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Mark Brown eMail: ‘Safe and Sick time should remain a business decision’

Mark Brown of Duluth sent the following eMail to Duluth city councilors on Friday, regarding upcoming initiatives for council considerations:

Several of the things that you have up for consideration will have negative impacts on Duluth’s businesses and the local economy. I hope you will carefully weigh the effect each of your causes will have on our community.

Safe and Sick time should remain a business decision. A great many companies already offer this type of benefit and in a tight labor market particularly in a service economy like Duluth companies must compete for workers and the market will set benefits and wage scales. The city government should not interfere.

A city mandated minimum wage will also have a negative impact on our predominantly service economy. Companies will end up cutting staff cutting hours and frankly many businesses will close their doors in Duluth and move elsewhere. The market for labor in Duluth is tight and talented, dependable, educated and hardworking employees already sets the local wages. Any increases in wages should be set at the federal or state level not by the City Council.

Homeless Bill of Rights — working downtown I have witnessed firsthand the encampment that was recently set up around the fountain on Lake Ave and Superior. A hoard of unemployed washing and bathing in the fountain until it had to be turned off. Piles of belongings stacked up to be retrieved later. People littering, sleeping, defecating, smoking, drinking and drug use and panhandling in offensive ways.

Thankfully Chief of Police Mike Tusken stepped in and recently restored order and decency after many calls and complaints from businesses and citizens.

Lake Avenue and Superior is the gateway to Canal Park and the Lakewalk. Every visitor to our city passes that park.

The Lakewalk is frightening after dark and locals know and tourist are told to take the streets or take a ride after dark. This is not the city decent people want to live in and this is hardly what we want to be telling hotel guests and visitors.

Encouraging the unemployed with new rights written up by the City Council is unimaginable to me. This country has a bill of rights, that isn’t enough?

Homelessness is a tragedy and our community is generous and supportive with volunteer time and money to the multiple facilities across our community that offer food, medicine, clothing, shelter and counseling to those who seek it.

The best thing that you as councilors can do is listen and create a better, healthy business climate. Be committed to and be partners to commerce. In doing so economic development creates jobs, jobs create income, income becomes spending and spending creates more jobs.

Lastly your endorsement of the Dakota Access protesters and your lack of support for the local businesses involved in environmentally sound natural resource work is still simmering. When those companies begin to pull out of town don’t be too surprised.

Being a public figure is not supposed to be an easy job, and writing public policy is a difficult and a great responsibility. Most of the things that you do for the Community go unnoticed and your commitment to serve is under appreciated.

I see you all as dedicated individuals and I appreciate your willingness to serve and to accept and consider my concerns that they may also become yours.

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