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Perspectives: The Pushback

By Tallon Pedregosa

My name is Tallon Pedregosa and I am currently a student at Delta College. I am also enrolled in RTV11 involving introduction to audio production and techniques with mixing audio. Our class attended an event called Family Day At The Park where we interviewed people about a project that we are working on in class. With the help of another student, Ayaana, we started our first interviewee who had a lot to say about the project and stood out of all the others.

The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, also known as the SEED project, has recently taken effect in the Stockton community. 100 random selected families will receive a stipend of $500 a month for a year and a half starting in the beginning months of 2019.

“Everything I heard about it, initially, I didn’t like it.” Thomas, a single father with a 4 year old boy, is a current Stockton resident. He believes, economically, it’s a silly pitch to Stockton residents. “So if I make a certain amount of money on paper, that doesn’t show how many people are living in my house. That doesn’t show how many people are actually working. That just shows on paper I do this.” Hearing his voice filled with conviction gave a lot of questions to the SEED project. How do they know how many people are in the household and how many are currently employed?

Before the 100 selected families receive the stipend, 1,000 random but qualified residence will receive a physical mail notice stating that they have been invited to be part of a research study, and may qualify for the guaranteed income. Any households that are interested will be asked to complete a consent form asking for demographic details. Then the selection process begins.

What is the goal? To help Stocktonians and their families with basic needs and even payments that are due. The people of SEED want to explore what would happen if free money was provided for Stockton.

The word free nowadays seems very deceiving to most adults. Some of these adults are single parents in a household. These single parents can sometimes be the only people working and making an income in a household. Such a task can be a burden for single parents depending on how much income is being made. If these single parents were able to receive free money, would it help them in the long run?

“You’re going to give me free money for being underachieving?”

With laughter at the end of his question gave the idea that our interviewee was being sarcastic. Some people might have an assumption that being asked if they would like to receive free money means that the person believes they are poor and could definitely use some cash. Thomas believes in moral dignity and everything should be earned with hard work and honesty. Back in the olden days, hunter gatherers provided their families with food, clothing, and shelter that would take hours, days, even months to find. Some even lost their lives! But when the hunters provided it, the reward was pleasing and a humbling feeling; getting what your family needed to live another day. Nothing is given to you for free and the man is right

In a recent poll involving employers in the workforce environment, four different ways of receiving money were asked to be ranked from first to last; direct subsidies to wages, legally enforced profit-sharing by employers, universal basic income(UBI), and higher minimum wage. The least common preference was UBI. Most workers aren’t happy with their basic income, yet some are afraid to receive free money towards their urgent care. Thomas may already be financially stable but everyone could use some money to help out their needs. He is one of the many Stocktonians that SEED wants to hear from in their project and start a discussion in the city. How would $500 a month help you? What do you see yourself doing with that amount? With the help of SEED providing families with that extra cash could make a difference in their lives and can eventually lead to better opportunities.

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