At a regional forum on inequality earlier this month, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan made some remarks that jumpstarted some regional discussion about regional equity, commuter taxes, and the like. As reported by Jimmy Vielkind at Capital New York, Sheehan argued that “the funding mechanism for cities—property taxes—was set up at a time when cities were regional centers of wealth and industry. Times have changed, she said, and so should financial structures.”
This makes me very happy. In 2007 I wrote a column called “The Unapologetic City,” in which I argued that our municipal neighbors were getting a ton of benefits from the city without paying for them, but it seemed like a pipe dream then to be hearing others talking about what to do about it in earnest. Answers aren’t easy, but they do exist. Continue reading
Conventional wisdom says that artists and gay people are tend to be pioneers in distressed neighborhoods, signs that change is ’a coming. While there have been some funny, and likely apocryphal stories about unlikely conservatives awkwardly wondering in public meetings if “we could get some of those gay people here” to boost a struggling town, that understanding hasn’t exactly been something people have tried to parley into an economic development strategy.
Artists, on the other hand, are a hot commodity, with special artist housing and art spaces cropping up as part of many places’ revitalization plans.
There are good things about this, and bad things. Continue reading
At the United Tenants of Albany annual dinner last week, Mayor Kathy Sheehan spoke about her “equity agenda” for the city of Albany. We’re only as strong as our weakest neighborhoods, she said. We have to bring everyone along. Continue reading
“Bomb it.” “Bulldoze it.” “A Hurricane.”
For the past several years, Metroland’s Readers’ Poll has included a question about the best thing that could happen to each of the region’s cities. Invariably, a dozen or so people suggest doing away with various cities or city neighborhoods entirely, often in some violent fashion. Continue reading