Is California About to Clobber Local Control?


The gradual decimation of local voice in planning has become accepted policy in Sacramento. The State Senate is now considering two dangerous bills, SB 35 and SB 167, that together severely curtail democratic control of housing.

SB 35: Housing Accountability and Affordability Act (Wiener)  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Prague


Prague is the capital of Czechia, a nation most readers have probably never heard of. Last year, the Czech Republic adopted a new name that does not reveal its governance structure (republic). The new name has not enjoyed widespread acclaim. The union of Czechoslovakia, which dates from the end of World War I, split peacefully in 1993, resulting in the creation of Czech Republic and Slovakia.  read more »

Rebuilding America's Infrastructure


President Trump promised a $1 trillion infrastructure plan during his campaign. Spending more money on infrastructure is something that has broad support among people of all political persuasions.

But as the case of Louisville’s $2.4 billion bridge debacle shows, not all infrastructure spending is good spending.  read more »

What Trump has wrought


Just a few short months ago, we seemed on the brink of a new political era. Donald Trump improbably was headed to the White House, while the Democratic Party, at near historic lows in statehouse power and without control of either house of Congress, seemed to be facing a lengthy period in political purgatory.  read more »

The globalization debate is just beginning


The decisive victory of Emmanuel Macron for president of France over Marine Le Pen is being widely hailed as a victory of good over evil, and an affirmation of open migration flows and globalization. Certainly, the defeat of the odious National Front should be considered good news, but the global conflict over trade and immigration has barely begun.  read more »

The Downside of Pragmatism


‘Pragmatism killed Michigan.”

When my consultant friend Dwight Gibson said this about his home state, I was taken aback. I always thought pragmatism was a good thing, and I think of myself as a pragmatic person in many ways. My first response to hearing somebody present an intriguing but nebulous policy idea is usually to say, “Yes, but what exactly am I supposed to do to make this happen?”  read more »


California's War on the Emerging Generation


It should be the obligation of older citizens to try to improve the prospects for their successors. But, here in California, as seen in a new report issued by the Chapman Center for Demographics and Policy, we seem to have adopted an agenda designed to make things tougher for them.  read more »

The news media are losing their search for truth

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To someone who has spent most of his career in the news business, it’s distressing to confront the current state of the media. Rather than a source of information and varied opinion, the media increasingly act not so such as disseminators of information but as a privileged and separate caste, determined to shape opinion to a certain set of conclusions.  read more »

The Great Non-Profit Die Off


Marc Lapides wrote an op-ed in Crain’s Chicago Business calling for an 1871 accelerator for creating new non-profits.

Most cities could actually use the opposite. What they need is an infrastructure for euthanizing non-profits that are past their expiration date.

When I look around older cities, I frequently see that they’ve got a veritable armada of non-profits. Rarely do I see these making a huge difference in the trajectory of the city.  read more »

Subsidies Haven't Increased Transit Ridership


In 2015, the American Public Transportation Association issued a press release whose headline claimed that transit ridership in 2014 achieved a new record. However, the story revealed that 2014 ridership was the highest since 1956. That’s no more a record than if it was the highest since 2013.  read more »