Thursday, July 28, 2016

Blogger Candidate Forum: DNC Convention Final Night

Hello Everyone:

It is time for the Democratic National Committee Convention grand finale. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will take the stage to formally accept the nomination for the President of The United States. What a moment for women in the United States of America. Before we launch into live blogging, shall we talk about night three?

What a night it was.  It was notable for three reasons: Michael Bloomberg, Senator Tim Kaine, and President Barack Obama. Former Mayor Bloomberg delivered a stinging indictment of Republican nominee Donald Trump. It was one New Yorker to another that was classic. This was followed by Senator Kaine's energetic introduction. He was brilliant and very likeable. He will make a great Vice President. Finally, the evening was capped off by a barn burner of a speech by POTUS. It was one of those speech of a lifetime. It spoke of his experience in life and politics. It spoke of his admiration of Madame Secretary. It was probably one of the best speeches he has given. Now it is time to get ready to hear from Madame Secretary. Here we go.

Madame Secretary has entered the arena to a packed and cheering house. Yours truly is getting a bit emotional.  Acknowledges Senator Bernie Sanders for running s brilliant and inspiring campaign. Bravo Senator Sanders. Madame Secretary is reaching to out Sanders supporters. We wrote the most progressive platform together, let us work together.

America at point of reckoning-bonds of trust and respect are fraying. Work together so we can ride together. First mention of Donald Trump-wants us to fear the future and each other. We will rise to the challenge. We will not build walls, build an economy so everyone can get a job, not ban religions, build a path to citizenship. Strengths: diverse population, most powerful military, entrepreneurs, enduring values, generous young people. America is strong and tough. Don't believe anyone who says I alone can fix it. Majorly rebuking Mr. Trump's acceptance speech. "We'll fix it together."  Constitution written so no one person would have the power/

Mentions Dallas Police Chief David Brown call for people to join the police force following the death of five officers. Emphasis on stronger together. Working together for a stronger safer communities.  Formally accepts the nomination.

Reminding crowd of her service as First Lady, Senator from New York, and Secretary of State. Re-introducing herself to the American public. Sharing her autobiography. Father was small business owner, grandfather worked in lace making factory. Mother was abandoned at fourteen. Remind people of work with Childrens's Defense Fund. Represented disabled children who were not allowed to attend regular school. Formed coalition to get disabled children access to school. Self-admitted policy person.  Emphasis on sweating the details because it matters to the POTUS.

Inspired by 9/11 survivors to work medical benefit and Ryan Mannjng motivating her to work for children's health insurance. Promises to be a president for everyone

Reminding crowd that this is a milestone evening-first time a major party has nominated a woman for president.  Glass ceiling shattered. Equal opportunity for women and girls is equal opportunity for all.

Giving credit to POTUS and VPOTUS for economy recovery progress. Auto industry was revived. Still have a long way to go. The economy is not working the way it should. Less respect for work and the work people do. Create more opportunities and rising wages in the U.S.A. Economy isn't working because democracy is not working. Get Supreme Court justices to get money out of politics. If necessary, pass constitutional amendment. Calls for financial reform. Believes climate change is real. Can save the planet and create job. Comprehensive immigration reform will enhance economy.  Calls for increase in minimum wage and affordable healthcare. Say no to unfair trade deals, support manufacturing, respect a woman's right to make her own medical decision, equal pay for equal work

Donald Trump reference. Mentions that does not like talking about his plans. Has no plans. Will work for infrastructure development in first 100 days with both parties. Will work with Senator Sanders to make college free and debt free. Boost small businesses. Will fight for affordable child care and family leave.  Will pay for programs with taxes on the wealthy, companies that take tax breaks and shift jobs overseas, and Wall Street.

Remind crowd of bipartisan work in Senate. Crowd boos-"Don't boo vote."  Reminds crowd of Mr. Trump's own words about making America great but outsources job.

National security: people look for leader that works with allies and honors veterans. Remind crowd of Iran Nuclear agreement, stand by NATO, outlines multi-pronged plan to destroy ISIS, maintain alliance with Israel. Just landed a major zinger aimed at Mr. Trump. Questions temperament of Mr. Trump. "A man you can bait with a tweet is a man you can't trust with nuclear weapons."  Pledges to be commander in chief who is smart and cool under fire.

Supports gun legislation reform. Will work with responsible gun owners to keep guns out on the hands of the people who should not have them. Heal divides on guns, immigration, and race. Calls for empathy for all: African Americans, Latinos, police officers. Reform criminal justice system. Defend all rights. Calls out Donald Trumqo for who he is. "America is great because America is good."  Reminds crowd of differences. Progress is possible. Former POTUS Bill Clinton getting weepy.

Look to future. Build a better tomorrow. Stresses readiness, steadiness, empathy. Define Madame Secretary, outlines economic plans, took fight to Donald Trump. Kept circling back to jobs.  Joined by Senator Kaine. Hugs from Former POTUS Bill Clinton. Fireworks, balloons.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Blogger Candidate Forum: DNC Convention Summary

Shattering the glass ceiling
Hello Everyone:

Can Blogger say wow.  Oh my goodness, yours truly still cannot believe that Secretary Hillary Clinton became the first American woman to win a major party nomination for the presidential election.  This is truly an amazing moment.  As yours truly tweeted, "A woman's place is in the House, the Senate, and the White House."  Also, Blogger would like to extend a big congratulations to Senator Bernie Sanders for running a campaign based on the issues, without stooping to name calling and insults.  The Sanders campaign started a movement of civic engagement aimed at those who would otherwise, not be part of the process.  These is a beautiful thing.  Senator Sanders you rock.  You are a class act for endorsing Madame Secretary and urging your supporters to back her.  You are humble in victory and defeat.  Today, we are going continue are convention coverage, more on those new emails,  and take a look at Senator Tim Kaine.

Live stream image from the DNC Convention
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Let us start with the events of the past two days.  Day One, in two word Michelle Obama. The First Lady stole the show with a heartfelt speech that praised Madame Secretary as a public official and political survivor; rebuked Donald Trump without mentioning his name.  The speech accentuated the positive aspects of the American narrative while rejoicing in the image of an African American family in the White House.  Blogger was also pretty joyful when President Barack Obama was first elected to office.  The positive nature of the speech was a stark contrast to all the hateful, vile words coming out of the campaigns.  Blogger would also like to mention the energetic speech given by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Another takeaway from night one was the left embrace of Madame Secretary.  Senator Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) did much to breach the rift between the Sanders and Clinton wings of the Democratic party.  Both senators delivered sharp attacks on the Republican ticket, while giving their full support in spite of the diehards plaintive cries.  Protestors continued to plague the convention.  Chants of "Black Lives Matter" and choruses of boos continued to plague the speakers.  Finally, Mr. Trump played a supporting role of sorts.  His name was not used to unify the crowd, nor did the speakers focus on Mr. Trump's negative narrative.  In fact, any mention of his name failed to stir the crowd.

Senator Sanders addressing the DNC Convention
Day Two: History made.  Wow, again.  Last night's big moment came when former President and First Gentleman in waiting Bill Clinton offered a loving intimate portrait of the woman who would be president (still can't believe it).  While praising his wife as "change maker, President Clinton confirmed that Democrats have a challenging task ahead of them, going after the votes of people who are demanding that Washington D.C. be overhauled from the top-down.

Law, order, and policing took center stage.  At
The Dean Scream
the Republican National Committee Convention, the message was a simple one: stronger law and order.  This left the DNC to paint a more nuanced picture-balancing party concerns over racial bias in law enforcement and paying tribute to fallen police officers.  This message was delivered via the mothers of African American children lost to gun violence and in encounters with police officers.  The Sanders supporters's tantrums seem to be petering out.  Finally, it was nineties night at the convention as the DNC brought familiar faces from the Clinton-Gore campaigns.  The highlight for yours truly, former 2004 primary candidate, DNC chair, and Vermont Governor Howard Dean who resurrected the "Dean Scream."

WikiLeaks hacked emails
Another takeaway from Tuesday was those leaked DNC emails.  Ah yes, emails the gift that keeps on giving and the DNC wishes they would not be so generous.  Although Mr. Trump was rarely mentioned but Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-Va) and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright warned about giving a man, who embraces Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the nuclear codes.  Ms. Albright alluded to the release of hacked DNC emails, suggesting that the Russians were boosting Mr. Trump's chances.

Never one to remain to remain quiet, Donald Trump waded into the controversy by suggesting that Russian hackers find a way to locate the deleted emails from Madame Secretary's server.  Specifically, Mr. Trump called on Russian intelligence agencies to find those 30,000 deleted emails.  He even went on to suggest that they have all those email and demanded they be released.  This sparked immediate furor from the DNC as evidence appears to be mounting that Moscow was behind the hacked emails.  Outrageous does not even begin to describe Blogger's reaction.  It is bad enough that the DNC engaged in practices aimed at undermining Senator Bernie Sanders's campaign.  This beyond the pale.  Now we have a presidential candidate suggesting that a foreign intelligence entity hack into a rival's private emails.  Even if it was said in jest, Mr. Trump still has not learned that what he says matters.

Senator Tim Kaine
Finally, congratulations to Virginia Senator Tim Kaine on being named Secretary Hillary Clinton's running mate.  Ahead of his introduction this evening, let us get know Sen. Kaine.  Senator Kaine is one of handful of people to serve as mayor, governor, and senator.  He has been both a civil rights attorney, teacher, and missionary.  The Gentleman from Virginia was elected to the Senate in 2012 as " a can-do optimist skilled in bringing people together across old lines of party, race or region." (; accessed July 27, 2016) Currently, he serves on the Armed Service, Budget, Foreign Relations, and Aging Committees.  He is also the raking member of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee and Foreign Relations Subcommittee on State Department and USAID, International Operations and Bilateral International Development.  (Ibid).

During his tenure, Sen. Kaine has focused on smart defense in a changing world.  The first piece of legislation in the Senate, the Troop Talent Act of 2013, established new standards to assist active duty service personal to receive civilian credit ails for military skill to facilitate their transition to civilian life. In the Foreign Relations Committee, he introduced bipartisan legislation to revise the War Powers Resolution of 1973 and voted to authorize the ongoing U.S. military action against ISIS.  He also supported the bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.  The Gentleman from Virginia is the founder and co-chair of the Career and Technical Education Caucus.  He also introduced a bill to recognize six Virginia Native American tribes, championed legislation to encourage public middle and senior high schools to teach students how to prevent sexual violence.  (Ibid)  Senator Kaine's list of accomplishments, in his short time in the Senate, is stellar.

Senator Kaine and Secretary Clinton
 Senator Tim Kaine brings a sense of stability and a breadth of experience to the ticket.  He is not a flashy candidate but this is part of what makes him a good running mate.  One of the factors in choosing a running mate is finding someone who will not detract from the top of the ticket.  He has a sense of moral conviction that balances out any questions of Madame Secretary's morality.  Like Madame Secretary, he has a sense of religious conviction.  His Catholic faith has informed his position of the death penalty and abortion but upheld the law in his state.  The Gentleman from Virginia also has an off-the-cuff manner that seems more amiable than Mr. Trump.  His efforts to reach across the aisle makes him a far less polarizing figure than Madame Secretary.

Stay tuned for tomorrow night's grand finale when Secretary Hillary Clinton takes the stage to formally accept the nomination.  Her task will be to give the speech of a lifetime.  Once again, yours truly will live blog.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The 2016 World Heritage Sites

Cartogram of World Heritage
Hello Everyone:

Yours truly is back from the Candidate Forum with Day One of the Democratic National Committee Convention.  As an antidote to the muck and mire of political conventions and a House of Cards mini-binge watch, yours truly is going to celebrate the newly inscribed World Heritage Sites.  Hazel Plush of The Telegraph is our guide for this journey.  The World Heritage Site's annual list is not just a list of really cool places to visit, it is but it also a celebration of who we are and what we are about.  It celebrates our cultural and architectural achievements.  It reminds us that there is beauty in the world.  Ms. Plush writes, "...the roll-call includes historical significance, legacy and common heritage..."  Blogger will spotlight a selection of World Heritage Sites and you can go to the United Nations Economic, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (  Shall we begin?

Hubei Shennongjia Natural Reserve, China
Hubei Shennongjia, China

The first stop on our around the world journey is Hubei, China-the Hubei Shennongjia Natural Reserve.  Spectacular.  The Natural Reserve boasts some of the country's largest ancient forest and some of the most sought-after wildlife in the province.  The dense jungles are a major source for botanical research and haven for endangered animals.

Archipiélago de Revillagigedo, México
Archipiélago de Revillagigedo, México

The next stop on our world tour is a remote archipelago in the eastern Pacific Ocean.  The Archipiélago de Revillagigedo is part of an underwater mountain range.  The archipelago consists of four mountain ranges: Clarión, San Benedicto, Socorro, and Roca Patida.  These islands are main nesting and breeding grounds for thousands of sea bird.  Imagine kayaking around the archipelago.  It would an amazing adventure.

Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay, Sudan
 Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay, Sudan

 We go to the Sudan for one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  The Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay is a gorgeous coral atoll, 25 kilometers off the coast of Sudan.  This marine national park is a magnet for "...intrepid divers, with glassy and wildlife-rich waters."  Blogger is tempted to dive in Dungonab Bay, a "...marine hotspot, brimming with dugongs, manta rays, turtles, sharks, and colourful coral."  Sharks?  Alright, maybe the sharks might give yours truly pause to think.

The Ahwar of Southern Iraq

The Ahwar of Southern Iraq

The country of Iraq seems to be in the news, a lot and not for good reasons.  Therefore, to see The Ahwar of Southern Iraq make the World Heritage list.  The Ahwar is composed of seven sites: three archaeological areas (Uruk, Ur, and Tell Eridu) and four marshlands in southern Iraq. The marshlands were nearly destroy by the Hussein regime but thanks to a massive restoration projects, the original flora and fauna was reintroduced.  The Ahwar is thought to be the site of the biblical "Garden of Eden."

This just in from the Candidate Forum:  former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes the first American woman to win a major party nomination for the President of the United States.  Wow, unbelievable.  Blogger is overwhelmed by this moment in history.  After all a woman's place is in the House, the Senate, and the White House.  Congratulations Madame Secretary.  Back to our tour.

Unité d'habitation
Marseille, France
The architecture of Le Corbusier, worldwide

Architects and architecture aficionados, around the world, rejoiced at the inscription of the work of Charles-Édouard Jeannette-Gris-Le Corbusier.  Le Corbusier is a giant among architects.  His work has influenced many architects and designers around the world.  Hazel Plush writes, "His collective architecture in Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany, India, Japan and Switzerland has been recognised as a whole..."  This was, by Blogger's estimation, a tough choice because also placed into nomination was the work of another architectural giant, Frank Lloyd Wright.  Blogger supposes that one architectural giant inscribed on World Heritage Sites list at a time.

Antigua Naval Dockyard
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua Naval Dockyard, Antigua and Barbuda

We head out to the Caribbean for next stop on our world tour of Heritage Sites.  The beautiful island of Antigua is home to His Majesty's Antigua naval Yard in English Harbor.  What a a beautiful natural harbor it is.  The British Navy built the dockyard while the Europeans superpower battled for control of the archipelago.

Singhik closet view of Mt. Khangchendzonga
Khangchendzonga, Sikkim, India
Khangchendzonga National Park, India

Spectacular.  Imagine taking a vacation in the Khangchendzonga National Park.  This sprawling national park is comprised of valleys, lakes, glaciers, ancient forests, and the most amazing mountain ranges.  One of those breathtaking mountains is the world's third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga, a sacred place for the local Sikh population.

The Persian Qanat, Iran

The Persian Qanat, Iran

Water is a precious commodity around the world.  This fact is especially true in Iran, where it is one of the nation's most precious commodities.  However, Iran is mostly desert and thanks to underground irrigation, farms and towns help keep them alive.  The subterranean tunnels-qantas-keep the water moving often for kilometers, allowing for more sustainable and equatable water distribution.

Nan Madol, Micronesia
Nan Madol, Micronesia

We travel to the South Pacific for our next World Heritage Site.  Micronesia, a collection of 99 artificial islets off the southeast coast of Pohnpei were built between the 13th and 16th centuries as a ceremonial site for the Saudeleur dynasty.  On these enchanted islands, you can explore ancient stone castles, tombs, and temples built from basalt and coral.  Blogger fancies climbing one of those basalt and coral structures.

These are just some of the stunning contributors to world culture.  You can see more and past entries at UNESCO's website  While you are there, you can read how each of the sites are selected and many other fascinating articles about world heritage.  When you are planning your next vacation, make sure to include one of these lovely places on your itinerary.  You will not be disappointed.


Blogger Candidate Forum: Day One Wrap Up

Hello Everyone:

Blogger Candidate Forum is here today to post a summary of yesterday's events at the Democratic National Committee Convention. What an exciting day it was.  The first day got off to a rocky start. The issue of the DNC emails and the "Bernie or Bust" people threatened to destabilize the appearance of party unity. The latest those emails seem to be taking the veneer of a John LaCarre novel.  It seems that there is evidence to suggest that the Russians may have had a hand in leaking DNC emails about torpedoing the Sanders campaign in order to swing the election toward Donald Trump. Whether or not this pans out is another story. The latest news is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was notified about leaks a few months ago.  Untangling this latest email scandal will take some time and the real answer will never be known but stayed tuned for more.

Party loyalty is such a fickle thing. We saw how fickle it was during last week's Republican National Committee Convention. The half empty Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, members of Congress, former presidents and candidates coming up with all sorts amusing reasons not attend the convention. The there was Senator Tes Cruz's non-endorsement of Mr. Trump. Yesterday party fickleness was alive and well yesterday. During a rally, Senator Bernie Sanders was actually booed by his die-hard supporters because of his endorsement of Secretary Clinton. Thank you comedienne Sarah Silverman for injecting some perspective. There were images of Sanders supporters, on the convention floor, with tape over their mouths with the word "Silenced."  Fortunately, the main speakers of the night salvaged the façade of unity.

Shall we talk about those prime time speeches?  In a word barn burner. Okay, that was two words. The highlight was First Lady Michelle Obama's very personal presentation. It hit some very important notes, especially the point about setting an example for children. This speech had Blogger posting and tweetin FLOTUS for POTUS. Senator Sanders's keynote address was awesomely amazing.  It had the entire floor-Sanders and Clinton supporters alike-standing and cheering at the top of their lungs. Bravo Senator Sanders. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) got the crowd on their feet with a rousing speech, akin to preaching and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) was off the charts.

Tonight's prime time coverage should be another barn burner with former President Bill Clinton as the keynote speaker. There will be the roll call vote for the nomination. More later and tomorrow.

Monday, July 25, 2016

"It's Chinatown"

"Welcome to Chinatown"
Chicago, Illinois
Hello Everyone:

It is a new week and a new week of things to talk about.  The Blogger Candidate Forum asked yours truly to remind you that convention coverage will continue this week as the festivities move to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Right now, we are going to take a side trip to Chicago's Chinatown and find out how and why it continues to flourish while other fade away.

Chinatowns are fantastic places to spend time.  Blogger has fond memories of spending time in San Francisco's Chinatown and feeling like yours truly in lost in China.  This feeling is one of the reasons that Chicago's Chinatown continues to thrive.  Marwa Eltagouri's Los Angeles Timesar article "Why Chicago's Chinatown is flourishing while others across the U.S. fade," discusses how, in the face of gentrification, the Chinatown is becoming a model for the survival of Chinatowns throughout the United States.

Old Chicago Chinatown
Marwa Eltagouri begins with the story of Sau Fung Lam.  When she arrived from China 24 years ago, Ms. Lam went to the grocery store to buy an apple.  Despite her lack of English language skills, she manage to communicate her request via hand gestures.  The grocer seemed to understand and was handed a large onion.  The point here, since Ms. Lam moved from East China to Chicago in the early 1990s, Chinatown has thrived, metamorphosing itself from a partial Chinese community where the residents mainly spoke English into one where businesses and agencies function bilingually.  Primarily because residents speak a Chinese dialect; experts believe that nearly 65 percent are foreign-born.  Chicago is no longer a city where neighborhoods are no longer defined by their ethnicity however, Chinatown is the exception, remaining in the Cermak Road and Wentworth Avenue location since 1912.

Chinatown main street
Chicago, Illinois
Ms. Eltagouri writes, "Leaders say Chinatown has avoided gentrification because Chinese Americans value a sense of belonging and choose to stay in the neighborhood.  Few residents move out, and if they do, they their homes to other Chinese."  The numbers near this statement out.  "Between 2000 and 2010, Chinatown's population increased 24% and its Asian population increased 30% Asians make up nearly 90% of the neighborhood's population, according to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data."  The unnamed experts in Ms. Eltagouri's article also observe that the majority of foreign-born Asian's residing in the community, almost 10 percent arriving in the last ten years, are a sharp contrast to Chinatowns in New York and San Francisco, where immigrants no longer drive the community.

Chinatown Carnival
Chicago, Illinois
A 2015 report from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning found that nearly "78% of Chinatown residents speak Chinese at home, and of that population, more than three-quarters speaking English 'less than very well.'"  Employment-wise, the report revealed that half of the Chinatown residents work in one of three sectors: food (i.e. grocery and restaurant), healthcare and social services, and manufacturing.  The Chicago Chinatown neighborhood allows Sau Fung Lam to live comfortably in the city without ever learning English.  While this may horrify some segments of the American landscape but she reckons that if Chinatown was consumed by Chicago, ...Life would difficult.  At 81, Ms. Lam spends her days enjoying Cantonese delicacies at MingHin Cuisine, purchasing turnip cakes from the Hong Kong Market, and singing with her sister in a Chinese choir once a week.

Tasty dumplings in Chicago's Chinatown
In an acknowledgment of nationally declining Chinatowns, urban planners and Chicago-area organizations have committed to investing this community, which explains why it is doing well.  Case in point, in 2013 the CMAP announce an initiative to preserve Chinatown's cultural identity by enhancing public education and senior care, growing transportation infrastructure, and create more public parks.  Ms. Eltagouri reports, "And in August, the city opened a two-story, $19.1-million branch of the Chicago Public Library that has attracted about 1,500 people a day.  It caters to Chinese-speaking patrons, as many residents turn to the library for English classes.

Chinatowns came to life in the United States following the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act  in 1882.  This law forbade Chinese laborers from coming to America, with the exception of merchants and scholars.  Chinese already residing in the U.S. were subject to violent spasms of racism and discrimination, and faced obstacles to assimilating into the nation's socio-economic fabric.  Without a way to return home, the Chinese immigrants learned to rely on urban clusters-i.e. Chinatowns- to survive.

Chicago Chinatown merchant
The Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943 and replace by an annual quota of 105 entry visa but ethnic Chinese people were still prohibited from owning property or businesses.  In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Immigration and Nationality Act, lifting the racial immigration restrictions.

Between 2000 and 2010, San Francisco's Chinatown, the oldest in the nation, "...the Asian population dropped 19.3%...though the number of Asians living in the core fell by only 3 percentage points," according to census data analysis.  Cindy Wu, the deputy director and planning commissioner at Chinatown Community Development Center in San Francisco, told Marwa Eltagouri,

You can see a pattern starting to form, and eviction and housing cases tell the  rest of the story.

A worker at Bark Lee Tong filling an herbal prescription
Chicago, Illinois
According to a 2015 study published by New York University and Capital One, the difference between Chicago's Chinatown and that of San Francisco or Manhattan is the availability of housing.  Chicago "...doesn't have as high of a demand nor as tight of a supply of rentable apartments..."  However, the experts and civic leaders agree that one of the factors that account for Chicago Chinatown's success is it commitment to tradition, an attraction for both Asian and non-Asian visitors.

One last case study, Nancy Wong moved to Chicago in 1988 from Hong Kong out of concern that the autonomous territory would become part of mainland China.  Ms. Wong opened a floor shop on Archer Avenue, regularly visiting Chinatown to attend to clients.  She thinks the numerous services and agencies available to immigrants and Chinese speakers are another attractive quality.  There are a myriad of housings options available for seniors, employment training courses, and English classes frequently taught at churches.  The primary use of the Chinese language for businesses helps keep Chinatown from becoming just another tourist attraction.  Ms. Wong said,

Some young people even work or live in Chinatown just to learn Chinese

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Blogger Candidate Forum: More Emails And Then Some

Hello Everyone:

Well, so much for a drama-free Democratic National Committee Convention. Thank you WikiLeaks for releasing those scandalous DNC emails that left no room for doubt that leadership was actively trying to torpedo Senstor Bernie Sanders's campaign. Not only did DNC chairperson Debi Wasserman-Schultz embarrass herself and the party founded by the seventh President of the United States Andrew Jackson; thanks to the new those emails, she gave ample cannon fodder to the Trump-Pence campaign. Further, what was supposed to be a big roll out weekend for Secretary Hillary Clinton and her newly anointed running mate, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), has turned into a weekend of damage control.  Nice going.  Further, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook assigned blame to Russian hackers working on behalf of President Vladimir Putin to ensure that Republican nominee Donald Trump wins in November. In all fairness, their may be some truth to this but really, Mr. Mook?  The Russians?  Stop reading all those John Le Carre novels.  In the end, Ms. Washerman Schultz has agreed to resign her post as DNC chairperson after the convention and will not speak during the event.  Emails, the gift that keep on giving no and yours truly thinks that the DNC and Madame Secrerary wish that they would not be so generous.

In other matters, how about the RNC Convention?  A fun-filled four day event packed with charges of plagiarism, back stabbing former rivals, around the clock Hillary-haters, and balloons. About the only thing missing was marching in the streets. Boring it was not.  One of the most irksome moments came during the roll call vote when each state representative spent at least a good five to ten minutes extolling the virtues of their state or territory. It made Blogger wonder "do we really have THAT many states and territories?"  Also, one of the most disingenuous moments came Thursdat evening, before Mr. Trump's speech. His eldest daughter, Ivanka, spoke in an effort to make him more palatable to women. This was coming from a woman, born and raised in privilege. When she talked about her father's gender neutral, color blind employment practices, yours truly nearly choked. When she spoke being a working mom, yours truly rolled her eyes. Yes, Ms. Trump is a working mom but unlike a lot of working moms who struggle to find child care and time off for family leave. She, other hand, has had all the advantages that most do not have. So how can she express empathy for working moms?

Tomorrow, we start a new week with new things to talk about and convention coverage. Stay tuned and hang on tight.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Blogger Candidate Forum: RNC Convention Last Day

Hello Everyone:

Yours truly is sitting down to watch the final night of the RNC Convention. Tonight we have live blogging from Blogger. Right now I am watching Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of Republican nominee Donald Trump.  So far, it is your typical fawning daughter speech. She seems like the true First Lady, instead of Melania Trump.  At least her speech seems original, not cribbed from previous First Ladies. The delivery is more animated than Ms. Trump.

The candidate has stepped on to the convention stage to great fanfare. Mr. Trump. promises that the United  States will be a country a warmth and welcome; law and order. Promise to end crime and violence. Cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore. Blames the current administration for upswing in homicides. Blames illegal immigrant with criminal records, roaming the streets. Citing the example of a young girl in Nebraska, who was killed by an illegal immigrant. Moves on to the economy. Citing the high unemployment statistics of African Americans and Latinos. Promises to fix the trade deficits. Infrastructure decay and international humiliation: Iran and Benghazi. Takes a swipe a Secretary Hillary Clinton.  Calls for her defeat.  Blames Madame Secretary for ISIS, Syria, chaos in Iraq, and the overthrow of the Hosni Mubarak regime.  Calls for a change in leadership for a change in leadership.

Has "America First" plan. Americanism over globalism. Safety at home: security at home, safe streets, law and order. Will outline reforms to add jobs. Believes the system is rigged. Things have to change right now. Claims to be the voice of the forgotten people. Has no patience for injustice. Mr. Trump loves Cleveland.  Person being escorted of the floor. Bringing up those emails. Calls it corruption at all an all time high. Calls them terrible crimes. Egregious crimes. Says Madame Secretary traded access for millions. Says he alone can fix the system because he knows it best. Seen it first hand. Calls on Bernie Sanders supporters to join him. Predicts that millions of Democrats will join his movement because he will fix it.

Acknowledged Governor Mike Pence, his running mate. Cited his accomplishments.

Cites recent shootings of police officers. Dallas and Baton Rogue. "Attack on law enforcement is an attack on all Americans."  Promises to restore law and order to the country. Will appoint best prosecutors and law enforcement officials. Calls himself the law and order candidate. Calls President Barack Obama a divisive president. Failed inner cities on all levels.  Promises to stand up for minority communities

Declares that we will defeat ISIS and do it fast. Cites past terrorist acts. Refers to Orlando.  Promises to protect LBGTQ citizens from hateful foreign ideology. Focus on three thing: best intelligence gathering, abandon regime change and nation building, work with allies to stamp out ISIS fast.  Wants to work with Israel to stamp out terrorists. Recently said NATO was obsolete and not paying their fair share. Announces NATO plan to combat terrorists.

Calls for suspension of immigration from nations with terrorist activities. Cites Madame Secretay's call for massive increase of refugee. Wants to admit people who support America and its values. Wants immigration system that works for the Americans.  Refers to meeting parents of children killed  by immigrants. Promises to quickly remedy the problem. Wants to build border wall.  Wants to end illegal border crossings and "catch-and-release" program.

Wants to be compassionate towards American citizens. Promises relief from uncontrolled immigration.

Wants new fair trade policy that would lift up American workers. Signature feature of Trump campaign. Wants to make American rich again.  Wants to bring back jobs to America. Will not let companies outsource jobs without consequence. Says Madame Secretsry supported husband's bad trade. Supported Trans Pacific Trade. America will never sign bad trade deals. Will make individual deals with individual countries. Will enforce trade violations of any country that cheats. Calls out China. Renogiate trade, including NAFTA. Calls for tax overhaul. Proposes to simplify codes. Says it will bring back jobs.  Says new wealth will improve the lives of Americans.

Pro-school choice. Wants to repeal and replace Affordable Healthcare Act. Will fix Transportation Security Administration. Wants to allievate student debt. Rebuild military.  Want allies to pay their fair share. Released 10-point Veteran Adminsitratio. Plan. Wants to audit every cabinet department.
Wants to appoint judges that uphold the Constitution. Will not nominate Judge Merrick. Endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

Acknowledges the evangelical and religious communities. Wants to uphold religious freedom-would protect religious institutions from losing funding if they advocate political views.

Time to show America is back. Acknowledges family.  Fondly remembers parents.  Wants to break free of the petty politics of the past. America will start winning again. Choose to believe in America. Asks for support to be champion in the White House. "I'm with you."  We will we make America great again.

High energy on the arena. Speech ran a little long and high on bluster. Pointed what's wrong with everything but said little on how he was going to fix it.

On to Philadelphia and the Democratoc National Committee Convention.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Blogger Candidate Forum: Day Three Wrap Up

Hello Everyone:

Just a quick note on Day three of the Republican National Committee Convention. Today's session was less dramatic but no less fascinating. The highlights of the day included Governor Mike Pence excepting the nomination for Vice President. His speech was a nice self-introduction. He hit on all the usual themes of how Republican policies work every time and how Donald Trump will be the leader that will make America great. The delivery was good, folksy, a nice counterpoint to the bombast of some of the previous speakers. That is the one thing about these conventions, they are full of bluster and bombast. The awkward moment of the evening came when Senator Ted Cruz was booed off the stage. Senator Cruz finished second to Mr. Trump but has refused to endorse him. When began his speech this evening, it was to cheers but his non-endorsement illicit e's boos and jeers. It did not help matters when Mr. Trump enter the convention site, amid cheers.  It has been a very odd convention so far.  The oddness stems from an unconventional candidate, running an unconventional campaign. The real test will come during the debates and on Election Day. Tomorrow is the grand finale, Donald Trump speaks. This should be a good show.

Blogger Candidate Forum: Day Three Wrap Up

Hello Everyone:

Just a quick note on Day three of the Republican National Committee Convention. Today's session was less dramatic but no less fascinating. The highlights of the day included Governor Mike Pence excepting the nomination for Vice President. His speech was a nice self-introduction. He hit on all the usual themes of how Republican policies work every time and how Donald Trump will be the leader that will make America great. The delivery was good, folksy, a nice counterpoint to the bombast of some of the previous speakers. That is the one thing about these conventions, they are full of bluster and bombast. The awkward moment of the evening came when Senator Ted Cruz was booed off the stage. Senator Cruz finished second to Mr. Trump but has refused to endorse him. When began his speech this evening, it was to cheers but his non-endorsement illicit e's boos and jeers. It did not help matters when Mr. Trump enter the convention site, amid cheers.  It has been a very odd convention so far.  The oddness stems from an unconventional candidate, running an unconventional campaign. The real test will come during the debates and on Election Day. Tomorrow is the grand finale, Donald Trump speaks. This should be a good show.

Blogger Candidate Forum: Day Three Wrap Up

Hello Everyone:

Just a quick note on Day three of the Republican National Committee Convention. Today's session was less dramatic but no less fascinating. The highlights of the day included Governor Mike Pence excepting the nomination for Vice President. His speech was a nice self-introduction. He hit on all the usual themes of how Republican policies work every time and how Donald Trump will be the leader that will make America great. The delivery was good, folksy, a nice counterpoint to the bombast of some of the previous speakers. That is the one thing about these conventions, they are full of bluster and bombast. The awkward moment of the evening came when Senator Ted Cruz was booed off the stage. Senator Cruz finished second to Mr. Trump but has refused to endorse him. When began his speech this evening, it was to cheers but his non-endorsement illicit e's boos and jeers. It did not help matters when Mr. Trump enter the convention site, amid cheers.  It has been a very odd convention so far.  The oddness stems from an unconventional candidate, running an unconventional campaign. The real test will come during the debates and on Election Day. Tomorrow is the grand finale, Donald Trump speaks. This should be a good show.

Blogger Candidate Forum: The Republican National Convention

The Republican National Committee Convention 2016
Hello Everyone:

It is Day Three of the Republican National Committee Convention in Cleveland, Ohio and it has been anything but dull.  So far we have had a quashed rebellion, charges of plagiarism, the norovirus, and Lucifer.  Oh and by the way, Donald J. Trump was formally nominated as the Republican standard bearer in the fall Presidential Campaign.  Today, the featured speaker is Vice President nominee, Governor Mike Pence (R-IN).  Let us take a closer look at the last two days of the Convention, meet Gov. Pence, and look at what is ahead.

Monday July 18, 2016, Day One.  In a word, disaster.  The Convention barely got started when Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort  telling multiple television interviews, "...that Ohio John Kasich was 'embarrassing' his state for ducking the convention." (; access Jul 20, 2016).  Not a great way start off the Convention, calling the popular governor of a key state "embarrassing."  Memo to Mr. Manafort, the path to the White House goes through the Buckeye state.  Monday afternoon, a mini-rebellion by the Never Trump faction was quashed by pro-Trump forces and the docile RNC staff.  The anti-Trump forces tried to force a full roll call vote on the party platform.  What was that about a rigged system.  Then came disaster.

What do you think?
The keynote speaker on Monday evening was Melania Trump, Mr. Trump's wife.  The intention was to introduce Ms. Trump to the national stage and humanize her husband.  Overall, it was a typical fawning spouse-of-the-candidate speech.  Normally this kind of speech would be met with kudos.  This was not the case.  During the course of Ms. Trump's presentation, the twittering and posting masses began to notice similarities between her "...her beautiful speech..." (Ibid) and the speech giving by then-prospective First Lady Michelle Obama in 2008.  Take a look at the image on the left and decide for yourself.  The outcry was fast and mighty from coast-to-coast.  Mr. Manafort quickly denied any cribbing and in a fit of total arrogance, blamed Secretary Hillary Clinton, claiming that Madame Secretary felt threatened by Ms. Trump and went after her.  Really?  Ms. Trump feebly told NBC that she was the primary author, read it only once, and wrote it with as little help as possible.  By early Tuesday morning, the Trump campaign issued a statement blaming an unnamed speechwriter.  We now the name of said speechwriter, Meredith McIver who offered her resignation but it was rejected.

Why does this matter?  A charge of plagiarism blunts the message.  In this case, an attempt to humanize a polarizing candidate.  Monday night's speech was suppose to be Melania Trump's formal introduction to the American audience.  Instead of basking in the glory of the moment, the Trump campaign was in damage control mode.  Mr. Manafort feebly tried to downplay the episode, blaming Madame Secretary.  Republican Party Chairperson Reince Preibus said Mr. Trump's speechwriter should be fired.  That has not happened.  That was Day One.  Was Day Two better?

State signs on the convention floor
Day two was a little better.  At least no one carted off to jail on national television.  Some of the California state officials did get sick from norovirus.  Nothing like getting sick, out of town, to ruin a convention.  Feel better.

What did happen on Day two.  First, Donald Trump is the official Republican nominee for the office of the President, whether or not the RNC likes it.  It was simply matter political necessity and the rules.  However, should Mr. Trump come up short in November, it is absolutely imperative that the RNC
The Trump adult children
establishment make it seem like a convincing defeat, not an act of sabotage.  House of Representatives Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis) made it clear that Mr. Trump was a really different candidate.  In a speech that tried to cover up all the primary nastiness by providing a more positive narrative of governance.  It was not a stirring speech but it did provide a counterpoint to the Trump bombast.  Day Two was "meet the family" night.  Donald, Jr. and Tiffany Trump took to the stage to offer more testimony of the human side of dear old dad.  Cribbing aside, the kids are alright.  Finally, Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) set out make a case against Sec. Clinton and why Mr. Trump should have chosen him as his running mate.  While his case against Madame Secretary was weak, the intention of the speech was not unnoticed.  This may be Gov. Christie's last stand but he is not going out quietly.  Let us now meet the man chosen to be Donald Trump's running mate.

Governor Mike Pence (R-IN)

Indiana Governor Mike Pence is the lucky one chosen to be Donald Trump's running mate.  Gov. Pence was born and raise in the Hoosier state.  He was elected the 50th governor of Indiana in 2012 and formally inaugurated January 14, 2013.  Prior to becoming governor, Gov. Pence represented Indiana's Sixth Congressional District in Washington D.C.  Since taking office in 2013, he achieved the largest tax cuts in Indiana while reducing the business personal property tax and corporate income tax.  He expanded school choice, enhanced educational opportunities by signing into law the first state funding for pre-K education in Indiana.  The governor has worked with the General Assembly to craft a balanced budget that maintains a reserves.  Gov. Pence is also a strong supporter of the military and has made it a priority to reduce veteran unemployment.  Governor Mike Pence is married to former school teacher Karen Pence and have three grown children. (; accessed Jul 20, 2016)

Governor Pence was introduced to the American public in a rather strange manner.  Like nervous reality competition show finalists, Gov. Christie, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Gov. Pence all waited on pins and needles for the proverbial tap on the shoulder.  Both Gov. Christie and former Speaker Gingrich thought the VP winds were blowing their way.  Meanwhile, Gov. Pence was left in suspense in an anonymous New York hotel room, last Thursday evening, long after Trump became convinced that the Indiana governor was the one and long after the news starting leaking out.  In typical fashion, Mr. Trump milked it up until the last moment before tweeting out the news.  The selection process was marked by haphazardness, missed communication and opportunities.  Even his campaign did not have a new web page ready.  What does this all mean for the campaign? (; access Jul 20, 2016)

Governor Pence and Donald Trump
By choosing Governor Pence, Mr. Trump demonstrates a more mature attitude.  Gov. Pence has deep legislative career and close ties to the conservative movement.  This gives Mr. Trump the kind of credibility he needs with conservative groups.  Gov. Pence is a safe choice.  A safe choice over star power.  (Ibid)  Governor Pence is a good counterpoint to the Trumpian showmanship.  He is a little-known social conservative, who back Senator Ted Cruz in the primaries.  Both gentlemen had no relationship prior to the vetting process.  Unlike Gov. Christie or former Speaker Gingrich, he did not actively campaign for the job, unless you count a Fourth of July golf weekend.  Mr. Trump was not swayed by the promise of a substantial contribution by casino magnate Shel Adelson in exchange for choosing Speaker Gingrich.  By last Wednesday, M
r. Trump seemed to zero in on Gov. Pence despite last minute appeals by Gov. Christie and Speaker Gingrich.  By Friday, the decision was made and tweeted.  Now it remains to be seen how they will work together on the campaign trail.T

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

We Need To Make Immigration An Urban Issue

Side-by-side comparison of speeches
Hello Everyone:

Well Day One of the Republican National Convention got off to a tumultuous start.  A mini-rebellion was quashed and charges of plagiarism.  Melania Trump, the wife of presumptive nominee Donald Trump, made her convention debut.  Her speech was your typical fawning spouse-of-the-candidate speech.  However, when it comes to all things Trump, there is always drama.  In this case, the twittering masses noticed similarities between the loving speech given by Ms. Trump and the one given by Michelle Obama in 2008.  If you look at the graphic on the left, you can see the highlighted similarities.  Whether it was purposefully lifted or not remains to be seen.  The "Poor Melania" narrative does not hold because as a public person, she is responsible for her words.    Frankly, yours truly thought it was a typical canned speech.  Other highlights included scathing critique of Secretary Hillary Clinton's handling of Benghazi, despite a finding of no wrong doing.  There were harsh words on undocumented immigrants.  A couple of celebrity speakers.  Today, the norovirus made an appearance, felling California state officials.  Now, onto one of the campaign's hot button issues, immigration.

U.S. immigration protests
Washington D.C,
Immigration is one of the white hot topics in the 2016 Presidential elections.  The aggressive words by the speakers reflect the logic employed by the Republicans.  Immigrants, with proper documentation, are welcome but undocumented immigrants, stay out.  This thinking highlights the need for sane immigration reform that welcomes immigrants and creates a path to citizenship for those who live in the shadows.  Another factor in the ongoing immigration debate is the recent United States Supreme Court Decision on the the legality and scope of President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration in the matter of United States v. Texas.

Immigration stamp
Specifically, the justices were asked to rule in favor of the government, the  Deferred Action for Parents of America (DAPA) and extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs. Since there are (still) eight justices, the ruling affirmed the lower court decision, upholding an injunction blocking both programs.  In her CityLab article "Immigration Is Absolutely an Urban Issue," Tanvi Misra explains why immigration is absolutely an urban issue that deserves coverage in the journal.  CityLab's mission is simple, "CityLab informs and inspires the people who are creating the cities of the future-and those who want to live there."  This applies to immigrants-documented and undocumented-who live in and around the cities and keep them humming along.  Ms. Misra observes, "And yet, we don't quite seem to recognize their value for cities-or why we need to plan with them in mind."

"Where did they live?"
    Where immigrants have always lived

Typically, American metropolitans have the first and last destinations for most new arrivals. That, in of itself, makes immigration an urban issue.

Throughout most of the 20th century, when immigrants landed in the United States, they would enter one of major "gateway cities" such as Ellis Island in New York.  Once processed, they would make their way to one of the ethnic enclaves.  Ms. Misra writes, "While that still happens to some extent, the settlement pattern has become much broader."  In 1965, immigration policy changed to allow amore inclusive flow of legal and illegal immigration. This new wave of arrivals made their way across the metropolitan areas in the South and Southwest: Charlotte, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia, lured by the hope of work ad affordable living.

Interactive immigration map
Migration Policy Center
Brookings Institute researcher Audrey Singer has spent a good deal of time following the shift in immigrant destination.  Ms. Singer's research reveals "...that more than half of all immigrants in the U.S. resided in just five big immigration hubs in the U.S. between 1930 and 1990."  Two years ago, she revisited the typologies of immigrant hubs and discovered "...that 80 percent of U.S. immigrants lived in 57 metros that had distinctive patterns of historical immigrant settlement.

The map on the left, by the Migration Policy Center, is of the metropolitans with the largest immigrant populations between 2010 and 2014.

During the four year study period, another geographical change occurred: suburbanization.  To compare, in 1990, about equal shares of foreign-born people in the United States lived in cities, as opposed to the suburbs.  By 2010, "...51 percent of all immigrants in the U.S. lived in suburbs of U.S. metros."  Be that as it may, in 78 out of 100 of the largest American metropolitans immigrants were less likely to live in the suburbs than the overall population, based on Ms. singer's research.

Charlotte, North Carolina
Builders, maintainers, and innovators

Richard Florida recently explained how immigrants are enhancing the metropolitans they reside in.

First and foremost, many of them have literally build some of the U.S. cities that are thriving today.  Take Charlotte, North Carolina, for example-a city with a skyline that's less than 25 years old.  This was the same period over which its Latino immigrant population saw an incredible growth: from 0.098 percent in 1980 to 13.1 percent in 2014.  "Economic growth in Charlotte has been robust, with high demand for position in industries like construction work., 

based on a 2007 University of North Carolina Charlotte report.  The demand was, by-and-large, fulfilled by Latino immigrants.

Downtown New Orleans, Louisiana
The same is true in New Orleans: in the years following Hurricane Katrina, Latino workers came to the city for reconstruction jobs.  They rebuilt the city and put down roots.

These are just two examples of immigrants building, repairing, and maintaining American cities.  Charlotte and New Orleans are not anomalies or exceptions.  Historically, immigrants have always worked, out of sight out of mind, in integral jobs-typically doing the work that their native-born counterparts will not do.  Generally, foreign born workers with limited educations tend to work in the service and construction sectors.  They are the ones maintaining our cities, minding our children, and preparing our food.

Highland Park, California
Tanvi Misra's colleague Laura Bliss wrote about a new initiative to re-evaluate this work. Ms. Bliss spoke with Lee Vinset and Andy Russell at the Stevens Institute of Technology, who see maintenance as absolutely crucial in the face of crumbling infrastructure.  They said,

The vast majority of technologies that surround us and underpin our lives are not innovations...And the vast majority of labor in our culture is not focused on introducing or adopting new things, but on keeping things going.

However, immigrants are building futures cities through innovation.  This year, "...more than half of the 87 billion-dollar start-ups in the U.S. were started by immigrants, and these created 760 per jobs company."  The Wall Street Journal wrote, 

...non-partisan study on entrepreneurship give some credence to the tech industry's stance that American innovation benefits from robust immigration.

Austin, Texas skyline
And yet, we're not building cities for immigrants

Tanvi Misra writes, "For all of these reason, we believe it's immensely important to write about policies that affect immigrants.  Because they are among those who we're hoping to 'inspire and inform.'"

In truth, the future of immigration is something that should concern all of us who love, live, and care about cities.  Regardless of where you stand on the immigration debate.  Whether or not you support undocumented immigrants, the fact of the matter is that they are here and many are assimilating and becoming productive members of American society.  It is their future generations that will become the majority of U.S. population by 2043.  They will be the future urban dwellers.

Despite these pronouncements, the realization by municipalities of the contribution of this segment of the populations, are trying to be more hospitable.  However for the most part, we have not been design our cities with immigrant communities in mind.  Most of the low-income immigrant communities in the United States still largely live in separate neighborhoods with sub-standard schools, foul air, and insufficient potable water.  Further, like many ethnic communities, they are affected the most by environmental disasters and lack of available transit.  These are also the communities that more likely to have police-involve incidents, be subject to discriminatory hoping policies, wage theft, and predatory lending practices.  In short, we really need to do a better job at building cities for the people who actually live their.

One more thing:  It is now official, Donald J. Trump is officially the Republican nominee for the 2016 Presidential elections.

Monday, July 18, 2016


Republican National Convention 2016
Cleveland, Ohio
Hello Everyone:
It is Day One of the Republican National Convention and we already had a "few incidents."  Ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich call out the Bush family for being "childish" and Trump campaign manager Paul Manefort derided Ohio Governor John Kasich for acting "petulant" for not coming to the Convention.  (  There was at least one attempt to "unbind" Donald Trump's delegates and allow them to vote their conscious.  If that was not enough, there was a near-rebellion over a vote on Convention rules.  The call for a full vote on rules was refused.  (Ibid)  Throughout the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, yours truly will bring you a daily summary of events.  Hold on to your hats, it is going to be a wild ride.  Alright on to today's subject, WWJJD.

Lower Eastside Historic District
New York City, New York

WWJJD.  What would Jane Jacobs do about the issues facing contemporary cities?  It is a question that seems apropos to ask this question on the first day, of the first week of nominating conventions.  Over the course of the campaign, thus far, we have heard calls for border walls, stalled Supreme Court nominees, fears of terrorism but nothing about cities.  Alright, there was Senator Ted Cruz's snarky comment about "New York values."  Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow rightly point out in their CityLab article, "What Would Jane Jacobs Do," "...a national agenda in this century must be an urban one.  Two-thirds of the population now lives in the nation's largest 100 metropolitan areas, and nearly 100 million more people are projected to live in American cities  by 2050..."  The rising property values in urban areas are testament to the desirability of cities and the lack of affordable housing as demand outstrips supply.  WWJJD? Indeed.

Jane Jacobs
This year we celebrated the centennial of one of the great urban writers, Jane Jacobs.  Her iconic book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), laid out her empirical observations of cities.  Ten years after her death, these observations not only are still acutely relevant but also highlight the need for a national dialogue about our cities.  The book is still in print and should be required reading for would-be presidents, elected officials, urban planners, and everyone.

Jane Jacobs's views of what a city should be were inspired by the scenes she witnessed outside her West Village home in New York City.  The authors describe the views outside her window as, "...humanely designed with short and walkable blocks.  Successful neighborhoods are dense with a mix of housing, retail shops, schools, offices and cultural institutions.  Networks of people bring 'eyes on the street,' keeping each other safe and their communities connected and driving he economies of cities."  However, in Jane Jacobs's day, cities were anything but the kind of urban idyl and many have become progressively less so.

Jane Jacobs vs. Robert Moses
Jane Jacobs is also best-known for defeating her arch nemesis, New York City's master builder Robert Moses.  Robert Moses promoted an expressway that would have slashed across Lower Manhattan.  Her victory over Mr. Moses inspired similar backlash over new road construction proposals that cut through American downtowns in the sixties and seventies.  The authors writes, "Yet aside from these halted urban highways, there has been little sustained effort in Jacobs's mane to reclaim and revive the ordinary city street itself from cars until relatively recently."  Instead of a hoped for urban renaissance, Death and Life, was accompanied by decades of rapid suburbanization, an emptying out of the cities, congestion, and economic decay from which American cities are still in recovery.  At the street level, the stage for the Jane Jacobs's "sidewalk ballet" are still as congested and dangerous now as they were in her era.  The effects of wonton neglect are visible from coast-to-coast.  Thus, what would Jane Jacobs tell Secretary Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

Bedford Avenue
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
The main thing she would tell Madame Secretary and Mr. Trump, that our cities must be redesigned.  A redesign is not just "...a matter of livability or quality of life, but a long-term strategy for a denser urban future, one that is environmentally rational and economically vital."  Urban dwellers have a smaller carbon footprint than the average American, the result of walkable neighborhoods, readily available public transit, and not needing a car for most errands.  The authors report, "A new generation of mayors, city leaders and community organizations have started to revitalize city centers and promote residential construction in downtowns where housing stock has been reduced to parking lots."  This new generation of leaders are taking advantage of the fact that fewer millennials have drivers licenses.  Also, technology is transforming everyday urban life with apps like Uber and Lyft that offer alternatives to owning a car and new possibilities for urban residents.

New York City Chinatown
The Bowery New York City, New York
However Madame Secretary and Mr. Trump, fulfilling Ms. Jacobs's vision may require "...revolutionary action instead of ma merely evolutionary course."  As civic officials struggle to adapt their cities for the future, they face fierce resistance from residents who perversely cite Jane Jacobs, invoking environmentalism, local economics, safety, and communal autonomy not just in opposition to out-of-scale mega-developments, but also in opposition to proposals that Jane Jacobs may have supported herself, all in the name of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).  This is evident in the local residents, at official meetings, who regularly oppose dense new housing projects, new public space, bicycle lanes, or redesigned streets that would mitigate dangerous driving.  By mis-appropriate Jacobian language in the name of neighborhood preservation as a cover for opposing Jacobian-like projects, essentially maintaining Robert Moses's urban vision.  Madame Secretary and Mr. Trump, do you see the problem?

Rector Street
New York City, New York
Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomon saw this problem up close during Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration in New York.  With the help of the mayor's long-term PlaNYC strategies, designed to accommodate a million more residents by 2030, the authors created almost 400 miles of bicycles lanes, seven rapid bus lines, and initiated over 60 plaza projects, including closing Broadway to automobiles in Times Square.  In addition to more affordable housing, reclaiming 180 acres of previous road space from cars, improving safety, local economies, and opened up more options for transit, but generated bitter neighborhood disputes and, yes, lawsuits over what and who city streets should be for.'

Similar efforts to alter street grids typically make headlines in cities across the United States.  To wit, in San Francisco, a city with a severe housing shortage, an environmental lawsuit stopped the construction of bicycle lanes for five years, "...claiming that they would slow car traffic and increase air pollution."  Referring to the building of the additional lanes.  A church in Washington D.C. made the improbable claim "..that the traffic and parking impact of proposed bike lanes would infringe on the congregation's religious liberties."  In fit of NIMBY-induced tantrum throwing, local residents deride attempts to redesign streets because "...they  claims upset neighborhoods' historical character, make streets less or prevent people from reaching their stores or homes" whether they are accurate or not.

Atlantic Yards B2 Tower
Brooklyn, New York
The impact of NIMBYism does not stop with the random defeated apartment project or bicycle lane.  When you have vehement opposition to dense accessible communities pushes residential developments out into the growing suburbs and shrink green spaces around the cities.  Madame Secretary and Mr. Trump, allow yours truly to ask you this question, would want this for yourselves, your children, or your grandchildren?  By leaving the streets exactly the way they are, condemns our country to a future of sprawl, longer and more congested communities, and growing infrastructure costs "...that combine for a $1 trillion drake on the national economy."  is that a way to "Make America Great?"  

Mars Bar before and after
New York City, New York
 If you want an urban revolution to make us "Stronger Together," you need to make American cities "...walk-able, bike-able and bus-able centers of population and economic growth this century" a priority.  Both presumptive candidates must implement policy that increases affordable housing in cities and realistic, competitive alternatives to driving available to increasing city populations.  Leaders and similar minded advocates must articulate these goals as of a "Change You Believe In" vision that people can agree to and not allow these changes to flounder simply because a noisy few oppose them or consider them controversial.

Ultimately and ironically what is needed to achieve Jane Jacobs's vision is a Robert Moses-like strategy: "...redesigning our streets quickly and decisively for an increasingly urban age, this time committed to accommodating population growth and offering residents more options for getting around without a car."  The good news is we inherited ample road space that can be repurposed for new uses.  However, Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow added this caveat, "...this process of adaptation will require a Jacobs-like approach with a focus on the person on the street, and with the process designed to implement projects and not to halt them."

Therefore, Secretary Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump you can start changing our streets by asking yourselves, WWJJD?