Minneapolis, Tackling Housing Crisis and Inequity, Votes to End Single-Family Zoning

By Sarah Mervosh : nytimes – excerpt

In a bold move to address its affordable-housing crisis and confront a history of racist housing practices, Minneapolis has decided to eliminate single-family zoning, a classification that has long perpetuated segregation.

The Minneapolis City Council voted last Friday to get rid of the category and instead allow residential structures with up to three dwelling units — like duplexes and triplexes — in every neighborhood. Minneapolis is believed to be the first major city in the United States to approve such a change citywide… (more)

No doubt having a developer for a president, will bring a lot more support for developers and less support for residents and taxpayers. They want to bleed us dry with inflationary spending at all levels of government. This follows the Opportunity Zoning Program, put together by the Trump family to incentivize, (as if they needed any incentive) building more high-rise multi-family units.

Our only hope is that the Democrats may see this as an issue their constituents will oppose. Wake up and read the anti-tax sentiment coming out of Europe. People are angry and divided in their allegiances. This is not a good way to start a new year.



How Urban Renewal Destroyed The Fillmore In Order to Save It

By Walter Thompson : hoodline – excerpt

After World War II, American cities were transfixed by a bold social experiment that came to be known as urban renewal.

San Francisco became a key testing ground for the concept from the 1940s into the 70s, with large portions of the Western Addition around Fillmore Street getting bulldozed and eventually rebuilt. 

But the promised benefits didn’t materialize.

The backlash to these failures dovetailed with the growing anti-freeway movement of the same period, the nationwide civil rights and anti-war movements and dozens of other groups to create San Francisco’s modern progressive political identity.

Proponents, including leading liberals as well as business and civic interests across the country, believed razing and replacing large swaths of economically depressed older neighborhoods with bigger new buildings would result in lower crime, economic growth and a higher standard of living… (more)

Urban Development, also known as Redevelopment, was the tool of choice for public entities to use public money to destroy and rebuild neighborhoods. When that program was largely deemed a failure and ended during one of the economic downturns, a new mechanism was devised to continue to work.

Gentrification, replacement of affordable neighborhoods, by private developers given tax incentives and other preferential deals, gets the same results.

The new kid on the block is the Opportunity Zoning Program legislation that Ivanka and Jered Kushner. pushed through Congress.

According to this article in Huffington Post, the extended Trump famly will benefit rather nicely from the tax incentives and the increase in value of the properties they own.

Ivanka Trump And Jared Kushner Could Profit From Tax Break They Pushed


From the mixed up files of the Creely-McCarty family: why Hannah got her gun.

By Elizabeth Creely : dinnshenchas – excerpt

Hannah McCarty Welsh is my 3rd-great grandaunt, and was my great-great grandmother’s younger sister. Like their brother Daniel, known mostly by his sobriquet, “Whitehat”, Hannah could have been a source of dismay to her sister Margaret, but by the time Hannah shot the Sheriff’s deputy—please note: she didn’t shoot the Sheriff— Margaret had been dead for 12 years, and was spared the embarrassment of reading about Hannah’s shoot out inside her home at 120 Ripley street in all the major Bay Area newspapers…

Eviction, along with rotten potatoes, would have been very triggering for Hannah. Although Hannah was born in Boston in 1859, her parents, my great-great-great grandparents, Timothy and Mary McCarty, were not. They were born somewhere in Cork, Ireland in the early eighteen hundreds, and had the awesome luck of surviving Trevelyan’s economic schemes for Ireland, which included exporting food out of the Ireland as the potato crop failed… (more)

You may be wondering what this story has to do with Beaux Arts and the typical political and artistic fare we cover. I find the author has a wonder wit about her as she covers her family history in a most fashion that I find rather pleasing, and, the subject of the Irish potato famine was one of great import to Beaux Arts founder, Thomas Bruce Reese. His family left Ireland during the “troubles”  that probably coincided with the potato famine.

The topical aspect of this story is evident to anyone who is following the Public TV version of “Poldark”, as the Trevelyans, mentioned in this story, were the greedy merchants who chose to export food that grew in Ireland fora hefty profit, and leaving the poor Irish to starve to death.

If you are properly intrigued, read on… (more)

Mari Eliza

One killed and hundreds injured in French anti-Macron protests

By Kim Willsher : theguardian – excerpt

Death at ‘gilet jaunes’ demonstration caused by panicking driver as anti-fuel tax blockade grips country

One protester has died and more than a hundred were injured after a nationwide wave of peaceful protests aimed at French president Emmanuel Macron turned to tragedy.

Demonstrators from the gilets jaunes – yellow vests – movement had called for people to turn out and gridlock France’s road network to show their anger at increases in fuel taxes…

“We need reform, but not to the detriment of people’s pockets. We all bought diesel vehicles because we were told they were good, now they are punishing us because they say diesel is bad,” said Roger Ordonez, owner of a building company. “They are killing us off. We open our mouths they tax us, we shut them, they tax us. What is happening is totally unfair and we are totally fed up with this government.”… (more)

Looks like too much to soon is a global problem for all governments who are trying to push the strings when they do not have the support of the people who are seeing beyond the knee-jerk reactions. lies and downright miscalculations and mistakes of the authorities. A new level of confusion over policy and priorities is sending a wave of protests and dividing the already divided.

Just got this information from a reader: the French are required to carry those vests in their cars in case of an accident.

Donald Trump Endorses Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform Bill

By Carla Herreria : huffingtonpost – excerpt

The bill, backed by Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, would bring major changes to the federal prison system.

President Donald Trump has announced his support for a bipartisan prison reform bill that would overhaul prison sentencing laws in the U.S.

Trump endorsed the so-called First Step Act at the White House on Wednesday, saying the bill would “make our communities safer and give former inmates a second chance at life after they have served their time.”

The bill, which Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been advocating for months, also “includes reasonable sentencing reforms while keeping dangerous and violent criminals off the street,” Trump added… (more)

Red to Blue and Purple at the Border, or should I say Green?

All this talk about the Blue and Red States and immigration being a hot topic at the poles, lead me on a quest for a maps that illustrate the new America. I found some here: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2018/governor/2018_elections_governor_map.html

What struck me as interesting is the fact that most of the boarder states are blue, indicating that the people who live on the border are less likely to support immigrant suppression and a “wall” than people who live elsewhere in the country.

Here is an example of the new wave of political changes coming to the deepest red state of Texas, that now has a Democrat in the Senate.

If This Bill Passes, Possessing Pot in Texas Will Be Treated Less Harshly Than Distributing Straws in San Francisco.

by Christian Britschgi : Reason – excerpt

A new bill in the Texas legislature would repeal criminal penalties for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.

A new bill in the Texas legislature would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis.

Rep. Joe Moody (D–El Paso) today introduced HB 63. If it becomes law, possessing up to an ounce of marijuana would be a civil infraction, punishable by a maximum $250 fine. Currently, possession of any marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor and can earn you up to $2,000 in penalties and six months in jail.

Some 41,000 people were convicted of marijuana possession in Texas between August 2017 and August 2018, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

Moody’s bill would also bar police officers from arresting someone solely for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana… (more)

Dear Amazon, New York doesn’t want you. Go find another city to destroy Hamilton Nolan

theguardian – excerpt

Jeff Bezos wants to build a colossal HQ in Queens. We’ve already got Wall Street – must we be flooded with rich techies on top of that?

New York is a metropolis. It has been able to withstand centuries’ worth of threats to civic harmony, from the Five Points gangs to the administration of Rudy Giuliani. We have successfully absorbed striving immigrants from around the world, weekend partiers from Jersey, and post-college seekers from the midwest. But one thing that New York City has never truly had to battle is a massive influx of rich techies. Let’s not start now.

For a full year, Amazon – a trillion-dollar company led by the richest man on earth – has been busily extracting subsidies from cities across the country, all of them desperate to lure a promised 50,000 jobs and $5bn investment for Amazon’s second headquarters. The “HQ2” became necessary after Amazon filled metropolitan Seattle edge-to-edge with glass towers full of Amazon employees.

This week, at last, it was reported that Amazon had decided to divide its new headquarters bounty between the suburbs of Washington DC and the Queens riverfront. Having tired of the amusement of watching second-tier cities debase themselves in a desperate bid for something they were never going to get, the company has apparently settled on “the two most obvious major cities on the east coast”… (more)

Forcing us to take in a flood of rich tech people is like giving the flu to someone who already has chronic diabetes

Well put. Forcing being the primary term here. Government forcing citizens to choke down anything they object to is “un-American” and there are some very negative words for top-down autonomous governments that partner with corporate entities to remove entitlements from the citizens they supposedly represent. Ask yourself, is your city guilty of these practices and what can be done about it. Nobody wants to be redeveloped. This country is full of undeveloped areas that welcome more jobs. Why are they piling them all onto people who are suffocating already?