However, like every other city we're surrounded by and submerged within multinational corporate power.
The world many of us here want to create, a world of creativity and good work and friends and health and ease, is restrained by local, national and global elites for whom nature and labor are disposable.
Even in Ithaca we find that conservatives do not conserve and liberals do not liberate.
Therefore many Ithacans endure lots of poorly-paid service jobs, lots of struggle to pay for rent and groceries. We see many having a hard time getting medical and dental attention.
This need not be so, because Ithaca is such a wealthy city. There's enough money in Ithaca today to enable EVERYONE to work creatively a few hours daily and then to relax with family and friends and enjoy top quality healthy food prepared by some of the finest cooks in the nation, to enjoy clean, low-cost warm housing, clean and safe transit, high quality handcrafted clothes and household goods, to enjoy creating and playing together, growing up and growing old in a community where everyone is valuable, all in the midst of one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth.
And to do this while replenishing rather than depleting the health of the planet. While enriching rather than exploiting workers here and around the world.
Our abundant wealth has not yet been translated into widespread community well-being because local money and economic expansion have been traditionally controlled by people whose purposes are profit gained with scant regard for damage to their fellow citizens or to nature.
While Republicans want to punish the poor and Democrats want to manage and assist the poor, Greens want to transfer basic economic power to the poor, who include more Americans every day.
Where does Ithaca's wealth go? Rather than apply our city's wealth to making life healthier and easier, local money is instead poured down the drain, lost as food bills to agribusiness, lost as purchases from chain stores, lost as energy payments to NYSEG, lost as payments to auto manufacturers, to oil companies and auto insurance companies, lost as rent payments to absentee landlords, lost as tourist dollars to hotel chains, lost as medical payments to drug companies and HMOs, lost by destruction of agricultural land for suburbanization, lost in pumping clean water across town for flushing wastes, lost as tax payments to state and federal agencies which often do more harm than good, and discarded into landfills.
This current system retards genuine progress by flushing money out of town, as fast as it comes in. Some local people prosper by being agents for leakage-- like bankers, developers, investors, and City Hall bureaucracies which front for them.
Democratic and Republican leaders have traditionally accepted this hierarchy.
Therefore we see not only leakage of local money but leakage of local authority. Ithaca's current mayor has been telling low-income consumers that they need to back this system, so they can get cheaper goods. Big box development would instead keep these people powerless, while feeding one of the biggest businesses in Ithaca-- City Hall itself.
The alternative is locally-controlled grassroots economic development, featuring mutual aid systems, food and fuel buying clubs, barter networks, business incubators, limited-equity co-housing, import replacement programs, health funds, local currency, bikeways, energy efficiency programs, re-use warehouses, and so forth.
Among the four candidates for mayor this year, I am the only candidate who is ready to continue to resist chain retail expansion and highway expansion, while fostering expansion here of a locally-controlled mutual enterprise system that makes Ithaca an unprecedentedly beautiful American city and a national example of people's power.