Everybody wants more money so they can enjoy life, send
college and retire well. To achieve these, over 40% of American
have invested in stocks and bonds.
But Wall Street is risky and even destructive. Bull
the middle class to bet heavily then, often, their money dissolves.
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
controlled: the watchdog workload of the Securities & Exchange
grew by 80% between 1991-2000 while staff grew just 20%.
Even when the market's rising, only 3% of trading is
like food and fuel. Warmaking, prisons, traffic accidents and
environmental depletion are profitable, while neighborhoods and family
Where's a safer place to invest? Many now realize that
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
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.
large and small can systematically create a mutual enterprise system
providing us retirement equity transferable to other communities with
Creating these communities, to ensure our personal
a safer world, requires new kinds of investment, managed by people we
and control-- fellow Ithacans whose homes and jobs depend on wise local
business development. A recent Ithaca Community News
19 Ithaca programs which would retain wealth locally, stimulate
of creative jobs, meet all basic needs, share power with lower-income
repair the environment, and distinguish Ithaca as one of the most
cities in the Americas.
The price tag for these programs, $110 million, was to
raised from my MegaLotto winnings (July 6), but that door did not open.
Where else does $110 million come from? Roughly, that's
percent of total annual wages & salaries earned in Tompkins
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
How could we raise this
money without relying on the lottery or
taxes? The Whole Ithaca Stock Exchange (WISE) will enable a wide range
private investors to invest safely in Ithaca to build genuine wealth
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
provides grants and loans to the businesses described below, monitors
program progress, redeems bonds by issuing business notes, defines the
transferability of bonds.
are the details:
How is WISE
different than a Community Development Corporation?
does it invest in?
What do investors
How is the
Who manages it?
How is community
Ithaca's new economic indicators?
How related to
How do we begin?
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
and special benefits for investors. It transfers technological and
economic power to lower-income, building relevant skills. Public
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
* businesses are selected which rely on
technologies manageable by
neighborhoods rather than centralized expertise/machinery, and which
* businesses are selected which transfer economic
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
* monetizes tools, skills, crops, soil, volunteer
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
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
They receive community Interest in the form of
discounts (in advance) & services
(including municipal non-utility), standard accrual, authority and
Largest investors are repaid not only directly by
investment, but by the new markets rising from energy efficiency,
discretionary spending, and ecotourism.
Thus, ultimately, investors get to live well in a
They provide a heritage for their children and grandchildren. They
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
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
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
(regulated by WISE), these investors may select to redeem some of their
bonds for store notes, or negawatts, or HOURS, at principle + another
interest ($40). Total interest 16%.
The same applies to those who invest volunteer hours
needed by any WISE business. Hours of labor are paid with WISE bonds
redeemable for WISE goods and services as available.
Energy conservation is the foundation of economic
development. Millions of dollars yearly kept in Ithaca, not paid to
is money which can be spent here to stimulate new enterprises and jobs
serve our broader aims. Other basics, like food, water, housing, health
care and transportation are top priorities.
Insulation: countywide would cut our heating/cooling bills by over
80%, giving us discretionary income to support local businesses
thus creating new jobs & strengthening local culture. The
* Superwindows are translucent walls with R20 and
* 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
growing locally and converting harvests into pasta, canned goods
* Food Processing Center: expands local
agriculture by enabling
farmers to grow for more than the seasonal market.
* Bulk Food Center sells the above below
* 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.
Trolley: connecting Cornell & Commons. More than
rail cars would be handcrafted w/inlay wood, stained glass, neon
waterfalls, musicians on board. Big boost to tourism & transit,
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
* Bicycle HPUV manufacture
* Street Reclamation
Ownership stabilizes neighborhoods, strengthens community
participation. Co-housing & Retirement Co-ops: makes life less
energy-efficient and more friendly.
* Import Replacement Center: barter, trade, bank:
skills & tools to create flexible manufacturing networks that
* 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
operating costs for each enterprise
* Retail outles for prototypes test markets the
* Dream Come True Job Center connects people to
resources that make our wildest hopes real.
Alternative healing center rely on natural strength and remedies to
promote wellness, prevent illness, and revive.
* Health Fund allows us to self-insure, keeping
insurance payments in this county instead of wasting it on HMOs.
* Medical/dental clinic co-op/s provide free care
* Teaching the above refines and spreads these
* Community meeting spaces for congresses ensure
fullest public participation
Art: mosaics, murals
HOW IS WISE STRUCTURED?
Guided by elected board of directors subject to
referenda initiated by investors or community. Management is organized
that community has direct intervention, expertise is rotated rather
entrenched, new expertise develops reflecting ever-changing
main incentive is service.
* each shareholder has one vote regardless of
* each community member has one vote
* democratically elected boards
* Celebrate citizens' right to referendum, recall
(special meetings). Constrains tendency of any organization to become
bureaucratized and ingrown, serving staff more than the public. Staff
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
EACH BUSINESS AGREES TO THE FOLLOWING:
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
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
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
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
5. share powers of CDC in NYS
HOW IS COMMUNITY PROGRESS MEASURED?
The SECURITIES AND ECOLOGIES COMMISSION (SEC)
defines, valuates, and
compiles indicators of local economic health, including such measures
small farm base, soil depth & rainfall; shopping locally;
stability, birth rate & age distribution; insulation &
wind & hydro generation; bike & transit useage;
employment & crime.
Creates a monthly index based on the above.
SEC ventures a specific formula for calculating an
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
and balanced portrait of the local economy. The SEC database plugs in
numbers, calculates values, subtotals and total. Raw data are obtained
regular arrangement with relevant agencies or through FOIA. Some are
infrastructure calculations; others change monthly, quarterly,
semiannually, annually or decenially. Best estimates may be sufficient.
New Economic Indicators
SEC issues a biennial Seventh Generation report,
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
Values may be updated by Cornell and Ithaca College classes, and other
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
Through WISE investment, Ithaca becomes fully democratic intentional
privacy and ownership are secured, while social spaces are plentiful.
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
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
exciting community, raising the standard of living while lowering the
of living & setting examples for the whole country. Ithaca will
become a vast satisfaction to residents and powerful example to
HOW DOES WISE BEGIN?
* public meeting to form 501(c)3 to operate within NYS Associations Law
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
REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS
In all cases, priority to local
workers and materials, local/regional
manufacture, accepting regional/local credits:
GENERATION & CONSERVATION to provide
fuels w/out global warming:
* windows: >R19: standard & irregular sizes, export
* walls: >R50: most durable yet biodegradable, lightweight,
water- & fire-resistant
* attic: >R50: most durable yet biodegradable, lightweight,
water- & fire-resistant
* heat exchangers
---SOLAR ELECTRIC (NISEG) RFP: photovoltaic arrays,
maximum efficiency, durability, kwh cost, least toxic manufacture:
---NATURAL GAS IN CITY RFP: locate, define
capacity, define quality,
equipment for filtering, calculate 500-year supply ration, define
distribution district for maximum efficiency
connecting Cornell & Commons. More than transportation, rail
would be handcrafted w/inlay wood, stained glass, neon waterfalls,
musicians on board. Big boost to tourism & transit, could
* RFP: installation and maintenance of standard guage trackage,
installation and maintenance of electric wires, staff (conductors,
maintenance, promotion), garage & shop, tools & spare
promotion, insurance, dedicated hydroelectric, cogeneration, district,
elected Ithaca Trolley Authority board: grants, referenda
PROCESSING CENTER RFP
---BULK FOOD CENTER RFP
---URBAN ORCHARDS RFP
* 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
enables people to live at greater density with less stress.
* RFP: lightweight, ease of installation
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
welcome everywhere when government agrees to accept them for tax
The author is a consultant for community
economic development. Your comments and suggestions are welcome: [email protected]
AND ECOLOGIES COMMISSION (SEC)
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
calculates values, subtotals and total (base 100). Raw data are
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,
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
+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
-1 for every 500 passenger decrease in regional/national bus
+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
to minimum 10 acres
-1 for every 10 acres increase in average acreage per TC
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,
-1 for every 5% decrease of harvest of wheat & corn,
+25 for every 1,000 qts/day capacity of nonprofit community
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.
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
below avg or 2 consecutive months10-24% below avg
-5 for every month >25% below avg when preceded by
>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
+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
+1 for every 50 acres deeded to Finger Lakes Land Trust or
+1 for every 100 acres TDR to conservation organization or
+1 for every 100 urban grass lawns converted to flower/food
+1 for every 100 increase in compost bins
Conservation is the core of economic
+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
+1 for every 5 underground/semiunderground (>50%
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%
bermed or underground
+1 for every ____kwh decrease of TC electric usage, seasonal
-1 for every ____cu.yd increase of TC electric usage,
+1 for every ____cu. yd. decrease of TC natural gas usage,
-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
to locally-owned light mfg or housing
-5 for every 1,000ft.sq of chain retail
Ownership stabilizes neighborhoods, strengthens
+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
+3 for every youth hostel >10 beds, annual
-1 for every 10 motel/hotel rooms owned by non-locally-based
+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
+25 for nonprofit community-owned dental clinic, annual
-10 for absence of nonprofit community-owned dental clinic,
+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,
-1 for every tenth percent increase in local birth rate,
(see also TRANSPORTATION traffic reduction)
Many sources for many voices keeps democracy
+40 for second and each subsequent locally-owned daily
+25 for second and each subsequent locally-owned weekly
+15 for each locally-owned noncommercial radio station
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
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
-1 for every 5% of sales tax revenue from chain retailers,
+1 for every 10% occupancy of Central Business District
+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
Relied upon to promote legislation favorable to
+1 for every City Council and County Board member elected
endorsed by WISE
-1 for every City Council and County Board member elected
endorsed by WISE
+1 for every City and County Department head endorsed by
-1 for every City and County Department head not endorsed by
+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