2017-03-24T10:12:53.733-05:00As we've been saying for a while that the main thrust of urban development the past ten or fifteen years has mostly been about building nice things for rich people.
The fastest growth was in those lower-density suburbs. Those counties grew by 1.3 percent in 2016, the fastest rate since 2008, when the housing bust put an end to rapid homebuilding in these areas. In the South and West, growth in large-metro lower-density suburbs topped 2 percent in 2016, led by counties such as Kendall and Comal north of San Antonio; Hays near Austin; and Forsyth, north of Atlanta.smaller geographic areas than counties confirm that population growth is fastest in lower-density suburban areas, though faster in the highest-density urban neighborhoods than in other urban neighborhoods." data-footnote-id="3" href="https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/americans-shift-to-the-suburbs-sped-up-last-year/#fn-3">3Remember when Pres Kabacoff told us we needed to push out the poors because they are a "drag on the city's economy"? This is what he was talking about. Rich people are better at being "resilient."
Those figures run counter to the “urban revival” narrative that has been widely discussed in recent years. That revival is real, but it has mostly been for rich, educated people in particular hyperurban neighborhoods rather than a broad-based return to city living. To be sure, college-educated millennials — at least those without school-age kids — took to the city, and better-paying jobs have shifted there, too. But other groups — older adults, families with kids in school, and people of all ages with lower incomes — either can’t afford or don’t want an urban address.
2017-03-24T10:01:00.870-05:00Thank the Lord for our Free Market economic system where we foster competition among states to dole out the largest taxpayer financed subsidy to international industrial behemoths so that they might spoil our wetlands and pollute our atmosphere.
The school board in a south Texas community competing with two Louisiana sites has approved an estimated $1.2 billion in tax breaks to entice Exxon Mobil Corp. and its Saudi partner to build a $9.3 billion petrochemical plant within its district along the Texas Gulf Coast.Thus the invisible hand of the market maximizes everyone's utility.
Earlier this year, Exxon Mobil officials said Ascension and St. James parishes are in the running for the petrochemical complex, though company officials have said the Portland, Texas, site is the front-runner and another Texas site is also under consideration.
2017-03-24T08:23:09.667-05:00There was a moment during the long debate over what would become the Affordable Care Act when the Democrats had caved in so badly, when they had so shittied up an already shitty, insurance based, approach to health care reform, that some of us suggested it was time for Obama to draw a line in the sand. Make them start over. Demand a public option or threaten to walk away. But we were unreasonable crazy liberuls and Obama never was the sort to pick a fight over anything anyway so that wasn't going to happen. Trump has a different approach.Washington (CNN) To make a deal, you have to know when it's time to walk. President Donald Trump ripped that classic move from his boardroom playbook Thursday night, seeking to splinter the resistance of House Republicans refusing to pass the health care bill that has left his new administration in limbo.After days of trying to charm members of Congress, Trump gave them an ultimatum: If they don't vote yes Friday, he will move on and saddle them with the shame of failing to repeal Obamacare, a cherished GOP goal.Maybe that's stupid. Maybe it isn't. And I could always be wrong, but I think the Republicans will find the votes to pass their repeal. Even if I am wrong and they don't do it today, there is nothing stopping them from doing it eventually. Thus far the only roadblock in the House is a group of conservatives who, amazingly, do not believe the current bill is cruel enough yet. That's not really going to be an obstacle in the long run. It's a dispute without any real disagreement. Maybe if there were some sort of opposition actually asserting a more progressive vision, Medicare For All, for example, then there would be a sufficient counterweight on which to anchor an actual fight. But the Democrats are too cowardly to propose such a thing.There's no serious resistance to the Republicans' desire to take health care away from Americans and replace it with tax cuts for the rich. That is, after all, what this whole thing is about in the first place. It's what the shitty bill the House couldn't pass yesterday does. And it's what the even shittier renegotiated version they'll supposedly vote on today does as well. All of which is to say there is no fundamental disagreement among Republicans here. They're probably going to pass this.The Senate debate will be slower and more difficult for them but, again, I would caution against the pretense advanced by some, like Stephanie Grace here, that there are reasonable people among this extremely right wing collection of Republican Senators. Grace seems to think Bill Cassidy is going to save the day somehow. But, really, this is just the Overton Window are work. In a room full of yahoos, the yahoo who appears to be the least aggressive, now defines the "centrist" position which serves to normalize the dangerous behavior of all of them.Also Bill Cassidy is full of shit.When Louisiana resident Andrea Mongler wrote to her senator, Bill Cassidy, in support of the Affordable Care Act, she wasn’t surprised to get an email back detailing the law’s faults. Cassidy, a Republican who is also a physician, has been a vocal critic.“Obamacare” he wrote in January, “does not lower costs or improve quality, but rather it raises taxes and allows a presidentially handpicked ‘Health Choices Commissioner’ to determine what coverage and treatments are available to you.”There’s one problem with Cassidy’s ominous-sounding assertion: It’s false.The Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, includes no “Health Choices Commissioner.” Another bill introduced in Congress in 2009 did include such a position, but the bill died — and besides, the job as outlined in that legislation didn’t have the powers Cassidy ascribed to it.In all likelihood the House is going to pass the repeal today. If not, then all they will have done is called Trump’s bluff and eventually everyone will come back to the table and they will do this thing they all very lou[...]
2017-03-22T16:20:32.563-05:00Pretty soon you won't be able to recognize Tulane Avenue anymore. That was bound to happen once the medical center was complete and I don't mean to say it's altogether good or bad. In a lot of cases, it's just a matter of replacing one ugly thing with another ugly thing. Here, for example, they're replacing an ugly motel with an ugly office building.
Despite opposition from a few neighbors and the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, the demolition of the former Le Petit Motel has been approved."Mid-century design." I mean, OK, I guess. If you're really into preserving cheap kitsch for its own sake, that might have some value. Here's the motel as it looked in October when I happened to be in the neighborhood.
The New Orleans Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee approved a request to demolish the former auto motel on 2836 Tulane Ave at its regular meeting Monday. The committee previously deferred the vote so developers could bring the plan to the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization for input.
Two people spoke in opposition of the demolition, including Erin Holmes of the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. Holmes said the former hotel has architectural merit given it’s mid-century design and expressed concern about a large development on the Tulane corridor.
2017-03-17T07:58:27.511-05:00Bernie Sanders, the most popular politician in America, on why the Democrats are missing their opportunity to meaningfully oppose Trump.
Sanders himself put it this way in his usual blunt style in an interview with New York Magazine this week when asked about whether the Democrats can adapt to the political reality said “there are some people in the Democratic Party who want to maintain the status quo. They would rather go down with the Titanic so long as they have first-class seats.”
2017-03-16T22:05:15.863-05:00Garret Graves is taking a "wait and see" posture with regard to Trump's devastating... er... um... "transformational" cuts to Louisiana coastal research funds.
U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, who was previously chairman of the state's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, said he's still taking a wait and see attitude on Trump's budget, at least until details of the budget are delivered to Congress in May.
"I do think it's important to look back at the history of presidential budgets, where you often see the shifting of the deckchairs, you don't see a lot of fundamental changes of form," Graves said. "But as the president talked about extensively on the campaign trail, he wanted to do something transformational. I embrace transformational change and some disruption because that absolutely needs to happen and I came here to take part in that."
Any discussion of this budget that begins with the supposition that Congressional Republicans can't or won't vote for it is dead wrong. This is the stuff of their very DNA. It's everything modern conservatives have run on since the beginnings of their "movement." They will pass this. It is what they've always wanted.There is an increased stirring among allegedly respectable conservatives to separate themselves from the president* and his more manic supporters in the Congress and out in the country. To hell with them. Like Haman, they're dancing on a gallows they spent years devising. This budget represents the diamond-hard reality behind all those lofty pronouncements from oil-sodden think tanks, all those learned disquisitions in little, startlingly advertising-free magazines, all those earnest young graduates of prestige universities who dedicated their intellects to putting an educated gloss on greed and ignorance, and ideological camouflage on retrograde policies that should have died with Calvin Coolidge—or perhaps Louis XVI.This is it, right here, this budget. This is the beau ideal of movement conservative governance. This is the logical, dystopian end of Reaganism, and Gingrichism, and Tea Partyism, and all the other Isms that movement conservatism has inflicted upon the political commonwealth.
2017-03-16T19:16:08.227-05:00This is one of the most respected political consulting firms in New Orleans.
Fur is flying in the race for a seat on the Civil District Court bench in Orleans Parish, with the release this week of scathing mailers and TV ads from candidate Rachael Johnson, daughter of Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson.I got one of the anti-Montero fliers in the mail yesterday. It's kind of funny in that it says, "Lien on me" which goes with the musical theme of the TV spots
The ads target both of her opponents — attorneys Suzanne "Suzy" Montero and Marie Williams — in the race for a seat left open when Judge Regina Bartholomew-Woods moved last year to the appeals court bench.
Williams is the subject of a pair of political fliers, one of them distributed by Johnson's campaign, that feature her mug shot from an arrest in September in New Orleans on an attachment from Jefferson Parish.
Williams called the fliers an unscrupulous attack that falsely paints her as a criminal over a brief arrest from her failure to appear in 2015 at a hearing related to her bitter divorce.
No one has taken credit for the first flier, which appeared late last week on doorsteps in Algiers. It shows her mug shot under the fictitious masthead of the "New Orleans Times." The headline reads: "Marie Williams Arrested!"
Karen Carvin, a Johnson campaign consultant, said that flier didn't come from anyone in Johnson's campaign, but that once the details of Williams' booking were verified, the campaign sent out its own version of the attack mailer this week.
Meanwhile, Johnson has launched a series of ads attacking Montero over a $15,000 tax lien that the IRS filed against her in 2011. The ads include a campaign mailer and a pair of TV spots set to a pair of classic tunes: the Everly Brothers' "Wake Up Little Susie" and Eddie Cantor's "If You Knew Susie."Both attacks are clever. But also kinda dumb and not especially relevant. If only our elections could actually be about things...
Clearly the electoral woes of the Democratic party can be cured by following the lead of former senators Begich, Hagan, Lincoln, and Landrieu, all of whom couldn't win re-election. Of course, DC lobbyists Begich, Hagan, Lincoln, and Landrieu might not be all that concerned with the electoral fortunes of the Democratic partyEvery cowardly piece of shit Important Person in Louisiana politics and media will praise her wisdom, though.
2017-03-16T17:34:53.896-05:00Today's presentations at IDB from the perpetual Six Flags bidders didn't go well.
Three offers to buy the decaying Six Flags park in New Orleans East failed to win favor from a review committee of the Industrial Development Board on Thursday (March 16), leaving the future of the 227-acre property murky again.I'm sorry, I've lost track. This is like the third or fourth go-round for the IDB in this process. It might help matters along if the same people didn't keep showing up to bid time after time. But no such luck. Here is Frank Scurlock's latest pitch. It has a little bit of everything.
A three-member committee of the Industrial Development Board, which owns the shuttered park, decided not to recommend any of the three buyout offers, pointing to concerns about accepting a deal without knowing whether the buyer has the financial backing to quickly clean up and redevelop the park.
"We're anxious to see something happen with Six Flags, but we're not anxious to see it wind up for an unknown period with blight," said board president Alan Philipson.
During the meeting Thursday, Scurlock unveiled his team's new plans for the property, holding up a poster wrapped in brown paper. "In this sealed package is the future of that property," Scurlock said. He peeled away the wrapping paper to reveal an aerial map of the Six Flags park marked with areas for a water park, theme park, zip line area, a resort hotel and a Hurricane Katrina museum. Scurlock suggested he'll have more to present at the board meeting Friday.
2017-03-16T15:37:21.484-05:00Today the Aviation Board voted to expand the scope of the new terminal at MSY. The latest estimate for the new North Terminal puts the total cost at $993 million. The price tag includes about $136 million to expand the terminal to 35 gates. That figure that has risen by nearly a quarter since its initial design phase last fall in order to add more space and make it more efficient, including additional ramp space for airplane movement and baggage facilities.This pushes the completion date into 2019 so they're not gonna make it in time for the big Tricentennial now. But that's the price of progress, right?So back in January, we noticed that this expansion became possible after the city announced it had "hit its triggers" in terms of additional airlines and flights over a relatively short period."In 2016, the growth of the Louis Armstrong International Airport exceeded ourexpectations yet again," Landrieu said. "With increased service via 17 airlines and 59 non-stop destinations, including 7 international destinations, we have hit the triggersfor additional expansion.”How did they do that, we wondered. What sorts of things does the city do for the airlines in order to ensure these triggers are met? Nobody was really saying anything about that. At least not in the local press, anyway. But if you go look at the cities we were out-competing like Pittsburgh, for example...It used to be that airports provided a fairly standard waiver of landing fees and marketing help to entice airlines. But now they and their partners are offering much more, as the competition for new routes intensifies.That’s especially true in mid-sized markets like Pittsburgh, where a nonstop flight to a sought-after destination like London is seen not only as a way to cut travel times but as a driver for economic development.“The secret’s out. Local airport service is one of the pillars of economic growth. Everybody knows that and everyone out there is trying to improve air service,” said Blair Pomeroy, a longtime aviation strategy consultant who has worked for airlines in the past.While incentives always have been part of the efforts to attract coveted service, what has changed is the willingness by cities or airports to offer cash subsidies or risk sharing schemes to minimize the carrier’s financial exposure, Mr. Pomeroy said.“Now it’s part of the game. You want a new flight to a big city, you’re going to have to come up with launch incentives, marketing, and risk sharing,” he said.In other words it's kind of like fighting over a major league sports franchise. Ownership is going to locate wherever they're sucking down the most public money. As it turns out in this case, New Orleans was offering British Airways just a little bit more. In addition to Wow and Condor, the airport authority has offered cash incentives to British Airways to start coveted nonstop service to London from Pittsburgh International, CEO Christina Cassotis said.She would not divulge the amount but described it as “substantial.”The airport lost out last month when British Airways awarded a London nonstop to New Orleans, with the city’s tourism bureau chipping in $1.4 million a year for three years to help with the flight.Mr. Pomeroy believes New Orleans offered more than the county airport authority to attract the flight. But Ms. Cassotis said money was not the reason Pittsburgh didn’t get the route. One supposes this means NOTMC coughed up the $1.4 million. NOTMC is one of those agencies that takes in gobs and gobs of public hotel/motel tax money that could be funding city services and turns it into a bonanza for "tourism leaders" and their friends and benefactors. Count the airlines among that number too. [...]
2017-03-16T14:34:08.826-05:00The Trump budget proposal is terrifying. WASHINGTON — President Trump will send a budget to Congress on Thursday that sharply reorders the nation’s priorities by spending billions of dollars on defending the southern border and bolstering the Pentagon while severely cutting funds for foreign aid, poverty programs and the environment.Trump proposes to cut EPA by 31%, Health and Human Services by 18%, eliminate entirely the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and end public broadcasting. Those are just the highlights. If nothing else the cuts would mean massive layoffs under a Presidency that has promised 4-6 percent or greater economic growth. Adding this fiscal anti-stimulus to the similarly depressing monetary policy announced by the Fed this week makes this projection seem even more unlikely.Locally the budget proposals would hit especially hard. Louisiana's flagging battle against the rigors of climate change and coastal erosion will not be helped by cuts to NOAA. The Community Development Block Grant program which basically paid for the post-Katrina rebuilding of New Orleans is set to be eliminated. Trump has proposed cutting the $3 billion community development block grant program entirely. New Orleans initiatives to build affordable housing, mitigate homelessness, fight blight, and subsidize summer employment and recreation activities could all take a hit. The city spent $11.3 million last year through the block grant program. The Trump budget also calls for the elimination of the HOME Partnerships program, which helps with affordable rental housing and homeownership for low-income families. New Orleans spent $2 million last year through that program.There's more in there that is going to cause severe pain in New Orleans and in cities across the country. But this is just another consequence of the Democrats' having failed to make a convincing argument against Trump that connected with every day American voters. Take, for example, New Orleans' experience with the TIGER grants. Trump wants to eliminate the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program, a signature of the Obama administration and a resource for New Orleans Regional Transit Authority in recent years. The TIGER program helped pay for the Loyola Avenue streetcar project and has appropriated additional funding to redo the Canal Street ferry terminal. The budget also eliminates similar grant funding through the Federal Transit Administration to shift construction costs to local governments.Now TIGER is a great program. Investment in public transit is one of the best things we can do with federal money. But when the neoliberals in charge of putting these funds to use decide to use them on toys for tourists or real estate development gimmicks like our new streetcar lines and the new ferry terminal, you can start to see how the voters might not be too enthusiastic about defending your corrupt party. Even when the wolves are at the door for all of us. [...]
2017-03-16T13:53:41.887-05:00This article is completely unhelpful.The New Orleans Saints welcomed cornerback Malcolm Butler to town Wednesday evening as they try to determine what they'd be willing to spend to add him to the defense.After Butler arrived, he went to dinner with some members of the team, according to a source, though it's unclear exactly who dined with the 27-year-old cover man.According to an ESPN report, the vibe at dinner was good, and Butler seemed comfortable.That's great that the vibe was good and all. But where did they eat? We don't even know from this who was there. If the team was taking him out, then it was probably Emeril's. The Saints always take people to Emeril's for whatever reason. If it was just a players' thing then it could have been anywhere. (Probably not Jimmy John's but who knows.) Anyway, everyone knows Saints fans are at least as interested in what was for dinner as they are in what the team might be up to. This needs to be revised.By the way, Menckles and I got a chance to try Altamura last week. This is a relatively new restaurant that opened in the Magnolia Mansion last year. The idea is to do "Northeastern-inspired" Italian-American, as in not the "Creole-Italian" style you find all over New Orleans at places like Vincent's or Irene's or Venezia or in a lot of people's grandma's houses. Instead the model is New Jersey, as the proprietors told Gambit, Jack Petronella and executive chef Coleman Jernigan have been working on the plan for the Northeastern-inspired Italian restaurant for the better part of three years, since the duo opened their Prytania Street coffee shop together in 2013. The restaurant’s menu is largely inspired by Petronella’s childhood in New Jersey. “I’m so excited about what we’re doing here,” Petronella said. “We did not reinvent the wheel, but this was about bringing the Northeastern feel that's in every Italian restaurant on every corner in New Jersey and New York.”So we were curious. But I don't think the sort of place they evoke when they say that aspires to be quite as fancy Altamura does. Certainly it can't be as pricey. The design is described as "retro-chic" but, to us, the medium-bright lighting, plain white tablecloths, and sterile decor just felt like a hotel restaurant. This place is located at the corner of Jackson and Prytania so the crowd was extremely uptown Garden District types. Older couples and a table full of fancy ladies. Lots and lots of unnecessary jackets and pearls everywhere. The food was OK. The best thing was probably the spiedini mozzarella, which is fried bread and cheese soaked through with anchovy olive oil and capers. I ordered clams casino because nobody serves clams anything in New Orleans for the most part. There was a lobster ravioli that we thought was fine and a veal parm that she didn't like at all. (Too thick a cut. Soft breading that "tastes too much like fried fish.") I don't want to complain too much. It's just that I've paid less for better Italian.Anyway, I'm sure Malcolm Butler could afford it, although I hope the Saints didn't try and land him by bringing him there.[...]