Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Blogger Candidate Forum: The Republican Veepstakes

Seal of the Vice President Of The Unites States
Hello Everyone:

It is Wednesday and time for the weekly edition of the Blogger Candidate Forum.  Today we going to look potential running mates for Donald Trump and Secretary Hillary Clinton.  Finding the right running is like an arranged marriage, throw two people together and hope it all works out.  Seriously.  Conventional wisdom goes like this: find someone who will complement the person at the top of the ticket.  The Vice President's main task is to assume the Oval Office if the president becomes ill, incapacitated, dies, or resigns.  This has happened several times in the course of American history,  the most recent being in 1974 when then-President Richard Nixon resigned and then-Vice President Gerald Ford took over.  Finding that right person is as a much a matter of chemistry as it is politics.  Definitely, you want to choose someone from the same party.  The one exception to that was Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, chose Andrew Johnson, a Democrat.  For his second campaign, in 1864, President Lincoln wanted a unity ticket of sorts.  For the record, Andrew Johnson became the seventeenth President of the United States upon the assassination of President Lincoln.  So how do you actually choose a running mate.

Current VPOTUS Joe Biden
Asking the very question, how do you select a running mate, assumes that there is an actual process that top of the ticket candidates follow.  Are you surprised that there is an actual process.  So is yours truly.  It is customary for the presidential candidate to select their running mates and the delegates to approve the choice by acclamation.  (  However, there is no one way to choose a Vice President.  It is more of a roll of the dice, sometimes you come up lucky and sometimes not.  Here are some examples from past history.

The story of how Franklin Delano Roosevelt chose Harry S. Truman as his running was in the words of his biographer Robert H. Ferrell, of the are political stories of our century. (Ibid)

By the 1944 campaign, the leaders of the Democratic party realized that President Roosevelt's was in serious decline.  The very real possibility of the President dying in office and the Vice President taking over weighed heavily on their minds.  Thus, the selection and nomination of right running mate was of paramount importance.  In fact the President did die in office a few months after his election.  The previous VPOTUS was Henry A. Wallace, unpopular with DNC leaders because they felt he leaned too left.  The country was about to enter the Cold War with the Soviet Union.  The party chiefs had to furiously work on turning the delegates away from Vice President Wallace, who overwhelming like him, toward Mr. Truman.  The point here is succession was the main issue not finding someone who could help the President re-elected.  (Ibid)

Lyndon B. Johnson taking the Oath of Office after the death of JFK
Often, a presidential candidate will select someone who brings an ideological or geographic balance to the ticket.  For example, then-Senator John Kennedy dismissed protests by labor leaders and Northern Liberal to bring a Southerner, then-Senate majority leader Lyndon B. Johnson a Democrat from Texas.  That choice and the fact that he accepted were equally surprising given that President Johnson had designs on the big chair for himself.  This worked because it presented a North-South unity ticket.  Tragically, Vice President Johnson assumed the office in 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated.

In the 1964, now-President Johnson did the reverse and chose Hubert Humphrey, senator from Minnesota with a good civil rights record.  In the 1992 Presidential election cycle, then-Governor Bill Clinton chose then Tennessee Senator Al Gore, a fellow southerner.  The selection cast aside conventional wisdom and signaled that the Democrats were ready to battle the Republicans for control of the south and swing voters concerned about the environment.  That really has not happened yet.  However, every once in an odd while the presidential candidate chooses poorly.  To wit, 2008 Republican nominee Senator John McCain's selection of then-Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska.  Blogger could say something but yours truly wants to keep it clean.  (Ibid)  How will our current candidates choose.  Let us start with five  of the potential  Republican  VPOTUS candidates.

Potential Republican VPOTUS nominees
Who will Donald Trump select as his running mate?  That it is the question.  The short answer is who knows?  Given his unpredictable nature, there is no way of figuring out how or who will he choose.  One thing is certain the (un)lucky candidate will have be pretty egoless.  This coupled with the fact that Mr. Trump's inner circle is devoid of establishment types and you start to get the impression that people are not saying much.  Mr. Trump himself has admitted to lack of thought about the process.  He told the New York Times,

I just don't want to think about it right now.  (  This comment was made on May 3.  Now he has to think about it. A few bold-faced names have emerged as Mr. Trump's potential running mates.  The first name on the list is former Speaker of The House Newt Gingrich.  Mr. Gingrich had a long career on Capitol Hill and in Republican circles.  A self-styled intellectual, he could offer a counterbalance to the impression that Donald Trump is a lightweight.  On the negative side, less likely to racist outburst, Mr. Gingrich is still prone to make off the wall statements and has a martial history that could rival Mr. Trump's history.  As an old white man, it is not certain if he could broaden Mr. Trump's coalition and he has little foreign policy experience. (

Newt Gingrich and Ben Carson

Another name on the list is Dr. Ben Carson.  Him?  Yes, him.  Why is the retired neurosurgeon considered a potential running mate, even though he is chairing the search committee?  It is not as improbable as you think after all former Vice President Dick Cheney was in the same position before he decided he was the best candidate for the job.  Although Dr. Carson has not expressed interest, this has not dampened speculation.  On the positive side, he is a nice enough person, likable, appealing to social conservatives.  The negatives, did you follow the primary results?  Where Mr. Trump is less-knowledgeable on foreign policy and even scarier on policy, Dr. Carson is even less knowledgeable and frequently unsteady.  Given his lack of experience in politics and policy, he highly unlikely to bolster Mr. Trump's credibility with people who see him as dangerously unschooled about policy,  (Ibid)

Governor Chris Christie
The third name on the list is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  Gov. Christie was the first establishment figure to endorse Mr. Trump.  Why would anyone who is willing to endure endless ridicule for standing behind Donald Trump, staring vacantly into the middle distance, be a contender for the Vice President slot?  Gov. Christie brings a sense of gravitas to the ticket.  A two-term governor, former U.S, Attorney, and a great campaigner who gets along well with Mr. Trump.  The downside, another angry man with high unfavorables. (Ibid)

Governor Rick Scott

Another potential running is Florida Governor Rick Scott.  Gov, Scott endorsed Mr. Trump on March 15 but has also said he is not interested in the job.  He told CNN,

I like my job.  I worked hard to get this job.  I'm going to stay in this job.  (

The positives: Gov. Scott is a two-term governor of a key swing state.  The con: Gov. Scott is extremely unpopular in his own state and he has baggage.  The company he ran was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud.  (

Senator Bob Corker

Republican Tennesse Senator Bob Corker seems to be a good fit as Donald Trump's ticket mate.  Senator Corker is a former businessman and a known dealmaker.  Like the Kennedy-Johnson and Johnson-Humphrey tickets, Sen. Corker is a Southerner which would temper the Clinton Southern Firewall.  He is also chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the banking committee which would shore up Mr. Trump's credibility in foreign policy and economics.  On the negative side, as a known dealmaker, Sen. Corker has been known to irritate the hardliners within his own party.  Also, he is more low-key than Mr. Trump which could be a good thing.

These are just five of the potential Republican Vice President candidates.  Other possibilities include former Primary rivals Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Gov. John Kasich, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry.  These gentlemen are not likely to make the short list but given the Trump campaign's penchant for unpredictability, one never knows.  There is also the possibility of an unknown becoming Donald Trump's running mate.  It is hard for Blogger to predict who will be Mr. Trump's running mate given the unwieldy nature of the campaign.  What Blogger will say is that it will have to be someone who bring gravitas, calmness, and steadiness to the campaign.  If Blogger were to select someone it would be Senator Bob Corker.  Next week, we will look at some of the potential running mates for Secretary Hillary Clinton.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit, The Hangover

In or Out
Hello Everyone:

Welcome to the Brexit hangover edition of  As promised, we are going to talk about Great Britain's acrimonious leave taking of the European Union.  By now, now we all know the basic facts.  Following his re-election (outgoing) British Prime Minister David Cameron offered to hold a referendum on Britain's membership in the E.U. as a way to appease the loud voices coming from the United Kingdom Independent Party.  The question on the ballot was Remain in the E.U. or Leave.  Not too difficult to understand, right?  The hotly contested campaign CityLab 
Not rocket science
culminated on Thursday June 23, 2016.  Early in the tally, it looked like a win for the Remain.  However, by dawn's early light citizens woke up to the cold hard reality of the nation turning in its membership card and secret decoder ring (made that one up), the Prime Minister announcing his resignation, the sterling pound devalued so much that the U.K. went from being the fifth largest to the sixth largest economy all before mid-morning coffee.  Shock and awe are not even sufficient enough to describe the reaction.  Perhaps Feargus O'Sullivan's  article, "Britain After Brexit," can help us sort a few things out.

(ex) PM David Cameron campaigning for Remain
The Leave campaign won by a razor thin majority, 51.9 percent of the country voting Leave.  This is just barely more than half of the country.  The Remain effort earned 48.1 percent of the vote.  Here is the funny thing, no one actually thought this was a serious thing.  Nevertheless, both sides were quaking in their boots the next day.  Even funnier, in an ironic way, "...even the winners, who have managed to get this far without thrashing out a clear plan for what happens next."  Whoops. The very next morning, UKIP leader Nigel Farage told a news presenter that " was a mistake to promise £350 million a week for the National Health Service, an admission that might have seemed more bold if it had come 24 hours ago."  Denial, of course, is not just a river Cornwall.  The southwestern England region, which received substantial funding from the E.U., voted leave.  It even had the nerve to ask if its future funding will not be cut.  Is this a rhetorical question?

Brexit vote by region
Meanwhile, the Remain voters are absolutely beside themselves.  After all, the Leave campaign was rife with vile and hateful rhetoric and yet, the bad guys won.  To the bereft Remainers, the Leavers are now free to "...refashion a Britain that is smaller, meaner, and enmeshed in economic spiral."  Both sides like to think of themselves as the good guys but it is easier to agree on the fact that the vote exposed a huge schism.  Take a look at the map on the left-hand side which shows which regions voted stay (yellow) and leave (blue).  The divide is pretty stark: pro-Remain Northern Ireland, Scotland, and London versus pro-Leave everyone else.  Pro-Leave campaigner and potential new Prime Minster Boris Johnson was quoted, This vote does not mean the UK will be any way less united..."   ( Really?  Then explain what Scotland is already considering another independence referendum.

A more detailed Brexit vote map

The map on the left-hand side gives a more detailed breakdown of the vote, which appears to be less stark.  In heavily populated Northern cities such as Liverpool, Manchester (shout out to Team Nutmeg), Newcastle, and Leeds the vote went to Remain, albeit, by a smaller margin than London or Scotland, while a significant portion of Northern Ireland voted Leave.

Clearly, London and Scotland are the anomalies. In advance of the Brexit vote, Scotland's First Minster Nicola Sturgeon (the only one with any common sense at the moment) has already promised a new vote on independence.  Fears O'Sullivan goes so far as to say, "There's even talk of a joint continuation of E.U. membership for both London and Scotland, a sort of Free State of Scotlondia."  Seriously?  All jokes aside for the moment, news sources to confirm that MSP Sturgeon is in talks with London Lord Mayor Sadiq Khan but this just wishful thinking out loud.

Brexit vote by age

The Remain-Leave divide is more than geographic.  The exit polls clearly show that the majority of younger voters preferred Remain while older voters chose Leave.  Mr. O'Sullivan writes, "...thus shining the vote away from the people who will experience Brexit most keenly and for the longest."  These numbers are fueling anger among the younger voters but the truth is, this referendum had a high turnout and the Leave campaign won.  This indisputable fact has already caused regrets among those who voted Leave.  So much so, that there are petitions for a do-over vote circulating online.  People, what did you think this referendum was, a good way to kill a Thursday?  Yes, this was an advisory vote but guess what, it was still a vote.  Now you have to deal with the fall out.  One more thing, there are no do-overs.

No plans, no worries, right?
The socio-economic and age division are already ugly.  Feargus O'Sullivan writes, "In victory speeches, UKIP's Farage declared the result for 'real people,' a supposed victory against metropolitan elites."  In truth, while London may be perceived as a place for the socially and economic elite, it is also full of low- to moderate-income resident more isolate for the upper class than many posh rural residents.  Most of whom chose Remain, but according to UKIP's vision of Great Britain, they do not count because they live in the capital and possibly not Caucasian.  For now, uncertainty, anger, fear, and loathing in all corners has set upon the land.  The international repercussions have yet to be felt but that could take years.  In the meantime, fasten your seat belts, this ride is going to be a long bumpy one and it has only just begun. 


The Creative Racial Divide

Urban street scene
Photograph by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Hello Everyone:

It is Monday, the first full week since the Brexit.  No doubt we will be covering this subject from an architecture, historic preservation, urban planning and design perspective.  For now, we are going to look at race and the creative economy.  Specifically, with the help of Richard Florida's CityLab article "The Racial Divide in the Creative Economy," we are going discuss how race factors into the creative class.  Although, the creative class tends to skew Caucasian, Mr. Florida shows places around the United States where African-American creatives are doing as well their Caucasian counterparts.

Just about every pundit, Mr. Florida included, has made the argument that "class is an increasingly important source of division and distress in American social, economic, and political life."  However, Ta-Nahisi Coates and sociologist William Julius Wilson tell us that race trumps class when it comes to destructive realities of concentrated poverty.  Richard Florida's own research has focused on how the new class structures, at the foundation the post-industrial economy, spurred by his experience of the Newark riots.  Mr. Florida writes, "More than a decade ago in The Rise of the Creative Class, Identified a negative connection between race and the creative economy-specifically, the negative association between high-growth, high-tech, firms, and the non-white share of the U.S. urban population."

The Rise of The Creative Class revisited
Richard Florida
Richard Florida has spent the past several years re-examining the role of race in the creative economy.  This article is a presentation of his initial results of his study on the racial divide within the supremacy of the creative class.  In particular, he studied the schism between Caucasian (i.e. the Census definition as "non-Hispanic white") and African Americans creatives.

Throughout the United States, 73.8 percent of all creative professions are held by non-Hispanic white, compared to the paltry 8.5 percent by African Americans.  As a means of of comparison, "...non-Hispanic whites make up roughly two thirds of the population (64 percent) compared to 12 percent for blacks.  While 36 percent of all workers nationally are part of the creative class..., 41 percent of white workers hold creative class jobs, while just 28 percent black workers do."

What does the look like geographically?  Are there some metropolitan areas that have a more racially equitable creative class than others?

To understand this, Mr. Florida partnered with Todd Gabe from the University of Maine to locate the racial distribution of the creative class across the United States and the approximately 380 metropolitan ares.  In particular, they looked the number of African American and Caucasian workers aged 16 and over in creative occupations for the year 2013.  The team used American Census categories for management, business, science, and the arts profession, which as Mr. Florida notes, "...differs somewhat from my original definition of the creative, which is based on more fine-grained occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics."

"Black-Share in Occupations"
Marting Prosperity Institute
Richard Florida's colleague at the Martin Prosperity Institute, Charlotta Mellander, conducted a basic correlation analysis to understand the foundational economic and social characteristics of places associated with both creative class.  His usual disclaimer, "...correlation does not equal causation, but merely points to associations between variables."  Former MPI colleague, Isabel Ritchie, mapped the data.

The Geography of the Black Creative Class

 The map at the left present the geography of the African American creative class across the United States.  The areas in purple represent metropolitans where there is a higher percentage of African American creative; the light blue shaded areas are metropolitans where African American are not as likely to hold creative occupations.  Pay attention to the large blocks of purple in California, Texas, and Washington D.C.

Top Ten Large Metros
Percent of Black Workers in Creative Occupations
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
Raleigh, NC
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA
Austin-Round Rock, TX
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
Bottom Ten Large Metros
Percent of Black Workers in Creative Occupations
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
New Orleans-Metairie, LA
Memphis, TN-MS-AR
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
Pittsburgh, PA
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY
Cleveland-Elyria, OH
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
Rochester, NY
Top Ten Large Metropolitans and Percentage of African American in Creative Class Occupations
Martin Prosperity Institute

The long table above, breaks down the top ten large metropolitans with the greatest and lest number of African American creatives.  The Washington D.C. metropolitan areas ranks number one with "40.9 percent, followed by three California metros: San Jose (39 percent), Los Angeles (35.8), and San Francisco (34.9 percent).  Rounding out the top ten are: Baltimore, Raleigh, North Carolina Research Triangle, San Antonio, Sacramento, Austin, and San Diego.  If you notice, half the top ten are in Blogger's home state of California and based in leading knowledge and technology hubs.  New York and Chicago round out the top twenty with about 30 percent for African Americans holding creative jobs.  Atlanta, with a large African American middle class, ranks 15th with 32.3 percent.

The bottom ten is taken up by the Sunbelt and Rustbelt state metropolitans.  The top bottom ten metropolitan area is Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada with 23.3 percent of African American creatives.  This area is follow by the New Orleans-Metairie, Louisianan metropolitan areas with 24.4 percent of African Americans in creative professions.  The remaining top bottom ten is taken up by heritage industrial metropolitans: Memphis, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Rochester.

If you consider metropolitan areas of all sizes, a few have greater shares of African American workers in creative occupations.  They include Lewiston, Idaho; Columbus, Indiana; Wausau, Wisconsin; Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Santa Cruz, California which have a 50 to 60 percent share of African American creatives.  However, metropolitans such as: St. George, Utah; Wenatchee, Washington; Casper, Wyoming; Grants Pass, Oregon; and Sheboygan, Wisconsin have the lowest percentage of African American creatives-zero to five percent.

Share in Occupation-Caucasian
Martin Prosperity Institute
The Geography of the White Creative Class

The next map on the left is the geography of the Caucasian creative class.  Notice that the entire map is shaded in purple, "...meaning the most metros have a white creative class share in excess of 35 percent."

The next table, below,  lists the top and bottom ten large metropolitans with the highest and lowers percentage of Caucasian creative workers.  Once again, the traditional knowledge and technology hubs: Washington D.C., San Francisco, San Jose, Austin, Boston, and the Raleigh, North Carolina Research Triangle are the numbers one, two, and three respectively.  This time, Houston, New York, and Los Angeles are in the top ten as well as the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts-New Hampshire corridor.  Richard Florida writes, "In most of these leading metro, the white creative class is considerably higher than the overall creative class share of the workforce, indicating how skewed the creative class is to white workers.

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
Austin-Round Rock, TX
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
Raleigh, NC
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
Bottom Ten Large Metros
Percent of White Workers in Creative Occupations
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA
38.0 %
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
Pittsburgh, PA
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
Jacksonville, FL
Cleveland-Elyria, OH
Top Ten Large Metropolitan and Percentage of Caucasian in Creative Class Occupations
Martin Prosperity Institute

The top bottom ten now includes the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California metropolitan and Jacksonville, Florida as well as the traditional industrial and Rustbelt metropolitans: Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.  However, once again the Caucasian creative class is 10 to 20 points greater than the overall share for these places.  Specifically, the Caucasian creatives in these these top bottom ten metropolitans ranges from the 35 to 40 percent or "...the equivalent of some of the highest overall creative class shares in the nation."

When we factor in small- and medium-sized metropolitans, smaller university town like DurhamChapel Hill, Boulder, Ann Arbor, Charlottesville, and Ithaca lead with about 50 to 58 percent of Caucasian creative professionals.  On the opposite end of the spectrum are the smaller Rustbelt and Sunbelt metropolitans in states such as Arizona, Illinois, and Indiana with about 27 percent.

Geography of African American and Caucasian shares
Martin Prosperity Institute
Comparing the Black and White Creative Class

The next question is "How do the black and white creative classes compare across U.S. metros?

Overall, the number of Caucasian creative professionals is in excess of 40 percent in more than a quarter of all the metropolitan areas ("27.8 percent, or 106 metros") and "...over 70 percent of large metros (37 of 51 metros)."  On the other hand, the number of African American professionals exceeds 40 percent in a paltry "...5.7 percent of all metros (20 metros total) and just one large metro).

The map above left maps the ratio of African American and Caucasian creatives for metropolitans throughout America.  Richard Florida explains, "A ratio of 1 means that black and white workers are just as likely to hold creative class jobs.  Ratios greater than 1, outlined in darker shades of purple on the map, indicate metros where black workers are relatively more likely to have creative class jobs than their white counterparts.  Ratios less than 1, highlighted in blue on the map, highlight where white workers are relatively more likely to hold creative class jobs."  Pay attention to the wide bands of blue sprinkling of purple on the map.  Across most of the country, the number of Caucasian creative professionals exceeds that of their African American counterparts.

Top Ten Large Metros
Ratio of Black to White Creative Class
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC
Bottom Ten Large Metros
Ratio of Black to White Creative Class
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL
New Orleans-Metairie, LA
Memphis, TN-MS-AR
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
Rochester, NY
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
Kansas City, MO-KS
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
Richmond, VA
Top Ten Large Metropolitans and Percentage of African American and Caucasian Creative Professionals 
Martin Prosperity Institute

The table above presents the break down of creative class, along racial lines, for the top ten and top bottom ten large metropolitan areas.  What is noteworthy is none of the 51 large metropolitans have a ratio of greater than 1.  Mr. Florida explains this phenomena, "That means there is not a single metro across the country where the share of black workers in the creative class exceeds the share for white workers."  To wit, the Riverside-San Bernardino area is ranked number one with a ratio of .87.  Point of interest, it also ranks among metropolitans with the lowest percentage of creative professionals in the country.  Filling out this list are Phoenix, Sacramento, Portland, San Antonio, Tampa, and Charlotte.

On the opposite end of the list, the top bottom ten metropolitan include a combination of historically industrial areas like Milwaukee, service economies like New Orleans and Miami, and primary knowledge and technology hubs like the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Denver, and New York.  Further, many of America's main technology and talent centers also fare poorly in the African American-Caucasian ratio: "Washington D.C,'s ratio for instance is .66, Boston's is .65, and L.A. Chicago's .68."

Richard Florida reports, "Across the nation, there are just 22 metros where black-white creative class ratio exceeds 1 (meaning that a greater share of black workers have creative class jobs, as compared to the share of white workers).  These are pocket metropolitans: Lewiston,Idaho-Washington (2.03); Wausau, Wisconsin (1.62); Columbus, Indiana (1.55); Billings, Montana (1.49); and Idaho Fall, Idaho (1.47).  What all these metropolitans have in common is that smaller out of the way places where there is less competition in the creative economy.  The flip side of this coin are the 150 metropolitans (40 percent) where the ratio is .65 or less and about 300 metropolitans (79 percent) where it is .80 or less.

White House Af-Am Ed tweet
Characteristics of Black and White Creative Metros

What are the social, economic, and demographic characteristics of metropolitans with bigger or smaller concentrations of the African American creative class?  How does this look side-by-side with metropolitans with greater shares of Caucasian creative class?

At first glance, there seems to be no difference between the two.  Mr. Florida cautions us, "While there is a connection between the two (with a correlation of.44), they don't always tend to follow the same patterns."  How so, you may ask.  First point, African American creatives does not just flourish where Caucasians creatives do.  While there is a positive connection between the African American creative professions and the overall creative class (.39), Mr. Florida reports, "...this association was significantly stronger between the overall creative class and the white creative class (.77).  Both black and white creative class are negatively associated with the share of workers in blue-collar working class jobs (with correlations of .32 and .62, respectively).

Culture and Industry
One might think that the African American creative class would be linked with the percentage of African Americans in a metropolitan area.  However, this is not the situation.  Mr. Florida disabuses us of this notion, " fact, we find a weak negative correlation between the black creative class and the black share of the population."

Richard Florida's own research has documented a close connection between the creative class and the affluence of metropolitan areas.  Unfortunately, this is not case for African American creatives.  Next point, "There is no statistical association between the black and economic output per person, a key measure for the underlying productivity of metros."  To wit, there is a weak connection between income and African American creatives (.14), "...but it please in comparison to the association between income and the white creative class (.56)."

Culture and Industry 2

  Why is this the case?  The answer is African American creatives do tend to be somewhat greater in metropolitan areas with larger numbers of high-tech firms (a correlation of .27 to the concentration of high-tech firms and .18 to innovation predicated on patents).  This contrasts with Mr. Florida's previous finding of a negative link between high-tech firms and non-Caucasian population.  Be that as it may, "...these correlations are quite a bit smaller than those for the white creative class and high-tech firms (.68) and innovation (.44)."

Further, the population of African American creatives is larger in metropolitans with highly educated inhabitants.  The numbers bear this out: positively associated with college graduates (.31), but this number is significantly less than for the Caucasian creatives (.78).

Creative economy word cloud

Richard Florida's own researched has long accentuated the link between diversity and the creative class.  He writes, "Indeed, the black creative class is associated with two key measures of of diversity and tolerance: the share of adults who are foreign-born (.34) and the share who are gay and lesbian (.36)."  However, before you start applauding, a word of caution: "...these correlations are substantially less than for the white creative class (.55 for foreign-born and .67 for gays and lesbians)."

The Martin Prosperity Institute's own analysis revealed that the population of African America creatives is greater in more dense metropolitans (a correlation of .32 to population-based density), bust is still smaller than the correlation for Caucasian creatives (.58).  While the creative class overall is proportional to the size of a city and metropolitan, the MPI only found a weak association between African American creatives and the size of a metropolitan based on demographics (a correlation .17, compared to a .54 correlation for Caucasian creatives).

Creative professions
Another conclusion found that African American creatives are "...also larger in more compact, less sprawling metros."  This demographic is negatively associate with the number of workers who drive to their place of employment alone-a measure of sprawl (.34)-once again this is less than the correlation for Caucasian creatives (.54).  Mr. Florida points out, "Interestingly enough, the black (.25) and white (.26) creative class are similarly associated with the share of workers who walk to work, a key in indicator of a more compact, denser area."

Richard Florida's previous study also revealed a significant and sizable correlation between the general creative class and both inequality and segregation.  However, African American creative have no statistical connection with income inequality based on the Gini coefficient-"...compared to a correlation of .40 for the white creative class."  African American creatives are moderately associate with MPI's measures of overall economic segregation (.20), this far more modest than the correlation for Caucasian creatives (.66).  Mr. Florida writes, "Here our analysis finds that the black creative class may serve to mitigate both inequality and segregation to some degree.  From a policy perspective, this means that efforts to boost the black creative class may combat inequality and segregation."

One final word on the subject of race and the creative economy.  This is a fascinating subject, worth a deeper read than yours truly has space to give.  Richard Florida save the goods points-the creative economy, income inequality, and segregation for the end instead of leading off with them.  Further, Blogger believes that another comparative study, looking at Latino and Asian American creatives, might give a fuller picture of how race factors into the creative economy.  It would also be interesting to look at gender and the creative economy.  He also mentions gay and lesbian creatives, how is this a factor in the creative economy?  It would be interesting to see what the education and job break down is-i.e. how levels of education and creative jobs are spread out among the creatives.  Perhaps, another study for another day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Blogger Candidate Forum: Too Much Demand And Not Enough Supply

Hollywood Palladium Residences rendering
Hollywood, California
Hello Everyone:

Today we are going to take a break from the Presidential elections and look at a ballot initiative that will appear on the Los Angeles County ballot that will affect the future of Los Angeles.  Josh Stephens recently posted an article on the California Planning & Development Report, on the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative sponsored by the Coalition to Preserve L.A ( that would upend the city's approach to project approval and long range planning and development.

The CPLA is an offshoot of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, headquartered across the street from the landmark Palladium.    The impetus for this initiative is the proposed Hollywood Palladium Residences.  Mr. Stephens writes, "...the proposed Hollywood Palladium Residences may be one of two things: a proud testament to a progressive city's embrace of smart growth, or a 28-story symbol of the hubris of Los Angeles' planning and development community."  Who would support the city's current system of long term planning and project approvals?  It seems that no one would vote in favor of the current system but that is not the question before voters.

The initiative would essentially place a two-year moratorium on all development that does not adhere to adopted plans.  It calls for Los Angeles to update its 37 Community Plans and prevents City Council "...from granting plan amendment which supporters of the initiative derisively refer to as 'spot zoning,' to nonconforming projects."

The Hollywood Palladium
The 23-page proposed ballot measure specifically asks the city to:

Enact a two-year moratorium on building or demolition permits for projects that do not adhere to existing city planning regulations and/or for which the city granted a General Plan amendment, or zone or height change;

Permanently halt individual parcel-by-parcel or 'spot zone' amendments and/or building exemptions by outlawing amendments intend to approve project "where the approval of such projects would otherwise be inconsistent with the General Plan;

Create a plan for updating the city's Community Plans according to strict principles prescribed by the initiative, including requirements that force developments to conform to size and character of existing developments within a quarter-mile radius, including those surrounding transit hubs;

Requires the city, not developers, to be responsible for preparation of Environmental Impact Reports; and

Limit a developer's ability to reduce parking requirements for residential units and limit commercial establishments' use of off-site parking.  

Hollywood Palladium main room
Thus far, supporters of the initiative are in process of gathering the 61,486 signature needed to qualify for the ballot.  If certified by the City Clerk, it will likely have a new name.

The Improvised City

The City of Los Angeles is not exactly a well ordered, nicely planned out city.  Josh Stephens writes, "Generations of planners, developers, and stakeholders have decried Los Angeles' planning scheme as inefficient, Byzantine, and unenlightened."  The city's General Plan has not been fully updated since 1946, and the current pace for updating all the Community Plans-part of the General Plan not mandated by the state, imposed by the city on itself-is moving at a very old turtle's pace.  Even the Department of City Planning describes it "cumbersome."  Not very encouraging, is it.

Vine Street c.1971
Hollywood, California
The system tumbled its way through periodic updates, overlays, and frequent legislative actions.  City planners frequently suggest zoning amendments for development they believe enhance the progressive vision of Los Angeles, if not exactly the letter of current code.  Improvisation by planning; not exactly a great idea or is it?

Jill Stewart, journalist and CPLA Campaign Director, told Josh Stephens,

They amend the city General Plan sometimes on a daily basis...It's an outrageous practice.

One of the biggest concerns of CPLA supporters are the "mega-projects" that are often composed with luxury condominiums or high-end rentals that clash with their concept of Los Angeles's traditional urban character.  The most controversial projects are located in Hollywood, "...where city planners have been promoting new development to replace the area's formerly seedy image.

 David Bowie's star on Hollywood Boulevard

Coalition to Preserve L.A claims "...that the initiative will preserve existing housing stock."  Ms. Stewart claims that about "...20,000 units have been lost in the past decade to new, presumably more expensive, developments."

Specifically, Ms. Stewart said,

I don't think they're purposely going after the working class, but that is the outcome-shoving out people who cannot pay the incredible prices, people of color, and actually cause a net loss in Hollywood.

Coalition to Preserve L.A  hopes that the initiative will bring stability to the development process and even combat the city's ongoing affordable housing.  The initiative's supporters say that, "the current system invites developers to pressure the city to approve larger and more luxurious-and therefore more profitable-project."  To be precise, "If developers know that a parcel is zoned only for a certain typer of property, developers will avoid the lengthy negotiation process in favor of simply adhering to statute.  (The initiative would affect ministerial approvals such as variances.)"

Low income neighborhood with Capital Records in the background
Hollywood, California

Expressing a note of cynicism, Jill Stewart said,

After the moratorium ends...everybody will know what going to happen, and there will be no horrible surprises.

Critics of the initiative say that it "...promotes a regressive vision of Los Angeles as a low-rise, low-density bedroom community, when market and cultural forces are promoting density."  By doing so, the initiative dismisses contemporary planning philosophies like smart growth, infrastructure development like transportation, and cultural shifts that have made urban so attractive once more.a  Although some "mega-projects" have been derided, to planners, they symbolize the emergence of more energetic, more urban Los Angles.  Ms. Stewart dismissed this notion,

All of the urban planners are in on this same idea...It's a religious chant you hear.

Hollywood City Inn pool
Hollywood, California
Developer Mott Smith, the ad hoc spokesperson for several associations opposing the initiative, views the battle in philosophical terms,

It's the impulse to fundamentalism that people feel when they sense the world is collapsing around them...This is no different than any other fundamentalist movement, whether it's Christian fundamentalism or Islamic fundamentalism.  It sounds melodramatic, but when the world ceases to make sense, we retreat to text.  Unfortunately, does a really bad job of putting the world in order, so you end up with this downward spiral.

Allusions to religious fundamentalism, seriously?  Melodramatic?  You think?

'Great Wealth' or Slim Margins?

Generally, plan amendments require Planning Commission and City Council approval.  Council members usually vote along with the council members in whose district a proposed projected is located, therefore, giving elected official almost absolute power over development decisions.  Planners see this as an imperfect process but more quick than spending decades haggling over comprehensive plans.  CPLA says that "...these actions amount to 'back-room deals' that serve only to enrich powerful developers."

Sunset Boulevard through Hollywood
Deals, front-room or otherwise, have had a long history in the planning and development of Los Angeles, going back to the corruption scandals that made headlines in the 1960s.  In the words of Judge Pearce Young, who oversaw one of the sixties corruption trials, plan amendments comprise,

...the power to create great wealth.

The corruption trials resulted in safeguard being implemented to ensure transparency.

Urban planner dispute the way CPLA characterizes the opacity of the process.  Proposed development projects that ask for plan amendments are required to run the gantlet of public meetings in which individuals and organizations can voice their concerns and make suggestions.  Josh Stephens writes, "The creation of the Neighborhood Council system in 1999, when the city updated its charter, added a forum that was absent during the corruption scandals of the 1960s."  Retired deputy director of planning for the City of Los Angeles Alan Bell told Mr. Stephens,

I don't buy the argument that you have favoritism shown to particular developers...Every one has got through a rigorous review process.

This sentiment was dismissed by Jill Stewart.

Hollywood and Highland complex
Jill Stewart told Mr. Stephens,

By the time the public hearing has come around, a tremendous amount of decision-making has already happened.

She went on to say "...that many otherwise idealistic council members get increasingly comfortable with this system as their terms progress and they get re-elected."  She added "...that many residents have vehemently opposed 'mega-projects' only to be disregarded by planners and elected officials."  In the end, you have projects that service the developers's financial interests but alienate the people from their communities.  Ms. Stewart said,

The biggest thing I hear is the destruction of the neighborhood character...Most people don't believe that...LA is a good place for a lot of high-rise skyscrapers.

Traffic on Hollywood Boulevard b/w

Opponents of the measure say CPLA's supporters have the economics backwards, "...because high land prices reflect a market that is already constrained by antiquates zoning laws.  The moratorium and constrained Community Plans could exacerbate an already dire housing shortage and affordability crisis and stall nascent efforts to solve it."

Stephanie Pineeti, the director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA, said,

Densification occurs because of land prices and land consolidation for really big projects.

Land prices produces a costly negotiation process in which developers and the city try to establish what should be permitted on a particular parcel while developers attempt to maximize their investments.  This process often includes expensive consultants and community outreach, as well as environmental impact reports for some projects and looming threat of lawsuits under the California Environmental Quality Act.  In the interest of clarity, some of CPLA's supporters have sued under CEQA to combat projects in Hollywood.  Mr. Bell told Mr. Stephens,

The market is responding appropriately based on low-density zoning that we've had in place for such a long time.

Hollywood, California
Holding the Centers

Los Angeles city official have been adamant about the transparency of the process and in line with "...well-established goals-even if those goals have not yet been codified."  Josh Stephens writes, "In particular, the General Plan Framework, adopted in 1996 and re-adopted in 2001, outlines many of the principles that guide today's plan amendments."  Alan Bell disagrees with CPLA's characterization of a corrupted process,

Nothing could be further from the truth...All of these re-zonings and amendments to the community plans have consistent with (the General Plan Framework).

The City Council has frequently approved plan amendments for development project that fit within its progressive vision for Los Angeles, instead of waiting decades for the long-range planning process to yield updated Community Plans and zoning.  This is precisely what CPLA rejects, the attempt to circumvent antique regulations that persist only the process moves at a turtle's pace.

Hollywood Christmas
Photograph by WPA Film Library
Mr. Stephens writes, "The Framework acknowledges the ongoing development of Los Angeles' mass transit network."  Stephanie Pincetl told Mr. Stephens,

...the current disruption and traffic in areas like Hollywood, Downtown, and Mid-Wilshire is temporary and should not dictate long-term policy...The impacts of this new development trend are obvious.  These gigantic buildings are sprouting up and the public transportation that's benign built is very disruptive...It's really for a change that's going to happen for the public good in Year Two or Three or Four.  It's always difficult for people to keep that in mind.

Alan Bell picks up the thread saying,

...the guidelines themselves have a long lineage, taking inspiration from the Centers Concepts that former Planning Director Cal Hamilton drafted i 1974...I think there's been a consistent message from the Planning Department going back over 50 years that the way L.A. can grown and develop while retaining its special character (is to) channel its growth near transit.

Planning map of Los Angeles
Los Angeles' growth, historically, has occurred in spurts.  During the seventies and early eighties, a slow-growth movement took root before the Centers Concept could make in-roads.  The slow-growth movement was led by homeowners in the sub-suburban neighborhoods, culminating in the passage of Proposition U-an initiative that reduced permitted floor-to-area ratios on commercial boulevards by half.  Hampered by Proposition U and other eighties-era limitations, Los Angeles has, by some measure, built about as much as it can under the current zoning laws.  The building pressure has not escaped the notice of city leaders.

In 2015, Mayor Eric J. Garcetti "...announced his intention to promote development of 100,000 units between 2013 and 2021."  Almost 40 percent of those units have received approval, often through plan amendments, with more under construction.  Said plan amendments have allowed planners and elected officials to break through these limits in some cases.  City Planning Commission member architect Renee Dake-Wilson said,

Almost every project that comes to the Planning Commission is about housing...Policies are coming in our agenda are all about housing, not only affordable housing, all levels of housing."

How tall is tall?
To wit, the Planning Department is already trying to light a fire under its Community Plan updates with it New Community Plan program, begun in 2006, but hampered by the recession.  Josh Stephens writes, "In late 2014, the department announced a renewed effort to update the plans."

Just the same, in 2015 the city adopted a new mobility element-Mobility Plan 2035-which attempts to promote the use of alternative transportation as a way to alleviate some of issues arising from density.  In the meantime, the city is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of its zoning-re:code LA.

More important, Mayor Garcetti recently appointed Vince Bertoni to lead the Department of City Planning.  As the former planning director for Pasadena and former Los Angeles deputy director, Mr. Bertoni is a champion of long-range planning and is expected to light a fire under the Los Angeles process.  Ms. Dake-Wilson, who opposes the initiative, said

I really hope that we can get beyond setting policy by ballot measure and start doing it by setting correct policy and reviewing cases.

Department of City Planning logo
These developments notwithstanding, CPLA believes that a "wholesale update of Community Plans would engage stakeholders and promote transparency in a way that the current process does not."  Jill Stewart insists that this process is the primary reason, contrary to opponents of the measure, "that the initiative does not constitute ballot-box planning."

This forces them to have a public process that they've been avoiding for 20-20 years, said Ms. Stewart.

Yet, regardless of what the public wants, engagement over a new Community Plan would not exactly be a free-for-all if the initiative does pass.  It included limitations on plans that might be adopted, including a requirement that any new development must fit the character defining feature of the existing urban fabric within an a quarter-mile radius.  This could restrict transit-oriented development and effectively end the Centers Concept.

Los Angeles strip mall
This may sound all well and fine but there could be unintended consequences: exposing neighborhoods to all sorts of questionable uses.  At the worst, "...the initiative would perpetuate the city's so-called 'high-density sprawl.'"  According to Mott Smith,

The sorts of development that drive people craziest-the out of scale condos, the ugly strip malls, the fast food joints-those will be the only game in town.

Mr. Smith even predicts that the city's vibrant nightlife could be hamstrung.  This dire warning is based on his understanding of the initiative which would require new bars and restaurants to meet their on-site parking requirements.

Housing Crisis Meets Planning Crisis

Dingbat apartments
Los Angeles, California

Bars and restaurants aside, the initiative's greatest impact would be felt in housing.  Mr. Stephens reports, "CPLA claims that housing affordability is one of the primary motivation behind the initiative, especially for low-income residents and people of color."  The supporters of the initiative believe that "stability in the public process will open up opportunities for small developers to produce subsidized and working-class market-rate housing and thereby meet Garcetti's goals."  Ms. Stewart continues,

The mid-sized and smaller developers who have been shut out of this gamed system will be much more active.

Opponents of the initiative say that this is, at best, a roll of the dice.  Specifically, "If small developers do not seize the opportunity that the coalition describes and, meanwhile, large developers are shut out, the city's production of new housing may fall to nil-in a city that has been described as the least affordable in the nation as function of average wages and rental rates.

Mr. Smith continues,

It is already true that small developers are build as much as they can in the medium-density residential neighborhoods all over the city.

He believes that small developers do not actually have excess capacity to make up for the unit that larger projects would provide.  If this is the case, then the Los Angeles is facing at least two years of minimal housing construction.  Mr. Smith sums up the situation,

Rather than fighting for housing affordability-which would mean supply-they have put all of their chips in with the NIMBYs and have basically decided that land use is a zero-sum game.

Artist rendering of the Palladium Project
Hollywood, California
The irony here, the Palladium project that inspired the initiative-with its proposed 731 units-involves no loss of existing residences.  In fact, the towers would be built on the existing parking lot.  The same is also true for most of a high-rise project in South Park, near Staples Center, which has the highest concentration of development in the city.  Jill Stewart told Mr. Stephens that she does not have any information about how many of those units were lost to developments in need of plan amendments, if any.

Jill Stewart also said that population growth was slow enough to necessitate a slower rate of development, couple with housing preservation.

L.A. is not a fast-growing city at 1.2 percent (per year)..There is not a crush of people arriving here.

City Planning's official statistics "anticipate a population of 4.3 million in Los Angeles by 2035, for an absolute increase of 300,000."  A 2014 California Housing Partnership reported "estimated that Los Angeles County already has a shortage of 490,00 affordable units (market rate and subsidized)."  Mayor Garcetti's spokesperson Connie Llanos said,

The mayor is concerned that this initiative would dramatically cut housing production in Los Angeles, driving up rents at all income levels at a time when too many Angelenos are already struggling to make ends meets.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation logo
Enter AIDS Healthcare

While the battle between civic watchdogs and developers has been raging for decades, this latest round has one usual instigator, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.  Blogger knows what you might be thinking, an AIDS Healthcare organization getting involved in planning issues?  Technically, the AHF does not list CPLA or the initiative on website but the the two are one and the same and you can find a .pdf of the measure on their website,  Despite their mission to bring "Cutting-edge medicine and advocacy, regardless of ability to pay," (Ibid) and this initiative has absolutely nothing to do with AIDS treatment or prevention, the AHF's leaders believe that over-development and increased density are matters of public health.

AHF was initially focused on Hollywood.  The initiative spreads their concerns throughout the city.  Board Chair Cynthia Davis told Josh Stephens,

We felt it was appropriate given that...this is occurring out our front door...When I drive over to our corporate offices, I can't even find a parking space.  I have to drive 20 minutes to find a parking space.

Ms. Davis said the initiative has nearly the unanimous support of the board.  She continues,

We're concerned about the health of communities whether or nor somebody is living with HIV or AIDS...You're talking about too many people living and residing in a particular area where it's going to affect the environment, parking, homeless people on the street...thousands of people moving into an area that's already congested.

CPLA campaign billboard
Cynthia Davis mentioned that she was not aware of any research conducted by AHF to determine any public health benefits of CPLA. Most planners and public professionals support compact, mixed-use, and transit-oriented development because they promote walkability and decrees air pollution by decreasing automobile dependency.  This initiative is the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's largest civic battle.  Throughout its long history in the AIDS community, it has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to provide care for several thousands of patients nationwide and around the globe.  The Foundation has taken some controversial positions in the past and is currently the subject of a federal lawsuit, unsealed in April, claiming that the AHF received improper kickbacks from Medicare.

Magic Johnson billboard
Healing Los Angeles

Setting aside the AHF's expertise, or lack thereof, in land use, for the moment the question on the table is: "Can the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative-or any other movement-bring the reform that so many in Los Angeles have clamored for?"

In Blogger's own assessment of the matter, the opponents of the initiative make a slightly better argument than its supporters because the facts bear this out.  This is not to say that yours truly is a high-density, developer friendly blogger, it is just that the opponent favor a more incremental change, something more doable, than sweeping reform.  Be that as it may, the supporters of the initiative have the backing of homeowners, homeowner association, and other groups typically concerned bout traffic and overbuilding.  Even those opposed to the initiative admit that it sends an anti-corruption message that sounds attractive to voters.  Mott Smith had this to say,

To the unsophisticated ear, this will be an extremely seductive proposition...What it says, the city has to stop deviating from its own rules on a case-by-case basis for developers.  Who would disagree with that?  Only someone who understands the rules have never worked and could work.

Meanwhile, the initiative moves toward the November ballot.  Even though it will only appear on the Los Angeles County ballot, it has implications for other cities facing a similar housing crisis.  Affordable housing is a major issue that all cities must deal with.  At its basic level, it can distilled to a case of supply and demand.  In Los Angeles, the demand for affordable housing has outstripped the supply and potential renters are being frozen out of the market.  The real question is what do Angelenos want to do about it?