Monday, July 28, 2014

City of Villages Vibrant ethnic neighborhoods, not tall buildings, define the real Los Angeles


Los Angeles is unique among the big, world-class American cities. Unlike New York, Boston, or Chicago, L.A. lacks a clearly defined core. It is instead a sprawling region made up of numerous poly-ethnic neighborhoods, few exhibiting the style and grace of a Paris arrondissement, Greenwich Village, or southwest London. In the 1920s, the region’s huge dispersion was contemptuously described—in a quotation alternately attributed to Dorothy Parker, Aldous Huxley, or H. L. Mencken—as “72 suburbs in search of a city.” Los Angeles’s lack of urbane charm led William Faulkner to dub it “the plastic asshole of the world.” But to those of us who inhabit this expansive and varied place, the lack of conventional urbanity is exactly what makes Los Angeles so interesting.

My adopted hometown is the exemplar of the modern multipolar metropolis: less a conscious city than a series of alternatives created by its climate, its diversity, and a congested but still-functional system of freeways that historian Kevin Starr calls “absolute masterpieces of engineering.”

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Brandon Loran Maxwell - Blame Unions for High Prison Costs

What’s not to love about Oregon? It’s green. It’s hip. It’s weird. Yet, behind the cultural mystique of Oregon lies a troubling truth: Compared to similar-sized states, it has one of the fastest growing prison populations in the nation and spends 7.5 percent more per inmate than the national average—$84.81 each day.
To put $84.81 in perspective, Mississippi spends $39.56 a day—merely half of what Oregon spends. In fact, of the nation’s 14 states with populations ranging between two and five million people, ten of them spend less per inmate than Oregon. Only Iowa, Connecticut, and New Mexico spend more. So where is the money going?
Interestingly enough, of the ten states that spend less than Oregon per inmate, nine are right-to-work states. Of the four states that spend equal to or more than Oregon per inmate, three are forced-union states.

Matt K. Lewis - Why Conservatives see rural America as the 'real' America (and why this is a problem for the GOP)

Matt K. Lewis is a contributing editor at and a senior contributor for The Daily Caller.
Perhaps the most ironic thing about other conservatives adopting an anti-city worldview is that it is partly based on a pernicious lie advanced by the high priest of romanticism, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau essentially invented his own creation myth out of whole cloth. It differed greatly with the Christian understanding of creation, inasmuch as instead of viewing man as a fallen creature (due to original sin),

Rousseau envisioned early man as a sort of noble savage. It wasn't until man recognized the concept of property and ownership, Rousseau argued, that he became greedy and corrupted. In that view, a simple life is good and pure. A modern urban life is dirty and wrong.

 "Many scholars have pointed out the romanticists' idea that somehow cities are breeders of sinful behavior and people who live in the country are more virtuous is actually something that's been passed into the American psyche and actually into the American Christian psyche so that we have a tendency to have a very negative view of cities," says Keller.

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Jill Homan - The path to Republican urban renewal

Thirteen years ago on July 1, Mayor Richard Riordan ended his term as Los Angeles mayor, leaving Republicans out of office in another major city.

 Since that time, some of the city’s residents have moved out and new residents moved in, resulting in over 300,000 net new voters registered – none of whom have lived in Los Angeles as a Republican city. If the GOP wishes to remain competitive in national elections in 2014 and beyond, it must reverse a two-decade decline in voter support in the country’s major cities.

Twenty years ago, Republicans controlled the executive branch in six of the nation’s 12 largest cities, including today, a member of the Grand Old Party holds the mayoralty in just one of these cities (San Diego). In fact, only three cities in the top 25 largest cities – representing approximately 36 million people – are led by Republican mayors. There’s no simple partisan diagnosis for this dramatic shift in political fortunes. It’s true that Republicans have, at least since Reagan was in office, focused on suburban and rural voters – some of whom were escaping cities that were dangerous or poorly managed.

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