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.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

More election stuff I neglected to mention

1. R.T. Rybak is not running for re-election of Mayor in Minneapolis and 35 people are running to replace him (AP story, "35 Candidates Vie to Be Next Minneapolis Mayor").  How is that possible?

The city has instituted ranked choice voting, and instead of having a primary, they have one election with all the candidates up.  They also have a low filing fee--$20--and presumably relatively low signature-petition requirements.   From the article:
Under ranked choice, if no candidate exceeds 50 percent of first-choice votes, that triggers a series of automatic runoffs in which lower-ranked candidates are eliminated and second and third choices are redistributed to remaining candidates' totals.
2.  A white guy, Mike Duggan, is the leading candidate to win election as the next Mayor of Detroit.  See "The race to become Detroit's next mayor" from the Washington Post and "Mike Duggan leads Benny Napoleon in Detroit race for mayor, poll" from the Detroit Free Press.

3.  On the New York State ballot is a constitutional amendment recommending casino expansion.  The NYT columnist Ross Douthat, a conservative, thinks that casino expansion is a race to the bottom.  From "Pot and Jackpots":
“In the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states,” a report from the Institute for American Values noted this year, “nearly every adult now lives within a short drive of a casino.” And after this Tuesday, that drive may get considerably shorter, because New York voters are expected to ratify a constitutional amendment allowing up to seven more casinos in the state.

... in the case of casinos, whose consequences for the common good are straightforwardly disastrous. As the Institute for American Values report points out, the alliance of state governments and gambling interests is essentially exploitative, and the tax revenue casinos supply comes at the expense of long-term social welfare. Casinos tend to lower property values and weaken social capital in the places where they’re planted, they’re more likely to extract dollars from distressed communities than to spur economic development, and their presence is a disaster for the reckless and the addiction-prone. 
While reading, I was struck by the work of University of Michigan political scientist Ronald Inglehart, on "post-industrial" political behavior and attitudes and their relevance, these days, to the US.  It's too bad I never took his class.  He focused on studying Europe at the time, although a cross-national study carries on the work.  

4.  In my discussion of "the tea party" and Republicans, I should have mentioned New Jersey.  The Tea Party movement hasn't been strong in that state, although Pennsylvania, which adjoins New Jersey, has a strong conservative bent and is the home of former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Christie, a Republican maintains strong support from Democrats and Independents for his "fix government" pragmatic approach.

5.  The National Journal has a good article, "A How-To Guide to Blowing Up the Constitution," about why the US Constitution no longer works all that well for operating government.  The people quoted tend to favor a more parliamentary type system, which one house is stronger than the other in the legislative branch, room for more than two parties and coalition government, and how the winner of the House gets the presidency/prime ministership.

6.  Depending on the nature of the conservative aims toward government--either support of less government vs. support of no government--maybe the "Republican" party will have to break up, and the possibility of coalition government in the House would have to be considered.

7.  Apparently in Montreal, election day was this past Sunday.  Municipal government there has been roiled over pay-to-play elections and the most recently elected mayor resigned.  His appointed replacement resigned too, over similar problems.  The Liberal Party-affiliated candidate, Denis Corderre, won ("Coderre wins Montreal mayoral election," Toronto Globe and Mail), turnout was low ("Low voter turnout in Montreal election," Global TV News), and Projet Montreal, the more left party controls three boroughs and 22 seats on the 65-seat City Council ("Projet Montréal poised to form opposition, sweep three boroughs," Montreal Gazette).

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