Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Top 3 George Carlin Bits

3. The "football vs. baseball" bit
2. The "when was the last time we bombed white people" bit
1. The "this country was founded by slave owners who wanted freedom" bit

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Unpublished NYT Letter to the Editor


Props to the NY Times for William Yardley's chronicle of a progressive city's struggle with their "blind spot" around gentrification and its impact on low-income, working and communities of color, "Racial Shift in a Progressive City Spurs Talks," [5/29/08]. It was also a breath of fresh air the article pointed out Portland's problems play themselves out in cities across the country where middle, low-income and working families struggle to maintain some sense of stability to live, work and raise their families in the neighborhoods we call home.

It's time we change the way our neighborhoods and cities develop and grow. Neighborhoods and communities can no longer simply be seen as commodities, markets and investments to be bought and sold at the whim of speculators. The result of this conventional wisdom - that the only common sense 'fix' for 'crime-ridden, blighted and polluted' communities (often code for communities of color) is corporate luxury development with token "mixed income" projects and subjective definitions of affordable, workforce housing - is the current economic recession in which the country finds itself, a recession widely thought to be buoyed by a so called housing crisis. Fortunately many are now finally starting to see it's really an affordable housing crisis, "Major San Francisco Development Faces a Ballot Test," [5/28/08].

Similar to the idea of living wages - that people who work hard should be able to live and raise a family on their salaries - communities should be able to control development so that the people who live there can continue to do so if they choose.

Talking about it like folks are in Portland is a start. But changing faulty common sense conventional wisdom is really achieved through action and "living development" policies shaped by and for the people who live in the communities in need of solutions to the affordable housing crisis.

The article did leave this regular NYT reader and subscriber begging for answers to a few questions.

If Portland's Restorative Listening Project is rooted in the concept of restorative justice and modeled after the truth and reconciliation commission following the end of apartheid in South Africa, is gentrification a crime? To me at least, there's no doubt solutions require some sort of prevention and corrective action to decrease racial, gender and class disparities (Note to regular readers: Another Pundit calls these disparities *democracy divides*)

And how are cities, towns, municipalities and other governments from rural America to urban centers - where revenues for essential services and things like, I don't know, public safety, are almost solely dependent on credit and bond ratings from corporate handouts and back room deals with predatory developers and misery profiteers - going to find the resources to play government?

Another Pundit

Monday, June 9, 2008

NCMR 2008 Haiku

National Conference on Media Reform 2008:

media justice
is much more about justice
than the media

"We are in Government but not in power."

A quote for the day.

“We are in government but not in power,” said Lula’s close aide, Dominican friar Frei Betto. “Power today is global power, the power of the big companies, the power of financial capital. Source.