use all of our resources. I care a great deal about the continued success and growth of Ithaca HOURS.
I enjoy life & hope you do too. I'm an Accredited Business Accountant (National Society of Accountants credential), & some folks think I'd offer useful advice for our magnificent HOURS network. 3/4 of my 125 clients are small businesses, so I understand the real-world they deal with. In 1992 I started accepting HOURS (@100%), & early on was often called to answer tax/accounting questions about HOURS use; nowadays, everyone's so smart that I ain't been asked in years! I enjoyed advising some far-flung people (e.g. Asheville NC) about how to emulate Ithaca & improve their own barter systems. I'm Nutrition Advisor to North American Vegetarian Society, but I doubt the board wants pointers about eating. I've been the GreenStar general membership's representative on GreenStar's Finance Committee since the 1992 fire. I speak rarely but passionately about community issues, e.g. I sent a letter to 750 local businesses explaining how Ithaca Wal-Mart would be crappy for the local economy. 1999's #1 community-urgency issue? Probably Y2K preparedness.
I have lived in the Ithaca area for over 30 years, where I have taught pre-school and elementary students. I have been involved with many community organizations, primarily relating to educational and environmental issues. I used to help publish TCB, a community newspaper. Recently I have been learning about local vs global economies.
I have accepted HOURS since 1991 for rent, mending, child care and computer work. I have occasionally worked for the HOURS system, updating member listings, renewing ads in HOUR Town and helping businesses figure out how to spend their HOURS.
I have been on the Advisory Board for two years, and was active in the incorporation process. Local economies benefit both people and the environment, and therefore I want to help the HOUR system endure. I am hopeful that this reorganization will strengthen our place in the community.
[Fidela is a bookkeeper at Alternatives Federal Credit Union. She translated HOURS for Mme. Mitterrand. Her bio available at ballot boxes.]
Greg Spence Wolf
I have been using Ithaca HOURS since they were established in 1991. I have earned them cleaning, writing, singing, telephoning and cashiering.
I have made many new friends in the community by spending my HOURS., both at the Farmer's Market and by contacting people listed in HOUR Town.
I have served on the community gardens board of directors for 8 years and have served as treasurer and email listserve administrator. I've also been involved on the Ithaca HOURS Advisory Board for one year.
I'd like to see the availability of HOURS help facilitate more transactions between people that improve their quality of life. I'd like to see HOURS facilitate people's ability to work together and help each other out.
I'd like to change the way that money is distributed in this society. Ithaca HOURS are distributed to anyone who agrees to offer goods in service in exchange for them. Federal Reserve Notes are distributed to Federal banks who loan it out to the public at a profit. I believe that the Ithaca HOURS system is more fair.
I've lived in Ithaca for eight years, and participated in Ithaca HOURS for six. College brought me here, and the townspeople, and their institutions kept me. Considering even Cayuga Lake, the gorges, the colorful houses, healthy farms and bountiful gardens, I don't know what characterizes Ithaca better than Ithaca HOURS. We make our own money! What could be more self-empowering than that?
Two years ago I exposed Lake Source Cooling as a threat to the lake's, and our health. The Barter Potluck came through with a vital grant to the activists who first rallied against LSC. I prioritized paying the HOURS to people who had never used them before, because that's a great way to make our community grow tighter. I realized how strong our community is when I scanned the pages of HOUR Town and called everyone I thought could help: I got so much free advice that now I wish that everyone with a heart would join this simple list of people who care.
I would be honored, as board member, to advocate our homegrown currency to all of our businesses and citizens. My particular talent is working at a face-to-face level. I would like to see HOURS expand with a strong, balanced board of directors who can take a powerful position in local politics for our common good.
My wife and I moved to Ithaca 2 1/2 years ago for retirement. A major reason we chose Ithaca was because of the many potential opportunities to participate in community and environmental projects. Ithaca HOURS in particular caught our attention, as it offers a sustainable community tool for regional, economic and social development.
I have been involved in environmental and social issues since the 1950's. Over the past twenty-five years, I have been a consultant and facilitator and have helped people and organizations prepare for emerging paradigms, transitional leadership, personal growth, communications, team development, whole brain learning, organizational dynamics and whole systems thinking. My book, Climbing Out of our 20th Century Box, helps people to expand their thinking ability to become emergent thinkers for rapid paradigm transitions. Currently, I am working with the newly forming Center for Environmental Sustainability and their project to establish an Eco-museum in Ithaca.
I believe that I can contribute knowledge, experience and commitment to help integrate Ithaca HOURS into a regional sustainability system.
Write-In You may write in any name you prefer.
How to Vote for Ithaca's First
Local Currency Board of Directors
If you are have a listing offering goods or services in this issue of HOUR Town, then YOU are eligible to vote for our first elected Board of Directors. Each person and/or business gets to vote once.
You can vote in one of four ways: (1) mail us the ballot in HOUR Town (or a close facsimile), use (2) ballot boxes, vote by (3) e-mail, or vote at the (4) First Annual Meeting & Dessert.
Mail ballots (this page) to: HOURS, PO Box 6731, Ithaca NY 14851.
Ballot boxes will be available February 11, at Autumn Leaves and Greenstar Co-op. These ballots will also need to be in sealed envelopes with your full name, address and telephone number.
Eligible voters will be able to vote via e-mail February 11-March 1, (these will not be secret ballots). E-mail ballots will only be accepted as a reply to a ballot e-mailed to them from Ithaca HOURS. People with current listings may request an e-mail ballot from firstname.lastname@example.org. In your request, please include your full name, U.S. Mail address, and phone number.
So who should you vote for? We have a wonderful slate of ten candidates who have been recruited by the interim Board of Directors. You can vote for up to ten people, including the write-in option.
If you want to know more about the candidates before you cast your votes, then come and meet them in person at the Annual Meeting. They will make brief statements, followed by a period for you to ask questions. You can cast your secret ballot in person, then start sampling desserts while the votes are counted.
Even if you already sent in an absentee ballot, come to the 1st Annual Meeting & Dessert Bash Tuesday, March 2 at 7 pm, GIAC Conference Room 1. Once the votes are counted, help us welcome our first elected board, give us your ideas on priorities and directions for Ithaca HOURS, and maybe even join a committee. Newly forming committees will help produce HOUR Town, review HOUR grants and loans, plan Barter Fairs and maybe even start an HOUR Store.
Come join us while we sample the wares of some of HOUR Town's finest dessert vendors, including ABC Cafe, Ben & Jerry's, Harvest Deli, Ithaca Bakery and Just Desserts.