PAUL GLOVER ESSAYS: community control of food, fuel, housing, health care, planning, education, finance.



Investing in Community

by Paul Glover

Everybody wants more money so they can enjoy life, send kids to college and retire well. To achieve these, over 40% of American households have invested in stocks and bonds.

But Wall Street is risky and even destructive. Bull markets lure the middle class to bet heavily then, often, their money dissolves. $1,000 worth of Nortel stock one year ago now yields $13.00. Enron's $1,000 is now $41; Worldcom lost $995 of the thousand. These tophat crooks can't be controlled: the watchdog workload of the Securities & Exchange Commission grew by 80% between 1991-2000 while staff grew just 20%.

Even when the market's rising, only 3% of trading is essentials like food and fuel. Warmaking, prisons, traffic accidents and environmental depletion are profitable, while neighborhoods and family farms fail.

Where's a safer place to invest? Many now realize that unless the global economy is based on a world of stable communities amid healthy environments, trading stable currencies, then bank accounts are just worthless big numbers. Getting reliably rich means investing in community.

So let the big boys shoot craps with their billions-- we can bring our pensions and savings home to rebuild America, starting in Ithaca. Local wealth will make our city an outstanding place to raise kids and retire, providing steady friends, child care and home care; vacations & fun; good healthy food, water & air; civic beauty; least crime. Investors large and small can systematically create a mutual enterprise system providing us retirement equity transferable to other communities with affiliated programs.

Creating these communities, to ensure our personal security within a safer world, requires new kinds of investment, managed by people we trust and control-- fellow Ithacans whose homes and jobs depend on wise local business development. A recent Ithaca Community News editorial introduced 19 Ithaca programs which would retain wealth locally, stimulate thousands of creative jobs, meet all basic needs, share power with lower-income residents, repair the environment, and distinguish Ithaca as one of the most beautiful cities in the Americas.

The price tag for these programs, $110 million, was to have been raised from my MegaLotto winnings (July 6), but that door did not open.

Where else does $110 million come from? Roughly, that's one percent of total annual wages & salaries earned in Tompkins County, times ten years. It's three times the City of Ithaca's budget. It's the County's budget. It's 3% of Cornell's endowment. It's the wealth Bill Gates has gained on a good day. It's two minutes of additional federal debt.

How could we raise this money without relying on the lottery or taxes? The Whole Ithaca Stock Exchange (WISE) will enable a wide range of private investors to invest safely in Ithaca to build genuine wealth and security. Everyone, rich and poor, has some type of capital required-- skills, tools, time, topsoil, property, cash. WISE pools this capital, defines program RFPs, issues bonds and negotiables, selects contractors, provides grants and loans to the businesses described below, monitors program progress, redeems bonds by issuing business notes, defines the transferability of bonds.

Here are the details:
   What are guiding principles?
   How is WISE different than a Community Development Corporation?
   What companies does it invest in?
   What do investors get?
   How is the corporation structured?
   Who manages it?
   How is community progress measured?
   What are Ithaca's new economic indicators?
   How related to government?
   How do we begin?

GUIDING PRINCIPLES? This Mutual Enterprise System retains and expands wealth to provide jobs that clean the environment. It converts capital into harmless and beneficial efforts. It provides basic benefits for all, and special benefits for investors. It transfers technological and economic power to lower-income, building relevant skills. Public benefit is personal benefit, whether we're rich or poor.

HOW IS WISE DIFFERENT than a standard stock market or Community Development Corporation?
   * investments may be made with other than dollars
   * repays investors and donors
   * repays with regional bonds/notes redeemable for services and goods
   * pays half of interest in advance
   * elects seats on the Exchange by community rather than by purchase or appointment
   * businesses are selected which rely on technologies manageable by neighborhoods rather than centralized expertise/machinery, and which reduce pollution
   * businesses are selected which transfer economic power to community v. agencies which help the poor stay poor
   * relies on commuity-based market indicators set by the Securities and Ecologies Commission (SEC) rather than narrower profit/loss measures
   * monetizes tools, skills, crops, soil, volunteer hours, labor hours, development rights transferred (incentive for buyer as well as seller), negawatts, restraint of childbirth, locally-made warranty
   * regulates transfers of negotiables/bonds among the WISE programs as services available.

WHAT DO INVESTORS GET? Transferable equity in community enterprises that provide secure sources of food, fuel, housing. Interest earned is community interest, in order to provide investors immediate return, fun, food, health, housing, keys to city, gratitude, inheritance, retirement security, in the form of negotiables, bonds, services, goods.

Credits issued are valued according to priorities set by WISE.

Investors gain ownership that's anchored to region to benefit a community which includes themselves. Stocks in such companies transferable benefits to affiliated companies elsewhere.

They receive community Interest in the form of discounts (in advance) & services (including municipal non-utility), standard accrual, authority and honors.
   Largest investors are repaid not only directly by direct investment, but by the new markets rising from energy efficiency, discretionary spending, and ecotourism.
   Thus, ultimately, investors get to live well in a good community. They provide a heritage for their children and grandchildren. They serve America and the world.
   EXAMPLE: Joe buys $500 of four-year WISE bonds. He receives immediate 8% Community Interest ($40) in the form of discount (>25%) coupons provided by local businesses which themselves receive long-term WISE bonds at half the value of the discount given.
   EXAMPLE: Jessie volunteers 50 hours installing insulation adn receives $500 of WISE bonds. Interest and principal are repaid as above.
   EXAMPLE: Ephraim sells a building to WISE for $150,000 of WISE bonds.
   EXAMPLE: Elana transfers property development rights valued at $50,000 to WISE for a tax deduction plus $10,000 of WISE bonds.

As WISE businesses develop and issue their own store notes (regulated by WISE), these investors may select to redeem some of their WISE bonds for store notes, or negawatts, or HOURS, at principle + another 8% interest ($40). Total interest 16%.

The same applies to those who invest volunteer hours doing work needed by any WISE business. Hours of labor are paid with WISE bonds redeemable for WISE goods and services as available.

WHAT COMPANIES? Energy conservation is the foundation of economic development. Millions of dollars yearly kept in Ithaca, not paid to NYSEG, is money which can be spent here to stimulate new enterprises and jobs that serve our broader aims. Other basics, like food, water, housing, health care and transportation are top priorities.

FUEL Insulation: countywide would cut our heating/cooling bills by over 80%, giving us discretionary income to support local businesses & farms, thus creating new jobs & strengthening local culture. The foundation of economic development.
   * Superwindows are translucent walls with R20 and higher.
   * Cogeneration uses nearly all of otherwise wasted natural gas and heat.
   * Retrofit of wall and attics cuts heating/cooling bills by 80%.
   * Alt energy co-ops: solar, wind, hydro
   * Urban Woodlot/Forest
   * Depaving

FOOD growing locally and converting harvests into pasta, canned goods & dehydrated stock.
   * Food Processing Center: expands local agriculture by enabling farmers to grow for more than the seasonal market.
   * Bulk Food Center sells the above below commercial rates
   * Edible Parks invite free harvest.

   * Waterless Toilets: replace toxic sewage sludge w/clean, sweet-smelling fertilizer. No more pooping into clean water.
   * Water Recharge Basins insulate us from drought.

TRANSPORT Trolley: connecting Cornell & Commons. More than transportation, rail cars would be handcrafted w/inlay wood, stained glass, neon waterfalls, musicians on board. Big boost to tourism & transit, could expand to Cortland.
   * Bike lanes & paths would allow us to move safely without traffic jams & pollution. They permit emergency vehicles to move freely, make the Commons more accessible to the 20,000 who live within ten blocks of downtown.
   * Bicycle HPUV manufacture
   * Street Reclamation

HOUSING: Ownership stabilizes neighborhoods, strengthens community participation. Co-housing & Retirement Co-ops: makes life less costly, more energy-efficient and more friendly.

   * Import Replacement Center: barter, trade, bank: connects regional skills & tools to create flexible manufacturing networks that capture contracts.
   * Re-Use Center & Warehouse capture useful goods and materials that would be tossed into dumps.
   * Re-Manufacturing Center utilizes component parts from non-reusable items
   * Incubator for community-based ecological enterprises reduces operating costs for each enterprise
   * Retail outles for prototypes test markets the above
   * Dream Come True Job Center connects people to the regional resources that make our wildest hopes real.

HEALTH CARE Alternative healing center rely on natural strength and remedies to promote wellness, prevent illness, and revive.
   * Health Fund allows us to self-insure, keeping $50 million/year insurance payments in this county instead of wasting it on HMOs.
   * Medical/dental clinic co-op/s provide free care for low-income residents.

   * Teaching the above refines and spreads these processes
   * Community meeting spaces for congresses ensure fullest public participation

Art: mosaics, murals
   * Theatre
   * Music
   * Poetry

Guided by elected board of directors subject to referenda initiated by investors or community. Management is organized so that community has direct intervention, expertise is rotated rather than entrenched, new expertise develops reflecting ever-changing circumstances, main incentive is service.
   * each shareholder has one vote regardless of investment size
   * each community member has one vote
   * democratically elected boards
   * Celebrate citizens' right to referendum, recall and congress (special meetings). Constrains tendency of any organization to become bureaucratized and ingrown, serving staff more than the public. Staff must agree to set examples: to be paid regional credits, live simply, compensated by continual revolution
   * Local woodlots and wetland larger than 440ft.sq. have total 25% of votes on any proposal to cut or drain them. They vote no on such proposals.

   1. maximum salary 2 times lowest paid. Maximum pay 2 times livable wage. Management and staff are motivated by mission, satisfied with right livelihood, paid in-kind & regional credits
   2. employees must reside within the community
   3. local sourcing: RFP for machines, raw materials, design, labor to maximum possible
   4. adaptive re-use of buildings. No new footprint or paving expansion to maximum possible
   5. redeem WISE stock
   6. one vote per resident stockholder
   7. one vote per resident
   8. board term limits: former voting members invited to remain as elders
   9. subject to shareholder and community right to referendum
   10. businesses can borrow against the general fund and repay it as donated in sequence or sell services
   11. provide public accounting of credits issued
   12. redistribute to WISE upon dissolution
   13. links to related programs worldwide

Each business could operate with separate 501(c)3. But under WISE umbrella, they
   1. coordinate skills, tools, staffs, urban land use
   2. share grants, attract investors
   3. issue/redeem credits interchangeably among themselves to broaden return on investment and attraction of bonds
   4. gain greater cultural impact as part of larger process:
   5. share powers of CDC in NYS

The SECURITIES AND ECOLOGIES COMMISSION (SEC) defines, valuates, and compiles indicators of local economic health, including such measures as: small farm base, soil depth & rainfall; shopping locally; population stability, birth rate & age distribution; insulation & fireproofing; solar, wind & hydro generation; bike & transit useage; employment & crime. Creates a monthly index based on the above.

SEC ventures a specific formula for calculating an indexed increase or decline of sustainable local economy, based on these indicators. Valuations are weighted relative to one another according to longrange communitywide impact. They are constantly adjusted to create a more full and balanced portrait of the local economy. The SEC database plugs in the numbers, calculates values, subtotals and total. Raw data are obtained by regular arrangement with relevant agencies or through FOIA. Some are fixed infrastructure calculations; others change monthly, quarterly, semiannually, annually or decenially. Best estimates may be sufficient. See Ithaca's New Economic Indicators

SEC issues a biennial Seventh Generation report, projecting the impact of trends upon Ithacans 200 years hence. SEC submits suggested indicator revisions for public discussion.

The five members of the SEC are elected to three year terms. Values may be updated by Cornell and Ithaca College classes, and other volunteers.

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS: gradually taking over certain govt functions on a nonprofit direct democratic basis; volunteers earning community equity replace taxes collected by force. To the extent govt approval has been mandated to establish, fund and regulate, it's essential to have public officials and staff who welcome changes of these types. WISE seeks to elect citizens who will provide supportive interface with state/federal.

CONCLUSION: Through WISE investment, Ithaca becomes fully democratic intentional community where privacy and ownership are secured, while social spaces are plentiful. Most citizens participate as neighbors in mutual aid associations which entitle them to free and low cost health care, fresh local organic food, living in homes which are so well insulated that costs for heating and cooling are mild. Ithacans are able to get around town on foot, by bike, trolley, buses. Streets safe and quiet but for children playing. Mosaic sidewalks and murals. Cayuga Lake becomes so clean again that it's full of fish for those who eat them.

Taken together, these will allow us to relax in a beautiful, exciting community, raising the standard of living while lowering the cost of living & setting examples for the whole country. Ithaca will become a vast satisfaction to residents and powerful example to the world.

* public meeting to form 501(c)3 to operate within NYS Associations Law and Federal SEC regulations
   * create bylaws
   * elect board
   * solicit donations and investments
   * prioritize utilization of funds
   * issue RFPs to form new businesses
   * SEC public meetings elect first members and gather data

REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS In all cases, priority to local workers and materials, local/regional manufacture, accepting regional/local credits:

ENERGY GENERATION & CONSERVATION to provide fuels w/out global warming:
* windows: >R19: standard & irregular sizes, export projections
* walls: >R50: most durable yet biodegradable, lightweight, nontoxic, water- & fire-resistant
* attic: >R50: most durable yet biodegradable, lightweight, nontoxic, water- & fire-resistant
* heat exchangers
  ---SOLAR ELECTRIC (NISEG) RFP: photovoltaic arrays, collectors, shingles: maximum efficiency, durability, kwh cost, least toxic manufacture: inputs & wastes, installers
  ---COGENERATION: district/neighborhood/business/institutional HVAC
  ---NATURAL GAS IN CITY RFP: locate, define capacity, define quality, equipment for filtering, calculate 500-year supply ration, define distribution district for maximum efficiency

TROLLEY: connecting Cornell & Commons. More than transportation, rail cars would be handcrafted w/inlay wood, stained glass, neon waterfalls, musicians on board. Big boost to tourism & transit, could expand to Cortland.
* RFP: installation and maintenance of standard guage trackage, installation and maintenance of electric wires, staff (conductors, repair, maintenance, promotion), garage & shop, tools & spare parts, signage, promotion, insurance, dedicated hydroelectric, cogeneration, district, elected Ithaca Trolley Authority board: grants, referenda


  * RFP: single family, duplex, apartment building w/NSF approval, piping & solar-powered venilators, installation, monitoring

  * RFP: locate, define capacity, design spreading systems: wells, pumps, EIS scope: stability of strata, salinity impact

  * retrofit design & costs to join adjacent houses, materials inventory: local materials, soundproofing, limited equity

SOUNDPROOFING enables people to live at greater density with less stress.
  * RFP: lightweight, ease of installation


ITHACA HOURS could donate community currency at-cost to local government & nonprofits, enabling millions of dollars of services to be provided without raising taxes & without paying interest on bonds. HOURS would be welcome everywhere when government agrees to accept them for tax payment.


The author is a consultant for community economic development. Your comments and suggestions are welcome: [email protected]



by Paul Glover

INDICATORS of local economic health provide a specific formula for assigning number values to increase or decline of sustainable local economy. Valuations are weighted relative to one another according to longrange communitywide impact. They are constantly adjusted, by the Securities and Ecologies Commission (SEC) to create a more full and balanced portrait of local economy. The SEC database plugs in the numbers, calculates values, subtotals and total (base 100). Raw data are obtained by regular arrangement with relevant agencies or through FOIA. Some are fixed infrastructure calculations; others change monthly, quarterly, semiannually, annually or decenially. Best estimates, with explicit guidelines, may be sufficient.

Reliance on autos depletes local economy, degrades environment, reduces public health.
-1   for every 20,000 vehicles/mo on Rte 13 at Wood St.
-1   for every 5,000 vehicles/mo on Seneca St. at Cayuga St.
+1   for every 10,000 vehicles/mo reduced on Rte 13 at Wood St., seasonal
+1   for every 2,000 vehicles/mo reduced on Seneca St. at Cayuga St., seasonal
+1   for every 50 reduction of traffic accidents, annual
-1   for every 50 increase of traffic accidents, annual
+1   for every 10% seasonal increase in TCAT ridership
-1   for every 10% seasonal decrease in TCAT ridership
+1   for every 500 passenger increase in regional/national bus arrivals/departures, annual
-1   for every 500 passenger decrease in regional/national bus arrivals/departures, annual
+1   for every 100 decrease of TC vehicle registration
-1   for every 100 increase of TC vehicle registration
+1   for every 1/2 mile bike lanes, annual
+1   for every 1/4 mile bike paths, annual
+20   for every mile of fixed rail trolley, annual

Secure regional food production insulates us from disruption of imports, price shocks &, toxic content.
+1   for every 10 commercial farms w/in TC
+1   for every 5% of these which grow organic
-1   for every 10 acres deliberate GMO
+1   for every 10 acres decrease in average acreage per TC farm, to minimum 10 acres
-1   for every 10 acres increase in average acreage per TC farm, above 50 acres
+1   for every Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) w/minimum 10 subscribers, w/in 30 miles
+1   for every 100 members of food buying clubs
+1   for every 40 active gardens at Ithaca Community Gardens
+1   for every 5 farms at Ithaca Farmer's Market
+1   for every 5% increase of harvest of wheat & corn, annual
-1   for every 5% decrease of harvest of wheat & corn, annual
+25   for every 1,000 qts/day capacity of nonprofit community cannery relying on 30-mile radius
+5   for every 500 lbs/day capacity of nonprofit community pasteria relying on 100-mile radius
+1   for every 1,000 qts output of nonprofit community cannery

The foundation of businesses, homes, farms. Without sufficient rain, we'd all leave Ithaca.
+1   for every month w/in 10% of average
-1   for every month >10% below average
+2   for every month 10-24% above avg when preceded by month 10-24% below avg
-2   for every month 10-24% below avg when preceded by month 10-24% below avg
+5   for every month >25% above avg following one month >25% below avg or 2 consecutive months10-24% below avg
-5   for every month >25% below avg when preceded by one month >25% below avg
+5   for any 4 months consecutive 10-20% above avg
-5   for any 4 months consecutive >10% below avg
+1   for every expansion of wetland by 500ft.sq
-1   for every reduction of wetland by 500ft.sq

The food of food. The only real heritage we leave.
+1   for every 1,000 ft.sq decrease of paving footprint
-1   for every 1,000 ft.sq increase of paving footprint
+1   for every 5 rural properties enrolled in soil conservation plan
+1   for every 50 acres deeded to Finger Lakes Land Trust or WISE
+1   for every 100 acres TDR to conservation organization or WISE
+1   for every 100 urban grass lawns converted to flower/food garden
+1   for every 100 increase in compost bins

Conservation is the core of economic development.
+10   for every one cent decrease in price of kwh
-10   for every one cent increase in price of kwh
+1   for each month HDD/CDD w/in 10% of normal
-1   for each month HDD >15% above normal Oct-Apr
-1   for each month CDD >15% above normal May-Sept
+1   for every 20 addtl superwindows installed (>R24)
+1   for every 50 residential wall/attic insulation installations (>R24)
+1   for every 5 underground/semiunderground (>50% footprint) buidings on exising footprint
+1   for every 100 addtl solar electric installations
+1   for every 50 addtl solar hot water heaters
+1   for every 50 addtl wind (3mph startup)
+1   for every addtl cogeneration unit
+1   for every 50 addtl members of residential fuel co-op
+1   for every frame home rebuilt or retrofitted >25% earth bermed or underground
+1   for every ____kwh decrease of TC electric usage, seasonal
-1   for every ____cu.yd increase of TC electric usage, seasonal
+1   for every ____cu. yd. decrease of TC natural gas usage, seasonal
-1   for every ____increase of TC natural gas usage, seasonal
-1   for every 10 units of new construction permitted by Towns of Ithaca, Lansing, Dryden
-1   for every 1,000 flush toilets, annual
+1   for every 100 compost toilets, annual
+1   for every 1,000ft.sq of adaptive re-use from large retailer to locally-owned light mfg or housing
-5   for every 1,000ft.sq of chain retail

Ownership stabilizes neighborhoods, strengthens community participation.
+1   for every one percent increase of homeownership and corresponding decrease of rental, excluding Cornell-owned units
+1   for every 5% of rental housing units locally-owned
+1   for every 10 beds at locally-owned hotels/motels/B&Bs
+3   for every youth hostel >10 beds, annual
-1   for every 10 motel/hotel rooms owned by non-locally-based chain
+1   for every 5% shift of room tax revenues from hotel/motel chains to B&Bs

Can't buy it in malls, can't live well without it.
+25   for nonprofit community-owned dental clinic, annual
-10   for absence of nonprofit community-owned dental clinic, annual
+1   for every 200 current members of Ithaca Health Fund
+1   for every 100 reduction of ER visits, annual
-1   for every 100 increase of ER visits, annual
+1   for every tenth percent decrease in local birth rate, seasonal
-1   for every tenth percent increase in local birth rate, seasonal (see also TRANSPORTATION traffic reduction)

Many sources for many voices keeps democracy alive.
+40   for second and each subsequent locally-owned daily newspaper, annual
+25   for second and each subsequent locally-owned weekly newspaper, annual
+15   for each locally-owned noncommercial radio station sustained at least 50% by subscribers, annual
+5   for every locally-owned generally-distributed monthly newspaper, excluding newsletters, annual
+5   for every locally-owned Internet Service Provider, annual
+1   for every 15 free public internet stations, annual
+1   for every 500 subscribers/readers to local-topic listservs or e-zines publishing at least monthly for at least one year

Freedoms to create new jobs and to be respected at work require support for small business and unions. See United Workers of Ithaca
+10   for presence of Livable Wage legislation, annual
-2   for every % income total to top 20% TC households above that % income total to bottom 20% TC households (Gini Coefficient)
-1   for every percent higher TC unemployment among African-Americans than among whites
+1   for every 100 DBAs filed in TC annually
-1   for every 100 jobs at a single employer
+1   for every percent TC employees enrolled in a union

Building local wealth relies mainly on local residents and our choices at market.
+1   for every 5% of sales tax revenue from locally-owned businesses, annual
-1   for every 5% of sales tax revenue from chain retailers, annual
+1   for every 10% occupancy of Central Business District retail spaces
+1   for every 500 Ithaca HOURS repaid from loans, annual
+1   for every 100 WISE investors >$500 each
+1   for every WISE program receiving >$10,000 investment

Relied upon to promote legislation favorable to ecodevelopment.
+1   for every City Council and County Board member elected endorsed by WISE
-1   for every City Council and County Board member elected not endorsed by WISE
+1   for every City and County Department head endorsed by WISE
-1   for every City and County Department head not endorsed by WISE

+10   for any total annual increase of >10 in any of the categories above
-10   for any total annual decrease of >10 in any of the categories above


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