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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.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Whew! (Yesterday's elections)

So the Democrats won in Virginia, and for Nassau County Executive and Westchester County Executive in Suburban New York City ("Westchester County election results: 9 Takeaways," Westchester-Rockland Newspapers), and in a bunch of other places. 

It doesn't look as if Ginger Jentzen, the Socialist Alternative candidate for Minneapolis City Council's Ward 3 is likely to win.  While she got the most first place votes, in Minneapolis' ranked choice voting system ("How ranked choice voting works," Minneapolis Star-Tribune), second and third place votes count too, and Steve Fletcher, the candidate with the second most first place votes got way more second and third place votes ("No winner in Ward 3 Tuesday night," Minnesota Daily).

I didn't mention that Mayor Betsy Hodges faced eleven candidates, as police killings and other matters plagued her tenure.  It appears that she lost, although results won't be finalized until today.

Photo: Sharon Cantillon, Buffalo News.

I didn't mention many referenda.  According to the New York Times, "New York Voters Reject a Constitutional Convention."  According to the Buffalo News:
"Voters appeared ready to approve a referendum that would allow the state to create a 250-acre land bank in the Adirondacks and the Catskills while giving local communities more flexibility in making infrastructure improvements. That referendum had a 2.6 point lead with 77 percent of precincts reporting.
The Denver area passed a number of referenda concerning parks, roads, and cultural asset financing ("Denver voters strongly approve $937 million bond package for roads, parks, libraries and cultural facilities: Program with big sticker price will unleash about 460 projects in first large bond program in a decade," Denver Post).

It's interesting how these types of referenda tend to win, including roads (Maine's 2017 measure on road funding passed too) while it's more of a toss-up on transit measures, although a bunch seem to have been passed with this election cycle according to the Center for Transportation Excellence.

In Maine, where hard right Republican Governor Paul LePage kept vetoing expansions of Medicaid, a referendum calling for that expansion passed decisively ("Maine OKs Medicaid expansion in first-of-its-kind referendum," ABC-TV).

The Virginia election wasn't just important for the Governor's race, but also for the House of Delegates, where all of the 100 seats were up, and the Republicans had an almost 2-1 advantage. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Democrats erase 32-seat GOP advantage in House; recounts likely to determine control," that situation has significantly changed.  From the article:
Democrats picked up three open seats — including one in Henrico County — and knocked off at least 13 Republican incumbents on Tuesday to draw even in power in the House, pending recounts that could still swing in either direction.
Still, most of the rural seats stayed in Republican columns, so the election there continues to reflect the urban-rural political divide. Attention to figuring out better ways to connect rural and urban interests within a progressive agenda is still absolutely necessary. From the article:
But nowhere was the Democratic wave more powerful than in Northern Virginia, especially Prince William County, which Toscano had called “the battlefield” for the House.

Democrats defeated five Republican incumbents who represent parts of Prince William, including House Republican Caucus Chair Timothy D. Hugo, R-Fairfax, who lost by 68 votes to Democrat Donte Tanner in another race that will go to recount, and House GOP Whip Jackson H. Miller, R-Manassas, who was beaten decisively by Lee Carter despite tepid Democratic support for the challenger.

Del. Richard L. Anderson, R-Prince William, and Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, both members of the House Appropriations Committee, lost to Democrats Haya Ayala and Elizabeth R. Guzman, respectively.
Representative Ligamfelter was one of many anti-urban legislators from the area.

In Minneapolis ("Voter turnout for Minneapolis municipal election highest in decades," Minnesota Daily, Virginia, Maine and other jurisdictions, turnout was up significantly.

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