I stayed up late Monday night editing a video recording I’d done with Lynn Davenport on Open Education Resources earlier in the day. First thing Tuesday morning was a forum on education for candidates running to become Philadelphia’s 100th mayor. Even though I’d reserved a spot a few weeks earlier, I was sorely tempted to sleep in. Would it really make a difference if I went? At this point politics doesn’t hold my interest – the worst team sport.
But when the sun broke through the shades, I was wide awake, and so I got myself together and trundled down across the parkway to the Franklin Institute. The program sponsor was Saint Joseph’s University’s School of Education and Human Development. The Jesuit institution is located on City Line Avenue at the border of the city and the Main Line. The campus now includes the former residence, a 16-room mansion, of the archbishop of Philadelphia, acquired via private donation for the price of $10 million in 2012 to address the archdiocese’s financial troubles. The university’s sponsorship of the event is notable given their ties to the Vatican and the Vatican’s involvement in the development of the social impact finance space coordinated through the Notre Dame Business School.
Members of the event’s planning committee included:
Education Works – founded in 2001, out-of-school time learning, college to career pathways.
Campus Philly – founded in 2004 to encourage students attending regional universities to stay after graduation.
Graduate Philadelphia! – founded in 2005 advises adults attending post-secondary education.
Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable – started in 1992 to assist in college acceptance and completion in underserved communities.
The Philadelphia Education Fund – founded in 1985 to promote improved student outcomes and college and career readiness.
The Philadelphia Education Fund is one of the main drivers of the privatization agenda and is facilitating the creation of education social impact markets in Philadelphia. The organization’s board chair is a Vanguard Group executive. Other board members are drawn from influential law firms, real estate, healthcare and pharmaceutical businesses, advanced materials and specialty chemicals manufacturing, as well as several representatives of Deloitte. Deloitte has promoted development of outcomes-based government contracts policies and social impact bonds since 2015.
I had some run ins with the Philadelphia Education Fund back when I was doing more on-the-ground activism including an impromptu sit-in at the Union League when they hosted William Hite, then superintendent for a back-to-school kick off at their exclusive club.
The following clip is when I confronted Farah Jimenez, CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund, and Otis Hackney, who at the time was the Chief Operating Office of the Philadelphia School District, in December of 2018 about the Education Fund had cancelling my tickets to attend future events. Jimenez served as one of Governor Corbett’s appointments to the School Reform Commission between 2014 and 2018 when I was most active in my opposition to standardized testing and deployment of educational technologies.
Farah Jimenez opened the mayoral forum asking with a show of hands who was in attendance. She started with educators, a few hands went up, then non-profit staff, which was the majority of the audience. Next were philanthropists, government, and business representatives, at which point she asked if she’d forgotten anyone. I shouted out parents, parents has been left out, and she blushed and said she’d assumed most of the people were parents so that’s why she didn’t include us.
This says a lot about how P3s work in education. Public-private partnerships view the family as an impediment to their efforts. The family unit is only useful in so much as it can be woven into layers of evidence-based, outcomes driven interventions tied to data surveillance and behavioral programming. I think many conservatives are correct in their assessment that the goal of the education system, including wrap-around programs like before and after care and extended day / extended year and in-school health and food assistance, is to gain control of the children for as much time as possible to expand their jurisdiction over impressionable minds and bodies.
It’s not the role of NGOs to address or even acknowledge structural causes of family instability. Although most staff of third-sector organizations start out well-intentioned, the truth is they end up cogs in an industry dedicated to handing out band-aids and gathering data as they attempt to mitigate, but never resolve, ongoing harms. The creation of such an operating system was needed to bring the next generation into gig-economy precarity and compliance as harmonized digital global citizens in extended reality, the Task Rabbit Ant Computer.
When confronted with the facts of what is really happening, staff generally look at you with a blank stare. This is what happened to me over and over again as I approached people wearing nametags identifying themselves as affiliates of the planning committee NGOs. None of them would acknowledge that they knew anything about social impact finance and when pushed, when told about plans to blockchain vulnerable children as data assets to be traded as digital commodities on global markets, they would not make eye contact, or nod as if I was crazy and look for an exit.
Over dinner that night I told my husband how infuriating it is to be an engaged citizen and try to have these conversations in appropriate contexts, like education forums for the mayor’s race, yet there is a set script of acceptable discourse and people cannot or will not depart from it. This idea of democracy is a charade, and to think how many lives have been lost bringing US “democracy” to other nations. If you scratch just below the surface, you realize it’s all a bitter farce, a vacuous performance with everyone going through the motions at the surface. Very few people are willing to have the conversations that matter.
One example of this was when a woman came over to me right before the panel started. She was a member of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, a group with which I had previously been involved. They do good work as watch-dogs of the Philadelphia School District and devotedly attend school board meetings to testify. I appreciate that about them; however, as my view widened, and I began to understand the larger forces at work, and this was well before grasping what was happening with the Internet of Bio-Nano Things and Human+ by the way, I could sense their hesitancy in stepping out into the unknown.
These people have good intentions, but for some reason they choose to position themselves in a mostly reactive role, scanning meeting agendas and developing testimony that in response to the ongoing malfeasance of the school board. As a result, they stayed trapped on the school district’s game board. They are never in a position to look ahead and see where they are being driven by problem-reaction-solution tactics. I can say this, because I was one of those people for a time, and I was crushed to realize that the years I’d spent fighting standardized tests had only moved the ball further down the field to all-the-time gamified ed-tech testing and competency-based education badges. It took me six months to grieve that loss and regroup, but I did. That experience gave me the knowledge and the strength I needed to take my analysis to the next level.
So, when Linda came up to me and asked how I was, what I was up to, I honestly said to her that I was still expanding my view of the bigger picture. I had offered by email last year to brief their group on blockchain credentials and the World Bank’s Learncard and extended-reality learning simulations so they could be ready for what is coming. I was met with silence, crickets. I told Linda that it seemed members of the Alliance of Philadelphia Public Schools didn’t really want to know what was unfolding. This I didn’t say, but thought, these are people who prefer to stay in the narrow public schools versus charter school construct, because it is known territory. I’d said in a prior email that as progressive-minded people I presumed they didn’t want to see artificial intelligence come after ANY children. As much as they may see their role as protecting neighborhood schools, the reality is that educational technology and digital twinning is coming after ALL children , no matter where they are “educated.” I see the need to try to protect all children by expanding the narrative and creating another field of engagement beyond the limited scope of school board agendas. APPS members, apparently, didn’t see it that way.
Certainly, if Linda had changed her mind and was open to starting to see the larger field of engagement, she could have taken me up on my open invitation to provide a briefing. Not to toot my own horn, but I am probably one of the most knowledgeable people in the country on these issues, with the exception of those who are implementing the program. That didn’t happen. When I told Linda it seemed that they didn’t want to know, her entire body stiffened, and she told me “I’m sorry you feel that way.” She repeated that phrase at least five times. It literally looked like she was programmed, totally unnatural. At that point I said no need to feel sorry about anything, it is what it is. About an hour later there was a stretch break and she came across the aisle to me to say I was never allowed to tell her what to say. I replied that shouldn’t be a problem, because we wouldn’t be speaking again, but I reminded her that she had approached me first and opened the conversation and that I would be writing up the encounter.
I’m sharing this exchange not because I want to vilify Linda or her behavior, but to demonstrate the power of conditioning, structured narratives, archetypes, and groupthink. There is profound comfort in a familiar struggle carried out in familiar company. Those who are running population-level psychological operations know this. Put people in boxes where you can watch them (social media) and keep them busy with efforts that are never going to affect the final outcome is a pretty good strategy if you’re in the business of setting up a global ant computer. In the course of the event, and I talked with probably two-dozen people, maybe three of them showed genuine interest and concern. I touched the hearts of three people. That’s not many, but maybe it’s enough for one day’s effort.
During my walk to the event, I picked up a discarded, dried dandelion from a mulched bed alongside the Rodin Museum and placed it at the base of the plinth at the entrance as I went inside. It crossed my mind that a sprig of natural chaos, as embodied by the golden flower, might be an antidote to mechanical frequencies pervading the ether surrounding the massive structure, Pennsylvania’s most visited museum. The organization’s supposed focus is science and technology education, but over the past twenty years it has increasingly hosted edutainment type blockbusters. This spring those willing to shell out $40 can tour an exhibit celebrating Disney’s 100th Anniversary. That should tell you something right there. The promotional banner features Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer’s apprentice. Hovering above his head are shards of glass featuring characters in iridescent tones. I believe this is a visual hat tip to optical and photonic computing and holography – the direction things are going with computing.
It is significant that the music of Fantasia was recorded by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The sound engineering was done in partnership with Hewlett Packard, whom Disney tapped for their new oscillator technology. William Hewlett and David Packard, if you believe the story, developed this cutting-edge acoustic technology in a Palo Alto garage under the guidance of their Stanford mentor Frank Terman. Frank was the son of Lewis Terman, a psychologist specializing in extreme intelligence who was a founding member of the Human Betterment eugenics project and also the first president of Stanford. Roughly a year after Fantasia premiered, Pearl Harbor pitched the United States into World War II, and HP would get a chance to refine their oscillation technologies for military radar purposes.
Below is a photo of a wall painting, one of four in the theater in which this event was held. The other paintings featured Newtown, Galileo, and Copernicus. They were positioned alongside one another, slightly recessed, high-up on the wall, balancing four large windows on the other side of the room. Because of their positioning a person could easily go in and out of the room and not even register that they were there. I didn’t until right as I was leaving.
The strange thing is that I was talking with an older man and a young woman who was working with a literacy mentoring program. Both were Black. The man pointed at the people on stage, the event hosts, noting that they were not trustworthy, that they had closed his high school, University City High. The school was demolished and incorporated into a new bio-tech hub. I was explaining social impact finance and advances in optical computing and noted the importance of melanin to these advances as a sophisticated optical material that was being used to create nano-electromechanical systems (NEMs).
I don’t know what led me to say it, maybe it was because their hearts seemed open. The gentleman even agreed to accept a hug from me after he shared encouragement that I should keep about my work even when people didn’t seem to hear, because you never knew where a seed would take root. I told them that sometimes it feels like there are esoteric elements at work, and then a few minutes later I saw this painting on the wall. It was at the top of the stairs near the entrance, so people would pass it no matter where they chose to sit in the auditorium, a prestigious location. I don’t think you can notice the prominent positioning of alchemy and astrology, along with the orrery in the space exhibit on the way in, and discount that those who believe they are controlling this game are not above using occult practice. This sorcerer, echoes of Mickey’s apprentice, certainly made an impression on me. I found out later that all three scientists depicted worked in alchemy and astrology.
Upon entering the building there were at least ten event staff or volunteers directing attendees to the check-in desk, because you had to wind your way through several long corridors to find it. I turned down the tote bag, but did take the literature, which featured a glossy publication promoting EducationWorks a co-host of the event.
You’ll notice the strange cover art, a young girl in dark shadow looking through a portal window at glowing jellyfish, which has echoes of photonics and optogenetics again. The jellyfish is a prominent feature used in the branding of Trent McConaghy’s Ocean Protocol, the infrastructure needed to create marketplaces in social impact data for machine learning and computation. Here I’ll also mention the logo of the Franklin Institute, which was changed in 2008 from a Sun partially covered by a dark moon, to two intersecting open circles, which still have the feeling of an eclipse but also shades of electrical circuits, cybernetics, SYZYGY, and digital twinning, too.
Insert logo 2.
The term “launchpad,” used in the brochure, echoes the ideas of space and rockets. These themes strangely come up often in the context of disruptive school models like California’s Rocketship Academy charter school franchise. Inside EducationWorks promotional brochure you’ll find another girl with an astronaut helmet drawn around her head, eyes closed. To get to the theater we all had to walk through the space exploration exhibit, past the 1912 orrery designed to chart the path of the planets in relation to the constellations for astrological purposes.
If we’re launching children, shouldn’t we understand the destination? My impression of the candidates and the event hosts was that either they were clueless about the planned trajectory for coming generations, or if not, they certainly weren’t going to discuss it or raise concerns publicly. The questions posed to the candidates as well as their responses were a throw-back to twenty years ago. So many elephants in the room – disruptive AI, uncertainties around the future of work, the expansion of the digital surveillance state.
The only reference to something remotely contemporary was when condo king and City Council member Allen Domb spoke of the time that he invited the city’s top bio-tech firms to a private dinner where they could all hash out what they would need to grow their gene and cell therapeutics businesses. No surprises in the responses – lower taxes, more affordable office space, and talent. The latter issue Domb hopes to solve by partnering with Drexel and community college to create the nation’s first life-science dedicated high school.
I remember it wasn’t all that long ago that we all understood genetic modification was problematic. Fast forward a few decades and now we have the Michael Levin’s of the world normalizing adding gills and tails and extra brain lobes to humans. No discussion of the ethics of any of this, just bow down to the job creators and give them what they want, even if that means the end of the non-hybridized human race. This is the future we are building for the children, but all anyone seems to want to talk about are career pathways and post-secondary credentials.
EducationWorks has an annual budget of close to $8 million and promotes evidence-based out-of-school time learning activities for K12+ education aligned to college and career readiness, the type of NGO that deep-pocketed impact investors will use to advance badge-based skill development on blockchain linked to human capital finance deals. Miles Wilson, who emceed the out-of-school time part of the forum, is its CEO.
The other material offered was a postcard promoting “The Kids Campaign – Every Day Safer than the Day Before.” Messaging that emphasizes fear and trauma even it promotes “safety.” The sidebar featured an acronym “SECURE,” which stands for Safety, Education, Careers, Uplift, Recreation, and Environment. More word spells. The intention is to secure Philadelphia’s children as digital assets and future digital citizens of Web3, where you can only be “safe” in a world run by Unicomp or Hal9000 supercomputers.
The campaign is being spearheaded by Children First (formerly Public Citizens for Children and Youth), led for the past decade by Donna Cooper, a prominent Democratic Party operative and past policy advisor to former Philadelphia mayor and Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell. The organization’s Guidestar profile prominently features United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 1 (poverty), 3 (health), 4 (education), 8 (economic growth), 10 (reduced inequality), and 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions). A major focus is pre-k funding, which we know is a human capital finance market to securitize low-income children as data commodities through their participation in programs like headstart. Several dozen other organizations are operating under the umbrella of this campaign, including the Reinvestment Fund, a national leader in pay for success finance and the creation of social impact bonds. In fact, the Reinvestment Fund was involved in California’s first social impact bond, “Welcome Home” in Santa Clara County partnering with Palantir back in 2015.
A half-hour before the panel discussion started there was time for coffee and networking where I buttonholed my first candidate, longtime Republican City Council member David Oh, about his knowledge of social impact bonds and securitizing children as public debt on blockchain. Before the morning was over I managed to have the same discussion with Allan Domb, Derek Green, and Rebecca Rhynhardt. I could see the wheels turning in Rhynhardt’s head when I explained how the debt would be securitized and traded or even shorted and the implications for associating that debt with young children. Still, she didn’t offer me a card or a chance to follow up. As former city treasurer under Mayor Michael Nutter and Chief Administrative Officer of Mayor Kenney she was probably the candidate best suited to look into these new forms of financial depredation. But then again, when I looked up her background it turns out that before jumping into politics, she was a trader at Bear Sterns at the credit derivatives desk in the lead up to the 2008 economic crash, so maybe not…
At 8:30am we found ourselves wandering the corridors headed towards the theater. Before entering the space exhibit, I noticed a wall full of pendulum clocks (oscillation, a key to morphogenesis) with a banner referencing the importance of timekeeping, an old piezo electric energy harvester, and a 3D printed rainbow bust of Franklin sponsored by a Swiss sensor technology company. Oscillation and electricity was on full display, which brought to mind two memorable features of the Franklin Institute, the oversize human heart that children can walk through – bioelectricity – and one of Ben Franklin’s glass armonica – frequency.
The Franklin Institute’s education mission dates back to 1824 when it began promoting the mechanical arts. Visits to the Franklin Institute have long been part of every Philadelphia student’s educational experience, though I’m not sure where that stands in the post-Covid era of budget cuts and virtual reality field trips. The organization was the founding partner in the school district’s launch in 2006 of Science Leadership Academy (SLA), a special admission high school centering project-based learning. Every incoming student is given a family membership, and they take part in weekly visits to the museum for “mini-courses” related to the collections. The Franklin Institute’s network connected the students with luminaries like President Obama and Bill Gates. Spots in the school, led by Chris Lehmann, are highly coveted. SLA opened a middle school in Mantua in the spring of 2016 and has since relocated to a new Drexel-owned facility in the University City Science District.
The Franklin Institute is situated on the Ben Franklin Parkway opposite Logan Circle and next door to the Academy of Natural Sciences. It was constructed during the height of the Depression, and yet somehow boosters managed to raise $5 million in construction funds in just a few weeks. The entrance rotunda is operated as a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service. It features a towering sculpture of Ben Franklin the masonic statesman and electrical wizard whose was in on the ground floor of the creation of many sectors that remain quite relevant to extended reality in the coming Web3 world of digital tokenization: media production, insurance, governance, and gatekeeping cutting edge science through the American Philosophical Society. The twenty-foot-high figure is seated on a plinth of Rosa Aurora marble from Portugal in a room, designed by John T. Windrim, a Philadelphia architect who completed many commissions for Bell Telephone and the Philadelphia Electric Company.
Below I will share impressions of the candidates based on my notes. There were four rounds of questions: general thoughts on education and funding; out of school time learning; workforce development; and tension between higher education (WEB DuBois) and skills training (Booker T. Washington). There was a half-hour of Q&A afterwards. I didn’t get to ask my question, which I will share below. One person who asked a question was affiliated with Year Up, an organization founded in Boston 2000 with a focus on closing the workforce opportunity gap for young people. Their partners include Bank of America, JP Morgan, and ATT. There was a young man who had come to Philadelphia from Slovakia as part of an exchange program with PHENND (Philadelphia Higher Education for Neighborhood Development) to learn about innovative education. He didn’t seem too keen on what I was trying to convey when I spoke with him afterwards. PHENND is affiliated with AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a key organization in developing pay for success pilot programs through its Social Innovation Fund. Cheryl A. Mobely-Stimpson, former teacher and later a connected education consultant based in South Philadelphia, addressed the Dubois/Washington dichotomy by saying we should just start calling it post-secondary education. I ended up talking with Mobley-Stimpson as I was leaving the event about Educare’s surveillance play tables, the Heckman Equation, and the Kaufmann Foundations plans to securitize pre-k debt. A local philanthropist was sitting nearby and nodded at everything I said. I reached out to her by text and email afterwards, but I haven’t yet heard back.
This was the question I had hoped to ask, although as my husband said, Alison no one would know anything you’re talking about. He was probably right. Nonetheless these are the issues we should all be educating one another about:
My question (I was trying to sound impartial): As mayor would you support the use of blockchain credentialing, competency-based learning models, income-sharing agreements, and ed-tech meta-data aggregation to create speculative investments in human capital and launch a global gig economy of AI-mediated platform and remote robotic labor? Models are now being piloted in Dallas through Greenlight Credentials and JP Morgan and in Ethiopia in partnership with Cardano (Blockchain) Atala Prism digital identity.
Below are my notes on the candidate responses. Again, nothing new being said. It isn’t too hard to see how most of these plans can be folded into social impact finance and digital surveillance. Yet none of that was discussed. Maybe this is the greatest indictment of the failings of our education system. Not just today, but failings many decades in the making.
Rebecca Rhynhart was Philadelphia Budget Director under former Mayor Michael Nutter now City Controller and previously worked Bearn Sterns on credit derivatives in lead up to 2008 economic crash.
Has a child in a public school. Wants to improve “good seats” both public and charter. Also referenced improved outcomes. Wants to direct city resources in public health and behavioral health into schools – referenced trauma.
Successful out of school time programs should spark a child’s imagination. Coordination of services is important. As Chief Administrative Officer she broke down silos at citywide. Emphasized the importance of arts programming.
Safety is a priority in schools. Need to strengthen Human Resources and recruitment of future teachers. Help paraprofessionals become teachers. Increase teacher salaries.
Expand CTE in the district with pipelines to needed jobs like fleet mechanics. Utilize recent changes in state pathways to graduation requirements. Also develop internship programs.
Helen Gym is a former teacher and community organizer who started Parents United for Public Education and Asian American United. She is first Asian-American woman to serve on Philadelphia City Council.
Schools should help children fulfil their potential, no matter what they want to do. Her city hall would be “all in” for young people – trauma, wellness, parent universities. Prioritizes pre-k, community college, after school, and summer jobs for youth. Want to build partnerships with businesses, NGOs, healthcare, and higher education.
Out of school time learning is lifesaving due to rise in gun violence. She would guarantee a coordinated approach to OST and guarantee access to all children. Wants a $10 billion school modernization fund.
She loved being a teacher. Suggesting clearing debt for teacher education so they don’t have that financial burden. Need more investment in playgrounds, mental health and wellbeing.
Considering a K-16 model to help kids develop into adults with a range of opportunities through afterschool and summer programs. Need an integrated model. Mentioned Parkway’s partnership with Community College.
Jeff Brown is the CEO of Brown’s Super Stores grocery business, chair of Pennsylvania State Workforce Board, and board member of Philadelphia Youth Network (Digital On-Ramps / Badges), and Uplift Solutions (workforce training for at-risk youth and formerly incarcerated). Brown has been accused of ethics violatons around dark money contributions. Given his position on the workforce development board, Uplift, and the Philadelphia Youth Network, I’d hazard a guess that the Jeff Yass / Susquehann Investment Group school choice co-hort is likely to be hovering around in the background somehwere. More on that here.
Focus on career and technical education (plumbers, mechanics, etc.). Opposes school lottery system. Wants to use state capital investments to address maintenance problems in old school buildings, downsize as needed and “reimagine” schools for new purposes.
Free time is the enemy – need children to be involved in activities. Recreation centers are poorly managed – need more programming including increased funds for tutoring and STEM. Jobs for youth are needed, but the government should fund them, and they should be run by non-profits.
His approach to the grocery business is inclusion and diversity. Offers jobs to returning citizens. Where there are shortages in needed professions, create incentives. Investing in teachers is a way to prioritize children.
Need more access to counselors to guide people through the workforce to get where they need to be. Need caseworkers to manage people out of poverty.
David Oh was the first Asian-American male to serve on Philadelphia City Council, trained as a lawyer, and is the presumptive Republican candidate for mayor.
Emphasized concerns around public safety. Promoted Swiss apprenticeship model.
Every school should offer a full complement of afterschool activities, not just some. Upgrade the libraries and create expanded borrowing opportunities for things like equipment and instruments based on a person’s record of returning materials on time.
Proposed legislation to create tax credits for hiring veterans and reducing student debt. Supported large arts recovery fund after lockdowns. Sees importance of the arts to the regional economy. Look to overseas for innovation? Withhold payment to firms that are discriminatory.
Emphasized the need for Swiss apprenticeship model to take away stigma for people who don’t purpose a college degree.
Allan Domb made a fortune in real estate based on Rittenhouse Square condominiums and high-end restaurants. He was the head of Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors and an at-large City Council member with a focus on tax-delinquent properties.
Emphasized school choice, technology in schools, and public safety. Interest in education around entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Envisioned four-day school week in high school with one day a week of work-based learning. Uplifted model of Christo Rey. Said he set up partnership with Federal Reserve to do teacher training around financial literacy and programs to introduce coding curriculum to 20 high schools.
Partner with local employers on summer jobs and afterschool jobs for youth. Philadelphia has shortages. This could address that.
Need more entrepreneurs. 33,000 people left Philadelphia in recent years. Concerns over safety and public schools contributed. Salaries are too low here. It’s hard to support a family. Most of the city’s top employer are NGOs and do not pay taxes. Pitched the creation of a partnership high school with Drexel and Community College to create a pipeline for gene and cell therapy industry talent.
Should have 2-3 high schools focused on public safety careers, also schools for the building trades. Discussed dinner with 13 biotech companies and intention to create a life science academy with Drexel and Community College to deliver new talent to the gene/cell therapy industry.
Derek Green is lawyer who worked as an aide to Marian Tasco. He was a deputy city solicitor in housing and community development, served on City Council as an at-large member in 2015, and is an advocate around autism issues.
Concerns around asbestos in schools. Identified need for coordinated support around autism services for families. Reimagine what schools should look like – incorporate best practices like 21st Century Schools in Baltimore. Emphasized need to expose young people to career options.
Emphasized public safety plan. Bring back programs that worked like Safe and Sound.
Public safety is a priority. Offer hiring bonuses for police. Use tax credits to recruit teachers. Need better marketing of the city.
Focus on both higher education and workforce development / skills. Promoted dual enrollment. Work with community college to align courses to workforce needs. Consider Budd Factory’s conversion to a Bioworks campus in Tioga. People may not need a college degree.
James DeLeon is former municipal court judge and was an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers.
Expressed concern around financial transparency with regard to money the city took from CARES that most of it was untraceable.
Pitched is local incident management system as a good use case for OST coordination. Says necessary responders should be more efficient.
Touted his experience as a “transformative leader” in military and the courts. Said he would create a joint education task force around job creation and graduate retention.
Promoted German job-training approach.