Friday, December 11, 2009

Flint small busines turns up the volume!

Terry Bankert , Flint Divorce Lawyer sharing his opinion.

I attended the City of Flint Forum on Economic Development hosted by Mayor Dayne Walling.

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Flint's mayor is following the White House's lead in seeking ideas for boosting the economy. Mayor Dayne Walling …[hosted]…a Jobs Growth and Economic Development forum on Thursday evening at City Hall. He says it's part of an effort to focus on transforming Flint into a 21st century sustainable city.[2]

More than 100 people turned out for the Jobs Growth and Economic Development forum on Thursday evening at City Hall.[3] I counted 150.

I presented to Dawn Jones the Mayors PR person comments I compiled ,from you, using Social Media Tools.
Last week the President of the United States Barack Obama conducted his own event and challenged every community to do the same. Mayor Dayne Walling stepped up to the challenge. I give him an A+.

Mayor Walling says it’s a chance at federal investment. “We always want to get more attention from the White House,” says Walling. “They control a lot of money, and we want to get that here for our local projects.”[3] You have to pay your dues to be listened to. Flint should now have the Presidents ear.
Why do I think Walling should get an A+?

This meeting could have been total bull crap with a pre-planned package of economic proposals that benefit a small group of seven or so fronted by the very private Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce an guided by the omniscient eye of the Mott Foundation.

There were elements of this present but… The real deal was the large number, 100+, of small business people.

Who are these small business people?

They are working people who have put up all their money to build a business to support their families and those of a couple employee. This type of person dominated the audience.

The Mayor introduce the purpose then led with a Regional Chamber of Commerce , a jobs central presentation was made, why I don’t know given the topic but they are doing great things.
Next up was a number wonder who put up some graphs proving once and for all we have lost manufacturing jobs and educational institution are a big part of our economy.

The Flint area's regional seasonally unadjusted jobless rate of 15.2 percent was among the highest in the state in October. It's trying to attract employers as it works to find ways to survive and thrive as a smaller city.[2]
One of these small business people followed talking about his solar panels and the huge support Kettering University has given him allowing for his serious competition in the market place.

A consultant, spoke you know the guy paid to put together the real plan.

He was followed by the heir apparent to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, a guy with a first name sounds like a perilous trail, deep pockets smart committed and even without the money somebody we should listen to. Unlike his father he wore leather shoes.

During the question and answer a couple of gadflys spoke but mostly it was a real deal testimonial of people interested in the business of small business in Flint.

Several spoke. One of the most riveting was by Dan Schmier i.e. “Dan The Travel Man’ and his attempts to create a host agency to expand his business in the Flint area.

Check out his link.
Walling took notes as residents and community leaders shared ideas. He says key points to drive home to federal leaders include the need for access to credit for small businesses, investment in green technology, and continued support for the unemployed[3]


1. From what you have seen, or seen reported about the Presidents jobs forum on December 3 , what seems relevant to our community?

2.What parts of our local economy are working or thriving? What businesses and sectors are expanding and hiring?

3.What parts of our local economy are not working or thriving? What business and sectors have been hit the hardest? What are people in our community struggling with the most?

4.What are the opportunities for growth in our community. What businesses and sectors seem poised to rebound? What do you see as the jobs for the future?

5.What are the obstacles to job creation in our community? What could make our businesses more likely to start hiring?

6.What other issues and ideas should the President and Mayor Walling consider for sparking job creation in our community?

Consider sharing your thoughts on these questions with the Mayor.
Mr. Mayor every time a business person make an inquiry about locating in Flint or receiving City help to stay in Flint you should assign an appointee to shepherd them through the city system and report to you directly.

What did I feel when I left?

1.There is a business pressure to stay or locate in Flint or at least near. This is the market at work. Our governments job is not get in the way, encourage and create quality services for business and residents alike.

2.I sure hope the City follows up with those that spoke.

3.Mayor Walling has earned another door opener with the Obama Administration, and should have a seat at the table with the economic actors moving this City forward.
I left just before the Q and A ended and Walling was to speak again. My wife was waiting for me at the “Loft” and I was 30 min over due. I prefer her company.

At 58 and 15 years into a downtown Flint small service business and having invested /risked 50k in the Atwood rock concert last August my view of things has changed. Human rights, worker rights must always be protected but equally now I think those that risk economically should benefit more we need to encourage that. Most new and current jobs are in small business.
"What we need are some new solutions to old problems," …[Walling]…said.
"This community has been plagued by high unemployment for far too many years. We now have a president who has called for ideas and input from everyday citizens."
Information from Thursday's meeting will be compiled and sent to the White House.[4]
So what would I holler out to this Obama Walling imitative.

Just as in “All politics is local,” “All economic development is bed rocked on stopping a small business from leaving Flint and doing all things possible to encourage the next one to locate in Flint“.

Posted here by
Terry Bankert

City of Flint Jobs Growth and Economic Development Forum
12/10/09 6 pm Flint City Hall Chambers
Hosted by Mayor Dayne Walling
Moderator David Solis Director of Governmental Policy Flint
Welcome -Dawn Jones
Opening remarks Mayor Dayne Walling
ED DONOVAN-Senior Vice President Economic Development, Genesee regional chamber of Commerce.
RHEA ACUNNA-Regional Economic Analyst State Bureau of Labor market Information and Strategy Initiatives
JEAN HILL- Executive Director Flint Job Corps Center
RIGEWAY WHITE- Project manager Uptown Development
HOWARD CROFT- Owner Mid-Michigan Solar

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