Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, November 08, 2013


1.  Virginia.  Yes, Virginia is still very much Republican.  The way that election districts for the State House and Senate are drawn favor rural interests and conservativism.  The fact that the elections are held outside of the national election cycle makes the Republican advantages more pronounced.

The recriminations about the election being close, that Cuccinelli could have won "but if", are reasonable.  The election for Governor was close because the Democratic candidate had plenty of baggage.  A better Democratic candidate likely would have won with a better percentage.

But yes, a decent moderate Republican candidate would likely have beat Terry McAuliffe.  So it's hard to make broad statements about greater national trends based on this election.  See "What Democrats have going for them? Republicans" from Reuters.

I say this because it looks like the hardcore Republican candidate will win the Attorney General position, although by a razor thin margin, and few of the House seats where the Democrats had a "strong chance" of winning were in fact won by the Democrats.

It's hard for Virginia to be a bellweather state on national issues when these structural conditions that favor Republicans are so pronounced. 

2.  Seattle.  SeaTac passed the $15/hour minimum wage.  Mike McGinn lost as Mayor to the establishment preferred progressive Ed Murray.  The big question is if Mike McGinn had not been so obstreperous would he have been elected.  Seattle is doing very well right now.

Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative candidate lost, but she came pretty close.  Now that Seattle is moving to a District-based system for electing Councilmembers, she could very well win in the next go around.

3.  Minneapolis.  The Socialist Alliance candidate in District 9 didn't win, but came in second.  It was pretty close.  Councilman Betsy Hodges was elected Mayor, and she wasn't considered the front-runner.

4.  New York City.  Yes, Bill de Blasio trounced Joe Lhota.  We'll see how this shakes out in terms of progressive policy changes.

5.  I've been meaning to write a piece about women in local politics, because there was a lot of writing about this, about how hard it is for women to win as mayors, because Christine Quinn, endorsed by the New York Times and seen as the heir apparent to Michael Bloomberg, lost in the primary.  See "Women still struggling to win big-city mayoral jobs" from USA Today.

Somewhere I saw an article, on a number of successful candidacies for mayor by women, based on Tuesday's results.  Minneapolis is a big example.

Labels: ,


At 1:07 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

Not sure if Obenshain is that "hard core" Republican. I mean he is one of the valley Republicans. Maybe it doesn't make a difference but he isn't tea party crazy.

At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually voted for Cooch.
Virginia is like a pathetic drunk that hasn't hit rock bottom yet. It hurts to do it, but I'm going to do my part to help it hit rock bottom so it can then get into recovery. That's a ways off though. The Cooch margin of loss was too narrow, so the baggers were hardly defeated. They'll just keep coming back for more, and will swear the reason they don't win is because they aren't conservative enough.

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Paul Bigman said...

Very premature to say that Kshama Sawant lost. Because Washington has all-mail balloting, counting the ballots is slow, and those who vote toward the last day have their ballots counted later than those who vote early. As of the last count, Sawant had 49.49% of the vote; she's behind a little over 1200 votes, with 33,000 votes left to count. In the last count (on Friday evening), over 58% of the votes went to Sawant. She needs about 52% of the remaining votes to win the election.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Thank you for the update. I haven't been checking into my Seattle media sources for the last few days, as I was traveling and my laptop is on the fritz. Good news! I hope she pulls it off.

Anymore more of your thoughts on the election there would be appreciated.

At 1:39 PM, Blogger IMGoph said...

Sounds like Sawant is going to win, and the Republican has a HUGE hurdle to clear to win a recount in the VA AG race.

Maybe things aren't THAT bad election wise? ;)


Post a Comment

<< Home