Some people are a little bit upset about the city of Albany’s decision to install red light cameras.
OK, perhaps I am understating a little bit. Many people—most, from my unscientific survey, though not all, white men—are apoplectic. Continue reading
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
Americans are a people hopelessly divided by culture wars and fundamental disagreements about the role and appropriate size of government. You know this; I know this. Everyone knows this. In some parts of the country people carry machine guns through the baby products aisle and want to cut both food stamps and millionaire’s taxes, while in others we’re extending marriage equality and trying to build decent mass transit and celebrating diversity. It’s a deep, unbridgeable rift, and the dysfunction in our Congress just reflects this.
Right? Well, hold on. Continue reading
Yesterday, public school advocates rallied at the New York state capitol to call for full state funding of public education. Participants held “R.I.P.” tombstone signs of the programs, classes, staff and resources that their schools have had to cut over the past five years—arts, languages, small class sizes, academic support services, magnet programs. All the things that serve what politicians like to call “21st century skills.” 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