Confehr: Positive news for those seeking a job

Friday, October 1, 2010

"I was born in a log cabin that I made with my own hands."

That was Naomi Judd's answer to my question when she spoke at Middle Tennessee State University.

It reflects the personal initiative and humble origins - such as being born in a log cabin like Abe Lincoln - plus the sense of humor that we like in our leaders.

I was born in Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, D.C. When they found out I was a boy, I had to take Mom home.

While growing up near the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md., I spoke with a Navy pilot who was shot down and held in the Hanoi Hilton. It was a memorable experience while living close to our nation's capital.

So, it was totally understandable why the Music City Honor Flight is a good idea. It flies World War II veterans to Washington and buses them around town to see the World War II Monument and many more.

It's an economic boost to that local economy. Tourism is one of the economic engines for that city, after government and media. Before World War II, the District of Columbia operated much like other American towns. Every so often there's a new president instead of a new sheriff.

Meanwhile, I'm a little baffled why campaigning against Washington is such a good idea. Sure, it's "Throw the bums out and elect me." But it belies the pride felt by visitors to our nation's capital where people try to make the nation better.

Here in Lewisburg, the federal effort to make sure rivers and streams flow with clean water includes a federally subsidized program to expand a processing plant. When contracts are awarded, there will be dozens, if not hundreds of construction jobs available.

And since federal money is being spent, most, if not all of the jobs will be subject to the Davis Bacon Act of Congress that mandates wages be at the prevailing rate. Frequently, that's a rate like what's paid for a unionized job. The work will be temporary, but there aren't many permanent, full-time jobs in construction.

And the job is as about as close to you as where you get your vehicle's license plates renewed.

The work will be construction of a 100 million gallon holding tank and the doubling of the capacity of the city's sewage treatment plant. Some $2 million of the $13-million-project will be federal money. Uncounted thousands of dollars in lower interest costs on income tax free bonds will also limit city costs.

And yes, the bulk of the funding comes from an increase in water rates. But were you like me? I decided to buy American-made tires when my car needed replacements. Wouldn't you rather hire a neighbor?

This is just a thin slice of the pie, but it is a positive view of an admittedly difficult situation. If you need work, or a better job, I hope this helps.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.