Politics

She’s No Alexander Hamilton

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The Antiplanner might be behind the times, but has anyone else noticed that it is the Democrats who are playing the role of Alexander Hamilton — the conservative who wanted to centralize government and concentrate power in New York banks — while the Republicans are playing the role of Thomas Jefferson — the civil libertarian who wanted to keep economic and political power decentralized?  read more »

This Train Won’t Leave the Station

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Governor Gavin Newsom has canceled the bulk of the state’s long-proposed high-speed line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, leaving only a tail of the once-grand project—a connection between the Central Valley’s Merced and Bakersfield, not exactly major metropolitan areas. “Let’s be real,” Newsom said in his first State of the State address. “The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency.”  read more »

Pulling the Plug on HS2 (London-Birmingham High Speed Rail)?

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High speed rail may be proposed as a climate change panacea here and elsewhere, but the results on the ground are less than promising. California Governor Gavin Newsom announced this week that the California high speed rail project would be scaled back to the route between Bakersfield and Merced, in the San Joaquin Valley (which the state has enough money for). In his “state of the state” speech the Governor said “…let’s be real. The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency.”  read more »

Restoring The California Dream, Not Nailing Its Coffin

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Virtually everyone, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, is aware of the severity of California’s housing crisis. The bad news is that most proposals floating in Sacramento are likely to do very little to address our housing shortage.

Newsom has promised to have 3.5 million homes built over the next seven years to solve the problem. That is, conservatively stated, more than 2.6 million that would be built at the current rate of construction.  read more »

Party of the People? Or the Oligarchs?

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The Trump uprising, with a renegade capitalist serving as the tribune of the forgotten working class, appears headed toward an inevitable denouement. Trump’s intemperance, jingoism and lack of political skills have undermined the GOP’s ability to reach beyond its base in the South, the exurbs and parts of middle America.  read more »

Chicago: A Tale of Two Very Different Cities

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A new report by the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, Beyond Gentrification: Towards More Equitable Growth, explores how unbalanced urban growth has exacerbated class divisions, particularly in the urban centers of our largest's metropolitan areas. To read or download the full report click here.  read more »

Today’s Cultural Engineers

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Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin once labeled writers and other creative people “engineers of the soul.” In his passion to control what people saw and read, Stalin both coddled artists and enforced unanimity through the instruments of a police state. Today, fortunately, we don’t face such overt forms of cultural control, but the trends in American and to some extent European mass culture are beginning to look almost Stalinesque in their uniformity.  read more »

Getting METRONext 2040 from B- to a real A+

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METRO recently released a draft $7.5 billion 2040 transit plan they’ve labeled “A Plus” (the previous “A” plan plus some additions), but unfortunately it’s more like a B- when it comes to addressing Houston’s real transportation needs over the next two decades.  It has some wonderful, cost-effective local and express bus improvements – including bus-rapid transit (BRT) at less than one-third the cost per mile of light rail – but continues to throw mountains of good money after bad on wasteful new light rail extensions.  read more »

Subjects:

Will Canada Break Up Over Carbon Dioxide?

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Countries have broken up for very serious reasons like slavery, religious differences and ethnic tensions. But, so far, never in history has a country been at risk of breaking up because of a harmless gas – carbon-dioxide. Canada could, thanks to an ideologically-driven federal government.  read more »

The Middle Kingdom and the U.S. Economy

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In the poker match between President Donald Trump and China’s new all-but-emperor, Xi Jinping, it’s widely assumed that Xi holds the best hand. Yet President Xi’s hand may not be as awesome as it appears, while the United States, even under this very flawed president, may hold some fine cards.  read more »