New Lynn or Two Lynns?

To The Item Editor:

Assuming Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy’s comments about a billion dollars in development on the waterfront is true, it is likely that, before too long, Lynn’s waterfront will become the site of one or more major developments. This is true for two reasons: The land is the cheapest waterfront land north of Boston and close to the city, and Lynn has already invested a lot of time and money to move the power lines to make further investment more attractive.

 

The likely building of a casino in nearby Revere — or even in Everett — only enhances Lynn’s opportunities. This will present an opportunity to change our city for the better unlike any in our history. We cannot miss this opportunity.

Lynn today is the employment basket case of the North Shore. The recent study released by the New Lynn Coalition and the discussion with over 150 Lynners and most of our elected representatives at the Lynn Museum drew a stark picture of crumbling schools, poverty level jobs, sinking incomes, a continuing foreclosure crisis, backlogs for inadequate job training, and veterans and ex-offenders frozen out of even the thousands of minimum wage jobs that exist in the employment wasteland. No matter where you live in the city, the chilling question is the same: where will my children work?

To call the above picture a “good business climate” as the Mayor did in the Aug. 1, 2013 Item cover story is hard to fathom. To say that it is not government’s job to address this jobs crisis is preposterous. Why anyone would be proud of our situation, where Lynn family income has dropped at a faster rate than any of the surrounding areas, is beyond comprehension.

We have many hard-working and dedicated elected officials. They need to address the above picture with concrete proposals to create GOOD jobs. Why else do we elect representatives to our government?

A glittering waterfront tower or two, built by tax-evading construction firms who hire from out of state, will not address the crisis. A development where the only role of today’s Lynners is to scrub the floors, serve the meals, and change the sheets for today’s minimum wage of $8 an hour will not address the crisis. This is a recipe for two Lynns, separate and unequal.

A minimum wage that is gradually raised to $11 an hour and indexed in the future to inflation would help. Unionized jobs where democracy is extended to the workplace, and Lynners of all backgrounds are hired, would help. A simple “linkage” agreement which would commit large-scale developers to contribute to end the desperate lack of funding for job training so Lynners can find employment in growing fields like healthcare, construction and skilled manufacturing, will help. These steps, already implemented in many other forward-looking cities, will make development work for Lynn workers and small businesses.

We are glad to read that the mayor is supportive of creating machinist jobs and training. We are too and look forward to working together toward that common aim.

These common sense approaches will help us build a new Lynn, not two Lynns.

Maria Carrasco,

President, New Lynn Coalition

Carly McClain,

Organizing coordinator,

New Lynn Coalition