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Daynna Dixon, Empower DC
Testimony on public financing of baseball stadium
October 25, 2004

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Statement of Daynna Dixon, Empower DC Steering Committee Member

Presented to the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly

October 25, 2004

My name is Daynna Dixon. I am a single mother of 3 working full time as an executive assistant for a national organization. I am a co-chair of the Child Care for All Campaign and a member of the steering committee for Empower DC. Through these experiences I am learning how to access the local government and hold decision makers accountable.

I woke my 3 girls up at 6:30 am this morning. They wanted breakfast; a reasonable request. There was no food for breakfast because I paid the electric bill instead of going grocery shopping. I called another single mother that picks my children up and takes them to school to see if she could make my girls a grilled soy- cheese sandwich for lunch. They donít go to the neighborhood public school because our public schools are in such poor shape. I gave my children some milk w/protein for breakfast. As I walked to the subway I cried because I want to do so much more for the girls. They are so sweet and smart. Its not there fault mommy is a single parent living on $38,000 a year. Should they not have a safe place to live, or food everyday, or heat in the winter because mommy canít make ends meet or because mommy is making enough to pay the rent and flip flop bills? Or better yet, should we be quiet like so many other families and join the homeless on the corner. I sat at work hungry, careful not to spend the last $10 I had in my pocket in hopes of piecing a meal together and having enough money to buy some oatmeal for breakfast on Tuesday. Hungry and light headed I typed this message to you, the public, in hopes of giving you some insight into the life of the families who are often forgotten.

I told my story to let you know that it is not poor people begging for a handout and its not poor people trying to get sympathy from the public in hopes of more welfare. There are hardworking law abiding tax paying single mothers, under paid fathers, both parents working 2 jobs, children coming home to an empty house and raising themselves, concerned citizens of the Washington dc area falling between the cracks as a result to the lack of socially funded programs much needed in the Washington DC area.

There are so many bigger priorities in DC than a new baseball stadium. The programs that need funding are not hand outs Ė these are programs that help people get ahead, which benefits everyone in our community.

For instance, it is a necessity for working people with children to have quality child care. But market rate child care costs about $11,000 a year, per child. The child care assistance program helps offset the cost of child care for low income working families, and returns multiple benefits to the community. Child care assistance is an investment in the workforce, especially single moms who are working; itís an investment in the early learning and safe places for our children, so they are better prepared for school; itís an investment in productive workers and in people earning higher wages, which in turn means they contribute more tax money to the city.

Of the families that are eligible for child care assistance, only 40% are being served Ė that means 60% of eligible families are struggling with unaffordable child care burdens. Over 1,600 families are on a waiting list for a child care voucher, and last year 45 families left the waiting list and enrolled in public assistance (TANF) because they simply could not afford the cost of living in DC on their incomes.

I hope that you will tell the Council people that we can not afford to use our resources to build stadiums for the rich baseball team owners when we have such pressing needs in DC, and I hope you will support full funding for the Child Care Assistance program. We need the council and the Mayor to use the passion and creativity they have used to lure baseball to DC towards making DC a better place to live for all its residents.

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PAYING FOR A STADIUM FOR MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL AMOUNTS TO NOTHING MORE THAN CORPORATE WELFARE.

  • Eight of Major League Baseballís owners were named on the 2003 Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans.
  • The Washington Baseball Club, who signed an exclusive Memorandum of Understanding with the District to work together to attract the Expos, is worth over $1 billion. Major League Baseball revenues after salaries have been growing at an annual rate of 13.5% - making the team owners rich at the expense of tax payers.
  • Major League Baseball is a $3.5 billion industry that is exempt from anti-trust laws. Bud Selig was elected the permanent commissioner of baseball in 1998. Seligís questionable business practices have helped Major League Baseball obtain $3.22 billion in public subsidies for 15 new or renovated ballparks over the last 12 years.

DC HAS MUCH HIGHER PRIORITIES:

  • On any given day, at least 9,776 adults and children are homeless in DC
  • On any given day, as many as between 300 and 700 families are on the waiting list for emergency shelter.
  • Over 40,000 people are on the waiting list for section 8 housing vouchers in DC, and those with vouchers are often unable to find housing.
  • Over 15,000 families with children who are eligible for child care assistance are not able to get assistance due to budget constraints.
  • Senior citizens can not afford their life-saving prescription drug costs
  • Not to mention our failing health care, education, and transportation systems, our poor air and water quality, and the need for infrastructure and capital investments throughout the city.

If you agree with No DC Taxes for Baseball Coalitionís stand on the baseball stadium proposal take action with EmpowerDC. Come out and learn how the Mayorís $500 million plus "Sweetheart Deal" to billionaire baseball team owners will hurt DC residents! Make Your Voices Heard!

Attend Empower DCís Monthly Meeting: Tuesday, October 26th 2004, 7:00 PM; 1419 V St, NW(Green & Yellow Lines Ė U St Metro).

Tell City Council to VOTE NO, especially Carol Schwartz, and Phil Mendelson.

Empower DC is offering help with preparing testimony for the October 28th City Council Hearing! Call Linda or Parisa at Empower DC: 202/234-9119.

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