Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Blogger Candidate Forum: Roseanne


Hello Everyone:

Today Blogger Candidate Forum wants to take a look at the fallout surrounding the cancellation of the Roseanne television series.

By now we all what happened: Roseanne Barr posted a racially derogatory tweet directed at Valerie Jarrett, a longtime African American advisor to former President Barack Obama.  She followed up this tweet with nonsense about Chelsea Clinton marrying into the Soros family.  The backlash was swift--her co-stars disavowed her comments and ABC network executives abruptly cancelled the series.  Ms. Barr angrily responded to her co-stars, claiming that they "threw her under a bus."  Her management, ICM Partners ceased representing her.   ABC's termination of her eponymous series came two months after Ms. Barr's glorious return to television after a two decade absence.  

The idea came out of a post election meeting of network executives who were trying to figure out what the election of Mr. Donald Trump meant.  Ben Sherwood, the president of Disney and ABC's television group told The New York Times,

We looked at each other and said There's a lot about this country we need to learn a lot more about, her on the coasts.

The show returned to good rating and was renewed for a second season when ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey made the decision to cancel Roseanne.  In a statement, Ms. Dungey called Ms. Barr's tweet,

Roseanne's statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.

Ms. Barr later apologized, claiming her joke was in bad taste and she was suffering the side effects of the sleep medication ambien.  Ambien's manufacturer clapped back, "racism is not a side effect."  Even the president waded into the fray with a typically self centered tweet.  Regardless of what you think about Roseanne Barr, this is a case of words having consequences.

In his May 29, 2018 Op-Ed column, "Roseanne Barr's racist tweet pushed the limits of the Trump era.  ABC finally drew a line," for The Chicago Tribune (; May 29, 2018; May 30, 2018) Rex Huppke rightly points out, "When the only people who would consider your comment a joke are racist lunatics your to reconsider your definition of the word 'joke.'  And when you try to apologize for your obviously racist comment by calling it a joke, you have to reconsider your definition of the word 'apologize.'"

Mr. Huppke also is right when he points out that despite or inspite of her "anti-vaccine, anti-transgender cracks--Barr was rewarded with a prime-time slot on a major network."  ABC made a lot of money from her show but finally decided on Tuesday that enough was enough.  What was it about the rebooted Roseanne show that made it ideal for this moment in America.

The original series was the perfect antidote for the high flying eighties.  The original series was centered around a working class Midwestern family just trying to make ends meet.  Each episode blended humour and intelligence, not shying away from the difficult topics.  The series ended in mid-nineties.  However like Bill Cosby, Ms. Barr seemed unable to disengage herself from her character.

It sounds like a really bad analogy, comparing a convicted sexual offender with an obnoxious television actor but that is where their similarities end.  The real issue with Roseanne Barr is that she is an avatar for contemporary America. Roxane Gay writes in New York Times column, "Roseanne's Is Gone, but the Culture That Gave Her a Show Isn't," (; May 29, 2018; May 30, 2018) "The problem is that Donald Trump is a toxic president who amassed his power through the provocation of hate.  He has behaved as if conservatives my and racism are synonymous when, in fact, they are not.  The problem with having a television character as a Trump supporter is that it normalizes racism, misogyny, xenophobia."  

Ms. Gay continues, "President Trump often seems like a living embodiment of Ms. Barr's Twitter feed, and many of his vocal supporters revel in that. They revel in the freedom and the permission to be racist.  The reboot contributed to a cultural moment that makes white people feel exceedingly comfortable and entitled as they police black bodies in public spaces."

It a coincidence that the cancellation of Roseanne came on the day that coffee emporium giant Starbucks closed its stores for a racial sensitivity training day.  The racial sensitivity training day was the  product of the now famous incident at a Phildelphia franchise at which a barista called the police regarding two African American men waiting for an associate before placing their order.  This was not an isolated incident.  There was the case of Lolande Siyonbola, the African American Yale graduate student who was caught napping in the common room of her dorm by a Cauasian student who called the campus police and had to prove her belong their.  Then there was the case of three women who checking out of an Airbnb when they were surrounded by the police who were called by a white woman who believed the black women were criminals and did not smile at her.  You get the idea.

Ms Gay writes that in each of these and similar cases, "white people took it upon themselves to place black bodies in public spaces."  Racism is the reason why Caucasians felt entitled to define the boundaries of what they consider appropriate behavior for African Americans.  It gives one group of people a sense of superiority over another.  When asked to comment on the tweet, Valerie Jarrett had this to say, This should be a teaching moment.  An elegant statment but how many more teaching moments do we need before Cauasian people stop feeling entitled to police African American bodies?How much longer will it be before we cease consuming popular culture that encourages this sense of entitlement? 

Roseanne Barr is free to speak her mind but she is not free from the consequences.  The crew members are the ones who are suffering for ABC's swift decision to cancel the series.  The actors, not so much.  Yours Truly also wonders what was going on in the heads of the ABC executives who made the decision to revive the show, knowing full well that their star has a reputation for hateful comments.  Actually, Blogger is being rhetorical, visions of dollars signs were dancing in the heads of the network executives as the joked about Ms. Barr's Twitter feed.  This what fueled the hypocritical decision by network executives to shelve an episode of Black-ish that dealt with the N.F.L. anthem protests.  No one goes into the entertainment industry out the goodness of their hearts but they can exercise more of conscious in deciding whether or not to normalize a toxic culture and the viewer can make their voices heard by switching off the television. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Inclusive Urbanism; May 22, 2018

Hello Everyone:

Yours Truly is back from a restful Memorial Day Weekend.  The long weekend was not entirely news-free.  There was the viral story of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, "losing" 1,500 children.  The children, unaccompanied minors, arrived in the United States without a parent or guardian, were taken into federal custody until they were placed in sponsor homes (i.e. biological relatives or foster homes).  The concern over the missing children is that they might have fallen into the hands of human and drug traffickers.  Technically, the ORR is correct when it said that they were not responsible for the children once they leave them.  However, the ORR has a morale responsibility to follow through by notifying the state and local Departments of Child Protective Services regarding their presence.  Further, the DCPSs, under the direction of HHS, to monitor the homes.  You do not "lose" that many children.  What is painfully obvious is that, in implementing the Trump administration's hardball immigration policy, no one had a clue about what to do with unaccompanied minors.  Typical.  Alright, on to revisiting the New Urban Crisis.

Recently, urbanist, co-founder and editor at large of CityLab; senior editor at The Atlantic, Richard Florida published his latest book The New Urban Crisis.  The book focuses on how the emergence of the creative class and the decline of the middle class has affected cities (; June 26, 2017; date accessed May 29, 2018).   It is now available in paperback (; date accessed May 29, 2018) and his CityLab article, "Revisiting the New Urban Crisis," is adapted from the epilogue.

He begins, "A colleague who heard me speak shortly after The New Urban Crisis was published in hardcover approached me at a follow-up event a few months later:

You seem a lot more optimistic than you did the last time I saw you,.... What happened?

The question took Mr. Florida by surprise and he hesitated before responding to his colleague.  Then it hit him and he replied,

You're right,.... It's because because I've been traveling and visiting cities all across the country.

 He was genuinely amazed at how willing people were to admit their part in the new urban crisis, and how quickly they were able to come up with remedies to deal with it.

Over the course of Mr. Florida's career in urbanism, he has found inspiration in cities' capacities to adapt. He writes, "For the past 20 years, an incredible number of cities big and small have successfully transformed their post-industrial neighborhoods into vibrant hubs of culture and commerce, in a process that is still ongoing."  The cities worked hard to transform their downtowns and the surrounding neighborhoods; are now ready to take the next step, "create a more sustainable kind of urbanism that spreads its benefits more broadly--urbanism for all."

Richard Florida's goal in writing The New Urban Crisis was, "to try to nudge the prevailing narrative about urban development toward a more inclusive paradigm--to make equity a principle concern of economic development."  This is happening, right now.  A senior economic development professional told Mr. Florida,

For too long we've emphasized economic growth, and that has helped accentuate many of the problems we now face.  Our profession is called economic development, and that's what we should emphasize--not just growth, but the full development of our people, neighborhoods, and communities.

The move to greater inclusive development takes time.  For example, it took close to two decades to turn cities around, and it will likely take at least a decade or more to pick up speed.  However, Mr. Florida is "convinced that the shift has already begun."

This begs the question, "what will it take?"  It will require all of the participants in urban revival to re-direct their efforts towards inclusivity.

In particular, anchor institutions, i.e. universities and medical centers ("eds and meds"), have played a big part in revitalizing their host cities and neighborhoods, but all too frequently, the changes they generate only positively affect affiliated institutions.  Thus, instead of only providing subsidized housing for faculty and students, academic and medical institutions should also reach out to local residents afford more desirable neighborhoods.  Here are some examples.

Johns Hopkins University is one of a few academic institutions leading the way.  The East Baltimore Development Initiative is working with JHU to build housing for low-income families and senior citizen, as well ad graduate students in Eager Park.  In Columbus, Ohio, the Weinland Park Collaborative is working with local anchor insitutions to offer $3,000 in down-payments assistance to Ohio State University employees who buy homes in the University District.  In West Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and the University City Science Center teamed up to create affordable housing for community residents and university staff and faculty.

The "Eds and Meds" are not the only civic institutions and cannot carry the burden of generating more inclusive prosperity.  Mr. Florida writes, "Real estate developers, who have benefited so mightily from the urban revival and the subsequent rise in real estate values, also have have a major role to play."  He implores developers, "When constructing new buildings, especially in mega-developments like Manhattan's Hudson Yards or Boston Seaport Innovation District, developers should do everything in their power to avoid turning these areas into isolated pockets of wealth."  Sound suggestion.  Whether they care to or not, they will have to embrace practices such as inclusionary zoning and set aside a proportion of units as affordable.

In the San Franciso Bay Area, a group of for-profit developers have agreed to dedicate half of their total units as below market-rate (; Mar. 9, 2018; date accessed May 29, 2018) in exchange for a quicker entitlements process.  Mr. Florida reports, "And in many places, developers have agreed to lease ground-floor retail to non-profits and small businesses."  Cities have a lot of other incentives to encourages these types of practices, "like allowing increased density, or using valuable public infrastructure like parks and transit to extract benefits from developers."

Richard Florida insists that "Tech companies must act as urban anchor institutions and better urban citizens, as well."  As they rapidly grown their urban footprints (; Feb. 14, 2018; date accessed May 29, 2018), they are experiencing considerable backlash (Ibid; May 15, 2018) in tech hubs such as Seattle and San Francisco.  Tech companies no longer have the luxury to view their host cities as just merely interchangeable locations where they can hire talent, extract value, and move on to the next place.  There is so much they can and have to do.

Mr. Florida suggests, "..., they can work with non-profits and local governments to help finance and develop 'workforce housing' for all their lower-paid service workers, as well as affordable housing for loca residents."  Rather than create a private bus system, the tech companies can work with municipal governments and metropolitan transit agencies to improve the transportation infrastructure.  

More important, "they can work to transform the low-paid service jobs on which their offices, campuses, and knowledge workers depend into higher-paying career pathways."  The can function like the SAS Institute (; date accessed May 29, 2018) in North Carolina's Research Institute, "which instead of contracting out its cafeteria and groundskeeper workers, hires them directly into higher paying, stable jobs--practice that pays off in reduced worker turnover and more productive employees."

The long-term solution will necessitate shifting power from the federal and state governments to municipalities.  Over two decades ago, Alice Rivlin of the Brookings Institution makes a compelling case (; date accessed May 29, 2018) for moving education, housing, transportation, social services, and economic development programs from national to state governments, whose leaders, Ms. Rivlin says, "are closet to the conditions on the ground."  Recently, arguments for devolution have highlighted the role municipal government can play.

Mr. Florida writes, "While top-down national governance tends to impose one set of choices on all of us, localism (; Jan. 23, 2018; date accessed May 29, 2018) respects our differences."  Mayors tend to be more pragmatic, not partisan or ideological.  Mr. Florida observes, "Their policies are a reflection of what they feel will best serve the needs of local residents."  It is no surprise that municipal governments have emerged as a foundational political force in an era when trust in the federal government is absolute low point. "Between two-thirds and three-quarters of Americans express trust in their local government, compared to just 55 to 65 in state government, and around a fifth to a third in the federal government according to surveys by Pew (; Nov. 23, 2015; date accessed May 29, 2018) and Gallup ( Sept. 9, 2016; date accessed May 29, 2018)

Although the national political landscape remains incredibly divisive, devolution is something that can be locally accomplished at the bipartisan.  Mr. Florida points out that the most pressing governance issue of the century "is developing a new kind of federalism than can meet the needs of our highly clustered and geographically unequal knowledge economy."

Eventually, devolution is not just a simple matter of ceasing power from the federal government and giving it to the municipalities.  "It means making the best use of the complex vertical separation of powers among the federal, state, and local levels."  For exampl, transit and transportation investments can be administered by the networks of cities and suburbs that compose the metropolitan areas, or groups of metropolitans that make up the mega-regions.  Public or private-public housing investments can be tailored to local conditions--"detached houses and gardens apartments for more spread-out places; high-rise rentals for denser and more urban locations."

Richard Florida confesses, "Pointing out the dimensions of, and the potential solutions to, the new urban crisis es does not represent my mea culpa for getting the urban revival wrong, as some critics have suggested.  On the contrary, if anything, my mistak was that I sorely underestimated and under-predicted the strength, depth, velocity, and ferocity of the urban revival, and the unintended and unexpected consequences that came with it."  That challenge for urbanism right now is continuing the urban revival and make sure it includes everyone.

Cities are organic, never static.  They are ongoing works in progress, "always being built and rebuilt to fit changing needs and conditions." While the urban revival took more than a generation to accomplish and require the hard work of local participants--mayors, city councils, activists, labor leaders, urban designers, anchor institutions, non-profits, the residents, and most important shifting from "winner-take-all urbanism to more inclusive urbanism--" will take time.  However, this can be accomplished through hard work and close collaboration of local participants who understand the shared benefits of more inclusive urbanism 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Blogger Candidate Forurm: The Women Shall Lead The Way

Helllo Everyone:

It is May gray-ish Wednesday and time for the weekly edition of Blogger Candidate Forum.  Before Blogger gets going, Yours Truly wants to know how in the world did Jared Kushner get his security clearance back?  Only two possible reasons, he is cooperating with the special counsel's investigation or his father-in-law, the president, intervened on his behalf.  Honestly, Yours Truly cannot imagine any other reason.  Speaking of the president, a federal judge ruled that he cannot block Twitter users from posting negative comments on is feed.  The social media is a public forum; blocking negative comments because you can dish it out but cannot take it is a violation of the First Amendment.  One more thing, the hole Michael Cohen, the president's personal lawyer, just got deeper.  New York taxi kingpin and Mr. Cohen's business partner, Evegny "Gene" Friedman, agreed to work with state and federal prosecutors to avoid jail.  Mr. Friedman was indicted last year on for failing to pay $5 million in MTA surcharges between 2012 and 2015.  Given his connection to Mr. Cohen, this agreement increases pressure to work with prosecutors investigating accusations that the president committed obstruction of justice.  Another thing that should worry the president, the primary results.

Women are riding the highly anticipated #bluewave.  Another primary, another in night for women Democratic candidates.  The biggest news came from the Georgia state primary, Stacey Abrams soundly defeated her opponent, state Representative Stacey Evens, and is poised to become the first African American governor in American history.  In Kentucky, former pilot Amy McGrath made believers out of her naysayers when she defeated the mayor Lexington and Democratic Party choice Jim Gray.  In Texas, former sheriff Lupe Valdez became the first lesbian Latina nominee in the Texas governor race.  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee eeked out a victory of sorts in Texas.  In yesterday's primary, the DCCC avoided a situation it hoped to avert: "a Texas House hopeful whom it attacked as a surefire general election loser flamed out in the state's primary runoff" (; May 23, 2018).

Three states held primaries: Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky--the Texas runoff.  With the help of Politico, we are going look at the takeaways from last night:

"The Georgia governor's race will test a risky Democratic gambit"

The most notable feature of this race was it featured two candidates, each with state government experience, named Stacey--one Africian American and one Caucasian.

More important, it pitted two different strategies against each other.  Rep. Evans argued that the blue road back to the Georgia statehouse was through moderate and working class voters who backed former Democratic Governor Roy Barnes and Senator Zell Miller.

Stacey Abrams is taking a different route--voter registration and engagement with voters of color.  This strategy is about to be tested on the national stage. The goal of this strategy is to increase the number of voters of color, who came out at lower rate in the last midterm election in 2014, 40.6 percent of African Americans, compared to 47.5 percent of Cauasians.

Stacey Abrams is not the only Democrat making this case, Steven Shepard writes: "Progressives across the map have insisted that running to the left, especially on economic issues, could access a well of untapped voters " (Ibid).

Ms. Abrams strategy is more than ideology.  She will have no shortage of surrogates with ambitions for higher office in 2020 rolling through this emerging presidential swing state, which Mr. Trump won by razor thin five points in 2016.

"It's still Democrats' Year of the Woman"

Since the 2016 presidential elections, more women have tossed their hat into the electoral ring, evidenced by Ms. Abrams and Lupe Valdez' nominations for governors.

In a closely followed Democratic primary for a House seat in Kentucky, Amy McGrath, a novice candidate, bested the DCCC anointed candidate Jim Gray.

Texas Democrats selected women for two out of the three swing districts: Lizzie Fletcher in the 7th District and Gina Ortiz Jones in the 23rd.

Female candidates are winning a lot of Democratic Party nominations, and the party will heavily rely on them in the fall campaign.  Mr. Shepard reports, "The latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, released Wednesday, shows Democrats with a 9-point lead among female voters on generic congressional ballot, compare with a 1-point advantage among male voters"

"It was a pretty good night for the Democratic establishment"

It may have taken extra effort but mainstream Democrats had a good night. Specifically, the DCCC's Texas gambit in the 7th District worked out.

Steve Shepard writes, "Back in February, the party committee quietly posted a series of negative talking points about former journalist Laura Moser on its website.  She's vulnerable to attacks as a carpetbagger, the online posting said."  In an article (no longer available on the DCCC website), Ms. Moser disparaged parts of Texas.

Laura Moser seized the opportunity to cast herself as an outsider taking on the establishment, raising campaign funds online and finish second in the March 6 primary.

However, Ms. Moser lost momentum--"not because her opponent, Lizzie Fletcher, and the Democratic establishment brandish those weapons against her.  Instead they laid off."  Ms. Fletcher never aggressively attacked Ms. Moser, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not lace Ms. Fletcher to its list of top recruits--"as it did with two other first-place primary finishers in Texas runoffs (Thodsr other two 'Red-to-Blue' candidates--Ortiz Jones in the 23rd District and attorney Colin Allred in the 32nd--won easily Tuesday, too)."

Amy McGrath was not the first choice of national Democrats.  They tapped Jim Gray, even after Ms. McGrath's viral announcement video resulted in big money from small online contributors.

However, like the Texas 7th, the DCCC ever placed Mr. Gray on the Red-to-Blue list and there was no evidence to suggest that Ms. McGrath will be a weak candidate against Republican Rep. Andy Barr in November.  Recently released internal polling produced by the DCCC in-house analytics department showing Ms. McGrath ahead of Rep. Barr in a hypothetical matchup.

In Arkansas's 2nd Congressional District, state Representative Clarke Tucker had an easy night, winning the nomination by 58 percent of the vote.  He will take on fellow Republican French Hill in a district won by Mr. Trump without a June runoff.

"Conservatives are poised to make their mark on the Texas delegation"

The Republican Party is not cowering in a corner, at least not in Texas.  Following last night's runoff, the Texas Republican House delegation is poised to move further right.

Six Republicans are retiring at the end of the year or already turned in their resignation: Ted Poe, Sam Johnson, Jeb Hensarling, Joe Barton, Lamar Smith, and Blake Farenthold.  Five of the primaries to replace them came down to runoffs, with conversatives emerging victorious.

Mr. Shepard writes, "In the 6th District, former Tarrant County Tax Assessor Ron Wright, who was endorsed by the conservative Club for Growth, narrowly defeated former Navy fighter pilot Jake Ellzey.  Chip Roy, Sen. Ted Cruz's former chief of staff and another Club endorsee, defeated businessman Matt McCall.  Conservative activist Michael Cloud defeated Bech Bruun, whom the Club opposed, in the 27th District."

The Club for Growth went 3-for-4 in the Texas Republican runoffs.

"Pence couldn't drag Bunni Pounds over the finish line"

Vice President Mike Pence did not quite have the golden touch last night.  VPOTUS, Senator Cruz, and Rep. Hensarling all backed political fundraising consultant Bunni Pounds in the Texas 5th District.  Ms. Pounds also had the support of a myriad of conservative organizations and figures, including the Tea Party Express and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), head of the House Freedom Caucus.

Despite this impressive backing, Ms. Pounds was narrowly defeated by state Rep. Lance Goodman, 53 percent to 47 percent.

This defeat will sting VPOTUS for a while because it was the first open primary he has gotten involved and a small setback in his quest to remake the Republican Party in the Trump image.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Saving Chicago's Historic Resources; May 16, 2018

Hello Everyone:

It is a lovely Tuesday afternoon in Blogger land.  The May grey clouds are clearing to let a little in sunshine.  Speaking of weather and other natural phenomenon, the island of Hawai'i is feeling the wrath of volcano deity Madame Pele.  Since Mount Kilauea's eruption, lava continuous to flow into the Pacific Ocean while a 30,000 foot plume of ash (yes you read correctly) is choking the residents and wildlife.  The toxic combination of sea water and lava has created a dangerous situation for all ocean creatures.  The island's residents seem to be taking it all in stride.  Yours Truly thinks that us mainlanders would be freaking out.  We shall see what happens once the lava finally stops flowing and the ash settles.  In the meantime, we are heading way inland to Chicago, Illinois for today's subject.

 Chicago has a problem.  Blogger knows, so what else is new.  This problem is more historic preservation than socio-political-economic in nature. The problem, according to A.J. Latrace's Chicago Magazine article "Is Chicago Experiencing a Historic Preservation Crisis?"  "Lots of buildings flagged by preservationists for their importance have come down in recent years.  2018 could be just as bad."  For fans of American modern architecture, Chicago and its surrounding communities, are  literal treasure troves of architectural gems.  In the city alone, there are buildings by designed by Giants such as Louis Sullivan and Ludwig Mies Van de Rohe.  If you are a fan of Erik Larson's finely researched and written book The Devil in White City (a must read), then you know that the founding father of American planning Daniel Burnham created this architectural and urban wonderland for the 1893 Columbine World Exposition, which helped put the United States on the global stage.  It also served as a point of inspiration for Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Henry Greene.  So you can understand why it is important to save as many of these gems as possible.  Let us start in the West Loop.

Excavators are standing on the site of, until a month ago, a rare industrial building designed by Daniel Burnham stood.  Built over 100 years, the three-story building sat at 1217-1227 West Washington Boulevard, it was unceremoniously razed in April.  Its gorgeous ornamentation and glazed reduced to a pile of rubble.

Developers (and others) often reference Mr, Burnham's famous aphorism "make no little plans" when unveiling new proposals for the city, "but what are Burnham's words worth when little to no value is attracted to the buildings crafted by his firm?"  True.  In 2015, Chicago City Council assed a new landmark district (; Sept. 24, 2015; date accessed May 22, 2018) to protect buildings like this low-slung structure like this one but this property, somehow, slipped through the cracks.

The West Loop is not the only community that has witnessed the unceremonious demolition of its unique buildings.  "Englewood's South Side Masonic Temple, a broad-shouldered red brick structure with a near-identical twin in Logan Square, was abruptly razed in January (; Jan. 15, 2018; date accessed May 22, 2018), while buildings of historic nature in Humboldt Park (; Jan. 6, 2018; date accessed May 22, 2018), Edgewater (; Mar. 14, 2018; date accessed May 22, 2018), and along North Branch have also been lost in recent months.  Preservationists are waging ongoing battles in Logan Square to ensure the future of a former synagogue (; date accessed May 22, 2018); in LIttle Village, efforts to save the shuttered Crawford Station (; Mar. 5, 2014; date accessed May 22, 2018) built by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White is loosing momentum and time.

A comprehensive review and inventory by the Chicago Historic Resources Survey, published (; date accessed May 22, 2018), published in the nineties, cited the majority of these buildings as "either architecturally or culturally significant."  Here is something important to remember, "While a designation in the survey does not protect a building from demolition, there are special privileges granted for particularly sensitive ones--such as a 90-day hold on demolition permits--to allow the city and preservationists to further investigate a structure's historic characteristics and contributions."

The CHRS assigned each of the buildings a color according to sensitivity: "green, signaling an entry of note, to rogange and red, indicating the most significant of structures."  Based on city records, most of the buildings that fall into the "sensitive orange- and red-rated" categories have been demolished, wards that are experiencing a major upswing in new development are also the ones witnessing the greatest losses of their historic resources.

A.J. Latrace reports, "Since 2013 there have been 165 entries made in the city's demolition delay hold list, but not all of the structures listed have been demolished as some applications were eventually withdrawn or tabled.  In addition, many of the demolition applications submitted this are still pending release."  The wards that have experienced the greatest loss of historic resources included the neighborhood's of Lincoln Park, Lakeview, the West Loop, and Logan Square.  If you go to, you can check out a chart that illustrates the number of orange- and red-rated buildings demolished since 2013.

Preservation Chicago's executive director Ward Miller told Chicago Magazine, "The data helps to illustrate that Chicago's neighborhoods are experiencing a true preservation crisis,..."  This is regardless of the 90-hold on demolition permits for buildings designated by the city as historic.  Mr. Miller added, "that some city council members have used aldermanic prerogative to fast-track the eventual destruction of significant structures.  But more often than not,..., communities and preservation advocates simply do not have enough time to line up a buyer or produce a plan for adaptive reuse when demolition threats surface.  Specifically,

While three months may seem like an ample amount of time. We fond that we're often scrambling to find stewards for these buildings,....There are some structures that require a lot of conversation and attention--how do you do all that in the the middle of winter and in a three month time?

Ward Miller also believes that new development and preservation are not necessarily mutually exclusive but says that the CHRS functions as a tool to help a community's future.  He said, "However, neighborhood preservation advocates have been stretched beyond capacity in recent years, overburdened by frequent demolitions,..."  Essentially,

I think we've experienced that crisis for a number of years now, but idea of working within the framework of historic buildings and investing in them really does create a more complex, more beautiful idea that forces one to go back to the drawing board to get things right.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Dark Clouds Over The White City; May 9, 2018

Hello Everyone:

It is a rather May gray day Monday in Blogger Land.  Headline news: Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Prince Harry--Prince Harry and his lovely bride Meghan Markle.  Yours Truly got up at the ungodly hour of 3:00am to watch the royal wedding that had all the feels.  Major kudos to the most Reverand Michael B. Curry, the head of the American Espicopal Church, for his rafter shaking Sunday church sermon that rattled those poker faced royals.  Musically, Blogger loved the gospel choir and cello soloist Sheku Kennah-Mason.  Brilliant.  If there is one thing the British royals know how to do, it is pomp and pageantry.  Good luck and a lifetime of happiness to the newlyweds.  Now for some non-wedding news.

Last Thursday marked the one year anniversary of the special counsel's investigation.  So far, there have been several indictments and plea bargains with the possibility of more to come.  Today, Rudolph Guiliani, one of the president's lawyers, told the New York Times that Robert Mueller and his team would wrap the major part of the investigation by September 1, 2018.  This might be true because it is Department of Justice policy not to begin any investigation or announce any findings that might influence an election.  Apparently former FBI director James Comey ignored this George W. Bush-era policy when he announced he was re-opening the Clinton email investigation mere days before the general elections. Blogger's own thoughts, it is possible that the special counsel will wrap up the major portion of their probe by September 1 but buckle your seatbelts and prepare for major turbulence.  Next, in a series of tweets, Mr. Trump demanded an investigation into whether the Obama administration ordered the FBI to infiltrate his campaign for political purposes.  The Bureau responded that it would include the president's request as part of the Inspector General's investigation.  On to today's subject.

On deck today is immigration.  This is an immigration story of a different sort.  What makes this story different is: The story takes place in Israel not the United States and the immigrants are African, not Latino.  Miriam Berger reports in her CityLab article "The Other Side of Israel's 'White City,'" "...estimated 60,000 African asylum seekers--mainly from Eritrea and Sudan--...crossed into Israek between 2006 and 2012.  Migration has effectively halted since."  Towards the end of 2013, the Israeli government began rounding up the migrants and housing them in an open-air detention center in Holot, with the intention of encouraging the migrants to leave the country.  The detention center was finally closed this past March (; Mar. 12, 2018; date accessed May 21, 2018) as the government sped up their now defunct plan to deport the African migrants to Rwanda and Uganda.  Israel's construction of a fence along its border with Egypt's Sinai Peninusala also curtailed migration during the same period.  Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu borrowed a page out of the European and American populist politician handbook with his "pledge to deport (; Mar. 6, 2018; date accessed May 21, 2018) the asylum seekers, who are classified under Israeli law as illegal 'infiltrators,' while human rights groups argue that they are simply refugees."

Politicians, like Mr. Netanyahu, blame the south Tel Aviv's reputation for poverty, crime, and assorted vice on the African community.  During the migration period, asylum seekers, arriving in Tel Aviv were typically picked up by authorities, and placed on a bus to Levinsky Park (; May 29 2012; date accessed May 21, 2018) in the economically delibitated southern part of the city.  However, Tel Aviv's urban landscape belies a more complicate story of the city's character, the instruments of migration, gentrification, and who gets to live in Israel's largest city.

Miriam Berger writes, "Tel Aviv is known as the 'White City' because it's 1930s Bauhaus style buildings, mostly designed by Jewish architects from Germany who escaped Nazi rule for what was then the British Mandate of Palestine."  Architect and city historian Sharon Rothbard posits in his book (; Aug. 26, 2015; date accessed May 21, 2018), White City, Black City, "...that this narrative only tells half the story."  Prior to Israel's founding in 1948, southern Tel Aviv was part of the majority Palestinian municipality of Jaffa.  Mr. Rothbard characterizes similar areas as, Black City "because of their long history of institutional neglect and marginalization.  Mr. Rothbard told CityLab,

From the very definition of the White City, all the other places to do to make it into the story and definition of Tel Aviv,...

Neve Sha'anan ("tranquil abode" in Hebrew) serves as the epicenter of the African community.  The neighborhood was founded by Jewish immigrants in the 1920 and laid out in the shape of menorah.

From the beginning, Neve Sha'anan and southern Tel Aviv has been a gathering place for new immigrants.  In the fifties and sixties, Jews from pre-dominantly Muslim countries, Mizrachim (easterners).  They were followed, in the eighties, by Iraninan Jews.  In the nineties and oughts, Russian and Ethiopian Jews made their home in southern Tel Aviv.  As the Mizrachi, Russian, and other Jewish immigrant began to prosper, they migrated to northern Tel Aviv neighborhoods or other cities in Israel; those who remained witnessed the ongoing deterioration of the neighborhood.

Here is where things get complicated.  The next group of immigrants: Eritreans, Sudanese, Chinese and Filipino workers were not Jewish or eligible for citizenship, "...therefore weren't accepted into the city and Israeli society in the same way."  Thus, by the time migrants like Taj Haroun, an asylum seeker from Darfur in Sudan, arrived in 2008, parts of south Tel Aviv resembled the red light districts of Amsterdam. Mr. Haroun's description for the area known for rampant drug use and prostitution.  Ms. Berger writes, "He rejects the accusation of politicians like Netanyahu that the Africans were the cause of the problems in the area."  He told CityLab,

[Because] we are the vulnerable people with no one to protect us, we became the scapegoat,.... You can understand from the beginning that the plan of the government was to send everyone to south Tel Aviv because south Tel Aviv is considered the backend.  They have no responsibility, they don't have to take care anyone.

Shula Keshet, a long-time resident of Neve Sha'anan and community leader, finds an affinity with the African community's struggle and her own as a Mizrachi Israeli.  She told CityLab,

The Mizrachi families are pretty much oppressed in all areas of life.

Ms. Keshet said, "While the founders of Israel were largely Ashkenazi, or white Jews from Europe, the Mizrachim who came from Middle Eastern countries in the decades after faced considerabl institutional discrimination,...."  The continuing tension has played out on the neglected streets of South Tel Aviv.  Ms. Keshet continued

All of this is to deport people from here.  Not only the asylum seekers but also the Mizrachi families,.... The real estate here is worth billions, but [only] for the ones waiting for the deportation of asylum seekers and Mizrachi families... It's a real process of very cruel gentrification combined with racism against black people and racism against Mizrachi families,....

Shula Keshet's chief opponent in this debate is Shafi Paz, a resident of the nearby Shapiro neighborhood and the leader of a small but well financed and vocal campaign that supports deporting the Africans from not only south Tel Aviv but the whole of Israel.

Ms. Paz, an Ashkenazi, has lived in south Tel Aviv for several decades.  She has argued "that Israel needs to take of south Tel Aviv's own struggling Jewish residents before any outsiders."  To make her point, Ms. Paz has organized rallies and headed campaigns aimed at the Eritrean and Sudanese communities, insisting that "they're dangerous and the cause of south Tel Aviv's troubles."

Shafi Paz's rhetoric has found a nationwide audience, riding the wave of growing religious nationalist populism.  In the meantime, Benjamin Netanyahu is still the head of Israel's majority right wing coalition government and remains popular among his base despite several corruption cases swirling about him.  Last summer, Mr. Netanyahu toured south Tel Aviv, promising "its Israeli residents that the government would give back the area."  Some of the area's Mizrachi residents like Ms. Keshet "see the neighborhood's issues as ones of intersecting interests, a core  part of Netanyahu's base are Mizrachi Jews who want the governmentK to now  prioritize them."

One thing that everyone agrees on is the central bus station (; Mar. 29, 2016; May 21, 2018) in Neve Sha'anan is a big part of the problem that the government has so far ignored.  Intended to be the one of the biggest bus stations in the world when construction began in the sixties, the large labrythianian state did not open until the nineties.  Miriam Berger describes it, "Today, it's many dark corners make it a hub for crime; it also hosts clinics for asylum seekers and drug users, another the two communities stay nearby."

Ivry Baumgarten, a transplant from Jerusalem currently trying to redevelop Neve Sha'anan said, Good planning is the solution for every city.  Ivry Baumgarten posits, "that the central bus station should be dispersed among several smaller across Tel Aviv that the traffic isn't centered in the south."

Right now African asylum seekers are finding more of their spaces coming under close scurtiny as government policies, including forced detention and deportation, try to move them out. Neve Sha'anan streets are lined with Eritrean and Sudanese businesses serving the community but not frequented by Israelis.

Shula Keshet's has a vision for improving Neve Sha'anan regardless of how developers in the future.  She told CityLab,

Build Mizrachi and multicultural centers, stop the gentrification, close the central bus station.... Instead of spending billions in Holot, put the money to rehabilitate shout Tel Aviv for the residents of south Tel Aviv and the people who are homeless.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Blogger Candidate Forum: Primary Tuesday

Hello Everyone:

It is a sparkling Wednesday afternoon and time for Blogger Candidate Forum.  Yuge news from the Special counsul's office.  Mr. Donald Trump's attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, announced that Robert Mueller's team cannot indict a sitting president.  Essentially, the special counsel can  write a report with recommendations for further action.  The only thing this news means is that the president can breathe a sigh, albeit a short sigh, of relief.  This comes on the heels of news that Mr. Trump had a role in crafting a statement regarding that now infamous Trump Tower meeting in 2016, in which his eldest son, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with Russian agents regarding "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.  The statement, dictated to Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks, said that the meeting was about lifting the sanctions on adoptions of Russian children by Americans.  This contradicts the email chain released by the president's eldest son last summer which clearly documents his glee over the possibility of getting incriminating information on Madame Secretary.  In other major news, CNN is reporting that former White House advisor Steve Bannon used Cambridge Analytica to suppress the African American vote in the 2016 election.  In better news, #NetNeutrality lives.  The United States Senate voted to uphold net neutrality.  The bill now goes to the House of Representatives where it has a more rocky path.  Stay tuned.  This definitely beats all the royal wedding drama.

Tuesday is primary day in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho, and Oregon.  Speaking of primaries, friendly reminders to California fans, followers, and friends.  Primary day is June 5th and the registration clock is ticking loudly.  If you have not registered to vote, stop reading and go to for information.  If you are registered to vote, in any state, go vote.  Okay, back to the subject: Primary day in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho and Oregon.

In a word, "The #Resistance had a very good night" according to (May 16, 2018). The #Resistance is more progressive wing of the Democratic Party and it means business.  Nathaniel Rakich reported today on the website, "The more progressive candidate won in Democratic primaries around the country.  The question, however, is whether those more liberal candidates will hurt the party's chances in November."  The biggest shocker of the night was the nomination of Kara Eastman, a nonprofit executive, to Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District.  Ms. Eastman, a progressive Democrat, narrowly beat the establishment candidate former Representative Brad Ashford 51 percent to 49 percent (; date accessed May 16, 2018) despite Mr. Ashford's support from the Democratic Party.  Ms. Eastman stoked the liberal by tossing red (blue?) meat on the flames (; Apr. 26, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018).  Whereas, Mr. Ashford touted his ability to build bipartisan consensus, Ms. Eastman promised resistance and confrontation.  Blogger sincerely hopes that California's senior Senator Dianne Feinstein was paying attention to yesterday's primary races.  

Mr. Rakich points out a potential problem for the Democrats, "The potential problem for Democrats is that Eastman's outspoken liberalism may turn off general-election voters in Nebraska's 2nd District, which, while not ruby red, is still red."  Although former President Barack Carried the district 50 to 49 percent in 2008 (; Nov. 19, 2012; date accessed May 16, 2018) but that was a decade ago and in an election where Democrats carried the popular vote by 7 percent (; date accessed May 16, 2018).  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney carried the district by 7 points in 2012 and Mr. Trump won it by 2 points.  Mr. Rakich writes, "All in all, the 2nd is 6 percentage points more Republican-leaning than the nation as a whole, according to FiveThirtyEight's partisan lean metric.  Right now, Democrats lead the generic ballot by the very same 6 points (; date accessed May 16, 2018).  If this holds going into November, it could mean a tie game in the Nebraska 2nd-where small things, like a candidate appeal to voters could swing the race in either direction.

While excitement over Kara Eastman's candidacy will bring more progressive voters to the ballot box, she my have difficulty persuading the undecided voters.  Brad Ashford would have given the Democrats a few extra percentage points.  Mr. Rakich reminds us "In 2016, he lost his re-election race in Nebraska's 2nd District by 1 percentage point,...In 2014, he won the seat by 3 points in a year in which Democrats lost the national House popular vote by 6 points."  Keep in mind that candidates closer to the ideological poles do not fare as well more moderate ones: this was borne out in political scientific research (; date accessed May 16, 2018) and we witnessed the "shellacking" of 2010 which swept the Republicans did extremely well (; Feb 15, 2017; date accessed may 16, 2018) against a very unpopular first term president.  Still, Ms. Eastman could win "in a strong Democratic year, we may also look back on her nomination as Democrats' first 'tea party moment: a general-election opportunity squandered in a the primary..."

Meanwhile in Idaho, state Representative Paulette Jordan surprised everyone, cruising to the Democratic nomination for governor, 59 percent to 40 percent (; May 16, 2018), besting a ore moderate better funded rival.  If she wins in November, state Rep. Jordan would make history as the first Native American governor in American history. Yay.  She was endorsed (; May 1, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018)  by Democracy for America, Indivisible, and Cher--not exactly known for exerting their influence on Idaho voters.

There were two Pennsylvania congressional primaries (; May 15, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018) that pitted progressivism against pragmatism and the progressives went two for two.  Pennsylvania's 1st District was a contest between philanthropist Scott Wallace, the grandson of Henry A. Wallace the Progressive Party's 1948 presidential nominee (; date accessed May 16, 20180 and former Navy prosecutor Rachel Reddick.  Mr. Wallace handily defeated Ms. Reddick 56 percent to 35 percent.  Ms. Reddick made her conversion from Republican to Democratic a centerpiece of her campaign (; Apr. 14, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018).  Over in the 7th District, a split in the progressive vote nearly gave the Democratic nomination to Northampton District Attorney John Morganelli, who made pro-Trump, anti-immigrant comments (; May 8, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018).  He was beaten by Allentown City Solictor Susan Wild 30 to 33 percent, and Senator Bernie Sanders-endorsed candidate pastor Greg Edwards finished third with 26 percent of the vote.  Nathaniel Rakich reports, "More than Nebraska's 2nd District, both the 1st and th Districts in Pennsylvania are true swing districts, with a partisan lean of R+1 and D+0.04, respectively--in other words, they're almost perfect bell weathers for the nation as a whole."  In short, the Democrats have very little room for error in the Democratic-leaning national landscape.

Kara Eastman, Paulette Jordan, and Susan Wild's victories were indication of another trend: The political future is female.  Women won 11 out of the 16 contested Democratic primaries  for Senate, House, or governor where there is at least one female candidate and Democratic incumbent.  State Senator Kevin de Leon are paying attention.  Pennsylvania--"currently the largest state with no women in its congressional delegation--three women won Democratic primaries in seats likely to elect them in November:..."  They are: Madeleine Dean in the 4th District, Mary Gay Scanlon in the 5th District, and Chrissy Houlahan in the 6th District (her race was uncontested).  Yesterday's primaries also represents a strong election cycle for Emily's List, "the progressive political action committee that works to elect pro-choice Democratic women."  Three out of the five candidates, endorsed by the organization, won.

Finally, the Republicans were not left out of the primary fun.  Voters, in a bit of role, chose more electable candidates.  Idahoans opted for Lt. Governor Brad Little, who had the support of the state's Republican establishment, beat (; date accessed May 16, 2018) Trumpish businessman Tommy Ahlquist and tea party bomb thrower Rep. Raul Labrador in the governor's primary.  In Oregon, pro-choice Republican Rep. Knute Buehler swatted away two more conservative Republicans with 47 percent of the vote (Ibid) "preserving a potential path to victory for the GOP in the Beaver State's gubernatorial race."  Back in Pennsylvania, state Senator Scott--who nearly defeated Democtratic Gov. Tom Wolf in pre-primary polls (; Apr. 13, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018)--bested Paul Mango by a slender 44-to-37- percent (; date accessed May 16, 2018)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Oh No Save The PoMo; May 11, 2018

Hello Everyone:

Drama everywhere.  From royal wedding drama to the ongoing saga in the Middle East, to the White House apology-gate.  It is enough to make a grown blogger want to curl up in a corner with a stack of VogueHarper's Bazaar magazines, and a big bowl of M & Ms.  Fortunately, Yours Truly has better things to do.  One of those better things to do is take a look at British Postmodernist architecture.

How old is old?  Specifically, how old does a building have to be before its deemed preservation worthy?  Our friends at the National Trust for Historic Preservation set a fifty year-old minimum for a building or space (i.e. landscape) to be considered for landmark status.  What about postmodernism?  Postmodernism was the period style closely associated with the eighties.  Love it or hate it, Historic England has deemed this now thirty-ish-year-old style preservation worthy.  Feargus O'Sullivan reports in his CityLab article "Britain Wants to Protect Its Postmodernist Architecture," "Following an announcement by Historic England yesterday, the country will grant preservation order to 17 Postmodenist buildings, the youngest of which was designed in 1991."  To some preservation minded people, designating a 30-year-old building is a little like saving the leftovers from last night's dinner under glass, in climate controlled conditions, "but the sites chosen are unquestionably memorable and distinctive."  The renewed interest for Britsh PoMo architecture also coincides with a comprehensive exhibition at London's Sir John Soane's Museum opening tomorrow, May 16 (; date accessed May 15, 2018) through August 27, 2018.  Mr. O'Sullivan cheerfully opines, "It's not hard to see why the newly listed buildings caught conservationists' eyes.  Beyond the high-water mark of the Victorian gothic revival, it would be harder to find a more aesthetically elaborate set buildings in English architecture."

Are these young--in context to the Victorian gothic revival, for example-- but are they worthy of landmark status?  "Yes," enthuses Mr. O'Sullivan.  Why, you may ask?  The landmark designation process is not only about selecting a group of architecture that best represents the period as much as it is creating a definitive canon that everyone agrees is truly exemplary.  True but what is considered an exemplary canon is a subjective.  Additionally, the British system of designation is based on rankings, "with varying categories of preservation, that in their lower rungs, do not rule out any adaptation but merely require it to be sympathetic."

Quality or achievement are typically one of the criteria for designating a building or space a landmark, while it is true that some of the 17 building under consideration might lend credence to the criticism that PoMo architecture is more about surface than substance (; Nov. 13, 2017; date accessed May 15, 2018), "taking fantastical dress-up to extremes," while others may be charmed by it.  It is not hard to be taken by the "sheer exuberance of buildings like John Outram's Cambridge Business School (; date accessed May 15, 2018), an M C Escher whirl of colonnades and gangways that seems part Egyptian temple, part Victorian factory, all given a psychedelic surface makeover by Gustav Klimt."  Wow, talk about eye popping.  If this does not make your eyeballs bulge out their sockets, how about CZWG's (; date accessed May 15, 2018) Aztec West Business Park completed near Bristol, England in 1998.  For the record, there was never any known record of Aztec culture in the United Kingdom.  Feargus O'Sullivan describes it as "pure Beltway Babylonian, it's dramatic capital-capped Windows and sweeping curves looking a Cecil B. DeMille backdrop left on the edge of a parking lot."  Cue the elephants.

Others under consideration, incorporate English architectural historic references with fantasy, clearly a magnet for Historic England.  For example, "The Elizabethan/Jacobean inspiration of the jetties and gables on Green, Lloyd and Adams' Founders Hall is plain to see,..."  Apartment buildings designed by McCormac Jamieson Prichard and Wright in London's Shadwell basin closely resemble the Victorian warehouse lining the nearby wharves, albeit with "bunny ear towers and lashing of 1980s hot red."  Hmmm.

Conserving some of the buildings from Postmodernist era is rapidly becoming modus operandi in Great Britain.  Mr. O'Sullivan reports "In 2015, the country slapped preservation orders on a host of late 20th century concrete constructions (; Jan. 30, 2015; date accessed May 15, 2018), some built as recently as 1984."  In the meantime, seven prominent PoMo building were awarded protected status between 2016 and this past winter. Therefore, the 30- to 60-year-old time frame is definitely a precious time for a lot of structures.  The original tenants that commissioned the buildings have moved on and the PoMo has gone out of fashion but "but they're still young enough to attract the loathing of people who see any new construction as evidence of western civilization going to the dogs."  The need to protect a few buildings in England has been underscored by the loss of key PoMo structures (; May 20, 2016; date accessed May 15, 2018).  One example of such a loss is Terry Farrell's TV AM television studio, a landmark in North London, was stripped of its ornaments in 2011.  Reducing this building to a mere shadow of its former self demonstrates the acute need to conserve these polarizing buildings, even as while they are relative adolescents.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Is There No End To California's Housing Crisis?; May 4, 2018

Hello Everyone:

It is a sparkling Monday to start a fresh week on the blog.  Today, Yours Truly wants to talk about an issue that will play a large role in the California state election, housing.  The cost of housing--staying housed--has reached crisis levels.  Joe Cortright reports in his CityLab article "There Will Be No Exit From California's Housing Hell," "The recent defeat of SB 827--California State Senator Scott Wiener's bill that would have legalized apartment construction in area's well served by transit--was the subject of a thoughtful post-mortem in the Los Angeles Times:"

A major California housing bill failed after opposition from the low-income residents it aimed to help.  Here's how it went wrong... (; May 2, 2018; date accessed May 14, 2018)

Times writer Liam Dillon observed that although SB 827 had the strong support of YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) housing advocates, it flamed out because of the combined opposition of municipal governments, homeowners and, strangely the very people it was intended to help: low-income renters.  Let us take a look.

Mr. Dillon focused on the divide between the economic and political arguments for the legislation.  Mr. Cortright writes, "SB 827 may have been great economics, but it was poor politics."  YIMBYs and broad coalition of urban and housing scholars threw their support behind the bill, making the case "that more housing, especially in transit-serving locations, would lower rents and reduce displacement."  The bill's sponsor State Sen. Wiener said,

The reality is that the heart of displacement is a lack of housing, which pour lighter fluid on housing costs, puts huge pressure pushes people out,.... [Mr. Dillon writes] Research from the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office and UC Berkeley has found that building any new housing, especially homes subsidized for low-income residents, prevents displacement at a regional level.

While this argument makes intellectual sense, low-income renters and their advocates pushed back.  Liam Dillon wrote, 

...there is a fundamental disconnect between the approach of the senator and his supporters on one side and influential anti-poverty organizations on the other.

Their concern was "that new apartment construction would happen disproportionately or exclusively in lower income communities.  In a tweet, the Brookings Institution's Jenny Schuetz (; @jenny_schuetz; May 2, 2018; date accessed May 14, 2018) distills the matter to its essence,

Tricky politics. Past experiences shows that wealthy white communities have been more successful blocking development in their neighborhoods, so not unreasonable that lower-income POC worried they'll bear the brunt.  But building more housing is only long-term.

Joe Cortright criticizes Ms. Schuetz's tweet as flying "in the face of the logic or real estate development: Given the choice to build apartments in a high-income community or a low-income community, developers will inevitably tend to gravitate toward the places where rents are higher so that they can earn a greater profit."  Since higher-income communities have been so facile (; Mar. 28, 2018; date accessed May 14, 2018) at zoning land for single-family housing and quite resistant to new development is the principal reason that "demand has been divert to lower-income neighborhoods in the first place."  Only a sweeping preemption of local control, by the state, can provide opportunity to develop in higher-income communities.

In essence, this demonstrates just how thoroughly ingrained the idea of "weaponizing development approval is in the land-use process."  The argument appears to be "that unless low-income communities have the same power to exclude new development that wealthier communities routinely exercise, that this is inequitable."  Low-income advocates counter by "withholding development permission and regulating density to extract concessions from developers in the form of community benefit agreements or construction of or financial contributions for affordable housing."  This tactic follows the path that higher-income communities travel in order to extract concessions in the form of land dedications, parks, contributions to schools and local governments.

Joe Cortright points out, "As long as we view planning and development approvals as devices for extracting concessions from developers on a case-by-case basis, will inevitably circle back to a low-build, NIMBY-dominated world."

This is the persistent problem in New York's Mandatory Inclusion Housing program (; Jan. 25, 2018; date accessed May 14, 2018).  Theoretically, "the city's program requires developers to dedicate a portion of units in new apartments buildings for affordable housing, which should ease the city's supply crunch and help reduce everyone's rent."  However in practice, "the individual neighborhoods in which the upzoned apartment building would be constructed oppose the additional density."  This citywide policy earned the majority support of the City Council, "the individual upzoning approvals that would activate the 'mandatory' portions of the law have run into difficulties."  The first two projects under the new law--in Manhattan (; Aug. 16, 2016; date accessed May 14, 2018) and in Queens (; Sept. 19, 2016; date accessed May 14, 2018)--faced serious opposition from the community spurred the local city councilor to remove support for the necessary zone change--"effectively torpedoing the projects."

Joe Cortright opines, "In many respects, this is a reprise of the drama that doomed California Governor Jerry Brown's 2016 proposal (; May 26, 2016; date accessed May 14, 2018) to exempt affordable housing construction from the state's CEQA environmental impact review process." The positive aspect of Governor Brown's proposal was it encouraged development.  However, it would have removed an important bargaining chip that municipalities (labor unions and environmental groups) have used to leverage concessions from developers.  Mr. Cortright adds, "As long as development permission is organized around this highly transactional, brokered process, it's unlikely that any group is going cede its points of leverage."  In short, housing equality will be achieved when all neighborhoods, regardless of income level, will be enabled to say not in my backyard--NIMBY.

When it comes to loosening up land-use laws, Mr. Cortright sums the situation as a "particularly nasty version of the prisoner's dilemma (Ibid; Sept. 21, 2016)" in operation.  While "Individual communities and groups would better off if everyone were allowing more housing everywhere.  But they don't trust that other won't renege, and their community (or group) will be saddled with all the burden and impacts."  In essence, while individual stakeholders look out for their own self-interest, the result makes it collectively worse for everyone--the "prisoner's dilemma."  

Mr. Cortright speculates, "If there's going to be a way to break this logjam, it's probably going to have to look a lot like Senate Bill 827--a relatively simple, clear and unavoidable state preemption that applies with equal force to all communities,..."  The mission impossible will be to get everyone to set aside their self-interst and work for the common good.