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, July 07, 2017

Local progressive politics: locally (DC-area) and nationally

The Takoma Park, Maryland Fourth of July Parade is always fun, so we try to attend.  Our next door neighbors have friends who live on Maple Avenue--right on the parade route--so we usually have a place to stand that's shaded.

This year's participation was heavy with political candidates including Kevin Kamenetz--running for Governor--and many people running for Montgomery County positions--new term limits go into effect with the next election cycle so the County Executive position is up as well as four Councilmember positions, as well as State Senators and Representatives, along with Congressman Jamie Raskin, who lives in Takoma Park, and was elected in 2016.

I was surprised by the signs carried by the "Team Wilhelm" contingent promoting teacher Chris Wilhelm's campaign for Montgomery County Council because they espoused a pretty progressive platform, which is unusual in a County Council race, let alone the average center city election.
Chris Wilhelm for Montgomery County Council, featuring an overtly progressive campaign agenda, at the Takoma Park Maryland July Fourth Parade

Campaign planks for focusing on boosting the local economy, free community college tuition--only San Francisco has enacted that, renewable energy, and addressing the "opportunity gap" stick out.

2.  The New York Times has an article about how Republican State Governors and Legislatures are working to restrict the ability of cities to enact progressive legislation ("Blue Cities Want to Make Their Own Rules. Red States Won't Let Them"). 

This appears to be a fellow traveler action alongside the ongoing campaign by pro-business organizations such as ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, to limit progressive action at the state level ("Exposing ALEC: How Conservative-Backed State Laws Are All Connected," The Atlantic) by passing state laws that preempt local government regulation and actions.


3. The Nation has reintroduced their ‘Cities Rising’ reporting series on progressive action--termed "pockets of resistance"--across the country at the local government level.

-- Press Release
-- The Nation's ‘Cities Rising’ webpage

So far, articles cover climate change actions by cities, the quest to close Rikers Island jail in New York City, and Missoula Montana's successful acquisition of the local water utility.

Of course,  The Nation has covered opportunities for progressive local government for a long time, such as:

-- "The Rise of the Progressive City," 2014
-- "Meet the Group of Feisty Urban Progressives Who Want to Transform the Country One City at a Time," 2014. This article introduces us to Local Progress, "the national local municipal policy network" linking progressive locally elected officials from across the country
-- "'All Resistance Is Local': A Plan of Progressive Action for the Trump Years," 2016

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