The Compton Pledge has announced they have begun delivering Universal Basic Income (UBI) payments to Compton residents. 2UrbanGirls caught up with Nika Soon-Shiong to get an update on the progress of the program.
“We have raised $7.1 million from private philanthropic donations, although the majority of our donors wish to remain anonymous, the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation is a contributor,” said Soon-Shiong.
Michelle B. Chan and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong are part of the Giving Pledge, which was created in August 2010, where 40 of America’s wealthiest people joined together in a commitment to give the majority of their wealth to address some of society’s most pressing problems. Created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, the Giving Pledge came to life following a series of conversations with philanthropists around the world about how they could collectively set a new standard of generosity among the ultra-wealthy.
Michael Bloomberg, Edgar Bronfman, Barron Hilton, Carl Icahn, MacKenzie Scott and Robert F. Smith, are a few of the 40 who are committed to pledging their wealth to the underserved.
2UrbanGirls asked Soon-Shiong if there are plans to venture into other cities in Los Angeles County.
“As of now there are no immediate plans to work on a similar program in another city, with much of our focus in the early months of 2021 steadfast on implementing the Compton Pledge in January of next year,” said Soon-Shiong.
Soon-Shiong confirmed the first payments went out just in time for Christmas.
“We are contacting participants in batches, which started in December and will continue until March and the first payments went out December 21st, and in total we will enroll 800 people,” explained Soon-Shiong. “Potential participants will be contacted directly, rather than applying individually. In order to make sure the process is fair, participants are randomly selected among low-income residents of Compton based on a list of all addresses in Compton.”
Some are skeptical about how UBI will actually benefit recipients of the cash long-term.
“I don’t like UBI because it’s a disincentive to work and the recipients don’t hold the money for more than a week — they just spend it,” said one political observer who wished to remain anonymous. “The marijuana sellers and biz boxes end up with it.”
That’s fine if it does as Compton would reap the benefits of the sales tax revenue and potentially marijuana sales if the city eventually legalizes it after a study being conducted at nearby Cal State Dominguez Hills is released to the public.
Dr. Pat Soon-Shiong is heavy into cancer research and lauds marijuana for medicinal purposes.
“Medical Marijuana has a real chemical positive effect,” said Dr. Soon-Shiong. “It helps with the brain and nausea.”
The Compton Pledge looks to have all 800 participants enrolled by March 2021, coincidentally in time for elections in April where Aja Brown is up for re-election and will certainly use UBI as a tool to drive voters to the polls.