California's Tribal Politics

15078131656_586f163561_m.jpg

To my fellow residents, and particularly fellow taxpayers of California, I have a special message: Your concerns don’t matter much anymore. Rather than a functioning democracy, California has become a one-party state dominated by a series of tribes whose special priorities are sacrosanct, however much they might hurt the rest of us.

In Gov. Jerry Brown’s California, the ruling tribes include the unions, the greens, the racial warlords and urban land speculators.  read more »

Subjects:

Deindustrialisation in Sydney

DSC_0009.JPG

According to property analysts CoreLogic, the Sydney median vacant land selling price has hit $450,000, a massive 20.5 per cent higher than the same time last year.  read more »

Should Transit Fares Cover Operating Costs?

1024px-BaltimoreLightRail.JPG

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 »

Universal Basic Income: A “Social Vaccine” for Technological Displacement?

6824419439_7c5bfa19c1_o (1).jpg

John Kenneth Galbraith once said that the beginnings of wisdom were to never trust an economist. Those of us that spent most of our adult lives in deindustrialized communities understood his point.  read more »

Subjects:

Trump’s Choice: Populism or Corporatism

trump-face.jpg

The real division in American politics today is no longer right or left, but rather between populism and an increasingly dominant corporate ruling class. This division is obvious within the Trump administration, elected on a nationalist and populist program but increasingly tilting toward a more corporatist orientation.  read more »

Welcome to South Chicago

pete-chicago-ship.jpg

If you've been reading my stuff here long enough, you probably know that cringe when I hear people talk about Chicago's South Side as a monolith, as code for black and poor.  The truth is, there are many facets to the South Side.  It is largely black, but not exclusively so; it is less wealthy than other parts of the city and region, but with pockets of wealth also.  It has its very troubled spots, but it has places of promise.  read more »

Bay Area Residents (Rightly) Expect Traffic to Get Worse

bay-area-plan.JPG

In a just released poll by the Bay Area Council a majority of respondents indicated an expectation that traffic congestion in the Bay Area (the San Jose-San Francisco combined statistical area) is likely to get worse.  read more »

Urban leaders should plan for the public transit of the future

1024px-Jurvetson_Google_driverless_car_trimmed.jpg

Self-driving, automated cars are coming. There will be teething pains in many forms: Some people will want highly automated vehicles while others will fear them. Some will be privately owned, and others will be taxis and shuttles for use by different people every day.  read more »

To Reunite America, Liberate Cities to Govern Themselves

pexels-photo-26165.jpg

Time magazine’s 2016 Person of the Year was elected president, as the magazine’s headline writer waggishly put it, of the “divided states of America.”  read more »

Transit Ridership Down 2.3% in 2016

243690264_9881f319e6_o.jpg

With little fanfare, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released its fourth quarter 2016 ridership report last week. When ridership goes up, the lobby group usually issues a big press release ballyhooing the importance of transit (and transit subsidies). But 2016 ridership fell, so there was no press release.  read more »