Politics

The Last Stop in Brooklyn

Getting out was essential but I was stuck in Brooklyn until I could plot my escape…

There was no such thing as “diversity” in white, working-class Bensonhurst in the 1950s. Only the Jews and the Italians.

My tribe descending from Yiddish-speaking East European immigrants who settled in cramped tenements and worked in the schmatta trade of Manhattan’s lower east side.  read more »

Attack on the Suburbs: California Senate Republican Caucus Report

Differing views on the future of California urban areas are the subject of a California Senate Republican Caucus report (Briefing Report: Attack On The Suburbs: SB 375 And Its Effects On The Housing Market).  read more »

Transportation Aborted

Like most Americans, I was bombarded by sound-bites and blog-bytes surrounding an amendment to an Act of Congress that would require a woman to submit to and review the results of a trans-vaginal ultrasound before receiving an abortion. This amendment was covered ad nauseam by everyone from the Huffington Post to the nightly news on broadcast television.  read more »

Historic Day in Corruption History: Two Governors From Same State in Jail at Same Time

Today, history will be made. Rod Blagojevich is going to jail in Littleton, Colorado.  read more »

Federal Transit Administration Weighs In on Honolulu Mayor's Race

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has intervened in the Honolulu Mayor's race against challenger and former Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano. Governor Cayetano and Mayor Peter Carlisle are locked in a bitter contest that could determine whether the proposed $5.1 billion rail line is built. Mayor Carlisle is a strong supporter of the rail line. Challenger Cayetano has promised to "pull the plug" on the rail system. Recent polls show that the project's former thin majority support among Honolulu residents has now turned to opposition.  read more »

No G-8 Summit for Chicago

Veteran Chicago journalist Ben Joravsky explains why Chicago’s better off without the G-8 summit:

One, we're not equipped to handle it. Two, we can't afford it. And, three, it has the potential to give the Republicans great campaign material for the coming election.  read more »

California's Bullet Train --- A Fresh Start and a Change in Direction

A new strategy is beginning to emerge toward California’s embattled high-speed rail venture. The strategy is designed to rescue the project from a possible defeat at the hands of the state legislature, gain friends and supporters among local transportation agencies, win converts among independent analysts and turn around a largely skeptical public.  read more »

The White House Transportation Re-authorizaion: An "Unserious" Proposal

The Administration's $476 billion six-year transportation reauthorization proposal ---included as part of its FY 2013 budget submission ---has met with indifference if not outright skepticism in the transportation community. For one thing, the proposal comes at a time when both houses of Congress have already developed and are actively pursuing their own versions of reauthorization legislation.  read more »

Academics Find Chicago Most Corrupt Big City

One of the great failures in studying the politics of American cities has been the assumptions political scientists have used. Many academics assume that politicians work toward serving the public interest. In this naïve or dishonest world, an informed public (aided by a vigilant press) votes for candidates that rise above petty self interest to promote the common good. Recently, The University of Illinois-Chicago Political Science department released an impressive empirical study on corruption.  read more »

Why Pleas to Increase Infrastructure Funding Fall on Deaf Ears

Letting the nation’s roads and bridges deteriorate may worsen traffic congestion and add to our commuting woes, but when water and sewer systems begin to fail our very civilization is at risk. That is the message of a recent story in The Washington Post drawing attention to the alarming state of the nation’s water and sewer infrastructure. The story looks at the Washington D.C. system as a poster child for neglected and dilapidated municipal utilities. The average age of the District water pipes is 77 years and a great many were laid in the 19th century, notes the Post article.  read more »