Urban Change

Many factors are at work, but the heart of the zero progress problem in education and the direct relationship with inequality. For African-Americans, the data shows a gap in college achievement that remains wide. Those with undergraduate degrees are less wealthy than white counterparts, and the chance that both spouses will have undergraduate degrees is lower.

The concentration of poverty is unfair. One of the steps taken was population dispersion under many names – national highways, urban renewal, demonstration cities renamed to model cities, etc. By the mid-seventies, a fragment of local power began to form in defense of those left behind. A nod from the power brokers produced community-based nonprofit development corporations. They would become advocates for people willing to grab at rungs on the ladder and straps on their boots.

Only a little of this is accomplished. Urban blight and deterioration were reduced, and new mechanisms to alter America’s manifest destiny as a “white-thing” acquired a civil rights and “strength through diversity” foothold. A beautifully accurate book that fails to be persuasive (like lots of academic work) says somewhat antiseptically:

“While taking steps to enhance families’ ability to live wherever they choose is essential, attempting to engineer the movement of large numbers of families from specified high-poverty neighborhoods to specified destination neighborhoods should not be a primary policy approach to ending the cycle of multi-generational disadvantage.”

The resilience of investment in the urban redevelopment will require non-displacement policies coupled with durable human capital investments that flatten the barriers to the correction of past wrongs. The physical list is long and easy to draw from lead paint to cheap housing in flood plains under the big heading of environmental racism to the lack of equal protection under the law, the list is short on changes needed in the psychology of human relationships built on ignorant concepts of race. Patrick Sharkey describes much of this in Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress toward Racial Equality. Urban policy discussion is excellent following the standard academic style of argument.

The Workplace

Differences in isolation and subtle forms of prejudice make the question of racial discrimination an unsettled scientific matter. Even though subject to indirect methods of measure, American society’s discrimination levels may have decreased over time in dense urban areas, largely because of proximity and shared experiences, workplaces reflecting the city’s diversity, professional sports teams, and packed subway cars, to name a few. In dense areas, opportunities for cultural integration grow and change quickly. The study of change in workplace discrimination against African Americans has been ongoing since 1989, and this work suggests that it has not changed much nationally. The persistence of discrimination in US labor markets is more striking in less dense areas masking progress in a city such as NYC.


Families are institutions with exalted political values. Except in cases of neglect or extreme abuse, parents across the full spectrum of the population and family type have the liberty to set their own bar on parenting quality. This means some families do not know they are not creating a supportive and stimulating home for their kid and more than likely resent it as an accusation. The measure of a child’s chances of cycle-ending success begins with the family through six major resource investments.

The Parenting Society

The link between parenting quality, income, race, education, and action regarding the issues raised tends to be “unclicked” by legislators in preference to the family stereotype. Policymakers, on the other hand, demand specific attention to the full spectrum of family needs. Their studies examine patterns of parenting quality. They also know how to design programs that get to those who might benefit. The projected result is kids on pathways that break the cycle of poverty, overcome the sensitivities of race and become cross-cultural without losing the gratification of their origins. This kind of liberation comes from exceptional educators and fantastic health care experts with unique training and talents. Parents who have a low income, are poorly educated, are African-American, Hispanic, or unmarried and all of the above need the well-paid time of these professionals, and they are not getting it. They are the ones who can disentangle the influence of race from socioeconomic status.

Parenting influences child outcomes, and good programs improve parenting. The proof is in the depth of scholarly articles surrounding the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) using data following participants from 1979 to 2014. Disadvantaged children face complex internal and external threats, so it is a given that policies and investment in professional intervention can eliminate them all on both fronts. Mobility on the social change scale will remain beyond public policy reach without an agreement to this as fact. The graphic illustration above comes from one of those scholarly articles entitled, The Parenting Gap by Richard V. Reeves and Kimberly Howard (here). It examines parenting issues with sampling data and provides an extensive bibliography. The trial of a program (Memphis, TN) integrated health professionals with low-income mothers who rank below the sample median on an index of intelligence, mental health, sense of mastery, and self-efficacy. These are amazing, thoughtful findings, accurate and true, supported with an extraordinary depth of peer-review findings. They are persuasive, but the barriers that create unfairness remain, so the question is why and what is missing in their arguments to produce implementation?

The Money Society

How do you fully understand the return on investment in people and places? The answer is in the free availability of public policy data that shows how private resources combine to meet goals. Public abstractions such as “a more perfect union” or “freedom and justice for all” must prove progress in the public investment realm. Private abstractions such as accelerating the advent of transport with electric cars must also prove to sustain investors.

Data on social mobility continues to disappear from the public record when it becomes private. Without unrestricted data, public goals cannot be accurately developed, stated, or confirmed if accomplished. This leaves only one measure—the success or failure of capital invested in goods that produce returns. The proof of how this endeavor creates a better country in terms of diversity in social mobility remains unknown. When groups of people start decrying the lack of fairness and are unprovable, the measures and tools for proof are hidden or gone. Who has them, and where are they?

Perhaps the best example is how difficult it has been to prove the need for vitality in a reform movement dealing with incarceration, the rates of incarceration, and who is incarcerated. The data calls it out as a pure aberration of justice with a zero chance of a remedy attached. There is a range of problems that ring discrimination when prison populations who cannot vote are used to sustain a rural congressional seat. The continuation of policies that help to assure one-third of the 620,000 people released from prison return.  In this example alone, the great American Apartheid is revealed, and the reform movement has begun.  Another crime in the name of the money society is the failure to collect mortgage data (HMDA plus) and protect consumers from unfair practices that lead to the denial of credit access.  Here again, the federal responsibility to conduct its business in ways that reduce inequality can be ignored by cutting back on the information needed to show progress.

Brookings is one of those “think tanks” considered to be left of center as its focus tends to be the proof of progress in eliminating the failure of American Democracy to assure human dignity and make right its mistakes, especially in how public policy has wrongly damaged the lives of its minority citizens.

Groups conduct these issues described above, like Brookings at the deep end of the pool.  If any reader here wants to make sense of your block, in your neighborhood, and with your neighbors, please do so.  In your blog, link your work or give work to people focused on their Congressional Districts and the city and state representation shared by that district.

Deep end: Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective (PDF) and see the result of poor outcomes for black men. See longer Technical Paper (PDF) and the full Results here.

Community Health

The health campus (below) in the Ninth Congressional District is known to many as “Downstate”, but this location has a deeper and richer capacity for service. It has the infrastructure and location to become one of the world’s finest health care campuses. 

Issue:
One out of three people in the Ninth Congressional District have jobs in education, health and social service industry.  Health and social assistance is threatened by the lack of a comprehensive national health services policy, a recognition of the debt incurred by cities and states, in the protection of two important groups of people — our young ones and our elderly of limited financial means.

Response:
The health campus map (above) is known to many as “Downstate,” but this location is deeper and richer in its capacity. Downstate has a student body of nearly 1,800 and a staff and faculty community of about 8,000. No other organization in the entire state would be more informed regarding health issues affecting low- and moderate income households. It maintains a  Medical History Library. It has the infrastructure and location to become one of the world’s finest health care campuses. 

The failure of federal leadership traps CD9’s health professionals in a community where it is easy to blame the victims for the debt in providing care in the “pounds of cure” called hospitals, while funds for prevention focused on the real health care needs in Brooklyn are cut. The impetus and a national health care system will require a major change in public policy regarding health in communities of low- and moderate-income, especially in places with density and diversity like New York City.

The question is simple. How will you support the “Medicare for All” legislation by Senator Bernie Sanders and most other members of the NY delegation?  The developed world knows this is the the way forward.  Why doesn’t the United States understand? Comprehensive single-payer healthcare will bring stability to the Ninth Congressional District and start it on the path to community health, it will sustain good jobs and make health affordable. Our representatives have kicked the health care can down the road and we are in it. 

A draft demographic report on the social characteristics of the Ninth Congressional District is described in a slide presentation (here).  A more detailed narrative of issues facing the 9th CD is (here).  Your comments and questions are appreciated. See “Contact” above.

Downstate of Health

The health campus (below) in the Ninth Congressional District (below) is known to many as “Downstate”, but this location has a deeper and richer capacity for service. It has the infrastructure and location to become one of the world’s finest health care campuses

One out of three people in the Ninth Congressional District have jobs in education, health and social service industry. When health and social assistance services for low- and moderate-income is threatened by national and state policies – all of Brooklyn is under attack.

The health campus map (above) is known to many as “Downstate,” but this location is deeper and richer in its capacity. Downstate has a student body of nearly 1,800 and a staff and faculty community of about 8,000. No other organization in the entire state would be more informed regarding health issues. It maintains the Medical History Library.

It has the infrastructure and location to become one of the world’s finest health care campuses. The failure of federal leadership on health and social services traps CD9’s health professionals in a community where it is easy to blame the victims for the debt incurred by the “pounds of cure” called hospitals serving patients far too late in their health history. Funds for the “ounces of prevention” and that focused on the real health care needs in Brooklyn are cut far too easily.

The impetus and a national health care system will require a major change in public policy regarding health in communities of low- and moderate-income, especially in places with density and diversity like New York City. The question is simple.

How will you support “Medicare for All” legislation? 

The developed world knows this is the way forward.  Why doesn’t the United States understand? Comprehensive single-payer healthcare will bring stability to the Ninth Congressional District and start it on the path to community health, it will sustain good jobs and make health affordable.

For a draft of issues confronting the Ninth Congressional District review a slide presentation (here) and a draft paper on the issues (here).

The Clarke Record

The analysis that follows is part of a long-term effort to establish an independent group of observers and analysts who live or work in each of the Congressional Districts of New York City beginning with the Ninth CD.  The boundaries change but you will always be in one of them. It will include a portion or all of city and state political districts.  Organizing this way yields power.  Take it.

This project also recognizes an opportunity to examine the representation of NYS as a whole to include an evaluation of U.S. Senate representatives. Outreach occurs through other organizations and individuals under the heading of @NYDelegation.

Delegation Watch and, Indivisible.  It will be slow but continuous and with some help. Finally, all views are welcome that offer facts, but know these resources are unabashedly Democratic in party affiliation, Progressive in outlook and as independent as an Independent can get on the issues, needs and concerns of everyday people. Here’s an example on the Ninth Congressional District. If you win a Democratic primary for Congress in NYC, you win the election. Yvette Clarke captured most votes in the primary of 2012, but it is fair to say only about 14,000 people voted to elect her to the office. There are over 250,000 registered Democrats in CD9. Yvette took 81% of the vote in 2014 with just 83,000 votes and 92% in 2016 with 214,000 votes. In 2018, the win percentage was barely over 50% with a challenger who fell just 1,500 votes short of taking her seat.

The Clarke Platform and Record of Service

First, the territory of public life comes with criticism. Please accept this summary with the idea that it has the capacity for error. The main source for analysis is GovTrack and while this organization has an excellent reputation, it is still possible to misinterpret the data as provided. Please use the comment section below and dig into the data yourself. The rule is the facts are friendly, as far as “scuttlebutt” goes; it appears the CD9 office staff are known to be unhelpful with difficult questions or unresponsive with challenging problems leading to dead-ends and the need to go elsewhere for advice and help. Personal anecdotes pro or con on the general behavior of the office would be helpful with dates, times, places.

Second, without doubt Yvette’s commitment to public service is a wholesome one, grounded in family tradition and steeped in protecting the rights of her constituents and the responsibilities of public office. That “wrist-slap” from the Ethics Committee dismissed regarding the lack of disclosure of sponsors on a junket to Azerbaijan and Turkey. Her record of accomplishment over the last two decades presents a picture of little more than a loyal Democrat. Rarely missing a vote is proof of party loyalty and that is proving to be insufficient over the need for a far more aggressive legislative initiative in protecting people.

It is fair to say Congresswoman Clarke has become a career politician serving as a New York State Representative for the 11th Congressional District from 2007 to 2012 and as the Representative of the 9th Congressional District beginning in January 2013.  She is completing her 18th year in the United States Congress.  GovTrack lists her name as associated with just 77 pieces of legislation (review here) and the congress.gov site here, shows the breadth of the House activity in the introduction of bills and very little else. Of over 2,000 bills with which she is connected, the following four are the only ones with her name as “sponsor” all are in the 111th Congress (2009-2010), See: H.R.3771: H.R.3771; H.Amdt.560; and H.R.4616.

The co-sponsorship of one act, signed by President Obama called upon the Small Business Administration increase their reporting accuracy regarding public sector procurement by minority-owned businesses. This can be reviewed here..  For an advanced search on all of Clarke’s Legislation click here.  Click the following links for a detailed look at her GovTrack Report Card and her Voting Record since 2007.  It is not a great report or a good record. Please judge for yourself.

The Clarke 2018 Platform

Clarke’s 2018 platform on her website claims the co-sponsorship of three bits of legislation in Energy, Housing and Education none of which became law. The most shocking part of her 2018 platform is a striking omission.  The need for immigration reform and ideas about how to establish a path to citizenship for children is missing. Half of the population in the Ninth Congressional District was born in another country.

The other seven platform issues listed on her website (latest observation: 3.28.19) offer one or two paragraph generalities on the need for justice, fairness and equity. The importance of small business, healthcare reform, the prevention of gun violence and trade with the Caribbean briefly describe existing conditions. There is no sense of urgency in these pronouncements. In fact, she did not vote on an act sponsored by Elliot Engel for improving relations with the Caribbean nations (See: H.R. 4939/114th Congress).

Protecting Education Loans for Underserved Students Act H.R. 4480/113th was not enacted and cleared from the books. It is fair to say these efforts disappear and emerge in different forms. The mention of the Flood Insurance Affordability Act (here) was passed in 2014 to help protect homeowners from insurance price increases by delaying enforcement of an increase. This was also lumped in with a demand for stronger rent regulations in which the federal government has little to offer.

The Clarke 2018 Platform

Clarke’s 2018 platform on her website claims the co-sponsorship of three bits of legislation in Energy, Housing and Education none of which became law. The most shocking part of her 2018 platform is a striking omission.  The need for immigration reform and ideas about how to establish a path to citizenship for children is missing. Half of the population in the Ninth Congressional District was born in another country.

The other seven platform issues listed on her website (latest observation: 3.28.19) offer one or two paragraph generalities on the need for justice, fairness and equity. The importance of small business, healthcare reform, the prevention of gun violence and trade with the Caribbean briefly describe existing conditions. There is no sense of urgency in these pronouncements. In fact, she did not vote on an act sponsored by Elliot Engel for improving relations with the Caribbean nations (See: H.R. 4939/114th Congress).

Protecting Education Loans for Underserved Students Act H.R. 4480/113th was not enacted and cleared from the books. It is fair to say these efforts disappear and emerge in different forms. The mention of the Flood Insurance Affordability Act (here) was passed in 2014 to help protect homeowners from insurance price increases by delaying enforcement of an increase. This was also lumped in with a demand for stronger rent regulations in which the federal government has little to offer.

The Clarke 2018 Platform

Clarke’s 2018 platform on her website claims the co-sponsorship of three bits of legislation in Energy, Housing and Education none of which became law. The most shocking part of her 2018 platform is a striking omission.  The need for immigration reform and ideas about how to establish a path to citizenship for children is missing. Half of the population in the Ninth Congressional District was born in another country.

The other seven platform issues listed on her website (latest observation: 3.28.19) offer one or two paragraph generalities on the need for justice, fairness and equity. The importance of small business, healthcare reform, the prevention of gun violence and trade with the Caribbean briefly describe existing conditions. There is no sense of urgency in these pronouncements. In fact, she did not vote on an act sponsored by Elliot Engel for improving relations with the Caribbean nations (See: H.R. 4939/114th Congress).

Protecting Education Loans for Under-served Students Act H.R. 4480/113th was not enacted and cleared from the books. It is fair to say these efforts disappear and emerge in different forms. The mention of the Flood Insurance Affordability Act (here) was passed in 2014 to help protect homeowners from insurance price increases by delaying enforcement of an increase. This was also lumped in with a demand for stronger rent regulations in which the federal government has little to offer.

Affordable Housing

We can dream and have goals, but it is impossible to think things into existence, direct action is required to be creative. A leader needs parents and friends that believe in action. A leader needs to be interested in exploring new steps and strategies that will end inequality and injustice.

Action takes courage, ideas, funding and time. If you would like more of that in the Ninth Congressional District (Map). We are everyone who reads this to share your personal experience, ideas and actions in response to the issues and responses on housing.

Report on Hot Buttons

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