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- Detroit’s Plan to Make Sure Redevelopment Boosts the Whole CityIn 2018, Ford Motor Company bought the Michigan Central Station, Detroit’s former train depot and most majestic ruin. Opened in 1913, closed in 1988, the train station stood abandoned for 30 years, haunted by vandals and urban explorers.Today, the automaker is spending $350 million to renovate the 18-story Beaux Arts station into the centerpiece of a new $740 million innovation campus where the company will develop electric and autonomous vehicles. Offices will move into upper floors, stores and restaurants into the soaring lobby.And residents of Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood won’t simply watch as prosperity rises around them.Ford, after negotiating with Corktown neighbors and the city, has agreed to pay for $10 million in projects to benefit the neighborhoods around the old depot. It will fund more than $4 million for career training programs, pay $2.5 million to an affordable housing fund and bankroll park renovations and home repairs. Though the… ..... Read More.4 weeks ago
- How Cities’ Big Nonprofits Are Tackling Income InequalityBy some measures, Chicago has one of the country’s largest and most diversified economies with 4 million workers, but the city has struggled to uplift historically segregated and economically depressed communities on its West and South sides.“Our city faces and experiences racial disparities that are among the nation's largest racial disparities on pretty much every social issue you can think of,” Niketa Brar, co-founder and executive director of Chicago United for Equity, said.The problem is not that there are no jobs; unemployment dropped in the Chicago area to 3.2 percent, which is even below the national rate. It’s that the people who could use them the most, like in Austin, on the West Side of Chicago, where nearly a third of households live below the poverty line and over one fifth of adults are unemployed, are not benefiting. In fact, the very success of the city’s economy is having a… ..... Read More.4 weeks ago
- How Boston Is Creating Wealth for Its Low-Wage WorkersBOSTON—It’s debate watch party night at Democracy Brewing in February, and as presidential candidates take the stage to sports-star hype introductions, the politics fans at this European-style beer hall are getting rowdy, like Patriots fans when Tom Brady takes the field. The biggest cheers come from two waiters when they see Bernie Sanders—the candidate who would most approve of the way their workplace is organized.Democracy isn’t just a clever theme at this 2-year-old brewpub. The beer names hint at the business’ mission: the Worker’s Pint blonde ale and the 1919 Strike stout. The beer coasters explain it. “Democracy Brewing is all about two American ideals,” they read: “Democracy, and owning your own business.” The brewpub, which opened on Independence Day 2018, is a worker-owned cooperative—and an innovative program at Boston’s City Hall, the Worker Cooperative Initiative, helped it get started.James Rasza, the brewery’s co-founder and CEO, says Democracy Brewing was… ..... Read More.4 weeks ago
- On the Coronavirus, Nationalists Aren’t Nationalist EnoughA foreign threat, emanating from China and requiring border controls and the exercise of government power to protect Americans, has arrived in the United States.Yet President Donald Trump spent the initial weeks minimizing the threat and talking of it magically disappearing, despite being a nationalist who has long emphasized the importance of borders and the danger of China.One might think the coronavirus would activate Trump’s defensive instincts at least as much as supposedly problematic immigrants and Chinese-made products. But the same Trump who in 2015 famously urged a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims coming into the United States until we could “figure out what is going on,” has largely tried to shrug off the dangers of a new disease the risks of which are still not fully known.He’s brought many of his supporters along with him. Seeking to provide him political cover and reacting against a perpetually hostile media,… ..... Read More.4 weeks ago
- Reflections on a Failed Democratic RevolutionBerniecrats, I know how you are feeling. I know how much that gut punch hurt. I know what it’s like to be convinced you’re about to upend the political order, only to be brutally informed on an election night that the rest of your own party doesn’t share your plans.How could I—a hack political pundit from the corporate media, who has been droning on for months about how the Democratic Party is more moderate than you think—be so empathetic to your plight?Because 16 years ago, at the spry age of 31, I was a wide-eyed liberal blogger who felt that my scribbles on LiberalOasis.com were playing a small part in changing American politics, only to find my mouth agape at the shellacking that my antiwar, anti-Democratic establishment candidate, Howard Dean, took in the Iowa caucuses.The Deaniac left recovered from that disorienting night. We stayed in the fight and changed the… ..... Read More.4 weeks ago
- Michigan Romp Shows Biden Could Rebuild Democrats’ ‘Blue Wall’ vs. TrumpMaybe you’ve never heard of Livingston County, Michigan. It’s not Oakland County, the vote-rich behemoth located next door; nor is it Macomb County, the much-mythologized home of the culturally conservative “Reagan Democrats” who began defecting to the Republican Party decades ago. It’s a lot less populated, and a little too far from Detroit, to attract much notice from journalists and pundits. And yet, as the returns rolled in Tuesday night from Michigan’s primary, it was Livingston that told the most compelling story. Not for what it said about Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, but for what it said about Donald Trump.Four years ago, Livingston was a safe haven for Republicans. Voters there—white, educated, upper-class commuters who head east to Detroit, south to Ann Arbor and west to Lansing—gave no hint of a coming realignment. The county’s congressional seat, property of the GOP for 15 years, was locked down. Its political… ..... Read More.4 weeks ago