Or: reactions to things I’ve been seeing on Twitter this past week that demand something other than a Twitter-length response.
Lisa Schweitzer made a post about Measure S in LA and how a particular argument from the YIMBY folks is, er, more than a little counterproductive.
I don’t believe the YIMBY/NIMBY framing itself is particularly illuminating, as there’s no distinction made between whether what’s going in the back yard will drive local property values up or down, but let’s set that aside for the moment. The point is when what most people can see of your movement, regardless of its rights or wrongs, is a bunch of middle-class libertarian wonks barfing up simplistic Econ 101 talking points, your movement has a PR problem. If I live in a lower-middle-class neighborhood and see a shiny new condo tower or art gallery or some other Pricey Thing go up in my street, I begin to seriously wonder if I’ll be able to afford to live there in the next few years. What might be a sign of growth for you is a harbinger of doom for me. And if your response to those concerns is to act indignant that I’m not gratefully swallowing your Econ 101 talking points, to either lump me in with the rich idiots in Chevy Chase or mock my progressive bona fides or shove more Econ 101 stuff down my throat, your movement has a serious PR problem.
Because that’s all this is; PR. And you, in your infinite wisdom, are godawful at it. Average rent figures mean nothing to me. Neither does the promise that all those condo towers will actually be affordable in several generations’ time. I, the hypothetical LA resident at risk of displacement, want to know what your solution will do for me now, in 2017. Point is, the anti-S/YIMBY side would do well to actually address (not dismiss!) the concerns of people worried about getting pushed out of their homes and come up with a solution that doesn’t favor, you know, middle-class libertarian wonks. Some people are doing that already—I’ve been hearing stuff about public housing, dingbats, and subdividing larger lots—but that’s by no means the angle most people are taking right now.
As for where I stand on Measure S personally: if I lived in Los Angeles I’d abstain.
For a look at how things will go within the Democratic Party if Keith Ellison becomes DNC Chair, one need look no further than the slow motion train wreck that is the UK Labour Party under Corbyn.
To wit: if Ellison becomes DNC chair, the D establishment will then focus all their time and energy on, at best, making sure he isn’t able to actually influence anything, and at worst, oust him in a coup. They will, in essence, treat Ellison with the exact same respect Republicans treated Obama. This very visible internal discord will turn off any Democrat-leaning independents, not because of any distaste for the man at the top, but because they look at the Democratic Party as a whole and quite rightly see a paralyzed, dysfunctional trash heap that’s manifestly unfit for purpose. This isn’t Ellison’s fault, to be perfectly clear, this is the fault of the tantrum-throwing toddlers on top, but that doesn’t mean the dilemma isn’t there.
Here, then, are the Democrats’ options: elect another empty corporate suit as DNC chair and watch the pro-Ellison people stay home in 2018, or elect Ellison as DNC chair, have the party tear itself apart (read: have eighteen solid months of D Establishment obstructionism, sabotage, and subterfuge), and watch the independents stay home in 2018. Either way, the Democrats’ self-destruction will continue.
You could also purge the D establishment with extreme prejudice, so they have no impact whatsoever on policy from this moment forward. Just sayin’.
[UPDATE: Welp, looks like they went with the empty corporate suit. Great job, guys, hope you enjoy your continuing slide into irrelevance. Doesn’t mean burning the party’s right wing to ashes and then burning the ashes and then salting the earth so nothing can grow from the ashes isn’t still a good idea.]
This is at the bottom because it’s more petulant whining at my lack of foresight than anything else.
Yesterday I discovered the Denver RTD’s new in-car strip map looks an awful lot like my redesign of the network from 2015. While I’ll admit that it’s possible the person who designed that thing hit upon the same solutions I did independently (the routing of the A and B lines and the configuration of Union Station are different), it still really feels like someone at RTD looked at my map, ganked the actual route lines, and modified the thing to fit the RTD’s internal house style and the actual network as it exists in 2017 (and…not very well, to be honest).
Now, to be fair, my map’s been floating around the internet for some time and I have a nasty habit of not posting copyright notices on my stuff, but…it’s literally the fourth entry on the Google Image search for “Denver transit map,” and the site the image links to is the map’s review on the Transit Maps Tumblr, which review (a) attributes the map to me, and (b) has a link to this blog!
So, uh…RTD…despite the lack of attribution in the map itself, it’s not hard to find the source, so, uh, you couldn’t have asked first? It really wouldn’t have been that hard.
(I’m also peeved because I was planning on tweaking the map to address Cameron’s recommendations and selling it as a poster, and I don’t want RTD sueing me.)