Next to us is an old empty house. When I walk my dog, I pick up any trash that may have blown onto that house’s yard and watch for any activity. It would be nice to have someone living in that house, someone who would wave “hello”, keep up the yard, put a coat of paint on its stucco exterior and a swing on it’s grand front porch.   But there’s no guarantee whoever moved in would do those lovely things.   An “absentee landlord” could buy that house and rent to nuisance tenants who would sell drugs to the neighbor children, play loud music and leave trash everywhere.  I’d like to have neighbors but NOT at any cost.

The same goes with businesses who want to be neighbors in our community. Of course we want businesses set up shop here, but at what cost?  Will they be polluting our air and water with impunity?  Will they treat their workers poorly?  Will the products they produce be something that our community members can safely use?

The St Joseph Count Council  must remember jobs at any cost is a race to the bottom; before giving tax abatements to incoming businesses, let’s demand they be good neighbors first.

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