Self-Analysis

In 2006, New York Magazine identified 50 projects and commissioned the “world’s best architects” composite.

In 2006, the most active and closely watched areas were:

  1. Atlantic Yards, Brooklyn, 2010 & 2016 (changing) See Atlantic Yards Superblocks.
  2. The New Museum, Chelsea. It’s done. Good neighbor? Bad neighbor?
  3. 80 South Street, Downtown, future (changing) approved in 05, so now what?
  4. IAC Headquarters, High Line, 2007 (ceramic pebbles in the glass to save energy)
  5. Silvercup West, Queens, 2009
  6. Freedom Tower, Downtown, 2015!

Now approaching twenty years later for these areas time set aside for an assessment will prove instructive. Comments on the products regarding the social, economic, and environmental concerns are due. The public process used to promote the plans requires comparison with the end product requires analysis. The image source is New York Magazine 2006.

Greenpoint Northside Waterfront

Manhattan/Brooklyn Heights

  1. The Edge Stephen B. Jacobs; Master Plan FXFOWLE and TEN Arquitectos, Sept. 2008
  2. Palmer’s Dock FXFOWLE, phase one, 2008; phase two, 2009
  3. North 8: Greenberg Farrow Architecture, spring 2007
  4. Domino Sugar Site: Rafael Viñoly Architects, Park opened in 2018, ArchDigest: FEMA flood plan ArchRecRev (payportal)
  5. Schaefer Landing: Karl Fischer Architects, 2006
  6. Freedom Tower, David Childs/SOM; World Trade Center Transit Hub Santiago Calatrava; Tower 2, Sir Norman Foster; visitor center, 2011
  7. 101 Warren Street; SOM, Ismael Leyva Architects, 2007
  8. William Beaver House; Developer André Balazs, no completion date
  9. Staten Island Whitehall Ferry Terminal; Fred Schwartz, 2005
  10. Battery Maritime Building; Renovation, Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, 2006
  11. Beekman Street Tower l Gehry Partners, Ismael Leyva Architects
  12. 80 South Street: Santiago Calatrava
  13. Pier 17; Beyer Blinder Belle, no completion date
  14. Drawing Center; Architect TBA, 2011.
  15. East River Waterfront; SHoP and Richard Rogers Ken Smith Landscape Architects, 2009
  16. Brooklyn Bridge Park; Michael Van Valkenburgh, 2012
  17. One Brooklyn Bridge Park/360 Furman Street Creative Design Associates, fall 2007
Upper West Side
  1. Javits Center; Rogers FXFOWLE Epstein, 2010.
  2. West Side Rail Yards No completion date.
  3. Moynihan Station David Childs/SOM, late 2010
  4. High Line; Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, phase one, 2008; phase two, 2009
  5. Chelsea Arts Tower Kosser & Garry Architects, Gluckman Mayner Architects, HOK, Fall 2006.
  6. Vesta 24; Garrett Gourlay Architects and James D’Auria Associates, April 2006.
  7. Marianne Boesky Gallery Deborah Berke & Partners Architects, September 2006.
  8. West 23rd Street building Neil M. Denari Architects, Marc Rosenbaum, Gruzen Samton, 2008.
  9. General Theological Seminary Tower The Polshek Partnership, no completion date.
  10. High Line 519; ROY Co., late 2006
  11. West 19th Street building Ateliers Jean Nouvel, no completion date.
  12. IAC Headquarters Gehry Partners, March 2007.
  13. 516 West 19th Street Selldorf Architects, 2008
  14. The Caledonia Handel Architects, 2008.
  15. Chelsea Market Residence Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects
  16. The Standard, NY The Polshek Partnership, 2007. High Line Club Developers Charles Blaichman and André Balazs, no completion date
  17. Pier 57 Michel De Fournier and Gensler, no completion date
  18. Dia High Line; Roger Duffy/SOM, 2008.

The health and prosperity of the world are at stake in this century. Planning, architecture, urban design, and engineering must become one discipline. It must take power to build connections to a far broader set of responsibilities. The need to produce so we don’t fail our kids, and their kids are now. Are the steps taken by these projects enough?

Are public agencies overwhelmed? Can they force the building of the city that should be built, or managing the one that can be built by those this limited imagination and concise term interests. Our public bodies have enormous authority. They miss opportunities to correct imbalances, leverage resources, and eliminate errors for the lack of political will and the ability to take power?

Anyone what to upgrade this with a starchitecture review?

Connect the Council

City Council

The New York City Council has 51 members with two-term limits of four years. The relationship between the city, the state and national government is complicated. A close examination of issues that confront the City Council Members should include those the state and federal government share. The focus here is on the eight members of the City Council’s Brooklyn Membership with interest in those with a relationship to the Ninth Congressional District.

Have a look at the financial data links and council links below.

District Member and Term Ends

39     Brad Lander  2021.
35     Laurie A. Cumbo 2021
40     Mathieu Eugene  2021
41     Alicka-Ampry-Samuel  2117
44     David G. Greenfield 2025
45     Farah N. Lewis  2025
46     Alan N. Maisel 2021
48     Chaim M. Deutsch 2021

Do they share issues and problem-solving?  It is challenging to tell.  Please help.

The City Council’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget provides a “show me the money” view.  It shows how and where discretionary funds are spent in City Council Districts which averages about $1 million per councilperson and the site below lists another $280 million in disbursements under the discretionary line that Councilmembers can take credit for on a Borough basis

 Have a look here: 
http://council.nyc.gov/budget/fy2017/ https://council.nyc.gov/budget/fy2018/ https://council.nyc.gov/budget/fy2019/

You get the picture.

On June 14, 2016, the Council authorized NYC’s FY2017 Budget, including record investments in youth, support for immigrant communities, and the strengthening of our City’s reserves.  At the bottom of the page above two other links can give citizen’s a way to explore the entire $80 Billion used to operate this great city.  Have a look.  Contribute you analysis or leads to the work of others as it affects your City Councilmember.

An excellent source of information and analysis is the Independent Budget Office.

Expense: 
https://data.cityofnewyork.us/City-Government/Expense-Budget/mwzb-yiwb
Revenue: 
https://data.cityofnewyork.us/City-Government/Revenue-Budget-Financial-Plan-Exec-Adpt-Prel/ugzk-a6x4

Connect Senate


Connect Senate Members & CD9

NYS-63 Senators

The relationship of constituents to the State Government’s 63 members of the NY Senate can last a long time. They have two-year terms but there are no limits. This section seeks information that contributes to a better understanding of issues that confront our state representatives that share a portion of the Ninth Congressional District.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 016eb-e_senate.png
Senate Districts in CD9
  • In 2016 Senate District 17 voted for Trump.  Details are here.

Do they share issues and solve problems?  It is difficult to tell.

For example, an analysis by participants in an effort to reform the Brooklyn political machine came up with this analysis by the New Kings Democrats. Is your Senator working for you or not?

SDSenatorPartyOpen States
17Simcha FelderDemocraticBills Positions
18Martin Malave DilanDemocraticBills Positions
19Roxanne J. PersaudDemocraticBills Positions
20Jesse HamiltonDemocraticBills Positions
21Kevin S ParkerDemocraticBills Positions
22Martin J GoldenRepublicanBills Positions
25Velmanette MontgomeryDemocraticBills Positions

Connect Assembly

Assembly Members

NYS-151 Assembly Members
You know where you live.  Use the map and report your Assemblymember in the comment section below.  Before selecting your Assemblymember within the Ninth Congressional District take a moment to review: Session Four “How to Sustain the Resistance Long Term” presented by New York Assemblyman and DNC Vice Chair, Michael Blake. Look for his talk at the Resistance School April 27, 2017 (HERE). Tweet @resist_school #resistanceschool #resist

41Helene WeinsteinDemocraticBills Positions
42Rodneyse BichotteDemocraticBills Positions
43Diana RichardsonWorking FamiliesBills Positions
44Robert CarrollDemocraticBills Positions
45Steven CymbrowitzDemocraticBills Positions
46Pamela HarrisDemocraticBills Positions
47William ColtonDemocraticBills Positions
48Dov HikindDemocraticBills Positions
49Peter Abbate Jr.DemocraticBills Positions
50Joseph LentolDemocraticBills Positions
51Felix OrtizDemocraticBills Positions
52Jo Anne SimonDemocraticBills Positions
53Maritza DavilaDemocraticBills Positions
54Erik DilanDemocraticBills Positions
55Latrice WalkerDemocraticBills Positions
56Tremaine WrightDemocraticBills Positions
57Walter MosleyDemocraticBills Positions
58N. Nick PerryDemocraticBills Positions
59Jaime WilliamsDemocraticBills Positions

Connect Community Districts

Seven Community Districts share the geography, interests, needs, and concerns of the Ninth Congressional District.  The map and links below seek participants.

Engaging residents the relationship local to federal money in community development dates to the 1950s with the formation of Community Planning Councils. The most recent change in this practice occurred in 1989 when the Charter Revision Commission changed the structure of City government and increased the role of Community Boards in the environmental and land-use review process that affects their communities. There are 59 Community Boards in NYC, and eighteen are in Brooklyn and a third of them are in Congressional District Nine.

Connect School Districts

There are three school districts that share a portion of the Ninth Congressional District. How will changes in Federal and therefore state and city policy affect schools in these districts? The objective would be to identify parents, the primary self-interest group.  There are not links (yet) to these constituents. The start of developing this idea is here: Office of Family and Community Engagement remembering one key element. The parent constituency is brief and overlaps rapidly in roughtly two groups of parents – those with kids in PreK-8 or High Schools. Just finding those taking the time to lead is difficult.

District 17, 18 and 22
Parent Leadership Schools: Parent Associations/Parent Teacher Association and School Leadership Team
Districtwide
Presidents’ Council, District Leadership Team or Community Education Council.
Citywide: Leadership in Citywide Education Councils, The Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council and the Panel for Education Policy
Parent Leader Times
The Chancellor’s quarterly newsletter for Parent Leaders

Washington Heights

Washington Heights and Inwood Planning and Land Use Study
CITY COLLEGE ARCHITECTURAL CENTER  March 7, 2008

At the close of 2004, members of Community Board 12-Manhattan (CB12) began to seek resources for conducting a neighborhood planning and land-use study covering all of Washington Heights and Inwood, the neighborhoods that makeup Northern Manhattan and comprise Community District 12 (CD12). After consultation with City agency represen­tatives and their elected officials, CB12 officers and committee chairs determined that a broad-based, district-wide planning study would help identify priorities and in establish­ing a consensus around a set of criteria for evaluating proposed and future development.

The City College Architecture Center. Directed by Ethan Cohen, with Rex L. Curry to produce a response to the RFP, won it, and work began. The following are links to the product of this work. The following requires the Adobe PDF reader.

Cover
Section 1 – Introduction, Methodology, Community Actors, and Past Findings |
Section 2 – Demographics, Practices, Housing, Community Needs, Facilities, and Potential Sites
Section 3 – Neighborhood History, Transportation, Topography, Parks/Open Space, Aerials and Photos, and Historic Preservation
Section 4 – Zoning Land Use and Development
Section 5 – Recommendations, Resources, and Resolutions
Section 0 – Short Version
MBPO Land Use 101 Presentation
Rezoning Presentation 04/07/2010
Rezoning Report

Examine CD12’s Race, Ethnicity, and Class

The study of the linkage between minority households and factors such as housing constraint and segregation, labor market opportunities, and regional employment decentralization establishes limited opportunity and mobility. People of Washington Heights and Inwood, where do you go from here?

Early twentieth-century housing policies encouraged de facto economic segregation. This contributed strongly to racial isolation but also contributed to relatively successful economic clusters. Imbalances in wealth is a subject separate from establishing the capacity to create and protect it from the onset. However, since the 1990s, changes leading to more successfully integrated (class/income/race) communities have been ongoing. There are two notable exceptions in Asian and Latino populations that require greater understanding and new policy. New York City is perhaps the most diverse city imaginable. Thus, the question of how language-based neighborhoods become more broadly functional in the larger society is a good question.

In effect, the process of “breaking out” from a localized economic model begins with families, small business formation, and remittances to home countries. The “economic multiplier” begins with the family. It involves extended social relationships that lead to savings clubs that can become credit unions and banks. Expanded reliance on the extended family helps to form structures of acknowledgment that become business partnerships. Cash sent home from wages or a business draws its capital from this capacity to internalize community development in “the family” and a neighborhood, but the policy point that needs to “sink in” is that both take a generation or two to develop, and it requires being “left alone” and that it is self-imposed on many levels.

The publication of the “Newest New Yorker” series by the Department of City Planning is evidence of the failure to move the dialogue beyond the obvious of who or where the “newest” live. The most recent immigration wave (Hispanic, Latino, and Asian) is born of civil lawsuits in the late 1960s that proved a pattern of discrimination in U.S. immigration policy. But this is the real point. The model of two to three generations of business and cultural development that re-builds places like the Lower East Side are now sliding into the world of myth. You can tell “bootstrap” stories. They would be true, but no one will believe them today — it must be a myth.

The need to invent new forms of action research in Washington Heights and Inwood is critical in New York City. Here, over 80% of the population is Latino, of which 70% is Dominican. This is important because we might bear witness to an enormous struggle to prevent a cultural disappearing act. The term Nos Quedamos defines this pressure as Project Remain, and We Stay. The question must be what will remain of the Latino experience during a period of continuing household impoverishment, slow economic growth, and declining real wages in Manhattan above 155th Street.

Enter


The negative effects of localized social, economic, and political diversity are overcome with a healthy sense of nationalism according to Robert Putnam’s highly disciplined research. This may be the case in general, but there are places that are “positioned” by more powerful social, economic, and political forces as containing “personas temporales” in Spanish or ??? in Chinese. In large cities such as New York, social solidarity allows strangers as the norm, in less diverse communities’, behaviors such as “sundown” towns become more likely. This positive/negative and jingoist/turncoat dichotomy is a two-way street.

Concisely, Putnam’s recent half-decade worth of research points to the global inevitability of diversity by pointing out its positives in a review of its negatives. His research has found that the more ethnically diverse the “neighborhood,” the less likely you are to trust your local storekeeper or dentist for that matter, regardless of his or her ethnicity. On the other hand, the more ethnically diverse the “city,” the more likely you are to develop relationships that transcend the neighborhood’s social or ethnic sense of security as a product of internal social solidarity. Given the positive of an economic multiplier that secures wealth in the family and the neighborhood, then the negatives of diversity (not trusting those outside the family or neighborhood) are more likely overcome by establishing a base upon which negotiations and creative exchanges are possible.

Debate on these measures by research specialists from the Community Service Society and others would yield a set of variables such as cost burden, business ownership, and property control ratios, median and per capita wages; job access and reverse commute figures, linguistic isolation, and so on. These measures would be selected and built up to define neighborhoods that can and should be given time. Time to organize, identify strategies, and implement programs coordinated well enough to establish a powerful base for targeted improvements in an internalized capacity to control investment rates, protect tenants, and build businesses. The objective is to defend against resident and labor force-displacement, whether or not it is compelled legally, illegally, and otherwise. When the constituency sought is, in effect, “new” every two to three years, it is nearly impossible to accomplish these purposes. On the other side of this coin lies the possibility of well-known urban pathologies such as gang-style resistance designed to “defend the block” from outsiders. These two are measures of grass-roots reaction to external threats that press down on the quality of life in the form of rapidly deteriorating building conditions, seasonal employment, and irrational, as well as, rational fear of immigration policies defined by “in or out” resident alien status that push people into a form of political invisibility.

Putnam’s research team’s intellectual rigor establishes strong controls for a wide range of factors such as poverty, residential mobility, and education to define measures of inequality. In a community such as Washington Heights and Inwood, Putnam’s term of “hunkering down” has value in its social solidarity production. In the short term, it provides a basis for increased diversity as a friendly force for building a modernizing society. Modernization is a proven asset for creative social exchange and economic growth. The central measure is, therefore, relatively blunt. In a place such as New York City, it would be unlikely to hear vitriol in a “them and us” debate, complemented with demands to conform to “our” way of life. It is more subtle here and wrapped up in economic models used to define the higher and better use of real estate, especially housing. In this sense, neighborhoods such as Washington Heights and Inwood, can if supported in doing so, in the time needed. The jargon used by Putnam defines a unique capacity to defend successfully against forces that would kill the formation of “bridging capital” that builds group-to-group interdependence, neighborhood-to-city relationships, and the “bonding capital” essential to healthy personal relationships.

Neighborhood Plan and Land Use Study (N:PLUS)

The New York City Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) began as a modest consortium of banks organized to make mortgage loans to rehabilitate apartment buildings in a risk pool. From 1975 to 1985, the CPC provided $61.8 million in rehabilitation financing for 155 buildings in Washington Heights. Today about 80 banks and insurance companies are involved as sponsors. Since its founding in 1974, CPC has financed more than 120,000 affordable housing units, investing over $5 billion. The point made here: CPC needs to do this again for a new ten-year commitment and comparable financing of roughly $320 million.

The housing stabilization achieved in Washington Heights through the loans and improvements to occupied buildings included rent restructuring and stabilization to make the financings possible. It brought the area to the point where projects without substantial subsidies, incentives, and benefits were included in the mix. Just 30 years later, the moderate rehabilitation question becomes an important part of this community’s history once again. Is the same partnership available today? Can new or equally effective programs bring the level of financial restructuring expertise to a community that continues to need it?

To establish a sense of the geographic distribution buildings with a significant number of violations are mapped with violations over 200 and over 500. The total comes to 246 buildings with serious violations based on HPD Anti-Abandonment Unit figures. Furthermore, the 2000 Census finds Upper Manhattan’s housing to be in worse condition when compared to neighborhoods throughout New York City. [i]

Effective housing policy starts with a sense of on-the-ground opportunity for development and preservation. The land use/building condition survey, combined with a review of data on building type, age, housing violations, incomes, and “rent-burden,” yielded the following overall observations on the prospects for preserving housing affordability in CD12.

CD12 maintains a high-grade housing stock that is physically capable of withstanding the stress of rehabilitation. The extensive bulk (square feet) makes replacement unlikely, given the current zoning. In effect, the 1961 zoning to R7-2 for most of the district was a down zone.

The rise in building code violations and complaint over the last five years is alarming. The issues are the quality of maintenance and management of the existing stock–and maintaining it as affordable.

The pre-war housing stock provides large and flexible apartment layouts that facilitate extended family, family friend, and guest living arrangements. Shared costs from food to rent, childcare, and small business development are effective means to survive that promote savings and the eventual building up of investment capital. CD12’s dense but flexible and affordable housing stock is, therefore, a wellspring for newcomers’ social and economic success.

The Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) measures the cost of operating a multi-unit apartment building in vital detail. As the decisions are now critical, an independent review of methods is long overdue. Nevertheless, a growing share of households (about 25%) experiences a severe rent burden[ii] in CD12. A key to preservation will be strong efforts to bring income up either directly or through income supplements such as food stamps, expanded rent subsidies, and 100% utilization of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Advocate for methods to reduce the cost to profit margin (or investor risk) by turning to rehabilitation as a key to a sustainable, affordable housing source. This policy is daunting exclusively because that renovation is less predictable than new construction. Often a gap exists between the costs of renovation and the resources available to finance the renovation. Strict building codes may impose additional costs by requiring new construction building standards. Other regulatory barriers that may make a project complicated include historic preservation regulations, environmental clearance, access provisions, citizen opposition, and conflicting codes – such as building code vs. fire code, making approval processes lengthy.

For years, the public market defined housing affordability as a charitable function within a competitive market. The cost of privately rented housing moves upward based on competition in the market and changes in operating costs and regulatory practices, including the expiration of incentives. On the other hand, the rent of other affordable housing embedded in the private stock will continue to move up based on the household’s ability to pay up to a point beyond which it becomes unadvisable. I will explain it.

Let us be clear: a person earning $125,000 would pay $3,000 a month using the 30% of income as the housing affordability figure. But, the household can know to shop for a wide range of vacant, readily available apartments in Manhattan’s upper-income market at $2,500. Opting for “affordable housing privileges” is not in his financial interest. The point is there are many neighborhoods where the market serves us well. But it is also a force that goes against the idea that we can all live together in that neighborhood (such as in CD12) with dignity regardless of our income. Imagine the reverse: 60% to 80% of the housing units are “means-tested”, but it is built attractive enough to attract 20% to 40% eager to pay whatever the market demands.

N: PLUS Alegría de Vida Project

Washington Heights and Inwood Community Board will monitor Columbia University’s Westside ambitions, define its institutional version of New York’s affordable housing crisis, and nervously seek zoning protections through Inclusionary Zoning and Quality Housing Programs. All of this will be found in the formal release of a 300-page description dubbed N: PLUS released in April 2007.

N: PLUS stands for Neighborhood Planning and Land Use Study. Its authors define it as a report to the community. While large in total, N: PLUS is designed as a digital baseline document. It seeks to attract a constituency for planning. It seeks the creation of a more lively board, one more interested in a new urban vision and “vida” than the bogged down drudgery of being the first rung on the public process ladder. This board wants to shred the sinking feeling that a con is in play all of the time. True or not, it is still a feeling. Having their own plan will, if nothing else, produce a basis for comparisons.

Based on research completed to date, the report makes thirty recommendations and describes eighteen “best practices” most useful to a volunteer group of community members. That is what is on the table now, but the digital component is busy seeking challenges to its own report. The facts are friendly; it is what they mean that creates dissemblers in the debate.

The board has a skeleton staff of three and a barebones budget of $200,000, the majority of which goes for meeting space, baseline operations, and its District Manager’s salary and benefits. This budget is the lowest per capita in the city.

From the viewpoint of Washington Heights or Inwood, Columbia University may seem too far away. How could changes all the way down past City College into the 120s produce problems this far uptown? This area is 155th Street through the 200s, so perhaps, the community is right. Columbia’s relationship with the residential community of Morningside and Hamilton Heights, Hamilton Grange, Manhattanville, and even St. Nicholas Terrace is a more like symbol of bad PR than a tangible threat. Columbia did drop its name from the 8 million square foot medical complex now modestly marketed as New York Presbyterian Hospital. Therefore, the supposition has become “better safe than sorry” in serving what some are now calling “upstate” Manhattan.

Endnotes

[i] The 2000 Census measures affordability and quality: (1) lacking complete plumbing facilities, (2) lacking complete kitchen facilities, (3) with 1.01 or more occupants per room, (4) selected monthly owner costs as a percentage of household income in 1999 greater than 30 percent, and (5) gross rent as a percentage of household income in 1999 greater than 30 percent.

[ii] On the rental side of the market, affordability pressures clearly grew. The median monthly contract rent increased from $831 to $900 (after adjusting for inflation), and the median share of income spent on rent by New York City renters (the median rent burden) rose from 28.6 percent in 2002 to 31.2 percent in 2005. These numbers suggest that rents represent a significant strain for many households, especially those at the low end of the income spectrum who are not fortunate enough to live in subsidized housing. Among unsubsidized, low-income renters, the median share of income spent on rent rose to over 50 percent in 2005, up from 43.9 percent in 2002. Surprisingly, perhaps, the share of unsubsidized, low-income renter households that live in severely crowded housing actually fell during this period from 5.3 percent in 2002 to 4.8 percent in 2005. (State of City 2005, Furman Center)

Why Plan for CD12 Washington Heights and Inwood?

Examine Washington Heights and Inwood as part of a Working Group.

The community district board communicates issues and concerns to the city’s major agencies and service providers. In this it is effective.

Less well known, is its ability to produce systemic change.

The City College Architecture Center recently produced a research project for Community Board 12. A set of maps show places, but a set of database backed geographic information system images (GIS) can show how property is developing in CD12 now and into the future.

It is an evaluation tool for urban design, community planning and of course, real estate investment analysis. For the purpose of community-based planning and research this resource is use to define two crucial community values.

  • The first is to discover and encourage development for economic growth and;
  • The second is to provide the community with what it needs today, as it is today.

The first value is easy, let the private sector do what it does to grow, the second one on on the other hand is more difficult as business growth and our personal or community development are not as compatible as we would prefer.

So Why Plan? Why a Working Group?

  1. Planning produces ideas that can turn what you think is probable or possible into what is preferred.
  2. From these visions, an effective and timely response to a central question is made: What is important now?
  3. Producing public energy for planning makes solving today’s problems today possible.

A place for this and all of the information needed has begun to develop. Go to www.cd12-plan.net has all of the heavy docs. Monitor, don’t download yet, and get back to us using this web resource and this blog CD12

Many subjects are possible to develop on on the change in zoning for Inwood has begun with very short descriptions of all the “Special Districts” developed in New York City over the years.
In closing, something that Margaret Mead said is useful now. “Never doubt that small groups of people change the world. It is the only way it ever has…”

What Makes CD12 Unique?

Special Purpose District Zoning codifies incentives for development with the preservation of highly valued or unique elements that enhance urban living. For example, the scenic view easement is a zoning designation that protects NYC’s extraordinary view corridors across great distances of the urban landscape. Huge sections of Washington Heights and Inwood look outward across the Hudson or into the Bronx that should be highly valued. If tall buildings are built, a portion of this view “windfall” should go to adjacent property owners with the inclusion of affordable housing. This is not a new idea, it is why Grand Central Terminal remains and the buildings around it are much taller. What is the difference between this “solution”, and one that “exacts” the cash value of a view of the Hudson in trade for stabilized affordable housing?

If and when things like this happen, “Who Cuts the Deal?”

Setting a successful climate for zoning change negotiations comes in one of two forms, 1) the Community Benefits Agreement, also definable in some instances as a Good Neighbor Agreement or development disposition agreement with a single site and developer, and 2) the Memorandum of Understanding. Both require corporate entities as signatories to an economic formula based on sharing or dividing a set of anticipated resources and revenues. The product of the formula is at its best when it is economically self-renewing and includes an immediate “payout” often in the form of a tangible capital improvement. A pre-defined set of services, as well as, a general outline of the baseline responsibilities of signatories produces minimum and maximum “upset” figures.

Washington Heights and Inwood should start talking about the kind of corporate entity required to conduct negotiations coupled with the quality of governance needed.

Public Partnership: Add TIF to Inclusionary Zoning

Programs such as tax increment financing (TIF) pledges the increase in real property taxes to pay the costs of associated public investment. For example, if a housing development project will generate $10 million in additional tax each year, that $10 million is pledged for the same period required to cover a $100 million bond to secure a housing trust fund for a community district. In other words, zoning changes the taxable basis and it can be altered as an incentive to act, with resources prevent, or mitigate damage.

Looking for ideas on how this could happen?

This is an “either/or” condition for all Manhattan real estate. Either it is full market rate, leading to tax increment bond financing for local housing affordability programs, or it is fully stabilized with a permanent stock of affordable housing providing a minumum of 20% of units or with bonus floor area more based on local need and AMI.

Need Facts?

When confronted with an obvious untruth you need facts, that is of course if you haven’t been talking with one of Paul Krugman’s zombies, an excellent book by the way.



Every voter has elevated emotional triggers because voting has changed from a handshake into an algorithm of who you are and what you think. The science used to manipulate self-interest emotions used to be “smallish” – found in neighborhood meetings, the coffee klatch, and rallies, cold-calls, canvasing with mail and leaflets, in hand. The activities led by these organizations of data feel reasonable and responsible.

We are entering worlds built of “new systems” that are without this kind of personal dispatch. Concrete personal data drawn from media draws down the metadata of human behavior. This data range is vast from liking and disliking candidates on a scale that brings the likelihood of staying home. All of the old simple “spoils” go to the big guys now, and we knew who they were for a while, not so much anymore.

If parsed, the kicker will show your zip code, county, or state or whether there is a likelihood that you changed your hair color. The former is legal, and the latter, not so much without a warrant that has your name on it. Even though I recently sent $10.48 to Hillary Clinton’s PAC “Stronger Together” just before 23 November 2017, I suspect that the PAC was not the only agency made aware of this action. The transfer from me to AmEx to Hillary entered easily, but I left with a long list of portals with any number of windows attached that you or I am unaware of.

Efforts to achieve data results from the things we do build on formulas no ordinary person fully understands. The first warnings regarding the entrance of these activities into American life are evident. Beware of triggering an American version of Article 50 (Brexit). I have no idea of what that might look like in the USA. Still, I suggest starting research on your Internet Service Provider (ISP) activities regarding all of the metadata associated with you and everyone you know. Here is the next kick. If you “half-agree” with my premise, are you more likely or less likely to use one of the following resources and attempt to get answers?

Fact CheckersDescription of the fact checking service
Snopes.comA proven and reliable debunker of false statements.
FactcheckAnnenberg Public Policy Center’s focus on political statements.
PolitiFactThis site started in the early part of the 2008 presidential cycle
VerbatimExamines claims y elected officials, political appointees, and political candidates.
BallotPediaA professional encyclopedia of American politics and elections.
OpenSecretsTracks money in U.S. politics – nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit.
TruthorFictionA mishmash and hodgepodge of all the bull on the internet.  Lacks focus.
C-SPANHow to use the C-SPAN Video Library and different ways to search for content.

New York City Neighborhoods

A Commentary

The digital and the dense urban world have a unity of purpose. In this example, developed by the person (found here) you will find many of the officially named places drawn many sources. They are also the place names. In this case that would be a neighborhood. They are described in the multicolored map above. Click on one and a named place comes up. Follow the link to Reddit above and watch the magic begin with to happen with lots of new named places as each neighborhood area begins to fill up with place names among the Reddit participants. Here is an example:

The Hole is presented as a “small neighborhood in New York City between Brooklyn and Queens.[1] It is a low-lying area, with a ground level that is 30 feet (9.1 m) lower than the surrounding area.[2][3] The area suffers from frequent flooding.[4] It has been described as a “lost neighborhood”,[5] and like a border town from the Wild West.[6]. If you’ve ever taken the S. Conduit to JFK, ‘The Hole” was on the right just before you entered the highway (BQE).

I have a great affection for the people there and how they decided to live. Many times their participation in community block events throughout Bed-Stuy, East New York and East Flatbush and much of the city introduced a close up experience with a horse and the men who road them for lots of kids. This is because of the men from the New York City Federation of Black Cowboys.

If you got into this little bit of history and what led to the displacement of this outfit by another you’ll recognize a seriously complex story of loss, sadness, race and privilege. Then again, you might come across this wonderful song because you were curious about “the hole.” That is what happened to me when I decided to do this post.

Election Districts

I am interested in working for Adem, so I’ve moved the d-base driven map to a “view only” link. That means it will become more strategic than the digital toy it has been up to now. If any of you have skills in this area, let me know and read more below.

Doing more in connection to the political people that have power over billions of dollars for NYC and NYS means getting more people to pick their number ED polling place and get back to me. (Contact)

Request a link to enlarge this map, locate where you live, identify the name and location of the polling sites near your home. Vote in the 2020 Democratic Primary June 23, because at this point we need a real housing person (Adem), more lawyers and incumbents in Congress, less so.

Again: In locate where you live, identify the name and location of all the polling sites near your home just in case you feel like organizing more people especially if you are interested in a little canvassing party near where you live or work.

Use this Poll Site finder for a quick look for where you would vote based on your address and if there is an early voting location in the future. Ranked Choice is also in our future.

Brooklyn voters are electing new representatives to the United States Congress – they will be fighters, free of corporate domination and responsive to our needs in housing, health, and community economic development. Vote in the 2020 primary, and we will have a chance and all of our networks will fold into the other. There will be strength and resilience.

I recommend ADEM as the best candidate for the United States Congress. He is a quiet and thoughtful man not a political shill. Adem knows what it will take to get the national government to respond to the needs of cities. The national primary will occur on April 28, 2020. Vote, damn it! The Democratic Party Primary is June 23, 2020. (State Board of Elections Deadines)

Comment below and I’ll ask you to help by sharing your thoughts, stake out some election districts and put a person in The United States Congress that can do more than ride high percentages of incumbency into office based on our complacency.

Volunteer Here for the Ninth Congressional District

  1. Find Election Districts you can work and get your data.
  2. Go to the City Data Map HERE if the one above is difficult to use.
  3. Share that information using the form below and work the district for voters.
  4. Build a canvassing plan with us. Your polling place, and key nearby locations
  5. Find and motivate more people. The average in EDs is around 800 Dems.
  6. Get voters out on Primary Day. That is the election.
  7. Get voters to vote Tuesday, November 3, 2020 for the win back the Presidency!
  8. Develop a schedule to convince voters to vote —
  9. You can examine data from your census tract(s) (HERE)

Please drop us a line. Thanks to all who have already. I plan on working the Election Districts around the Erasmus H.S. and the transit stations (B & Q) from Church Avenue south through to the Cortelyou Station. Just waiting for someone to lead.

If you would like to see some AOC type energy for our part of New York – volunteer!!

Social Policy Politics

Two rules embedded in the culture of politics as sport say people get nothing without a “win,” and second people must protect themselves and others from what they want. The inherent contradictions of these two rules in the context of this summary comes from tweets by the Social Policy People (SPP), the Tax Accountability People (TAP) and the Fact Checking People (FCP).

The Sport of Social Policy Politics

The strategic nature of sport includes “the fake,” or “jukes,” and other team behaviors that overwhelm or confuse opponents. The remaining components of leadership needed to achieve a political end require a series of projects, guided by priorities and measured by the policy. Each project (or play) requires a full understanding of the resource implications of each effort and an evaluation scheme useful for producing adjustments, new strategies, projects, priorities, and policies.

June began with the Urban Institute’s (UI) promotion of the Fiscal Summit. One of the preliminary papers was on a fiscal policy entitled what if “Congress does nothing” (here) that describes the exponential growth in the debt neatly packaged for a takeover by the “other party.” At the end of June, UI Tweets took a look at the cities that make homelessness a crime and the increase in the demand for affordable housing.  The Urban Institute’s remaining concerns in June were many, such as the difficulty of lowering the cost of higher education.

The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) focuses on policies that hurt the most vulnerable. This month’s argument looks at changes in the Official Poverty Measure proposed U.S. Office of Management and Budget that would increase the number of children and families in poverty enact a new poverty calculation that would underestimate the number of children living in poverty. They have a laser on the needs of the nation’s children. So why is it such a difficult argument to win?

The Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) focused on how the tax policies (2017) are not benefiting distressed neighborhoods as promoted using the tools offered in the Opportunity Zone program. Finally, June closed with the launch of a video (here) on a program in Detroit known as “The Promise Path from the What Works Media Project.

The Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) provides excellent summaries of research on structural inequality. It gives means for disrupting systems that produce disadvantages for low-income people of color. Central to this point is their focus on solving the concentration of poverty problem with instruments such as housing choice vouchers. The NYC-based Furman Center’s research on combining mobility with housing opportunities (2016) recognizes how making multiple choices within a whole community is a far more enriching set of means to escape disadvantage. June’s tweets point to a robust set of American blind spots for which answers are held easily with political will.

To get to the political will, the tweets of the Tax Accountability People may have the insight required to examine the “all for one and one for all” question that confronts America and the fact that the country’s public affairs no longer appear public. For this reason, the Citizens for Tax Justice and theInstitute on Taxation and Economic Policy do not support “free file programs” as it stands to entrench a corrupt system further. A second tweet points to an example. The manipulation of the tax code by just one company produced a $4.3 Billion tax “dodge.” They also join in the criticism of Opportunity Zones as corporate welfare without the means to prove even a hint of benefits for working people.

The Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition (FACT) pointed its tweet readers to the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on the problem of #AnonymousCompanies that hinder inquiries into political corruption and a long list of criminal enterprises (read testimony May 2019).

The solution to the offshore economy problem is “beneficial ownership” legislation by those who recognize the snake has started to eat its tail using the fangs of anonymous shell companies with poisons affecting national security by promoting tax evasion and evading compliance. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) defines the problem (here). It presents the details via an Atlantic Council in an excellent (first hour) webcast on how the offshore corrupts the onshore (here). In addition, the link with the Offshore Economy is available (here). Added discussion on the subject is (here) among all Think Tank People (here).

The Taxpayers for Common Sense like to point to the ongoing absurdities as appropriations go final. Examples are summer increase in ethanol fuel mixes, disaster aid drama, and ideas like only farmers who actually farm should get ag bucks, and a long string of gives in taking resources (gold, silver, copper) from federal land royalty-free. An observation attributed to Winston Churchill is popular among American politicians that we as a government will do the right thing, but only after examining all possible alternatives.

Journalism’s Heart Needs a Blue Check-mark

Throughout its history, the heart of journalism has been to double-check the facts. Therefore, the new services of the information age offer a detection system for the “fake facts.” Journalists and the ordinarily curious now have over one hundred outlets worldwide exposing misstatements, inaccuracies, and lies. It may only be a matter of time before one of them is compromised. Still, these entities are screwing it up.  Here is how.

The cash flow is built on ad dollars, demanding our attention drawn to base instincts. It is what I and others call a path to the end of history. But, there is another way, it leads directly to leaders, and we need them to stop lying by ignoring those they lead yet pretending not to do so.

Aside from getting overextended at Snopes, the acquisition of the “On The Issues” website will yield the instrumental analysis that agents from afar can bring to local affairs. Until the end of Snopes’ legal troubles, ads will be oppressive if you can send them a couple of bucks.  In contrast, Ballotpedia for candidate data and Open Secrets on the money trail yield ordinary decision-making help. An example is how corporate #pride support runs counter to the PACs they fund. Moreover, Ballotpedia’s API is a vast storehouse of political information. Organizations of voters are free to explore its usefulness (here) and decide if a purchase of API keys adds insight.

The observation of media bias is the niche set by Fact Check, focusing on misleading and false claims. The best feature is the left side panel.  An example is a viral Facebook post claiming Congress gave itself exorbitant pay raises while cutting Social Security. The 2018 Players Guide reviews sources of TV ad cash, annotates transcripts of statements made by POTUS45, and searches Facebook to debunk false stories, among several other opportunities to get to specifics.

PolitiFact is famous for the “Pants on Fire” truth-o-meter, and Politifact NY pulls their banner to focus on the gaffs of local leaders such as the mayor and its senators to provide items of local interest.  It is essential to check both, one of the more interesting is how what looked like an AOC screengrab was, in fact, a parody account AOC Press Release (parody). Her real account has a “blue checkmark” that Twitter uses to indicate account authenticity.

Truth or Fiction also attempts to be instructive of the new media world. One element is to be wary of “text against a colorful background” without citation can spread toward viral. Examples are SCOTUS rulings, the killing of Christians by Muslims, or that HR1 provides for noncitizens voting.

“To remain an active, political actor with a moral compass and a backbone for change believe me when I say pick true leaders by becoming one yourself. Do it the best way you know-how and be intelligent about leading and following. We do live in exciting times, and be prepared to be so, knowing it to be the oath of 2016 to 2020.”

Rex L. Curry

That is June

The March 2019 summary (here) introduced all the organizations selected for the Tweet-O-Rama and the Random Tweet-O-Rama. The idea is to learn something from the wits from this vast new area of the blah blah world.  The April summary (here) examined the Think-Tank People. In May (here), I looked at the organizations working to produce a good economy combined with voter rights organizations. With those thoughts in mind, it is logical to look at politics as a sport and as a practice that is now very different from the role of leadership that it implies. Please enjoy June, everyone should, and then July (here) for a look at the one thing of great importance – housing (here)

Note “Hacking Corruption: Tech Tools to Fight Graft in the Americas” is also interesting from the Atlantic Council (May 30, 2019, Read the Publication as a PDF)

Political Waters

Jeff Goodell at Long Now Foundation

Goodell is a journalist focused on energy systems and climate change. At the end of his talk, Jeff Goodell was asked what he would do with $200 billion. His answer was surprising. He said he would spend it all on finding ways to improve the quality of political change and its ability to adapt to solving big long-term problems. He said we have the intelligence and capacity to deal with the problem of a constantly rising sea. Still, first, it must be recognized as daily and inevitable by our leadership. He adds this is a problem that will last for several centuries, so we might as well get started.  His full discussion of “The Water Will Come” is available at the Long Now Foundation.  His five main points are below. Buy “The Water Will Come.”

1. Gravity

Sea rise is like the existence of gravity. It is all around us; it is happening now every day. Like gravity, the increase in seawater is subtle, and it is a fixed part of the world because you cannot make water go away. All you can do is watch it get redistributed. In every locality, the hydrology of the rise will be unique. The conservation of matter remains the physical driving principal – added moisture in the atmosphere; the higher intensity in storm surges is part of a global system with a deep billion-year-old history.  The need for action to deal with sea-level rise and adapting to it is not physical. It is the hyper-political “not on my watch” principal. They are incompatible. What we can do today is the value to instill in leadership.

2. Rate of Change

The geological record covering billions of years shows 25 to 60 feet of sea-level rise is part of the system, leaving the central question’s time and rate. Jeff refers to Richard Alley as the world’s top ice analyst (climate scientist) who finds the rise of 15 feet by 2100 “is not out of the question.” The geological record also suggests the sea rise occurs in pulses, but the historical average is 13 feet per century. Huge unknowns remain. How will trillions of tons of water change the sea due to the catastrophic collapse of Antarctica? How big and fast questions will last for a century and vary in probable impact in places worldwide. Definitive answers to these questions drive political policy toward resilience. For example, the effect of climate change in the form of “storm surge” on the value of the coastal property is top on the list. The political response, on the other hand, is little more than a finger in the dike.

3. Value

Long before any individual city or region comes up with mitigation resources, the “troubles” will have spoken and measured in dollars. A part of the American culture is that it tends to leave the important things unsaid. For example, the coastal states are losing property value. People are selling (caveat emptor) and moving to get ahead of their sea rise fears following one experience: a sunny day flooding or a crushing surge in the ocean’s new normal. Others take advantage of generous publicly funded encouragements to sustain tax revenues with “move to the shore,” campaigns deemed essential to borrow long term financing for local “fixes” (higher roads, bigger dunes, pumps, and so on) and. In political words, what we have here is a capital mess with a Catch 22 attached.

4. Resilience is Now

There is no way to know what plan will work best or who will call for spending and take the win/lose leadership responsibility to protect against the impact of sea rise. Goodell has traveled the world and has seen brilliance and stupidity. Some jurisdictions pump the water from one place to another. Others raise buildings, but protecting a city is a very different problem. The who is in and outside a mitigation area screams substantial social justice issues on why protections planned for one locality are not in another. Resilience policies are in response to ongoing “chaos costs” because it is too late to achieve sustainable development for five main reasons outlined by Dennis Meadows over a decade ago.

  1. Public discourse has difficulty with subtle, conditional messages.
  2. Growth advocates change the justification for their paradigm rather than changing the paradigm itself.
  3. The global system is now far above its carrying capacity.
  4. We act as if technological change can substitute for social change.
  5. The time horizon of our current system is too short.

5. Why “Catastrophic” Resolution?

The business models used to treat climate change as an economic opportunity is often disguised by waiting for catastrophe. Nevertheless, there are places far less driven by profit-making than the quality of life that may be getting it right and doing so in a timely way.  Lagos is a floating place to live, others in the Netherlands and similar geographies find ways for the sea to take what it will. The re-building design for a flooding world is easily envisioned across the economic spectrum of engineering. Geo-engineering work will attempt to physically alter the atmosphere by buying time or opening Pandora’s box but will not stop the sea-level rise. The question “what now” will help regions know what to do, the skills exist, and get them. To get creativity from skill, it will be necessary to make climate change risks transparent to get the markets and governments to function.

What?

North America’s coastlines are urban, dense, and represent 80% of the nation’s GDP. From the islands of New York City to Virginia’s shipyards to the North and South Carolina beaches’ soft links and from Savannah to Miami, the sea is rising. From hot and sunny New Orleans, Louisiana to San Diego, California, and way up north to the cold and wet of Seattle, Washington, the sea is rising. It took three centuries to build this coastline, and this investment continues.

To sustain these economic giants as viable will require a new force capable of combining political will, economic genius, design, and engineering brilliance and bringing it to the forefront of our thinking. They are all unique urban environments requiring solutions specific to each place’s geology and hydrology, but they are all equally threatened. There are no “need to know” problems, only the need to make an effort. The alternative to a successful push for democratic transparency on these problems will be an authoritarian process that will choose winners and losers the way despots have always chosen.

9th Congressional Data

The Ninth Congressional data is very revealing and worthy of spending the time to understand it by size, shape, and its many places as defined by our representative to Congress.

CD9 & Stress

Exploring the following group of analysts will produce one of the more fascinating introductions to key indicators of economic stress. Have a good long look at the work of the EIG. It will give you an RTC. Put your zip code in the search box and for the Ninth Congressional District, insert NY-9 in the map below.
In NYC, opportunities to become involved in innovation for economic recovery could be the Ninth Congressional District. Find people who have read Section Subchapter Z— Opportunity Zones in the Tax Reform Act.  (pdf is HERE)  Only 25% of CTs (defined as low-income can be nominated by the State.  NYC has several of these ‘zones’ from previous designations.  (EIG explanation).   If anyone has any insight into this EIG outfit, please share.

The Ninth CD is the only one that is all in Brooklyn

go ahead drop me a line or comment below:

Corruption

A look at the last few years in NYS to go forward.

“The examination of people that get swept up in offering or receiving a corrupt benefit reminds me of the punchline in a joke describing a negotiating process.  ‘You and I have already decided what you are; now we’re just haggling about the price.” The ‘what you are’ list that society would see eliminated with the threat of punishment and mitigation resources is compelling and long.” It has not helped.

Rex L. Curry

Embezzling, conspiracy, extortion, mail and wire fraud, bribe solicitation, tax evasion, intentionally soliciting illegal campaign contributions, and judicial extortion payments have all been committed by New York political leaders, include theft of honest services, bribes and kickbacks, felony, and a variety of misdemeanor charges. The results involve expelling leaders from office, hefty fines, and terms of imprisonment.

Most of those in the photo collage (above) did not commit a major crime. It is everyone since 2000. Of the forty-eight state political leaders arrested from 2000 to 2018, fourteen went to prison, less than one per year.  It is statistically embarrassing.  It is alarming due to the expected “high-bar” of public service but not out of line with bad human behavior in general. Over 18 years, troubles with the law affected fourteen Republicans and thirty-four Democrats, representing a third of NYS lawmakers (source listing the crimes).

Seriously, How Bad Is It?

I pulled arrest data by state from Table 69 from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report Program (UCR) to make a comparison. I culled it down somewhat roughly to executive/professional collar crimes.  Annually all arrests in New York State average in the area of 260,000, of which fraud and embezzlement make up about 7,000 arrests per year.

The idea that this is a “few bad apples” issue is wrong. Legislators (including staff) are hagglers in every aspect of their political lives. Those who get out of control and get caught end their careers in political life and much of their personal lives. None of us are saints, nor do we expect our political representatives to be candidates for divine recognition.  What I (we, people) want is an aggressive public effort to discover wrongdoing whenever there is a hint of it.

The concerns of an ordinary, reasonably thoughtful citizen are focused on the growing number of new ways our leaders are corruptible in today’s political climate. The front of the line has people (corporations) who want a part of the state’s $10-14 billion in capital budget spending or a few more campaign bucks, but today that line extends around the block and back ten years to Citizen’s United vs. FEC (SCOTUS pdf).

The New York State annual operating budget is approaching $180 billion, and it will make yearly capital investments between $11 to $14 billion (2020 Report pdf). New York City’s budget is approaching $100 billion. While it is a “creature of the state,” a discussion of corruption and money requires a separate review that connects the nation’s metropolitan regions to the political process embedded in public benefit corporations that cross state boundaries. NYC’s creation of the Independent Budget Office (IBO) has proven to be a highly effective provider of facts in this regard. The New York state legislature is considering a similar option.

Well-funded investigation divisions in the Attorney General’s local and state offices, the Election Commission, the Controller, and the FBI are institutions that citizens need to believe are doing their job well and with integrity. Unfortunately, they cannot confirm the political honesty of all the people who seek to lead. Still, they can “follow the money,” which is where a network of community-based and national advocacy groups plays an essential function if unbreaking our democracy is to get some local traction.

Essential Institutions

The Office of the Attorney General led by Letitia James (D) went from New York City’s Office of Public Advocate with a budget less than $4M budget to the AG’s $230M+ statewide operating budget. Drilling down into the role this office plays in preventing political corruption is on the public’s radar. A detailed look at AG’s responsibilities and resources is ongoing.

The New York State Comptroller is the State’s chief fiscal officer ensures that New York State and local governments use taxpayer money effectively and efficiently. It is the sole trustee of the $207.4 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund. An audit released March 31, 2018, revealed the fund as one of the world’s largest institutional investors. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued an audit to find out if Empire State Development had met its statutory reporting requirements and revealed that between April 2012 and September 2016, 17 programs didn’t undergo mandatory, independent evaluations, and public reports weren’t issued on 12 programs that received more than $500 million in total funding. 

The New York State Board of Elections is responsible for administering all laws relating to elections in New York State and operates with a budget of about $12M.  Another $41M is from legislation reauthorizing the BoE obligates expired budget authority through )reapportionment. The role of BoE will also be the subject of a detailed look at NYS through the lens offered by proposed legislative changes in voting practices and campaign financing at the city and state level.

The strategy of changing local laws to bring about national change begins at the local level. For example, in New York, the citizens have the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.  The question is, how well do the Laws of New York State legislature and the home rule work of NYC hold up against the demands for change by RepresentUs and the work of its NY Chapter. This link will lead to a report on JCOPE’s reports (here).

An argument for one other institutional analysis of political behavior (both APAs) or private, professional psychology or psychiatric team. As this review of NYS implies, it is not just the money. It is the power for the imbalance that money represents. See the post Control vs. Balance for a look at the control balance theory.

Examples Worthy of a Close Look                       

During policy and budget negotiations, the give-and-take practices of a healthy democracy are like fencing. Participants will thrust, and reprise, even produce the third intention.  Another often-used metaphor is, if not achieved after three attempts, punt.  Give the other side a try if you can get them in the game.

The most severe forms of corruption occur in the reverse of the authorized/allocated condition where funds are authorized in the sense that they will meet a need or support a project on which there is consensus. Still, the actors who seek the funds use a strategic means to secure the allocation. Understanding this fact is the best way to find the line in the sand that matters. It helps separate political banter and partisanship from what is factually determined by standing authorizations and measured allocations to which the actors can be held accountable.

Since 2010 concerns regarding the economic recovery of Western New York were agreed to politically and based in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and the surrounding counties.   With “we have to do something” well established, a good analysis offered by the Citizen’s Budget Commission (CBC) finds the current NYS Budget in the areas of growth and reductions by program reasonable. It points out that steps to improve transparency and accountability continue to make outcomes obscure — see (10 Billion Reasons).

The following examples illustrate corruption as an agent of change at the state level. The dangers of attacking public institutional efforts to implement reforms are critical and should not be part of political dialogue unless it is an independent evaluation of excesses and errors. The Senate has offered solutions that would prevent the condition in which New Yorkers find themselves. Unfortunately, it is your busted, “post-trauma” and catastrophic resolution policy ending in the prosecution of criminal intent.  That is not good enough.

When a Corporation Controls a Market

The Cor Construction Company is a mid-sized, upstate development corporation that got greedy for a guarantee. Despite the bid-fixing controversy, Cor still boasts of 50 employees and many large development projects. Like a business remains interested in drawing on the NYS investment in their economic sector and sections of the state requiring more jobs and economic development. Just outside of Syracuse, Cor built an attractive building for $15 million in state funding. Unfortunately, the project also resulted in discovering significant crimes, bid fixing, and bribery by company executives involving a top aide in the governor’s office and many others.

As the dust of litigants continues to settle, the state gave the building to a nonprofit corporation created by Onondaga County for one dollar. With about $2M in additional seed funds, the project became the Greater Syracuse Soundstage (GSS).  Not exactly Kaufman Studios, but it remains a capital investment that is not forgotten, it is in local hands, and the pressure to return on that investment continues.  With more local control, it is likely to be successful but slow.  Will the forgetful citizen of the state follow up on this public investment?  Will the GSS succeed, create jobs, become an important new institution.  Who wants to follow that one, if it is you leave a reply?

When a Corporation Walks Away

The $90 million used to build the factory for the Soraa LED lighting company resulted in them leaving the deal with no penalty even though its developer was implicated in the bid fixing, bribery, and wire fraud by the agent in charge of the project. Meanwhile, NYS added up to $15 million more, so NexGen Power Systems, a semiconductor company, would retrofit and lease the plant outside Syracuse. Lesson learned: in the new deal, NexGen will repay $2.5 million if the company failed to create ten jobs in 2018 – it did.  Another $2.5 million will be due if it fails to employ 30 people by the end of 2019.  Another $2 million will be due if it failed to have 58 employees in 2020. Known as “clawbacks,” the company agrees to 290 jobs by 2024 measured in annual increments increases requiring $2M payments each of the next four years.  As in the case of criminal prosecution, the practice of assuring accountability or the lack of it stands with those who hold the clocks and triggers of fact. Will these targets are met, or penalties assigned? Who will follow that one if it is you leave a reply?

In these two examples, and the slow appeals process only leaves names to follow to learn if punishment is a real deterrent – these are Alain Kaloyeros, Stephen Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, (Cor) and Louis Ciminelli, (LPCiminielli) and Joseph Percoco. All of whom are appealing prison terms. Also, watch for Fort Schuyler Management Corp., a corporation created by SUNY Polytechnic Institute, which oversaw the corruption-tainted projects regarding all the above.  It may be the reforms proposed will not occur unless the law provides its proof as a deterrent. at

When a Corporation Gets it Right

The Western part of NYS is economically depressed. Increased public spending demand falls on the shoulders of its local development agencies and the state. New York is the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) and its ten regional economic development councils. The state’s human capital investment arm is the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) system.  It also works with several community-based nonprofits partners who are asked to play a role or develop initiatives.   The two examples above were obvious screw-ups that need follow-up. To sustain trust, the CEO of Empire State Development will point to the positives Howard Zemsky — Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, (3,000 jobs) for $31 million in grants and tax incentives. He will also tell you private-sector jobs continue to grow in NYS, and he’ll give EDC credit.  Should we? If you want to follow that one, leave a reply.

The ESD is a business. Of its $77M in annual operating budget (pdf) for 2020, just $9M is from NYS program-specific budget appropriations and some federal funding. The ESD runs on commercial receipts, its assets, fees, and bond financing. As the NYS Controller recently observed, it may be a small agency, but its reach and economic power are considerable. Corruption can occur honestly through stupid eagerness aimed at capturing fast-moving capital. If the Great Recession of 2008 or the ridiculous excess of Wells Fargo and others is not a signal to this, then the world is going blind.

What Will NYS Legislators Do?

Three bills (S6613B, S3354, S3984A) to address this question are supported (see descriptions below plus a snowball).  They have passed the Senate, still await the Assembly, and are not codified (Article VII) as law.  Briefly, they:  1) create a “database of deals” on economic development, 2) establishes a unified economic development budget, and 3) reforms procurement by restoring the State Comptroller’s oversight of contracts made by SUNY and CUNY, and the state’s Office of General Services to heighten the quality of monitoring.

A unified economic development budget on the costs of all economic development programs is essential; the use of metrics for comparability across all programs would confirm benefits from private sector participation. All these steps can lead to program design improvements and the efficiency of public tax and capital expenditures.

The Senate is calling its passage of ethical reforms historic.  The thing to pay attention to is that they do not carry the force of law yet, and there is a lot more left—voting reforms, an independent redistricting agency ready to go following the 2020 census, etc.

The number of those who have a strong interest in ethical reforms in the NYS legislature needs to grow. Their numbers are few. A strategy toward “exponential” participation is needed. The question is direct. When will you know if and how any of the following reasonable ideas become law and have access to the final content?  Take one step, leave a reply to subscribe.

Developing a Searchable Subsidy Database S6613B

Sponsored by Senator Croci, it requires creating a searchable state subsidy and economic development benefits database that would benefit New Yorkers and policymakers by helping monitor the use of taxpayer money used to grow our state’s economy create jobs. The database would include the participant’s name and location, the period of received economic development benefits, the type of benefit received, and the total number of employees at all project sites.   The number of jobs a participant is obligated to retain and create during the project is in the contract.  The number of economic development benefits received for the current reporting year; and a statement of compliance indicating if any other state agency has reduced, canceled, or recaptured economic development benefits from a participant. 

New York State Procurement Integrity Act S3984A

Sponsored by Senator John DeFrancisco (R-C-I, Syracuse), it prevents self-dealing in the government procurement process by enhancing the integrity, transparency, and accountability of the state’s procurement process. Historically, the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) has performed this essential oversight function. Still, in recent years OSC’s ability to do so has been eroded by executive and legislative action. The bill, called the New York State Procurement Integrity Act, would:

  • restore the state Comptroller’s independent oversight (eliminated in 2011 and 2012) of SUNY, CUNY, and OGS centralized contracts; 
  • expand the Comptroller’s oversight of the procurement process to include contracts over $1 million awarded by the SUNY Research Foundation; and 
  • prohibit state contracting through state-affiliated not-for-profit (NFP) entities unless explicitly authorized in law;

Making Economic Data Available to Help Measure Effectiveness S3354

Sponsored Senator Liz Krueger (D, Manhattan), directs the state Division of the Budget (DOB) to prepare an annual Unified Economic Development budget that outlines the aggregate amounts of state investments in economic development projects statewide, the benefactors of these investments, and the number of jobs created or retained by businesses as a result of this development assistance. The legislation also standardizes the types of information that state entities and recipients of development assistance must report to the DOB.

Lastly, there is this little snowball:

Creating an Independent Budget OfficeS2325

Sponsored by Senator Joseph Griffo (R-C-I, Rome), it creates the New York State Independent Budget Office to provide objective, non-partisan analyses of state revenues, expenditures, and management practices to members of the Legislature for any legislation with fiscal impact or at the request of a leader or a committee. Accurate, up-to-date information is a key ingredient for prudent, timely budgetary and policy decisions. At least 23 other states, including California, Texas, Florida, Connecticut, and Vermont, have already established non-partisan budget offices to assist their legislatures.

Oddly interesting that the New York City Independent Budget Office is not mentioned in the Senate’s description. It is a precious independent tool concerning the city’s massive OMB.

Help to find out what it will take to get these measures passed and signed by the Governor.  One more time — leave a reply.

Ranking Leaders

“Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) improves democratic participation for three reasons. First, it feels ethical and principled; second; it reduces conflict through majority rule by supporting more choice. Third, RCV supports a politics of joy and civil argument.  Finally, in a society that tends to leave the critical things unsaid, RCV is cheaper. It avoids the cost of close race run-offs and recounts. The second and third picks of voters remain choices and get used if none of the candidates get to the 50+% threshold. Democracies require consensus to function, and that means we can make choices on issues and for people to which we can agree to some extent. Ranking your options is a step in that direction.”

Rex L. Curry

Two party systems should become more sophisticated than a thumbs up or down decision with obvious limits in our ability to choose leaders. The ranking alternative not only expands the values inherent to voting; it encourages and builds new practices in leadership and encourages people who want to lead to find their way in politics. We should also never forget an idea in the United States Constitution that says we have to work for a perfect union. To this end, the popularity of RCV is significant. Given Maine’s experience presents one difficulty. The possibility of litigation and its cost. If there is pivot point to watch, that will be it.

Watching and reviewing the Maine experience will be useful in this regard as the practice is now settled law. With this precedent, it is the first state to use RCV, and the lessons here have been rewarding.  I would refer you to three articles presented in chronological order to illustrate the path taken, the questions asked and the lawsuits filed to get it done. The first article examines the prospect and examines its impact, the second article reviews the litigation on this legislation over the next year or two, and third, the actual practice of voting in Maine today as described by the League of Women Voters.  Praise the victories of suffrage. 

  1. Ranked Choice Voting: What’s in it for you? August 2016 (here)
  2. Maine’s Ranked-Choice Voting Experiment Continues November 2018 (here)
  3. How Does Ranked Voting Work (Main LWV website) (here) also see (cool video)

Watching the New York Experience begins by testimony on May 2nd or by write to the Charter Revision Commission to tell them to put RCV before voters on the November ballot. Ranked choice voting will advance voting practices as if it was the 21st Century.

Imagining a similar process for the voters of New York City as a creature of New York State is a daunting one, but this is one of those “fix-it-even-if-it-isn’t broke” ideas worthy of your efforts, sweat and I don’t think I’m nuts, blood for the bank, if necessary. Lowering the cost is the sane approach that calls for “instant run-offs” that takes into account a voters second and third choices. A bill in the New York City Council does that is (here),

Common Cause took up the mantle on RCV (here) and defined the issues as follows: voting as “the lesser of two evils” is part of the political value system and needs to change. Accepting the value of the majority vote win on the other hand is vital, today that is no longer true and that needs to change. The NYC Public Advocate’s win with 33% of the vote is a still win, but politically it can be used as a criticism. Ranked choice solves that problem by confirming the existence of voter confidence. Lastly, the overall downward pressure on the validity of the vote with algorithms allows political power brokers to ignore whole sections of he population and reduces elections to battleground states or neighborhoods.

The opportunity to make this happen is this year because the 2019 Charter Revision Commission is considering the placement of Ranked Choice Voting on the ballot by voters in November. The opportunity to show support will be in Borough hearings- locations and dates are TBA . The Commission’s website was launched 3 April. It is a bit difficult to navigate, but covers the bases well with links from “lists” to sections with more content.

They have two in-depth articles on the subject. The Tipping Point — The Impact of Candidate Field Size on Multi-Candidate Primaries in New York City 4/2019 and A Case for Ranked Choice Voting in New York City, 11/2018

The articles make sense, much of the critical thinking is complete, and it is top on the list of the commission’s voting reform proposals. The Charter Commission offers a look at what this revision of NYC’s voting system would be like:

Note

Let NY Vote that continues to enjoy many successful election reform campaigns At one time they included ranked-choice voting on its list of reforms and then the calendar item went 404 – files not found. (URL here). The priority of getting the vote in the hands of people from whom it has been taken is the current priority. Several political districts in upstate NY get to count the population of their prisons to determine the apportion public office, but this population is not allowed to vote.  If advocating for a ranked choice system of voting in NYC is less of a priority than work that increases voter participation in the process, I recommend attending their events.

Represent Us is putting this idea on there national list of victories and the New York Chapter is calling out all of their recent success and making sure the city’s representatives understand a the power of a very strong movement in the grassroots of every election district. The message is simple if you are in politics — pay really attention.

My Represent Us Story

The folks at Represent Us in local and state elections all over the United States present three major issues in Unbreaking America (above). Every once in a while people get their act so together that you know exactly why you have to do what you have to do. Watch it.

In 2018 When Indivisible established a network I did some homework on my political back yard. I conducted research and built some tools. I live in Brooklyn. I use the Ninth CD as a lens capture a view of local and state representatives. Take a look at it below. I am looking for some help for 2020, 2022, 2024.

What I Found

Represent Us is correct. Yvette D Clarke received 82% her of campaign contributions ($537,295) from outside her district. (Rank: 206 out of 421.) and she received 32% of campaign contributions ($211,772) from outside NYS. Source: the Center for Responsive Politics.

Who or what Clarke represents becomes a logical, honest question. RepresentUs asks this question of every single member of our city, state and federal legislature. Corruption can be removed only one way by the people.

Finding a new member of Congress. Clarke ranks 381st among the 435 in the House. She had estimated net worth of $115,502 in 2014. This is super important because the average net worth of a U.S. House of Representative is over $6 million (2014) despite the annual salary in the House is less than $200,000.

I took a look at every election district in the Ninth Congressional District (see NYC Election District Map here). I want you to use the location tool and share your ED with me if you live in the Ninth or know some one who does. In the 2018 primary I gave some friends and myself some instructions and tried to elect Adem as a replacement for only one reason. Change works. Clarke is still in office, but it was fun trying.

The proof came with AOC. New people with voter backing make a real difference because most incumbents have stopped paying attention to their districts and they tend toward complacency with a 98% re-election rate.

NYC’s Network of Election Districts

The table below describes registered voters by party in the Brooklyn’s Ninth Congressional District by status. The shock is in the number of voters it took to re-elect Clarke for yet another term in the tables that follow.


All Voters in the Ninth CD

Ninth CDDEMREPCONINDOtherTOTAL
Active275,79925,427 9557,35255,498365,031
Inactive 28,635 2,519 109 983 7,039 39,285
Total304,43427,9461,0648,33562,537404,316

New York City is a city of Democrats and Independents. It is the cities that make New York State blue. The Democratic Primary is the most important vote if a change is needed. When 10% of the people of the Ninth make that decision the Represent Us video above is frighteningly accurate.

All Who Voted in 2018 Primary

CandidatesVotes%
Yvette Clarke (incumbent)16,20253.0%
Adem Bunkeddeko14,35047.0%
Margin 1,8526.1%
750,000 People and 276,000 Registered Democrats

One More Thing

If you are interested in “working the Ninth for 2020” let me know with the reply option below. All the rest of the effort can be seen (here) in various, largely unedited narratives about the Ninth. A more detailed volunteer form is here. The tool I use takes the Ninth CD and links that to local and state representatives using the two menus below. This is far as I’ve gotten. It is a big job. Thanks for reading.

April 2019/2020

“The tweets on April 1, 2019, from the think tank people (TTP), are unlikely to be taking advantage, but I’ll leave that for you to judge. Many of the observation are through to the end of the month and new ones for 2020 are noted. I also recommend looking at the tweet rate as another algorithm worthy of observation, some are hourly, others one or two per day or week.  Others are once a month suggesting a grounded fear of jibber-jabber. Please enjoy the 2020 additions” 

Rex L. Curry

2019 Acton’s reaction to the world is “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In the name of its founder it presents a combination of secular and religious overlays.  Acton offers a set of videos on the role of the Federal Reserve (before and after the Great Recession) on aggregate demand and the reserves of cash required. It is produced by the Marginal Revolution University.  Acton evaluation of socialism as a moral argument with economic flaws is a refreshing appraisal of the political din. A series of podcasts can take you to new insights in calm rational terms.

The 2020 Acton remain as consistently conservative critic of the status quo of anger over clear headed thinking. The lack of a level playing field on social media is criticized, but regulaton vs. innovation remains difficult to resolve. The provision of “texts for meditation” is a service worthy of enhanced civil dialogue.

In 2019 ,The American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) bold tweets found Medicare quite popular in a recent poll. The count was 71% are in favor of a health insurance “guarantee” for all Americans, but 60% opposed if they had to pay for it. An attack on a GAO report based on the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, found “52 percent of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings in a “DC plan or IRA” however Factcheck.org described the tendency to leave the DC and IRA qualifier out. (source) Efforts to correct were also reported yet remained a whisper in comparison to the AEI attack on the GAO.  What happens when a nation’s institutions face subtle accusations of lying and time is spent baiting those who argue that some sections of the economy (health, education, transport) should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole for the good of whole?

2020 AEI  In an unusual bit of candor , pointed out how the representatives from blue cities and states expressed heightened concern about the virus, while representatives from red counties and states took little notice in a cold bit of political calculus. AE was among the first to join the cry of concern regarding arrival of an “economic crisis.” and they have been consistent critic of “America First” policy as internationally damaging. The AEI view on the humanitarian crisis was expressed by opposing a loosening sanctions on Iran.

The 2019 Aspen Institute opens with the idea that online activism is useful but insufficient if “Building America’s Next Great Awakening” is to be successful. Eric Liu clearly defines the push back against the dull odors of monopolized, institutional power willing to concentrate ineffectively on radical inequality.  Aspen recommends a review of his discussion of power (TED). Aspen is also about balance in its promotion of ways to sharpen our vision in a series of Business & Society podcasts launched this month (here). Swing over to the business integrity people (BIP) to see if the folks there will pick up on it after the official launch on the 18 April 2019.  If you need think-tank people (TTP) that have an interest in pushing the limits of every boundary to assure that your fear is not of change, but of loss.

See the Five Best ideas every day

2020 Aspen. For years they have assigned a team in partnering with TIME, to pull the five best new ideas every day from a long list of news sources. As far as the daily press is concerned, this is a reasoned selection and therefore a good editor’s pulse service.  March began as business usual, with interesting articles choices, but as April began, the virus was viral in the news and no different in Aspen’s best five. As far as ideas are concerned one out of five ain’t bad.

In 2019, anyone who has taken a glimpse at the enormity of American Defense Industry will find the Atlantic Council’s defense of democracy well validated in their celebration of NATO and its newest members hitting the ten-year mark (#Albania and #Croatia) while seeking to include Cyprus.  It is without surprise that NATO’s weighted connections and conference in D.C. this first week of April is entitled #NATOEngages to assure the alliance. The general pressure to increase spending as a percentage of GDP is having a destabilizing and disturbing effect on domestic affairs as expected. Following NATO, a strong interest in cyber security, engagement and sanctions is described.

The 2020 Atlantic Council view centered on cash. “What is clear is that, in a crisis, the Federal Reserve is the indispensable central bank. This is followed by serious worries in the governance of th EU in relation to a degraded NATO military. Another issue popular at the AC is the comparison with the Chinese state managed capitalism and the American decentralized approach. Specific stability concerns regarding the more authoritarian vs. the bubble up forms should turn directly to how these two designs will de-isolate individual countries, with high poverty rates and bad health infrastructure.

The 2019 Belfer Center is looking straight at Russia and China through the lens of the Pacific Rim. The growing complexity of “safety-critical technologies” in this vast region of the earth is an opening for a change in policy.  First, question the importance of the Middle East in comparison to threats to power caused by climate change on Pacific Rim nations. The center also enjoys its privileges and offers a wide range of important players in world affairs to sit and talk for the benefit of their students and faculty.  A link to Foreign Affairs offers one free article a week. If you are interested in foreign affairs, Belfer is a TTP stop.

The 2020 Belfrer set of tweets (April) is also a strong pulse center with retweets from other major interest and issue groups in the world. The selection is clear headed, multi-issue and thankful unsoaked in COVID-19 insights in multiple posts.

The 2019 Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) reaction to political pressures affecting “speech” within the university is direct. In response to President Trump’s Executive Order that pulled out the government’s big research funding stick they ask one question, “What is the litmus test?” Universities cannot model the current behavior in national politics; the idea of a government agency intervention to monitor compliance for funding is an insidious act. BPC mentions a leadership guide from Sanford Ungar (Free Speech Project) at Georgetown University.  His report “Informed and Engaged” describes the launch of the Free Speech Tracker.  Message at the Executive Order level have uneven qualities, while the search for instances and causes of incivility on university campuses is where the thinking caps belong. Solving students in debt, children in poverty, the people on opioids should be on the bipartisan-do list, but it feels doubtful.

For 2020, the exposure of outfits like AEI that encourage the use of misleading statistics and psuedo science to argue that social inequality is caused by genetic inferiority in society that is working very hard to eliminate discrimmination based on “groups.” In the tracker you can find a student made video in 2017 that shut down a Charles Murray talk, not to attack speech, but to stop fueling culture war the using bad science.

After a year of peeking into this group, you will fined it to be excellent on data sharing ideas, and insight into parlimentary proceedures that support compromise and growth in the use of those that do not.

I found the 2019 Brookings Institution (BI) focused on the “divided politics” situation as tribalism and turning to a description of Brexit as if it was a warning. Brookings also brought to our attention a survey of 93 leaders from government, NGOs, and others to share their view of global development. The title is Disrupted and points to fragile governments and climate change as principal sources for many policies going “tribal.”  The underlying premise is small groups can make significant changes, and that forces questions about the responsibility to make them good ones. A set of tweets that lead to improved understanding of what middle class means. April is a good month to spend some time with the TTP because of the focus on income, credit and taxes at their Center on Regulation and Markets.

The 2020 Brookings Institution is gearing up to produce a finally detailed cost of policy timeline analysis, while plans to measure the economic impacts over the next year. Communication is the foundation of lasting and useful facts. As a large public events organization you will find them at Apple: https://apple.co/2Q2jeFl  Google: https://bit.ly/2trN6mJ 
and Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2M6gMfW  The crunchers of the GDP will find parcing day toward the metroregions will capture 90% of the economic success iniatives and only 10% of the errors. This is a tough place as the political power might be elsewhere.

The 2019 Carnegie Council (CCEIA) serves as a judge of fact and includes an interest in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain technology, and cybersecurity.  The possibility of a revolution in network collaboration will require the vision of people such as Eric Liu and Sanford Ungar. There is a way to avoid the negatives in “tribalism” that forces the decline of democracy. Eric offers a stinging left jab, and Sanford follows with a hard right- cross. The simulated anger and the provoked loss of faith in long-standing public institutions can be proven.  Fund them just enough to fail on safety net issues in marginalized communities. 

In 2020, and early in March the Council said to Congress if you want to escape a recession – send people money now. The crisis peaked in April. Lesson from the Council – there is no fast action plan in the U.S. for anything other than war, but the White House is at war with itself.

The 2119 Carnegie Endowment (CEIP) direct emphasis on the voice of women in world affairs is having an impact.  Bill Burns article “The Lost Art of American Diplomacy” (here) describes the current disdain for its powers as a stimulus for rebuilding its “first resort” capacity.  Redefining diplomatic problems breaks the easy dependence on muscular military instruments with facts instead of political assertions used “to mask a pattern of retreat” designed to inflame aggression.

The 2020 Endowment took time and a variety of subtle tweets to point out that countries that do not handle an infectious disease well loses trust, become the subject of local to global propaganda and bad press in general.

The 2019 CATO Institute focuses on ways Medicare can control drug prices without impacting the system overall.  A reasonable disruption for a “patients first” approach follows a long list of price hikes that are the product of monopolistic behaviors. Turning to a related point, getting low congressional interest toward a serious concern in patent reform suggests that CATO would pull out Bernie Sanders’s 2005 idea for the Medical Innovation Prize and break up big drug pharma with concessions on generics.

The task of turning down the rhetorical din into something the TTP can stomach was promoted in a tweet by CATO when Alex Nowrasteh’s Washington Post article on “patriotic correctness” vs. political correctness. It yields hope that we haven’t been driven quite mad by the “silly-stupidness” as a dear friend calls a lot of that right/left speak. 

The first 2020 Cato tweet that caught my eye was, “Tariffs in a Pandemic are Taxes on Lifesaving Goods.” As most people who are hurt by a pandemic are low- and moderate-income in older urban areas, the benefits are still shared unevenly and punitively in the case of a pandemic. Another irony is the complaint against misinformation on COVID-19 and the complaint under the heading of combating populism. Do I sense pandemic unity?

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) interest in disproportionality has a top example the demand by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to fire its Chair, Adam Schiff, is an “eye off the ball” problem and exhibits the shallowness of acceptable political behavior. Perhaps a name change is in order.  I suggest the Center for Snarky Security.  Beware of angry but hungry TTP people.  

The Center for American Progress (CAP) honed the potential of emoluments violations because the House has the power to compel the IRS to release Trump’s tax returns. The Center shares an agenda item with the BPC in work needed to improve women’s labor force participation. Two problems require a solution to the quality of paid family leave and access to affordable childcare. The lack of both is part of the “war on workers.”  Brookings is on the same page under the heading of the pay gap.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) sees expanded resettlement programs as a refugee issue to pressure off the perversely facilitated asylum backlog. The Department of Homeland Security is in disarray with southern border troubles. Is the wall-threat and lack of reform causing the crisis? Policies in favor of diversity have been evident since the 1960s; however, the lack of a powerful north/south relationship has weakened instead of strengthened since NAFTA was established.

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) exhibits the need for adaptable technologies in military hardware and brings up the historical “renewed great power competition” problem about the United States, China, and Russia’s claim of sovereignty and believe other countries that are not great powers are not sovereign.  All kinds of cyber weaponry operated by new technologies re-opens the debate on the billions spent on “star-wars.”   

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CNPP) recognizes chipping away of safety net program funding in the Federal budget. Early in the month protecting SNAP (nutritional assistance) for vulnerable people is top on their list. The Center’s focus on state and local budgeting reports reduced the health care costs through caring society investments in education, income, food, housing, transit, and recreational support services are provided and encouraged.

The Claremont Institute (CI) claims to restore American principles as “originalists,” as if the founders of the U.S. Constitution remain the preeminent experts over our national life.  Historical desires hold tightly to the past as a measure of our time centuries later.  It is difficult to read these arguments based on values by institutions that have not or refuse to read and confirm the truth of Richard Rothstein’s book, “The Color of Law,” B&N and who remain satisfied with jabs around the edges at the whiteness of that law.  Law made racism impossible to understand if you are white. It is impossible to recognize if you have never read or ever encouraged to read anything in the enormous body of work by Derrick Bell or the writers who stand on his shoulders, such as Ta-Nehisi Coates. For centuries, cultural power is the only available tool, and because of that, it is far too easily altered and appropriated without a clear set of goals. Thanks to Avik Roy’s retort to Bill Voegeli on CI’s website, those goals might find a scrap of common ground with the right. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ voice is current (here), and he offers firm ground because the U.S. has participated in reparations four times.

The Commonwealth Fund (CF) takes us to the daily battle for a healthy America. Their tweets are regular attacks on the role of health professionals who care for modest income patients or those who are one crisis of poor care or one “surprise bill” away from full-blown poverty.  Just what America needs, a little more depression and anxiety on a bet-hedging that it won’t be too many of them or too weak to build guillotines.  

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) sends tweets on how globalization counts how to make the American worker more competitive by researching ways to eliminate unions and attacking the Kigali Amendment as a “job destroyer.” There is an unusual combination of politically conceived demands with crony-appeal and others that stand on more rational grounds. They need to choose.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is impractical with the global map. It leaps to review every crisis affecting American hegemony. The Council also pointed out the top ten countries for women’s workforce equality, and the United States is not on the list. You will compare other nations’ top-tier tax rates for comparison to those proposed by the 2020 Democrats. A detailed analysis of foreign aid for 2016 will be useful if it leads to 2020 comparisons. The UK’s only land border (after Brexit) is with Northern Ireland.  Is irony is back?  CFR points to an oddly similar border with Mexico as a related security discussion that can put you in a world where Japan gets its groove back with some severe armament. Bottom line, a run-through CFRs tweets can tease you into thinking that this institution is in total control.  Oh!

The Discovery Institute’s (DI) first tweet to my gaze talks about “pathological altruism” as one of the big awful things to discover.  They think they do good, but they know not.  DI is a wonderful break into the world of thought about problems instead of the ones “all of the above” seem to find. Every new second with DI is worth an hour everywhere else.  Columbia’s Earth Institute (EI) is next on the list in the current alphabetical order (that may require another form of organizing).  The EI tweets focus specifically on the next generation, also known as students and life-long learners, for a welcome sense of hope. One promotion with the “New School” asks a simple question: How do we know what cannot be known?” Where else but for the next generation would you be presented with butterflies tasting the salty tears of rainforest turtles to discover the importance of the complexity that beats the heart of diversity.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) added to the idea that we should have a more rational “thinking about important stuff days.” I pick up something new about EPI’s constitutional questions in their tweets.  The demand for a “more perfect union” during February is one of them.  February is a month of American history that has many important days related to the African-American experience.  April gets the ‘thinking day” attention of EPI on women rights regarding equal pay.  A Native-American gets .58, African-American and Latinas get 0.53, Asian 0.61 and White 0.77 of the $1.00 of white men. Overall, the “many” vs. the “one” debate requires the patriarchy to change in all these groups. In the name of perfecting our union, a routine injection of steps of fairness with the proof of balance defines equity, wages, skillsets, and safety nets.   

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Democracy and Technology, TechFreedom, Human Rights Watch, and 34 others are demanding the reauthorization or Section 215 to end NSA’s phone data collection. 

The Brennan Center has the best summary of selected government surveillance programs (here).  Getting into this subject by looking at all the trees (felled, standing, old, or sapling) will miss the new way the forest gets your attention. The digital forest, but like the old-growth forest, too can take something from you forcefully like a hungry bandit and offer you something you need or want at the same time. Trade began as a neighborhood/tribe thing that became a village or city thing, then regional, national and global. Instead of looking into the old forest, a new digital forest wants to look at you, your tribe, and your place on the planet.  The moral authority function of human judgment is why humans build cities and turn forests into parks.  The time is now to look deeply into ourselves in cities and leave the old wood alone, revered as the place from which we came.

The Freedom House looks at the demand for human rights in places under threat of violence and works to protect these rights when won, yet far too easily lost.  The FH sees an erosion of democratic political environments and points to more than 2.5 billion people FH designates as “Not Free” and more than a third of the earth’s population.  The number of “not free” is growing due to a decline in political rights and civil liberties. The Annual “Freedom in the World” report each year is getting more frightening.  In April, the concerns focus on Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Russia’s disconnect from the Internet.  The growing interest in ranking internet and digital rights exposes an inability to clarify how user information is secured and encapsulated or closed and contained in authoritarian regimes.  Expanding the Global Magnitsky Act as an accountability tool is appreciated by FH.

The Guttmacher Institute examining global population issues and ideologically-driven political interference disrupt the professional connection between doctor and patient, lawyer and client.  These disruptions reduce these critical relationships’ safety and dignity and adversely affect a woman’s quality of life. The growth of blatantly unconstitutional and radical state-level laws aimed at a SCOTUS trial is a blatant money grab on settled law.  At the current federal level, rules governing the national use of funds are coercive in intent and practices that assault women’s access to reproductive health services, especially if they are low and moderate-income.

Heartland Institute looks to free-market solutions to the social and economic problems in the United States. When free-market solutions meet over 90% of human issues, needs, and concerns, it seems odd that attempts at getting into the 10% where it fails are threatening.  Most of the tweets are clear political shots when any entity does not see profit first and all other consequences second. The twitter-sphere tempts childishness, so it prompts you straight to their websites.  For example, a letter to POTUS45 seeks funding for a climate security commission as a voluntary offer to debunk science reports on climate change. Their interest in demonizing people interested in Democratic Socialism is an equally deliberate attack on any attempt to reduce excesses in the free-market system.  It leaves one deaf to any other point as valid. Heartland needs a transplant, and a heart may not be enough. Facebook canceled their ads.

I suppose it is appropriate that the Heritage Foundation (HF) is next up in this alphabetical Tweet O-Rama of think tanks. Here you will find the narrative tones exalting the glory of capital markets. The wonders capital has brought to the world. What would we do without money to sustain whole new classes in newly enriching ways? Most of the tweets are useless jibes and retweets of the favored. Go to their website to get the strategy.   Under “Heritage’s Perspective,” you will find a series of “read/listen more” teasers. I will summarize my first impression using the following, well-crafted, run-on sentence:

Of course, the transgender ban is logical. If you have a hovercraft, gerrymandering would be much more fun, along with the ability to take shots at Theresa May’s failure as a conservative within the confines of a robust pro-life agenda. Finally, college admissions are rigged, haven’t they always been so? 

The Hoover Institution (HI) is pleased to give me ten reasons by progressives shouldn’t hate POTUS45 and get this; they quote CNN. Here goes: 1) The economy, 2) not appalled by lies because 3) he’ll stop the socialists, 4) they believe his caring, empathic rhetoric, 5) he is the same at every rally, suit, tie hair and all, and 6) keeps trying to keep promises and goes against his party, 7) people see moves against a sitting president is all political BS and 8) media bias is clear.  The last three are reasonable ways to understand his loyal base,  8) it is the east and west coast vs. the hollowed-out interior that has grown to include battleground states, 9) despite everything “the family” is holding together, and 10) he is a performer and entertains. Even looking at conservative sites will produce cross-over insights.

Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) attention is on the reconciliation efforts in Rwanda as a lens focused across the globe from Libya to Venezuela and on to specific concerns such as the 500th day since Azory Gwanda “went missing” in Tanzania (#WhereIsAzory?”), and the secret Khashoggi murder trial and beatings in Nigeria and so on.  Malaysia decided to leave the ICC very quickly. HRW is livid with the cancelation of an ICC prosecutor’s visa. NGOs mag get a break from the Egyptian government. The triple bottom line utilizing “truth commission” practices yields a sliver of hope.

Common Ground Alert!

The Independent Institute has David J. Theroux’s magazine, the Independent Review. Its messages have a unique California vantage point that puts the facts on the table and tries to make you think. For example, in response to the recent POTUS45 request to make more room for a conservative speech on campus, this quote is in its article.

“The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education found that in 2017, 39.6 percent of the 449 colleges it analyzed “maintain[ed] policies that seriously infringe[d] upon the free speech rights of students” (source).

A Republican, Ronald L. Trobridge wrote the article, noting it would be inappropriate and probably illegal to ask applicants applying for a teaching job if they were a conservative or liberal. The applicants want to be professors exploring ideas, not politicians. 

I find more progressives teaching because they have something to say.  Trobridge ends the article by saying it is OK if you fail and get a “D” in a class if “principles” are involved.  I wrote a paper that successfully delivered my views under the heading “democratic socialism” in a classroom (applause, request for more information, and so on). I was pulled into the faculty office and given that “D” myself.  I should preface that this was just after the assignation of John Kennedy. I remember how frightened, McCarthy-like frightened the teacher seemed. Knowing pain has the potential for being self-inflicted yet knowable and understandable is good. The alternative is to have that pain secretly imposed with malice and intent.

The Inter-American Dialogue has a laser focus on Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, and Haiti. One of those lasers looks at “remittances” as a significant largest financial assistance source ($85B) moving from north to south Read IAD’s report #Remittances2018 here.  The overall energy company impression is best in the first few minutes from Lisa Viscidi (here) via Bloomberg and sharp on China in the region. 

The James Baker III Institute for Public Policy is all over Venezuela in the “let freedom ring” mode with VP Pence as the VP Pence at Rice University. The rapid turnover in Trump’s high-security positions became a central concern in mid-April.

The Kaiser Family Foundation aims at a healthier America to see our lower-income population’s health problems as central to the reform effort of a national policy to eliminate bias.  One example of this is 90% of uninsured poor adults reside in the South.  The high cost of indigent care is very carefully tracked by going to the detail such as the 212% increase in deductibles woven into health care policy. Overall, “health” remains a thread in the tweets of several of the tweeters in tanks. The focus on health is seen as an attack aimed at the drug cartel responsible for 1.9 million opioid-addicted nonelderly adults is a “give” in the ongoing attack on the ACA. The general call for Medicare for All in the number of bills introduced can be examined (here).  April is a cruel month.

The Lexington Institute points to a major health problem, AKA war, and in April – the need to defend against “hypersonic weapons.”  Fentanyl from China is not being well tracked or seized and, like cyber – put in the context of an invasion. Pounding the table for continuous improvements in defense postures belongs to Lexington. From micro-tracking devices on everything to brand new B-21 Bombers circling the planet, military reform is consistently cloaked in terms of modernization.  I believe in defense with a bid “D,” but try to find an economist looking at what happens when too much money chases too many goods?  The rich country answer is you get the acceleration of products fashioned, more than the military needs, and then send it to police jurisdictions just in case of an invasion?

The Ludwig von Mises Institute (LMI) After calling out a civil war battle anniversary, the LMI attacks @AOC for her interest in “socializing the economy” by advancing arguments for a climate change strategy and a rapid reduction of fossil fuels because it makes no economic sense without a clear and largely unregulated role for private capital and property. Western economists promote fungibility and discount entrepreneurs’ negative role as minimal no matter the amount owned or how much or what we consume.  The flaw in this argument is obvious. It cannot be proven to be a flaw until it is too late and the mystery of “market correction” capital implements repairs.  Nevertheless, there are some useful arguments for their critique of the GND“ debunked.  Nevertheless, Tomas Piketty (summary) has a refined approach to the problem of vast patrimonial capitalism and the threat of an oligarchy.  One example is how the “estate tax” was renamed “death tax.” The average annual income of $12M to the CEO may be why $36,000 is the ordinary worker’s national average.

Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MIPR) work on post-industrial cities sees opportunity in Aaron Renn’s report through new ground planning while awaiting private market corrections.  There is a long list of a post-industrial urban center with under one million in a population that has lost 20% or more of its people from a previous peak. (DOWNLOAD PDF).  The mysteries of fungible capital became unavailable to these cities to fix municipal finances, reform or restructure dysfunctional institutions, and rebuild public services. The MIPR has NYC recovery from a similar abandonment of capital as “the bank is in trouble” solutions for growth with fiscal discipline.  Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Saginaw, Danville, Johnstown, and so on were not so lucky, and MIPR gets into the why and how.  There is no snipping in their tweets, just honest statements leading you to real thinkers and solid proposals.

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has a broad approach. They are attracted to the economics of the housing crisis, immigration reform, the revival/survival of manufacturing, and the promotion of a book on “the corporation.”  Challenges to the federal debt level, the rise of right-wing terrorism,   

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has the last word on the economic forces shaping the world’s future.  The use of their Twitter feed is to announce working papers fed by the wealth of U.S. Census data on every aspect of American life, from micro-marketing strategies and consumer response to mandated protection disclosures.  An interesting analysis of “patent trolls” by them and them to license them vs. using links to health and drug policies that hide the demand for larger generic markets.  NBER produces papers like a factory would include cars. There is something for everyone without a hint of political purpose: the facts, just the facts.

The New America Foundation is similar in its “life is complex” approach to science and the art of political change.  The New American Weekly (Edition 243) produces their “fellows” residents in NYC or LA.  They have a functional analysis of why the right-wing got control of a swath of state capitals. 

On 18 April, the New Democrat Network (NDN) asks its participants to do some background reading to gain an understanding of Trump and to have a discussion of their findings. The series of papers are swept under the heading of “patriotism and optimism.”  Their criticism of trade policy points out the general decline of manufacturing fear of change

The Open Society Foundation (OSF) lays it out as clearly as possible; the world needs care, hope, democratic climate action, and continuous revelation on equality’s meaning and purpose. In all of these areas, the OSF works to lead by example and with others who do so with a healthy set of retweets from publishers such as The Guardian.

The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) would be wise not to repeat presidential threats unless until there is an actual implementation, then call it was it is.  Trade talk/war/talk and all of it on Mexico’s critical relationship to its northern border with very little attention paid to the south.  Economic nationalism in Chinese is like the German role in the EU State-owned companies in China, and sector-specific American interventions are hypocritical behaviors.  Central Bank control systems are in little trouble given “hyperinflation” flags fluttering in the breeze of a credit crunch.

The Public Policy Institute of California is way cool. In April, they have a thing for retweeting the Maddy Institute reports on the 2020 Census and how immigration policy might get framed through the election.  Next, the next great drought will have less remote sensing data available due to USGS and NOAA cuts, even though the water grid crisis continues to loom.

As a nonprofit, nonpartisan, organization the Rand Corporation is committed to the public interest and considered a trusted source for policy ideas and analysis. They would also admit a rise in the threat to communities worldwide likely to become less safe, secure, and healthy amidst the prosperous. Rand opened April up with a century-long review of the “political objectives of U.S. Military interventions and puts reduced success on “ambitiousness.”  Calling out Iran as a terrorist nation fits that bill. The next message somewhat ironically promotes SEL for social and emotional learning as a “measures” issue. They are delighted with the student achievement success of the Principle Pipelines project. Military complex interests are in cyber currency and terrorism.  Billions needed to cover the cost of meeting California’s new 2030 Seismic standard in the contract. 

The Reason Foundation libertarian ideals separate themselves from the wing-flapping left or right with a value system that remains adaptable to changing times if they lead to a limited federal government.  The logic of it is the states of the republic remain the leading laboratory for building a democracy.  The surprise is they find Pete Buttigieg, the “most interesting” Democrat. The challenge to the “qualified immunity” doctrine governing police behavior as “notorious” and disagree over labeling immigration policy.

The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is one of many doing the thinking needed most by the thoughtful over the next decade.  Goals for the earth and energy for humans are becoming more critical, and where else would you be able to discover the “Rs 10.000-crore FAME-II scheme?”  Just in case you are an advocate for less jargon globally, this is about India’s move to incentivize vehicle electrification. I ran a national community design center conference for several years.  The Pittsburgh Design center incentivized bicycling with a Pedal Pittsburgh Campaign.  RMI recently organized the screening of National Geographic’s documentary, Paris to Pittsburgh. RMI knows solutions to climate change will be implemented in cities, not the mountains.

The Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) works in social science research on inequality, the working poor, immigration, and the economic behavior of the actors involved. Themes in education tie it together from the impact of information technologies on the contributions of individuals such as Brian Powell and James Rosenbaum.  Timothy Bartik was asked to respond to a new report from the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) regarding the decline in the working-age population expected through the 2020 Census. The report suggests a “heartland visa” immigration policy to replace losses in the area of the country where the reduction of working-age people is most pressing.

The thinking of people in the Third Way tank is an ambitious center-left organization aiming its resources clean energy, education, health care, national security, and the social policy and politics it will take for high-quality results in these areas. Their @TWPolitical feed is exciting. It examines challenges to the democratic party and examinations how the republic is collapsing and what can be done to save it in an author/speaker series.  April is about Michael Tomasky’s book on both subjects. Next on their priority list asks for the “fastest path to zero,” and no one has to request the meaning of zero, so that a good thing.

The Urban Institute (UI) continues to pound the table to get people to see cities as the answer.  The failure of political discourse in urban policy has required all institutions to seek a humanitarian response in the fight to sustain and establish the quality urban life of a diverse nation. This experience led UI to compile two extensive case studies by the Center on Nonprofits Philanthropy (CNP). The depth of the nonprofit housing and community-based development organizations in large cities has established a long list of social service programs’ innovations by breaking glass ceilings and building capacity with proof.  In turning fifty, UI is taking the definition of knowledge as experience plus reflection by examining the bias built into the demand for transformations since the 1965 Voting Right Act, the Higher Education Act 1968, and the Fair Housing Act comprising the core of the Great Society. If the next fifty years of America’s community development future from suburban to core centers is a concern. Will the answers about courage be found in that history?

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars tips the balance of American hegemony in the sheer number of people attracted to this subject where a great deal is said, but results are elusive. The initial Wilson vision became focused in his honor – 1968.  They stand with Jefferson’s notion that an informed and active citizen can be trusted with their own government. This organization believes it is building tools for that citizenry to join the national conversation. The tweets generally promote local events, but for a fascinating archive of public policy history, the center’s “Sources and Methods” blog is an insightful look at today with each visit.  

It seems appropriate for the Worldwatch Institute to conclude this lengthy effort to summarize America’s think tanks just for April. In contrast to the incessant attempt at understanding the complex communications of human, their institutions, and nations, April opening tween asks us to think seriously about the ecological impact and minimal psychological benefits of pets, the number of shipping containers and other sources filling the global ocean with everything from vintage Garfield phones to the micro-bead plastic you now consume with every bite from the sea.  The Institute handed the world its most significant economic challenge – come up with a way to assure human well-being and minimize consumption. The knowledge that an institution like “Black Friday/Cyber Monday” can devastate America’s climate future does not seem to help.  WI tweets carefully – one interesting lesson is the ability to quickly scroll down to their 2018 interest in altering the circular economy with the idea of “degrowth.”  Just keep swimming, keep swimming.

On the Delivery of Quotidian Jeremiads

Loving the English language is not easy, but it is fun. The think tanks can lead you down some interesting new paths covered in rabbit-holes, and a few Kool-Aid stands. With or without Congress’s consent, the President of the United States can threaten many kinds of civilizational catastrophe. The American President’s election is not a routine political occurrence; it is the release of a specific set of prejudices plus immense power. The short history of the United States also exhibits this power distribution by wealth and its penchant for significant error inherent to inherited wealth.

Here is another think-tank thought stimulation. De facto segregation is a myth; racism is a created thing, and its proof is daily and routine. It is a quieter thing now, an experience like watching the minute hand on a classroom clock; the movement is subtle because patience for an exact moment of freedom grows thin, and in the sweep of a second hand, it comes and goes.  The depth of America’s diversity challenge should not be unfathomable for the joy of its existence. Yet, there are times when the quality of human discourse is pressed for improvement so hard, we barely notice (here) or here

On T.S. Eliot

The lesson in sharing Eliot’s literary genius is that it does not excuse his anti-Semitism. It complicates the reading of “The Wasteland” with feelings of unwanted complicity. We should be able to read and reread his best poems, see the beauty and wisdom without fear of his bigotry. The message includes caution and resistance to all those who would use hatred as a power source in all political speech.

April is the cruelest month breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

These four lines capture a bit of the human soul. The reader wants to assign Eliot’s soul to a permanent place “beneath the rats” because his “icy dismissiveness” was assigned to an entire people. The reader’s judgment of his character is critical but not one I would assign to his tribe without the proof pulled from each member’s heart.

The March 2019 summary (here) introduced all the Tweet-O-Rama organizations and the Random Tweet-O-Rama. The idea is to learn something from the wits from this vast new area of the blah blah world.  The April summary (here) examined the Think-Tank People. In May (here), I looked at the organizations working to produce a good economy combined with voter rights organizations. With those thoughts in mind, it is logical to look at politics as a sport and as a practice that is now very different from the role of leadership that it implies. Please enjoy June, everyone should, and then July (here) for a look at the one thing of great importance – housing (here)

Paradise and Panama Jitters

“Global finance has expanded without accountability. However, the good news is that the attempts to take down journalism as an agent of facts are failing. Instead, a network is lining up like dots across a landscape of searches for truth. It is sustained with anger, vengeance, honor, and integrity, and it looks to me like two things. First, the attacks are a “tell” that makes the managers of extreme wealth very unsafe and conservative (to a fault) poker players, and second, the enormous flow of capital is producing a logic similar to that of a cancer cell.”

Rex L. Curry

The Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition (FACT) pointed its tweet readers to the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on the problem of #AnonymousCompanies that hinder inquiries into political corruption and a long list of criminal enterprises (read testimony May 2019). To wonder why the FBI is under attack is not to understand the facts. See why we need more financial accountability people (here).

Face it. We have a bad case of the jitters. After all, Wilbur Ross became the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in 2017, right after his name was in releasing 13.4 million documents known as the Paradise Papers in 2016. That leak came from an off-shore finance management legal firm Appleby containing the names of more than 120,000 people and companies that hide capital. I don’t know why Mr. Ross wants that particular position of power, but it gives me the jitters.

Before Paradise, we had the Panama Papers. Remember? It became “news” following the “leak” of 11.5 million documents from another managing law firm – Mossack Fonseca, a team of journalists, gathered to finish the work of John Doe, whose identity remains unknown. During the analysis of the data provided, journalists (not government officials) have gathered worldwide to develop a plan. Their work covered many months of classic journalistic practice before releasing newspaper stories designed to expose how billions of dollars were hidden killed from governments. A film summarizing their experience became available in March 2019.

The work to expose the cancerous practices of extreme wealth management continues. Given global conditions, even the honestly gained wealth is managed without an interest in investment aimed at improving global conditions. Following the release of findings focused on public figures, the known investigators have been harassed, killed, and others attacked with “alternative facts” and lawsuits.  When it takes ‘whistleblowers” to produce the momentum for reform, be worried. The tale of two worlds requires the distasteful cleaning of the world’s corporate laundry. Forcing it out of these poorly managed financial machines may not occur until wealth becomes meaningless.

Need to Know List

An Essay for Reading Tweets from the Left

The United States is composed of thousands of institutions and organizations drawn from the profound beliefs and principles of liberty outlined by The Founders. Since then founding, the laws of protection for the growth of liberty and development of American principles have flourished. The continuous emergence of political organizations that seek to provide the best in human life for individuals has succeeded. In part, these efforts are defined as progressive or conservative, democrat, republican, libertarian, green, socialist, working family, and so on (see list below).  We live through these institutions and expect them to be dispositive of most problems given two provisions – civility in discourse and respect for facts.

American institutions focus on social and international justice, civil rights, and liberty in the context of human rights for all people. Many of them work to assure equal opportunity, good educations, environmental preservation, conservation, and human health advocacy. As they are plentiful and varied, their progeny continues to expand in the service of new constituencies who are emboldened to be free in a search of technological advancements in cultural change through art, and science. All these activities are constitutionally guaranteed. These institutions implement programs to produce predictable results that seek to hasten or slow social change processes, increase or reduce costs and protect local interests and specific assets held in private trust or on behalf of the public good. There is no hard proof that the physics described by Newton’s laws of motion are in play in these processes, yet it feels as if proof isn’t necessary for observing the many failings of power in the accelerated rate of change in which we find ourselves.

“Reducing the hard-punch capability of American hegemony has been difficult from the first use of the Atomic bomb all the way down to the colloquial definition of Americans as “people who buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know.” The power to be that free includes a capacity for hate and injustice that cannot be rationalized, only disliked, and deterred.”

RLC

The belief of progressives and conservatives is that different worlds are possible. Both see the basics of air, water, land, and food as the most powerful natural resources on the earth, and once brought under the control of specific energy sources and industries, a sustainable environment is possible within an equitable economic system. In this system, only then can children be protected without wealth. Putting the force of these ideas in a global context redefines national security needs all the way down to a sense of personal safety best defined as freedom from fear. It is in the global realm of competitive personal protection that political actors become irrational. The rise of evil forces, demonizing recalcitrant actors, or the outright taking of spoils through conflict raise the walls of ignorance.

What everyone knows is why political divisions form in the debate on a proposed action. The benefits of assigning specific public expenditures in a three-branch system of government are to sustain debate to correct errors of judgment in a changing world. One branch creates two sets of representatives from every aspect of American culture. Their job is to write laws, see to an evaluation of the implications of their implementation, and adjust accordingly.  When failures in this process occur, the legislative practice is further evaluated and judged in a federal court system. The nationally elected leaders are the President and Vice-President. The Executive Branch is the final authority of Congressional actions subject to veto, amidst the ongoing churn of public elections, and the final arbitration of the Judicial Branch.

Human survival mechanisms will distort self-protection behaviors (i.e. fight/flight) in social groupings and this fact does not exclude complex global corporate and national government power-sharing systems. Entire social structures build supports eager to give meaning and purpose to the human experience of power. Communication of spiritual and community values, movements for social change, and reflections on past movements all push for a wide range of cultural transformations. New theories of change among the institutions confronting the need to adapt to new conditions include personal interaction with natural events that have a manmade feel about them. If each initiative defines an outcome-driven process, a practice based on evidence for action is drawn from detailed performance measures undertaken routinely by trusted parties. No matter how or where the idea for change occurred or the credit becomes needed, the results should be trusted. Time is the great judge of failure and success unless one cannot outrun the bear.

The task for staff is to find the counter punch organizations among the following largely progressive organizations. The primary mission is to get people to pay attention, express issues of concern, and vote on them in every election.  The list work got started with a project called START.

The Original START Study Guide is Here

For an excellent description of START, see “Acting in the Big Picture: New study guide builds on history, hope,” by Linda Pinkow, Dollars & Sense, Number 273, Nov/Dec 2007, p. 9. It was the inspiration for building the Tweet O-Rama pages found in the menu under The Synergy Project.s

The “tweet” is a way not to be distracted by the “big picture”, such as “we are all f’n doomed” problem, or if you are as rich as some of my friends, you plan, build and stock a $20 million hideaway, to avoid being in the “all” category.

List 1: Electoral Politics Organizations

The major electoral categories on the progressive side are political parties, namely the Democratic, Working Family, Green, Labor, DSA, Socialist, and the CCDS. A complement of state and local legislative groups is composed of BISC, SIX, and Progress Now.

Democratic National Committee/Party

Works for job creation, equal pay, education, health care, and clean energy.

Working Families Party

A progressive political organization that sponsors candidates in 7 states and fights nationwide for an economy that works for all and a democracy in which every voice matter.

Green Party of the United States


Labor Party

A few democratic socialists advocate for a broad-based social revolution while predicting the possibility of an undemocratic and violent seizure of power by a single political party. As history repeats, see blog to see if they might be right.

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

The largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of Socialist International. Extending political democracy to greater empowerment in the economy, in gender relations, and in culture.

Socialist Party (USA)

A political party of, by, and for working people, founded in June 1996 by delegates from hundreds of local and international unions as well as individual activists.

Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS)

The achievement of the socialist vision requires the production of wealth controlled by the people participating in a broadly framed democracy serving political and cultural life. I found a link to the Left University that offers many interesting resources (here). One of the best is the analysis by David Schweickart out of Loyola University below.

If only “the left” had the sound technicians as polished as those of TED and a few others.

In Sweden talking to a few students.

Think Tank People

“The Economist explains the role of think tanks as filling “the gap between academia and policy making.” I made a list for tweet scan to get a sense of that gap. It ain’t no gap – it’s a chasm, no an abyss.

The role of professional academic researchers move with the dedicated pace of a peer review and thus, very slowly. Journalists produce daily descriptions of events and are fast but not dispositive.

The job of a think tank is to make some sense of the day-to-day world over the course of a year or more and develop policies that make each day better than the one before. The good ones make the academic rigor of research as accessible a news story. The list below is not exhaustive and developed as a test using their twitter feed. Which of the following are most accessible?” Or, take a look at On Think Tanks.

Rex L. Curry

Acton Institute

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Lord John Acton (1834-1902). Acton seeks ways to articulate a vision of society that is both free and virtuous, the end of which is human flourishing.

American Enterprise Institute

Aspen Institute

Atlantic Council

Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Bipartisan Policy Center

Brookings Institution

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Cato Institute

Libertarian and non-interventionist

Center for a New American Security

Center for American Progress

Center for Immigration Studies

Center for Strategic and International Studies

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Claremont Institute

Commonwealth Fund

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Council on Foreign Relations

Discovery Institute

Earth Institute

Economic Policy Institute

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Freedom House

Guttmacher Institute

Heartland Institute

Heritage Foundation

Hoover Institution

Human Rights Watch

Independent Institute

Inter-American Dialogue

James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy

Kaiser Family Foundation

Lexington Institute

Ludwig von Mises Institute

Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

Mercatus Center at George Mason University

National Bureau of Economic Research

New America Foundation

New Democrat Network

Open Society Foundation

Peterson Institute for International Economics

Public Policy Institute of California

RAND Corporation

Reason Foundation

Rocky Mountain Institute

The Russell Sage Foundation

Third Way

Urban Institute

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Worldwatch Institute

Tweet-O-Random

“The Twitter feeds below are a random selection tied to a large set of “feeds” in the Tweet O-Rama – a large list of watchdog, housing, accountability, consumer, tax, vote protecting, public policy and business integrity people. I make them available to myself for a fast review of the times, sort of a person am I thinking clearly, litmus test. The “keyword” programs that hunt down story trends are cold and grabby. I like to stroll through them for the sense of humanity that remains in the issues people seek to resolve.

I recommend scanning them regularly for what is relevant to them all from day-to-day. As a whole, Tweets represent a spectacular display of what is important to people in groups at the moment. They are not doing well, or maybe it’s just the moments that are not that good. Consider the following selection found in the randomness of tornados, hurricanes, floods, and fires.”

Rex L. Curry

Before you go to the list, first, know that all core documents, assumptions, and arguments that require more testing for data will dance like angels on the head of a pin and achieve nothing. We live in a world of catastrophic resolution (CR). Understand the practical misuse of argument in a diverse, divided country like ours is fully engaged in CR poof.

Garrett Harden’s 1960s thesis regarding the “tragedy of the commons” is true, but our innocent actions are no longer innocent. One balancing element might be the Creative Commons offer of a more open process. Nevertheless, even in the current mess we find ourselves in, observers can see some things with abundant clarity.

Change toward anything better will not work without mass mobilization toward specific tests at the community-based action level of change. Moving the argument from the “atmospheric gas” problem to practical issues under the heading of resilience will shift the argument toward those tests. Every planning director and political leader should be asking questions such as 1) How many homes will flood or burn, and where is it most likely now and in ten and twenty years? 2) Can this region or nation handle that number, and does it have a resilience plan?

Getting blown to pieces, flooded or burned out of a low-cost, no cellar home, then fleeing, returning, and repeating is not a plan. It is climate change roulette. Once the gamble is recognized as such, the questions can get smarter. Participants will look for efficiencies and redundancies in the food and water supply, the energy grid, the quality of emergency response, the replenishment of local mitigation budgets, and so on.

The spread of single-family buildings from huts to mansions across the American landscape is our energy reality. We live where we live. It was shaped by national policy and cannot be reinvented easily in the face of new challenges. The National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956 is a central part of why we live where we live.  The initial expenditure was $26 billion, today that would be $242 billion. The highway spread us. The act was designed in part to protect against the thermonuclear war. Still, it also produced enormous land development wealth, a cheap place to live for everyone post-WWII to the present, and automobile industries that became globally duplicated. An investment in the nation’s future, even for purposes of research on alternatives, is inconceivable today. Yet, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) reports the cost of severe weather and climate disasters to be $91 billion in 2018.

A self-criticism arose during the anti-war and civil rights movement of the 1960s youthful vision of the world. Progressive Americans had to do more than talk to the already convinced. Enough of them added walking that talks itself into new places of culture, economy, and outlook. Americans still need to mix it up because a similar problem remains today after well over a half-century. There are people to listen to and learn from regarding trustworthy improvements in the argument for a better future. Quality leadership remains easily accessible. There is a chance to sustain the vitality of sacrifice in confronting new challenges.

I like David Roberts at Vox on renewable energy, and Amy Harder of Axios is a favorite of mine on energy politics. Grist has Nathanael Johnson exploring, God help us nuclear energy and World Resources Institute offers the big picture with reasoned care.

The Random Tweets

The following tweets are written by people close to the ground who can be aware of tests for organizational, political, and technological changes that meet a local condition and prove a positive change. Feel free to add some. The well of ideas is plentiful. Finding the thread of principle that ties them into a thing called mobilization is the real task at hand. Have a look.

Axios

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)

Dani Rodrik’s Tweets

Dot Earth

Energy Institute at Haas

Environmental and Urban Economics

Environmental Economics

Jeff Goodell

In 2005 his book “The Water Will Come” would not be flying off the shelves around the world as they are in 2019.

Grasping Reality with Both Hands (Brad DeLong)

Greg Mankiw’s Blog

Grist

Harvard Environmental Economics Program

Jeffrey Frankel’s Blog

Larry Summer’s Blog

Long Now Foundation

Take a break — listen to the long term thinking people. Look for the Jeff Goodell presentation about his book “The Water Will Come.”

Making Sen$e | PBS NewsHour

National Bureau of Economic Research

Now This

Their production of Congressional hearing on why corruption is getting ripe in nearly every political venue starts with one interview and a unique analysis (here). For the rest of it, that is why we call this is the tweet-o-random.

Resources for the Future – Common Resources

The Conversation: Analysis, Research, News and Ideas

Vox

Catastrophic Resolution

Good for the City in Small Pieces

“Some years ago, and a year or so after the 9/11 disaster, I was standing near a conversation at a town hall session, when a constituent decried failing systems in service to the simple act of voting – long lines, ill-trained, confused poll workers, broken machines, deplorable participation rates, falling registrations, and so on.  The Senator, politely nodding, said, “Little will happen on any of these issues until voting breaks down completely. Only if that happens can action with money be taken, in the meantime…” when the constituent interrupted and said, “But Senator, all the dots are in a row here,” it was like being slapped.”

Rex L. Curry

Photo © iStockphoto.com/Alvinge (Source Link)

The policy of catastrophic resolution is supported as a congressional decision-making model. While reasonable in one sense, it has become a disease of denial regarding the value of prevention. Today, a variety of life-denying systems within the western economies are held by self-styled anthropophagus-like altruists whose logic would destroy the village to save it and govern at an “arm’s length” with the help of psychopaths they put into public offices. They are not the oligarchs of old that hold the spoils of war. In their worlds, surrounded by the obsequious kindness of others, I believe many of them do not know what they do or have done to damage the future. The clutch of sycophants in their spheres quietly whisper in a gaggle of insistence, saying there is no need for decisive action on the unprovable loss of a single species or global breakdowns in seasonal patterns that bring fire, drought, and thunderous waves from a rising global ocean or the searing heat across ever-widening dry plains. The policy of “no need without undeniable insistence” must not occur.  There is a need for revolution, and I think I know where it might begin.

The synergy of dense urban living appears to create or at least support the rise of conditions that prevent damage to future generations as it defines and solves problems squarely ahead. It can be sloppy. However, most of the cycles of sloppiness are short, cover small geographic areas because only parts of the systems that glue the city together fail at any one time. A city in constates of repair is a city with powerful expertise. When an ancient, wood water main breaks, a sewer fails, a gas line leaks and an electric power loss occurs, only a few people are affected and only for short periods because of compacity. A word that describes many people nearby that know exactly what to do or how to get it done.

ConEdisons Outage Map shows the number of customers affected by location.
New York City’s “Outage Map” by Consolidated Edison
illustrates outages for 3.5 million customers by location.

If you in a dense area experience compacity (the feeling of density) by taking a walk for fifteen, twenty minutes in a reasonably straight line, make four right turns to get back where you started, and you have probably walked a square mile. On average, you have enclosed 30,000 to 80,000 people, miles of road, and thousands of homes. You will have come across multiple subway stations, several hundred commercial retail, institutional service, and public facilities such as schools, police, and fire stations. All in a little over a one-hour walk. Amazing.

The central and overriding responsibility of political leaders and public and private service agencies is to assist in the readiness of people to respond to problems of any kind or signs of trouble of any sort. They should know and understand this capacity as it represents the beating heart of NYC’s future. In every one of these enclosures, whether it is a random square mile or any one of hundreds of neighborhoods, the capacity for positive change is undeniable. Still, it needs to be taught as a practical matter of citizenship, of what to do or not when the need for help is immediate or anticipated.

If or when a city’s potential for positive change or the need for occasionally rapid change is denied or obstructed, it is readily recognized as a conflict against humanity in the place where it occurs. The origins of the forces behind these life-defining conflicts may begin as “person-against -person,-nature, -self, -society, -technology or the raw unknown. These are not the elements of fictional narratives. They represent the day-to-day experiences of regular people. They produce these occurrences of conflict with relish in all things, from the simple exchange over the price of bread for currency to a course in high-school algebra for a grade. They are all things wrought by the compacity of urban life that are continuous and in many ways unrelenting.

In many places throughout the city, your walk would have included observing a highly diverse population. You would have heard many voices speaking combinations of familiar and unfamiliar words. Your opportunity within this environment to purchase and consume your requirement for protein or clothing, a laugh, or a smile is easily acquired. A twenty to thirty-minute train ride will take you to some of the world’s finest hospitals and universities or airports and trains to see far-off places. All of these little break-downs and celebrations renew the place and the person.

 

 

 

Fact Checking People

“Facts are things known that need to be proven. A word of caution my Dad said, ‘Believe none of what you read and only half of what you see.’ Do that, and you get better questions.

The desire of political “camps” is to communicate messages first and facts second. Media advisers and psychologists find the proof of communication in persuasion leading to action. That is it, nothing else. Millions of votes or cans of beer are the proof needed, and ethical communications standards are not required. The friends of the “fact-checking world” help to give writers perspective and the ability to set personal standards.”  

Rex L. Curry

Snopes.com        

A proven and reliable debunker of false statements

FactCheck                     

Dedicated to public education on media bias and deceptive news practices 

Annenberg Public Policy Center’s focus on political statements

Politi Fact           

Rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others in American politics

BallotPedia        

A professional encyclopedia of American politics and elections

Open Secrets      

Tracks money in U.S. politics – nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit

Truth or Fiction

A mishmash and hodgepodge of all the bull on the internet, but lacks focus


Economic Research People

Staying in the “now” of the Tweet Timeline is an efficient way not to be distracted and to recommend breezing through the following outfits to see if you are reminded by many of them are beginning to understand that the earth cannot “know” of its desolation but if it did, it would smell regeneration in the moist breath of our decay.

Economic Policy Institute (EPI)          

Economic policy dialogue on money issues associated with poverty, unemployment, inflation, competitiveness, and problems

Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN)

A collaboration of national, state, and regional groups that conduct economic research, develop and advocate for policy, mobilize public opinion, and win state policy victories.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)

Conducts research and analysis on proposed budget and tax policies, with an emphasis on those affecting low- and moderate-income people.

National Priorities Project (NPP)

Offers citizen and community groups tools and resources to shape federal budget and policy priorities which promote social and economic justice, particularly educating the public on the impacts of federal tax and spending policies at the community level.

Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

Conducts professional research and public education to promote democratic debate on important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

Institute for Economic Analysis (IEA)

Macroeconomics applied to the analysis of policies that do or do not maintain stable, sustainable, structurally-balanced full-employment growth, leading to a more equitable distribution of income and wealth. Aimed at professionals seeking to demystify requirements for a sound economic policy. Does not Tweet

Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS)

A national policy center and field laboratory for high-road capitalism — a competitive market economy of shared prosperity, environmental sustainability, and capable democratic government.

Community Wealth

Practitioners, policymakers, academics, and the media need solid information. This group supports the expansion of community wealth-building institutions with a vast list of organizations on this subject.

Financial Policy Forum / Derivatives Study Center

Created out of the concern that financial markets disruptions and inefficiencies have become a barrier to improvements in living standards in the U.S. and around the world. No Tweets – aimed at professionals, will persuade themselves and few others.

Center for Full Employment and Price Stability (CFEPS)

The University of Missouri-Kansas City aimed at the distribution of papers on employment and cost of living.     No Tweets

Institute on Assets and Social Policy

Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University aimed at reducing inequality to improve social and economic well-being.

The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

A research organization devoted to public policy but steeped in the knowledge of nowhere economic in the United States. No Tweets

Social Policy People

The Urban Institute

Social policy research and some advocacy for vulnerable populations.

National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP)

Columbia University’s work on preventing child poverty in the United States and that improve the lives of low-income children and families in the United States. A focus on its own backyard could help.

Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC)

A social policy research organization dedicated to learning what works to improve the well-being of low-income people.

Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC)

Generates, gathers, and disseminates information regarding the relationship between race and poverty, and promotes the development and implementation of policies and practices that alleviate conditions caused by the interaction of race and poverty.

Progressive Policy Institute

Tax Accountability People

Unlike many countries, the United States is a miracle of taxpayers that actually pay taxes. It is also a culture that tends to let the most important things go unsaid. In this case, when Warren Buffett tells the world he paid a percentage less in taxes than his executive secretary, one of those most important things got said, out loud and it was news. That level of honesty drove the wealth world crazy, and the rest of us saddened by the idea that there is only one good billionaire. A list of the will be found here for review. Following are three progressive agents on the creation of public revenue, aka tax.

Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ)
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP)

Ordinary people need a voice on tax laws and defense against special interests working for corporations and the wealthy.

Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition (FACT)

An alliance of state, national, and some international organizations examining tax systems and policies combating corrupt financial practices.


Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS)

A budget watchdog fighting the politicians from both parties who continue to fund pork-barrel projects, hand out unfair subsidies and tax breaks and make backroom deals with lobbyists.

Business Integrity People

“Globalization requires documenting the impact of the world’s transnational giants through social activism. Self-regulation will work if it supports specific democratic controls and power in the hands of local communities affected by these business networks. A solid principle of business management finds those closest to a source of an impact should have decision-making powers as it affects human rights, labor rights, and environmental justice.”

Rex L. Curry

CorpWatch

As an organization development project of the Social Good Fund, it emerged and evolved from a 1997 book, The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization, written by CorpWatch’s founder Joshua Karliner, and published by Sierra Club. Corporate accountability is tested by malfeasance in the world. Their investigations are about the economic impact on environmental, political, and human rights.

Alliance for Democracy (AfD)

Corporate “company town” style domination of a local market is antithetical to the creation and support of democratic institutions and equitable economies. Alliance’s are forming to keep the United States from becoming one of those “towns.”

Corporate Accountability International (CAI)

Holding corporations publicly accountable requires a megaphone and the subpoena powers of governments interested in the truth. Large transnational corporations create the most dangerous actions around the world. They have the power to devastate democracy, trampling human rights, and destroy ecosystems and must be resisted.

Move to Amend

Can money be a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment? To answer this question, ask how it will be possible to regulate money in political campaigns. Is your $5 the same as another’s $500,000 when it is spent to persuade me to know or think about an issue?

Reclaim Democracy!

Works to restore democratic authority over corporations, reviving grassroots democracy, revoke and reform corporate powers to control government and civil society.

Center for Popular Democracy (CPD)

The Center for Popular Democracy merged with the Leadership Center for the Common Good on January 1, 2014. It includes a sister 501c4 organizations, Action for the Common Good to create progress not just wait for it to occur. 

 DataCenter

The Third Wave Fund helped to establish the closed Data Center project but the idea of capacity building for local organizing groups focused on young people as activists remain. Who else better represents ‘meaning’ in every sense worthy of attention. The idea is good for replication at the local level. Data is in books, but the meaning of it is in people where you live. If you hope to build a local center with tools for the use of information by ordinary people, start here.

Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

Need some legal services to eliminate undue rights of corporations to damage the earth? Over 200 municipalities across the U.S. have enacted this group’s Community Rights laws which ban practices – including fracking, factory farming, sewage sludging of farmland, and water privatization. They fight all those who would violate the rights of people, communities, and nature.

The idea of advancing corporate responsibility appears to many as the ultimate oxymoron. However, helping people who enjoy high levels of cognitive dissonance to identify the lack of endogenous chemicals that enable neurotransmission on triple bottom line issues can be joyful. The following six groups have their fun in this way.

Green America

The economic power and strength of consumers, investors, businesses in the United States is vast. It can establish an environmentally sustainable society and has a lot of ideas about how to get there.

Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

Guidance for socially responsible investing is sought out be huge funds held by groups such as TIAA/CREF in portfolios under the headings of Environmentally and Socially Responsible. If the investment community is not on board we are truly doomed, and not in a good way.

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)

Faith-based institutional investors as stockholders can vote for socially environmentally responsible business practices. Advancing the outlook of these organizations is a step in the right direction.

As You Sow

Shareholders can leverage strategies to improve corporate behavior. Watch how they do it and still do the reaping part.

Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)

Business needs help to find ways to demonstrate respect for ethical values, by making choices through business policies, practices, and processes that advance the welfare and health of a community as well as it builds a business.

Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)

A network of local business networks composed of independently operated businesses share ways they build local economies that know how to share prosperity through local business ownership and environmental stewardship.

https://twitter.com/bealocalist