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Deep Ellum

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I recently wrote about the need to embrace reality when it comes to land use regulation, culture, politics, and economics. My interpretation can seem a bit… dark. It’s not my intention to discourage people looking to make a positive difference in their communities. I’ve just seen how things tend to play out and the process doesn’t exactly favor mom and pop operations that are juggling day jobs, raising kids, and working on limited budgets.  read more »

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The ‘Not Good’, Bad & Ugly of Mapping

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Today, useful demographic, real estate, and economic information is instantly accessed from your bedroom laptop. A few decades ago you would have to make a trip to city hall and wait for someone to go through hundreds of files.

Information (data) is only as good as the source, hand entered from someone - subject to human error. Yet in reality, after 3 decades of use, mapping software --- used by virtually every city and county agency --- is actually getting worse not better.  read more »

Diners and the Decline of Shared Social Institutions

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Grub Street posted another installment in the decline of the New York diner genre.

I’ve made the point before that many of these old line institutions are going out of business because their product simply isn’t very good. I’m a fan of diner food, but I’ve never had a good meal in a Manhattan diner.  read more »

Should Transit Fares Cover Operating Costs?

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Maryland has long had a state law requiring transit systems to collect enough fares to cover at least 35 percent of their operating costs. While it is admirable to set a target, this particular target is disheartening for two reasons.  read more »

High-Flying California Charts Its Own Path -- Is A Cliff Ahead?

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As its economy bounced back from the Great Recession, California emerged as a progressive role model, with New York Times columnist Paul Krugman arguing that the state’s “success” was proof of the superiority of a high tax, high regulation economy.  read more »

Is Anybody Really Listening: Pizza with Perez in Youngstown

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Ohio has long been seen as a battleground state, up for grabs in most Presidential elections. The state supported winning candidates of both parties for decades. But as the state shifted back and forth, the Mahoning Valley (Mahoning and Trumbull Counties) in Northeastern Ohio remained a Democratic stronghold. If Democratic candidates could garner more than 62% of the vote in this region – as they often did -- they would win the state. In years when Republicans won, the Mahoning Valley still voted for the Democrats, but with less enthusiasm.  read more »

Subjects:

Red State Conundrum

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How do you raise incomes when your state’s economic appeal is based on low costs?

That’s the basic conundrum facing a number of red states. They rightly talk about their cost climate, touting tax rates and such. But the biggest component of cost for many businesses is labor. Being a low cost state is tantamount to being a low wage one in many cases.  read more »

Subjects:

Can the Chicago White Sox Help Turn Around the South Side?

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As a displaced Detroit Tigers fan who adopted the Chicago White Sox as my team, I often wonder how our city's other team, the Cubs, became an integral institution in the remaking of our city, while the White Sox have not. I published a piece at my Forbes site some time ago that detailed my thoughts on how the Cubs facilitated that transition.  read more »

Moving Away from Toronto and Montréal

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The latest Statistics Canada data indicates that people are leaving Toronto and Montréal in large numbers since the 2011 census. Even so, both metropolitan areas continued to grow through the 2016 census as a result of net international migration and the natural increase of births over deaths (Figure 1). It turns out that Canada’s urban pattern is much more like that of the US, as well as other high-income countries, than many may suppose.  read more »

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