Author Topic: America's Inner City; Urban Issues  (Read 51966 times)

DougMacG

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues, Detroit
« Reply #50 on: August 02, 2013, 09:38:57 PM »
What caused Detroit's demise?  How is it that everybody here seems to understand exactly  what policies caused the demise of Detroit and no one in a position of policy making power anywhere in the economy seems to understand it at all?

Photo currently showing with the headlines on the Drudge Report:


Perfectly good or repairable buildings serving absolutely no economic purpose.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 09:40:52 PM by DougMacG »

DougMacG

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Metro 'Smart Planning', 'Regionalism', "Cities without Suburbs"
« Reply #51 on: August 07, 2013, 10:53:44 AM »
This article is written with the Twin Cities MN metro of Minneapolis, St. Paul and suburbs in mind.  The same issues are likely in play in your metro as well.  Met Council of which she refers is the unelected governing body of the seven county metro area.  Minnesota currently has a Dem Governor, House and Senate, so these liberal causes are currently able to move quite rapidly.

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/218173402.html

Twin Cities suburbs should beware of the Met Council

    Article by: KATHERINE KERSTEN
    August 3, 2013

Crusaders for ‘regionalism’ want a more concentrated, centrally planned Twin Cities. Those who don’t may never know what hit them.

The Twin Cities of 2040 will likely be starkly different from the place you live now. People will increasingly live in dense, urban concentrations, even if they’d prefer a house with a yard outside the 494 beltway.

Government planners will have power to steer new jobs into central cities and first-ring suburbs, and to set what amounts to quotas for people of different incomes and races in neighborhoods and schools throughout the metro area. Outside the urban core, highway conditions will deteriorate and congestion — encouraged by government — will get worse.

As these changes unfold, you’ll never be sure how the freedom and quality of life you once took for granted slipped away. Plenty of elected officials will be as frustrated as you are. But mysteriously, they too will stand powerless as choices constrict.

What will be the engine of this transformation? An out-of-the-limelight agency we generally think of as running the buses and occasionally approving a new runway at the airport: the Metropolitan Council.

In coming months, the council will release a draft of “Thrive MSP 2040” — its comprehensive plan to shape development in the seven-county region over the next 30 years. Powerful forces are coalescing to use the document as a tool for social planners to use to design their vision of the perfect society — and to impose it on the rest of us.

A huge, unchecked power grab is about to take place beneath our noses. But mayors and city councils will find it hard to push back. That’s because the Met Council will increasingly wield the power to decide which municipalities thrive and which decline. It will both write the rules for development and hold the purse strings.

The Met Council was established in the mid-1960s at the behest of Republican-leaning policymakers, who believed regional planning of infrastructure could enhance efficiency. Its reach has grown dramatically, and today it allocates funds (state, federal and regional) among the region’s 187 municipalities for projects ranging from highway improvement to bridges to sewer lines. In the process, the council’s role has expanded well beyond its original mandate, as government so often does.

We can expect MSP 2040 to put this process on steroids, giving the agency a license, over time, to dramatically remake the entire region.

The forces shaping MSP 2040 — whose final vision the council will approve in 2014 — are part of a growing nationwide movement called “regionalism.”

Regional planning of service delivery and infrastructure is important, of course. But “regionalism,” as an ideology, is not, as its name suggests, about promoting the good of a region as a whole. It’s about metro centers — the urban core and inner-ring suburbs — usurping control over outer-ring communities to advance their own interests and, in the process, effectively replacing local elected officials with a handful of regional governments.

In the case of the Twin Cities, the ramifications for democratic self-rule are profound. The Met Council’s 17 members are not elected. Though they come from different parts of the seven-county area, they don’t represent the needs and interests of voters there. They are all appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton, and they owe their allegiance to him.

The press for regionalism is coming from the highest power in the land: the Obama White House. The Obama administration’s campaign to build the regulatory framework to implement the movement’s agenda is documented in political analyst Stanley Kurtz’s 2012 book, “Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities.”

The Twin Cities may be a showcase for how far the regionalist crusade can go. Our Met Council is unique, and we already have regional tax-base sharing — one of the movement’s most sought-after tools.

An army of academics, environmental organizations, foundations, and transit advocacy and left-wing religious groups is working to ensure that MSP 2040 greatly expands the Met Council’s regulatory control. And there’s a movement underway to organize politicians from inner-ring suburbs and Minneapolis and St. Paul, with the goal of taking on the outer-ring suburbs and forging a permanent legislative majority for the regionalist agenda.

Regionalism is driven by a core ideological conviction: The cause of the poverty and social dysfunction that bedevil America’s cities is the greed and racial bigotry of suburbanites — especially those in prosperous, outer-ring suburbs, which are viewed as unjustly excluding the poor. Regionalists believe that financial aid for the inner ring won’t remedy this injustice. A profound change in governance is required.

What sort of change? The title of a book by regionalist guru David Rusk puts it bluntly: “Cities without Suburbs.” In regionalists’ view, suburbs with their own tax bases are, by definition, a menace to cities, and the distinctions between the two must be wiped out as completely as possible.

Regionalists’ strategy to effectively merge cities and suburbs turns on two ideologically freighted buzzwords: “equity” and “sustainability.” “Equity” is code for using public policy to redistribute wealth and to engineer economic equality among demographic groups.

Regionalists view metrowide “economic integration” as one of government’s primary responsibilities. Their plan to accomplish it is twofold: Disperse urban poverty throughout a metro area via low-income housing and make suburban life so inconvenient and expensive that suburbanites are pushed back into the city.

“Sustainability” means policies that would override market forces to ensure that in the future, the great majority of new jobs, economic development and public works projects are funneled into the metro area’s urban core and inner ring — where, not coincidentally, regionalists’ own political base is concentrated. “Sustainable” policies promote high-density, Manhattan-style living, and attempt to wean us away from our cars and push us to walk, bike or use public transit to get to work.

As one critic — speculating on MSP 2040’s likely outcome — lamented: “Do we all have to live in a 1,500-square-foot condo above a coffee shop on a transit line?”

Suburbanites will disproportionately shoulder the costs of this socially engineered transformation, paying more in taxes and getting less back in infrastructure and public services.

Purse strings

Regionalists’ strategy for imposing their agenda hinges on giving regional bodies like the Met Council the ultimate trump: the power of the checkbook. The Obama administration’s “Sustainable Communities Initiative” (SCI) provides a model. SCI channels federal funds for land use, transportation and housing projects through regional bodies. The catch is that, to participate, municipalities must embrace redistributive “equity” goals.

The Met Council already has announced that “equity” and “mitigating economic and social disparities through regional investments” will be top priorities of MSP 2040. This explicit embrace of social engineering goals appears to signal an intent to initiate what could be a virtually limitless remake of our metro area.

Special-interest groups are lining up to lobby for proposals to embed “equity” and “sustainability” criteria in Met Council plans and/or funding criteria. These proposals include creating one giant seven-county metro school district to facilitate apportionment of students by race and income, and ensuring that “at least 70 percent of projected growth in population and households” in the next 30 years takes place through “infill and redevelopment of already urbanized land.”

In the future, if Prior Lake or Anoka want to get a grant to expand a major regional highway, officials there may need to demonstrate that their city meets the council’s “equity” criteria on low-income housing and doesn’t allow “exclusionary” zoning, instead of just showing that the project would improve safety or reduce congestion.

Over time, demands could escalate. Eventually, for example, a municipality may have to meet onerous “carbon footprint” or “clean energy” requirements to get approval for a new sewer line. Pressure will mount to make state and federal aid of all kinds contingent on meeting Met Council social planning dictates.

Most likely, the council will continue to operate under the fiction that cities have a choice. Yet a city council or a county board that declines to comply with “regionalist” criteria — citing its citizens’ needs and preferences — would ensure that funds and approval for improvement would stop, and so would remain frozen in time.

Advocates insist that the Twin Cities must embrace regionalist policies to remain “economically competitive.” In fact, top-down planning by unaccountable bureaucrats that distorts market forces is likely to constrict overall prosperity and stymie development. Ironically, it’s also likely to increase “sprawl,” as people flee to cities like Delano or Elk River to get beyond the Met Council’s iron grip.

Most importantly, the direction the Met Council is heading is inconsistent with our deepest beliefs as a people. The American dream is about striving for a better life through economic growth, not redistribution of wealth. Regionalists’ Orwellian appeals to “equity” and “sustainability” are hostile to our cherished traditions of individual liberty, personal responsibility and local self-government.
------
Katherine Kersten is a senior fellow at the Center of the American Experiment.

bigdog

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Segregation, diversity, and clustering
« Reply #52 on: August 16, 2013, 09:44:15 AM »
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2013/08/segregation_in_america_every_neighborhood_in_the_u_s_mapped_along_racial.html

From the piece:

How diverse is your neighborhood really? This map by Dustin Cable at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service displays the population distribution of every person in America (as of the 2010 census) along racial and ethnic lines. The map features 308,745,538 dots, each smaller than a single pixel and each representing one person: Caucasians are blue, blacks are green, Hispanics are orange, Asians are red, and other races are brown.

The vast swaths of purple appear to show the racial diversity of some of America’s biggest cities. But if you zoom into the map and break these cities down at the neighborhood level, patterns of segregation become much clearer.

Cable uses the example of Minneapolis–St. Paul to illustrate a city where racial integration in the city as a whole appears far greater than it does in individual blocks of streets.

DougMacG

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Re: Segregation, diversity, and clustering
« Reply #53 on: August 23, 2013, 07:15:47 AM »
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2013/08/segregation_in_america_every_neighborhood_in_the_u_s_mapped_along_racial.html
How diverse is your neighborhood really? This map by Dustin Cable at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service displays the population distribution of every person in America (as of the 2010 census) along racial and ethnic lines. The map features 308,745,538 dots, each smaller than a single pixel and each representing one person: Caucasians are blue, blacks are green, Hispanics are orange, Asians are red, and other races are brown.

The vast swaths of purple appear to show the racial diversity of some of America’s biggest cities. But if you zoom into the map and break these cities down at the neighborhood level, patterns of segregation become much clearer.

Cable uses the example of Minneapolis–St. Paul to illustrate a city where racial integration in the city as a whole appears far greater than it does in individual blocks of streets.

VERY interesting post and map.  Interesting that people choose segregation to such a large extent, nearly 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and segregation laws were ruled illegal. 

If you look at the inner cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul (the example chosen) from a distance you see apparent diversity.  Then they show a map down to the neighborhoods and you see apparent segregation.  What they don't show is that if you zoom in even closer to the household or even the bedroom you again see diversity.  Millions and millions of Americans are either mixed race individuals or live in mixed-race households.

One in seven new marriages in the U.S. involve spouses from different racial groups. Pew 2011.  That proportion, I will guess, is even higher for unmarried couples.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2013, 07:39:04 AM by DougMacG »

DougMacG

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Re: America's Inner City: Paul Ryan reaches in
« Reply #54 on: April 28, 2014, 07:57:47 AM »
Where poitics meets culture, and vice versa.  A long story with good coverage of Paul Ryan going into the inner city, which he has learned to not call the inner city because that has racial overtones.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/paul-ryans-inner-city-education

Ryan is doing something rather unprecedented for a Republican: He is spending unchoreographed time with actual poor people. He is exposing himself to the complexities of low-income life that don’t fit in the 30-second spot, the outlay spreadsheet, or the stump speech applause line. He is traveling well outside his comfort zone — and it has been uncomfortable.
...
At one point, as he tells me about his efforts during the presidential race to get the Romney campaign to spend more time in urban areas, he says, “I wanted to do these inner-city tours—” then he stops abruptly and corrects himself. “I guess we’re not supposed to use that.”
His eyes dart back and forth for a moment as he searches for words that won’t rain down more charges of racism. “These…these…”
I suggest that the term is appropriate in this context, since it is obviously intended as an innocuous description of place. He’s unconvinced, and eventually settles on a retreat to imprecision: “I mean, I wanted to take our ideas and principles everywhere, and try for everybody’s vote. I just thought, morally speaking, it was important to ask everyone for their support.”
...
There is a familiar, approved narrative of the Woodson–Ryan union: The two men met in the early ’90s through their mutual friend Jack Kemp, the Republican Party’s big-tent visionary, and reconnected near the end of the 2012 campaign, when Ryan asked him to assemble a panel of grassroots-level advocates for the poor to participate in an off-the-record roundtable.
...
Ryan’s broad vision for curing American poverty is one that conservatives have been championing for the last half-century, more or less. He imagines a diverse network of local churches, charities, and service organizations doing much of the work the federal government took on in the 20th century. Rather than supplying jobless Americans with a never-ending stream of unemployment checks, for example, Ryan thinks the federal government should funnell resources toward community-based work programs like Pastor Webster’s.
...
If his rhetoric lacks poetry, his arguments against the current state-centric approach to aiding the poor is compelling. Since Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “war on poverty,” the U.S. government has spent an estimated $13 trillion on federal programs that have resulted, 50 years later, in the highest deep poverty rate on record. The failure, Ryan contends, is in the notion that anti-poverty programs are best managed from the top, with Washington bureaucrats crunching numbers and then issuing lowest-common-denominator directives. “It’s this premise that you’ve got to sit in D.C. and you can just have a really enlightened, benevolent bureaucracy that can figure all this stuff out,” he says, adding, “It’s well-intended. But it’s so, to me, paternalistic and arrogant and really kind of condescending. It doesn’t work, and it’s sort of debilitating. It takes the creativity out of communities, out of people.”
...
After more than a year of trying to lead a national conversation about the causes and consequences of poverty, what he’s gotten is a dogfight.

DougMacG

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Re: America's Inner City; Getting Past Name-Calling to Talk About Poverty
« Reply #55 on: April 30, 2014, 08:25:36 AM »
I am no fan and disagree on a couple of details, but kudos to Juan Williams for taking this on.  This is not about race; it is about a culture of not trying to join the productive economy.  Our public policies including the safety hammock and marginal effective tax rates sometimes greater than 100% on people trying to get out of poverty are perpetuating the problem.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303939404579529732883407464?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303939404579529732883407464.html

Getting Past Name-Calling to Talk About Poverty
Rep. Paul Ryan is meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. Let's hope they give his ideas a fair hearing.

By JUAN WILLIAMS
April 29, 2014 7:26 p.m. ET

Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) is scheduled to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday to discuss his plans to address poverty and his March 12 comments in a radio interview about a "tailspin of culture" in our inner cities where "generations of men [are] not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work." Mr. Ryan's statement sparked liberal accusations of racism. Rep. Barbara Lee (D., Calif.) called it "a thinly veiled racial attack" that "cannot be tolerated" for ignoring that the majority of the poor are white and often live in the suburbs and rural areas.

All this provides what President Obama might call "a teaching moment." For more than a year, Mr. Ryan has been working closely with Robert Woodson, the head of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, to find solutions to generational poverty among inner-city families—many of them black and Hispanic. But because Mr. Ryan is white—and worse, a Republican, he is a "racist" for pointing out how many approaches to poverty alleviation aren't working.

"No wonder people who want to be thoughtful . . . and deal with the issue" are often afraid to speak up, said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu at a panel I hosted earlier this month at the Aspen Institute's Fourth Annual Symposium on the State of Race in America. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said that even though he is black, he is criticized by many black leaders for talking about an obvious problem in his city and others: black-on-black crime. Murders among black men ages 18-34, he noted, make up the majority of homicides in New Orleans and Philadelphia.

Mayor Landrieu pointed to Mr. Ryan's discussion of inner-city poverty as a vivid illustration of the need for white political leaders of goodwill to be given more leeway in discussing problems in black America—without risking knee-jerk charges of racism—if the nation is serious about solving those problems. Improving the schools that regularly fail black and Hispanic children is another example of a situation where anyone committed to reform faces racial name-calling.

Mr. Ryan and two Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, have recently been traveling the country to look for ways to reduce poverty, including the disproportionate poverty among minorities.

Mr. Paul has focused on lowering taxes in black neighborhoods to promote investments that lead to jobs. Mr. Rubio has discussed replacing traditional poverty programs such as the earned-income tax credit with direct grants to low-income, low-skill workers that allow them to decide how to best help themselves, with job training or education programs. Mr. Ryan's focus so far has been on ending high rates of unemployment among poor black men by providing incentives to pursue work.

All of the Republican strategies are in early stages of formation. But the immediate response by liberals has been to charge them with simply wanting to cut today's antipoverty programs. Rep. Gwen Moore (D., Wis.) a member of the Black Caucus who is also on the budget committee chaired by Rep. Ryan, recently told reporters that "his take on talking about poverty is to say we spend billions or trillions of dollars on poverty programs . . . and poverty won." She accused him of "playing with statistics or numbers, because in fact these poverty programs have helped raise people into the middle class . . . it has literally been a lifeline to millions of people and not just people of color."

The fact is that federal and local government programs have helped to lift people out of poverty. But it is also a fact that despite those efforts there is a persistent high level of poverty among black and Hispanic Americans, before, during and after the Great Recession. Obviously new strategies, not just spending more money on existing antipoverty programs, is needed to help people in poverty and especially minorities.

In his closed-door meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, Mr. Ryan is expected to explain his support for new public-policy options for lowering the poverty rate among blacks, a rate only slightly higher than poverty among Hispanics but three times as high as poverty among non-Hispanic whites. Any new ideas have to chase away old perceptions that contribute to people living in poverty. Racism is a reality and so is a tough economy doing a slow climb out of recession.

But that is not the whole story. As we've long known, education is key. Studies confirm that black people who graduate from high school, who never leave the workforce but take any job they can find as young people, no matter how meager, are rewarded with better jobs. It is also true that people who marry before having children have a much lower likelihood of living in poverty.

Mayor Landrieu, among others, sees an opening for honest debate about the true issues behind race and poverty—as well as high rates of black-on-black crime—with the 50th anniversary of the 1965 report titled: "The Negro Family: The Case for National Action." The report, written by a white Labor Department sociologist who later became a U.S. senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, made the case that it was more than a shortage of jobs that led to high black unemployment. Moynihan, a Democrat, also pointed to the breakdown of the black family, specifically the lack of positive male role models, which led to increased dependence on welfare.

That report was sharply criticized as "blaming the victim" by liberals and black leaders at the time but was later embraced by many rigorous thinkers in both parties. Sadly, the ills that Moynihan pointed to have grown along with minority poverty. It is way past time for new ideas from all quarters about solving a serious problem.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 08:54:37 AM by DougMacG »

DougMacG

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Re: America's Inner City, Chicago: 82 shootings in 84 hours
« Reply #56 on: July 08, 2014, 06:13:26 AM »
My point looking into America's inner cities is not gun violence but the culture in the neighborhoods where that is happening.  This is IMO largely the result of our failed policies in the war on poverty.  George Gilder wrote about this in 1981 in "Wealth and Poverty" and the consequences he described then couldn't be more true today.  Government provides the necessities, lives without purpose, men without responsibilities, neighborhoods without home ownership, children without two loving parents in the home, businesses leave the area, schools fail, the cycle gets worse.

Instead of fighting poverty and a poverty mentality, pursue wealth and a wealth mentality.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-chicago-murder-shooting-violence-edit-0708-20140708,0,2426321.story

G M

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Re: America's Inner City, Chicago: 82 shootings in 84 hours
« Reply #57 on: July 08, 2014, 10:02:14 AM »
My point looking into America's inner cities is not gun violence but the culture in the neighborhoods where that is happening.  This is IMO largely the result of our failed policies in the war on poverty.  George Gilder wrote about this in 1981 in "Wealth and Poverty" and the consequences he described then couldn't be more true today.  Government provides the necessities, lives without purpose, men without responsibilities, neighborhoods without home ownership, children without two loving parents in the home, businesses leave the area, schools fail, the cycle gets worse.

Instead of fighting poverty and a poverty mentality, pursue wealth and a wealth mentality.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-chicago-murder-shooting-violence-edit-0708-20140708,0,2426321.story


Personal responsibility and economic growth would run contrary to the needs of the dems/racial industrial complex.

DougMacG

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Re: America's Inner City, Chicago: 82 shootings in 84 hours
« Reply #58 on: July 08, 2014, 08:35:28 PM »
"Personal responsibility and economic growth would run contrary to the needs of the dems/racial industrial complex."

That's right.  But it shouild be clear by now to some very key constituencies that these policies are failing those people.

G M

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues
« Reply #59 on: July 08, 2014, 09:05:10 PM »
That's why school choice is opposed with such fervor. Can't have any kids escaping the public school indoctrination machines.

DougMacG

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America's Inner City, Baltimore grew "progressively poorer"
« Reply #60 on: May 01, 2015, 08:54:08 AM »
I took a stab at this, responding to a call for personal responsibility in 'the way forward thread: http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1736.msg87168#msg87168  It its good to others chiming in.  This article with the same themes has credibility coming from a Professor of Economics at Loyola University in Maryland, author of Restoring the Urban American Dream.  Understanding these facts and concepts is crucial to ever changing the direction of our economic malaise and urban decline.  Why can't we make these points persuasively to ALL demographic groups in all neighborhoods?  How can anyone think stomping on and chasing out wealth helps the poor?  Why are we taking away personal responsibility from those with the most need?  What a great country we would have if the we had everyone in, pulling in the same direction.  And what an ugly and dysfunctional society we become when we let ourselves fracture like this.
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Baltimore: A Lesson in Why Robin Hood–ism Hurts the Poor
 by STEPHEN J. K. WALTERS   May 1, 2015 4:00 AM
The morning after the Baltimore protests first turned violent and destructive, USA Today carried a front-page photo well worth a thousand words. With a burning car and police van in the background, a looter carried away his prizes: two cans of Pringles, a gallon of iced tea, and a bundle of diapers. So much destruction, such puny rewards.

This plundering was widely — though not universally — condemned. A few radical-splained that a riot is the language of the unheard, the voice of the voiceless, yadda, yadda, yadda. The more mainstream talking point was that the rioting was a “distraction” from the narrative that the Left is trying to build out of the death of Freddie Gray: We are a nation ruled by racist, oppressive institutions abetted by brutal cops, where social and economic injustice is pervasive, and deep “societal change” is necessary.

In Baltimore, of course, the rhetoric of powerlessness just won’t play. Even the incendiary Rev. Jamal Bryant, an Al Sharpton wannabe who has likened the city’s police force to ISIS, has noticed that he lives in a city with a black mayor (the fourth in its history), black police chief, black chief prosecutor, and majority-black city council.

But pay no attention to that black power elite behind the curtain. Let’s talk about “the burn behind the burn,” in the words of Malik Shabazz, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center — not known to be part of the vast right-wing conspiracy — as a “racist black nationalist” with a history of “violently anti-Semitic remarks and accusations about the inherent evil of white people.” Shabazz, according to SPLC, is “particularly skilled at orchestrating provocative protests.”

The source of “the burn” is urban poverty and inequality, and the treatment is money. President Obama announced with his usual confidence that “there’s a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now in that,” while also asserting that the evil Republicans running Congress would, of course, refuse to make the “massive investments in urban communities” required. So, hey, don’t blame us progressives.  Baltimoreans are justifiably angry — just at the wrong people.

As a matter of historical fact, however, it is with progressive ideology that responsibility lies for Baltimore’s stagnant economy, its lack of job opportunities, and its meager stocks of physical, human, and social capital. Baltimoreans are justifiably angry — just at the wrong people.

The responsible parties have always meant well, of course. Before World War I, it seemed clear to those of good will that the federal and state governments weren’t doing enough to improve the lot of the poor. Because big cities often contained more than their share of both the destitute (usually recent immigrants) and the compassionate, what we call “Robin Hood Government” first took root there. The well-off would be made to pay for policies and programs that would lift up the poor. Public-works projects and swelling public payrolls would enhance poor people’s employment prospects; their slums would be cleared and replaced with better, cheaper public housing.

Of course, this could get expensive. Boston’s “Mayor of the Poor,” James Michael Curley, quintupled that city’s property-tax rate in his four terms and bragged, not inaccurately, that he had inspired imitators in places such as Baltimore and in the New Deal itself. But it would all be transformational.

And it was — just not in a good way. Playing Robin Hood at the local level, it became clear, had a huge downside. Take from the rich (and working classes) at the national level, and the unenlightened among them may grumble. Do the same thing at the local level, however, and they simply move.

With them will go vast quantities of capital in all its forms: not just knowledge, financial wealth, and social networks, but over time the factories, offices, homes, and stores that are the machinery of a successful city. The old capital wears out, and the new investment needed to replace it goes elsewhere.

So it was that Baltimore, which in 1950 enjoyed a median family income 7 percent above the national level, grew progressively poorer (double entendre, um, intended) as it cleared “blight,” sprinkled housing projects around town, expanded social-welfare programs, and paid for it all with 19 property-tax increases in the next 25 years, doubling its former rate. Each hike, via what economists call tax capitalization, reduced property values. It was legal looting, but property owners — capitalists — didn’t like it any better than the illegal kind of plundering, and they fled. Baltimore’s land area is 81 square miles, but within its borders, you are never more than a few miles from a more favorable investment climate. Chase the capital — and capitalists — away, and laborers suffer diminished opportunity, productivity, and income.

Naturally, then, many of those left behind are angry. Call it “rage against the absent machine.” Contrary to the teachings of Comrade Marx, capital and labor are not adversaries, but partners in production. Chase the capital — and capitalists — away, and laborers suffer diminished opportunity, productivity, and income. Poverty, crime, and social disorder flourish. The key force here is not racism — which explains little of the wide variation in cities’ fortunes over time — but a misguided devotion to Robin Hood–ism at the local level.

What is worse is that several generations of Baltimore’s leaders, though well aware that prior policies caused catastrophic capital flight, have embraced a palliative that is neither effective nor equitable. Indeed, they have chosen a course that reinforces complaints of the city’s poorer residents that “the system” works mainly for the rich.

It is now routine for officials to dole out special tax breaks and subsidies to well-heeled and well-connected developers to offset the city’s punishing tax rate and to attract private investment. It is also woefully inadequate to the city’s needs. This is not only because these projects often affect just a few acres along the waterfront and largely ignore the areas where we now see “unrest,” but because an investment environment that depends on the favor of whoever sits in City Hall can never lead to an organic and sustained urban renewal.

To thrive, Baltimore needs to put aside the Robin Hood model of urban governance and embrace a new one: conscientious protection of its residents property rights. It must radically reform its tax policy; it must end its reliance on grandiose redevelopment projects that seize land through eminent domain; it must reclaim its public spaces for the use and enjoyment of the law-abiding. The good news is that the city’s recent turmoil and tension provide ample reason for its leaders to question their devotion to old formulas — or for new political blood to challenge them. Nobody in Baltimore is happy right now. Perhaps that discontent will lead us toward the right path.

 — Stephen J. K. Walters is the author of Boom Towns: Restoring the Urban American Dream and a professor of economics at Loyola University Maryland.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417765/baltimore-lesson-why-robin-hood-ism-hurts-poor-stephen-j-k-walters
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 08:57:37 AM by DougMacG »

G M

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues
« Reply #61 on: May 01, 2015, 10:48:28 AM »
Funny how blue cities and states are such utter failures.

DougMacG

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues
« Reply #62 on: May 01, 2015, 09:28:05 PM »
Funny how blue cities and states are such utter failures.

Right and the causation goes both directions.  Areas of failure from leftist federal policies turn left locally, causing even more failure.  It spirals downward, progressively poorer as the author put it, until there is one party rule and entire families and neighborhoods where hardly anyone knows anyone who works or has started a business.

Have you ever bought a product manufactured in the Northside of Minneapolis, Southside of Chicago or a neighborhood of west Baltimore?  Can anyone name a great company founded in one of these areas since the war on poverty began?  Probably not.  Drive 10-20 miles outward and the graduation rate jumps from 37% to 98%, to take just one indicator of poverty vs. wealth, failure vs. success.

There is no easy fix, but there will be no solution at all when people won't admit this is all wrong and try to change course.

Crafty_Dog

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Whoops! The President forgot to mention this , , ,
« Reply #63 on: May 04, 2015, 08:22:22 AM »
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/05/04/as-obama-seeks-urban-investments-baltimore-got-18b-from-stimulus/

The city of Baltimore received over $1.8 billion from President Obama's stimulus law, including $467.1 million to invest in education and $26.5 million for crime prevention.

Obama claimed last Tuesday that if the Republican-controlled Congress would implement his policies to make "massive investments in urban communities," they could "make a difference right now" in the city, currently in upheaval following the death of Freddie Gray.

However, a Washington Free Beacon analysis found that the Obama administration and Democratically-controlled Congress did make a "massive" investment into Baltimore, appropriating $1,831,768,487 though the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), commonly known as the stimulus.

According to Recovery.gov, one of Baltimore's central ZIP codes, 21201, received the most stimulus funding in the city, a total of $837,955,866. The amount included funding for 276 awards, and the website reports that the spending had created 290 jobs in the fourth quarter in 2013.

Of this amount, $467.1 million went to education; $206.1 million to the environment; $24 million to "family"; $16.1 million to infrastructure; $15.2 million to transportation; $11.9 million to housing; and $3.1 million to job training.
=========================
IF my math is correct those 290 jobs created cost over $6,310,000 each  :cry: :cry:  :x

DougMacG

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Re: Whoops! The President forgot to mention this , , ,
« Reply #64 on: May 04, 2015, 09:13:53 AM »
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/05/04/as-obama-seeks-urban-investments-baltimore-got-18b-from-stimulus/

The city of Baltimore received over $1.8 billion from President Obama's stimulus law, including $467.1 million to invest in education and $26.5 million for crime prevention.

Obama claimed last Tuesday that if the Republican-controlled Congress would implement his policies to make "massive investments in urban communities," they could "make a difference right now" in the city, currently in upheaval following the death of Freddie Gray.

However, a Washington Free Beacon analysis found that the Obama administration and Democratically-controlled Congress did make a "massive" investment into Baltimore, appropriating $1,831,768,487 though the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), commonly known as the stimulus.

According to Recovery.gov, one of Baltimore's central ZIP codes, 21201, received the most stimulus funding in the city, a total of $837,955,866. The amount included funding for 276 awards, and the website reports that the spending had created 290 jobs in the fourth quarter in 2013.

Of this amount, $467.1 million went to education; $206.1 million to the environment; $24 million to "family"; $16.1 million to infrastructure; $15.2 million to transportation; $11.9 million to housing; and $3.1 million to job training.
=========================
IF my math is correct those 290 jobs created cost over $6,310,000 each  :cry: :cry:  :x

Just sickening.  It's not just that the money doesn't help; the money pouring in is doing immeasurable damage.  How is some young person starting out or single parent trying to off of welfare supposed to get focused and motivated on getting out of bed in the morning and showing up on time everyday for a lousy, entry level job and work hard all day for a relatively small amount of money to pay the bills and establish a good work record when people are throwing millions and literally billions around right in front of you?  It used to be only the drug dealers who had the fancy, shiny cars that the kids would envy.  Now its the government cronyists.

Here is the Baltimore Congresswoman on Fox News Sunday.  Chris Wallace asked he one good follow up question,  but no one ever really pins them down on just how dead-wrong they are:

http://www.foxnews.com/transcript/2015/05/03/rep-donna-edwards-freddie-gray-family-attorney-on-bridging-gap-between-race-and/

WALLACE: ... whenever have you riots, people talk about the underlying conditions. And there's no question that Baltimore, the city of Baltimore, has serious problems. Let put them on the screen.

The violent crime rate is four times the national average. Unemployment in Freddie Gray's neighborhood in Baltimore was 21 percent. Seventy-two percent of eighth graders score below proficient in math.

Now, a lot of people, frankly, conservatives, have pointed out that Baltimore has not had a Republican mayor in 50 years. Is it unfair to say that the liberal policies have failed the city of Baltimore?

EDWARDS: No. I think it's unevenly spread. I mean, I would say, for example, with our schools, just prior to the Freddie Gray incident, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was actually prevailing upon our Republican governor to release money for school funding.

When you have schools that are operating in the 20th century, and we're trying to prepare our children for the 21st century, even those children know they are not educated in the right way. I think that that is a baseline for how we can revitalize communities so that it's not -- we're not investing in economic development only in the areas where we get tax abasements but we're investing in other areas in the community, our small businesses and our education system and job retraining.

WALLACE: But, Congresswoman, if I may, it's not a matter of money. One of the things that we learned this week is Baltimore spends the third highest although per capita on its public school.
Baltimore was already spending plenty on public school and the schools were still lousy.

EDWARDS: Well, I mean, there's uneven spending in the public schools. And I would say to you -- I mean, even the school that let out where the riots first began, there was a student who was interviewed who said, I'm looking at a book that's 20 years old. How does that prepare her for the 21st century?

So, I think we have a lot of questions to ask. They're not just -- they're not questions that are only for Republicans. They're questions for Democrats and Republicans about where we're going to make investments in our communities so the only investment we make isn't on the back end on law enforcement.
--------------------------------

Throw more money in is the only proposal coming from the elected, governing establishment, and then blame whoever puts limits on that for all the problems.  Yes we spent more than two trillion dollars but it was "spread unevenly".  They already have second in the nation spending and 72% can't do math. 

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-05-21/news/bs-md-ci-census-schools-20130521_1_school-system-per-pupil-spending-districts

It shouldn't take a person labeled 'conservative' to tell them what they are doing isn't working!

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Doing business in Baltimore
« Reply #65 on: May 04, 2015, 10:15:59 AM »
The supply-chain management company I started in the late 1990s and lead today is in downtown Baltimore. On the night of the worst violence last month, there were more tempting targets than our cement, nondescript building, like the liquor store 150 yards away that was looted. Yet on any given day what takes place in this neighborhood is a slow-motion version of recent events. Graffiti, which anyone with experience in urban policing will affirm is the first sign of trouble, regularly appears on the exterior of our building. From there the range of crimes escalates to burglarizing cars in the parking lot, and breaking and entering our building.

City policies and procedures fail to help employers address these problems—and make them worse. When the building alarm goes off, the police charge us a fee. If the graffiti isn’t removed in a certain amount of time, we are fined. This penalize-first approach is of a piece with Baltimore’s legendary tax and regulatory burden. The real cost of these ill-conceived policies is to the community where we—and other local businesses in similar positions—might be able to hire more of those Baltimoreans who have lost hope of escaping poverty and government dependency.

Maryland still lags most states in its appeal to companies, according to well-documented business-climate comparisons put out by think tanks, financial-services firms, site-selection consultants and financial media. Baltimore fares even worse than other Maryland jurisdictions, having the highest individual income and property taxes at 3.2% and $2.25 for every $100 of assessed property value, respectively. New businesses organized as partnerships or limited-liability corporations are subject, unusually, to the local individual income tax, reducing startup activity.

The bottom line is that our modest 14,000-square-foot building is hit with $50,000 in annual property taxes. And when we refinanced our building loan in 2006, Maryland and Baltimore real-estate taxes drove up the cost of this routine financial transaction by $36,000.

State and city regulations overlap in a number of areas, most notably employment and hiring practices, where litigious employees can game the system and easily find an attorney to represent them in court. Building-permit requirements, sales-tax collection procedures for our multistate clients, workers’ compensation and unemployment trust-fund hearings add to the expensive distractions that impede hiring.

Harder to quantify is the difficulty people face who want to live here. Our employees reduce their tax burden and receive better public services in the suburbs. I live in the city, however, and it is a challenge to stay here. My two children attend a public elementary school where classrooms are filled beyond capacity with 30 or more students. Bathroom stall doors and toilet-seat lids are missing. The heat goes out in the winter and the air-conditioning goes out in hot weather. It’s hard to explain the importance of developing science and math skills to students wearing winter coats in the classroom.

Contrary to President Obama’s suggestion in a news conference following saturated television coverage of the riots, lack of urban “investment” is not the problem. The Maryland state and Baltimore city governments are leveraging funds to float a $1 billion bond issue to rebuild crumbling public schools. This is on top of the $1.2 billion in annual state aid Baltimore received in 2015, more than any other jurisdiction and eclipsing more populous suburban counties. The financial problem Baltimore does face is a declining tax base, the most pronounced in the state. According to the Internal Revenue Service, $125 million in taxable annual income in Baltimore vanished between 2009 and 2010.

Leadership can change this. Maryland last fall elected a new governor, Republican Larry Hogan, who campaigned on improving the state’s business climate and bipartisanship. Baltimore’s mayor since 2010, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, says she is committed to rebuilding the city. Despite some minor jabs at each other in the past few months, both showed an effective working relationship during the crisis of the past few weeks. Their political futures will now be linked as the real work begins to repair Maryland’s largest city.

They will be building on perceptions of the Baltimore area that go far beyond the 24-hour, instant-news cycle. We have corporate success stories to tell the world about, including Under Armour, a global leader in sports apparel, and McCormick, the classic American spice company founded here in 1889. But these companies succeed despite the business climate, not because of it.

The simplest, most direct way to offer hope to discouraged people is to hire them. The Baltimore business community has a simple message to law enforcement and elected officials: “Help us help you.” People making good wages, working at jobs they are proud of don’t destroy themselves or the place where they live. We have the political and business talent to rebuild one of America’s great cities, once we focus on creating the conditions for job growth.

Mr. Steinmetz, a former member of the Maryland Small Business Commission, is the CEO of Baltimore-based Barcoding Inc.

DougMacG

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A very wise man whose writings helped to form some of my views.

"The welfare state has led to remarkably similar trends among the white underclass in England over the same period.  You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility, and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large."

"One key fact that keeps getting ignored is that the poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits every year since 1994."

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417899/inconvenient-truth-about-ghetto-communities-social-breakdown-thomas-sowell




Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Baltimore is not about race
« Reply #67 on: May 05, 2015, 11:02:25 AM »
Sowell invariably raises the level of whatever conversation he joins!
===============

Baltimore Is Not About Race
Government-induced dependency is the problem—and it’s one with a long history.
By William McGurn
May 4, 2015 7:18 p.m. ET


For those who see the rioting in Baltimore as primarily about race, two broad reactions dominate.

One group sees rampaging young men fouling their own neighborhoods and concludes nothing can be done because the social pathologies are so overwhelming. In some cities, this view manifests itself in the unspoken but cynical policing that effectively cedes whole neighborhoods to the thugs.

The other group tut-tuts about root causes. Take your pick: inequality, poverty, injustice. Or, as President Obama intimated in an ugly aside on the rioting, a Republican Congress that will never agree to the “massive investments” (in other words, billions more in federal spending) required “if we are serious about solving this problem.”

There is another view. In this view, the disaster of inner cities isn’t primarily about race at all. It’s about the consequences of 50 years of progressive misrule—which on race has proved an equal-opportunity failure.

Baltimore is but the latest liberal-blue city where government has failed to do the one thing it ought—i.e., put the cops on the side of the vulnerable and law-abiding—while pursuing “solutions” that in practice enfeeble families and social institutions and local economies.

These supposed solutions do this by substituting federal transfers for fathers and families. They do it by favoring community organizing and government projects over private investment. And they do it by propping up failing public-school systems that operate as jobs programs for the teachers unions instead of centers of learning.

If our inner-city African-American communities suffer disproportionately from crippling social pathologies that make upward mobility difficult—and they do—it is in large part because they have disproportionately been on the receiving end of this five-decade-long progressive experiment in government beneficence.

How do we know? Because when we look at a slice of white America that was showered with the same Great Society good intentions—Appalachia—we find the same dysfunctions: greater dependency, more single-parent families and the absence of the good, private-sector jobs that only a growing economy can create.

Remember, in the mid-1960s when President Johnson put a face on America’s “war on poverty,” he didn’t do it from an urban ghetto. He did it from the front porch of a shack in eastern Kentucky’s Martin County, where a white family of 10 eked out a subsistence living on an income of $400 a year.

In many ways, rural Martin County and urban Baltimore could not be more different. Martin County is 92% white while Baltimore is two-thirds black. Each has seen important sources of good-paying jobs dry up—Martin County in coal mining, Baltimore in manufacturing. In the last presidential election, Martin Country voted 6 to 1 for Mitt Romney while Baltimore went 9 to 1 for Barack Obama.

Yet the Great Society’s legacy has been depressingly similar. In a remarkable dispatch two years ago, the Lexington Herald-Leader’s John Cheves noted that the war on poverty sent $2.1 billion to Martin County alone (pop. 12,537) through programs including “welfare, food stamps, jobless benefits, disability compensation, school subsidies, affordable housing, worker training, economic development incentives, Head Start for poor children and expanded Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

The result? “The problem facing Appalachia today isn’t Third World poverty,” writes Mr. Cheves. “It’s dependence on government assistance.” Just one example: When Congress imposed work requirements and lifetime caps for welfare during the Clinton administration, claims of disability jumped.

Mr. Cheves quotes a former grade-school principal who says this of Martin County’s children: “Instead of talking about a future of work, or a profession, they talk about getting a check.”

Yes, Washington’s largess has done some good. Even the federal government can’t spend billions of dollars without building a decent road or bridge here or there. But it all came at a high human cost.

To put the war on poverty’s “gains” in perspective, moreover, it is worth comparing the progress in both inner-city Baltimore and rural Martin County over the past half-century with, say, South Korea over the same time. While the Great Society’s billions were creating a culture of dependency, South Korea—with its emphasis on trade and global competition—rose from the ashes of a terrible war to become the world’s 12th-largest economy.

Meanwhile, President Obama says the rioting in Baltimore means “we as a country have to do some soul-searching.” He’s right about that, even though what he means by this is that others need to come around to his view. If the president really wanted to launch some national soul-searching, he would invite, say, Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) for a chat about how to get cities such as Baltimore to start generating jobs again.

Because to look at urban black Baltimore and rural white Martin County and conclude that the answer is more cradle-to-grave, “Life of Julia” federal love isn’t soul searching. It’s denial.

Crafty_Dog

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Baltimore and what we know about bad neighborhoods
« Reply #68 on: May 09, 2015, 10:07:04 AM »

Baltimore and What We Know About Bad Neighborhoods
Even the poverty experts thought the solution for Freddie Gray’s neighborhood was for the people to leave.

A man leads a horse-drawn cart, from which he sells produce, along Mosher Street in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore, Md., in April. ENLARGE
By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.
May 8, 2015 6:41 p.m. ET


The brain works furiously to convince itself that ideas that bring personal comfort are great truths. Thus a noted advocate of reparations visits Baltimore after the riots to renew his call that black Americans be compensated for slavery and Jim Crow. A Baltimore professor writes in the New York Times that poverty persists in certain black neighborhoods because of the “continued profitability of racism . . . to landlords, corner store merchants and other vendors selling second-rate goods.”

A Seattle professor recites her research on discriminatory housing practices from six decades ago to explain riots that happened six days ago.

Yesterdays beget todays, beget tomorrows, so every condition in life can be traced through an ever-receding series of historical causes. The artificiality of such meditations, though, is obvious when you consider that the average male resident of Sandtown-Winchester—home of Freddie Gray whose death in police custody set off the riots—is 28 and wasn’t alive when most of this history was made.

Even in the stagnant neighborhood that Sandtown-Winchester is universally agreed to be, residential housing turnover is 16% a year; the median resident has been in place fewer than four years. Nearly 15% are arrivals from out of state or out of country, and many more (though uncounted) are undoubtedly arrivals from elsewhere in Baltimore and Maryland.

Neighborhoods like Sandtown-Winchester aren’t just places people find it hard to get out of. They are places where people from elsewhere end up when they can’t make a go of their lives.

They are places that people fall into when they don’t have incomes, credit and prospects and suffer from personal or behavioral problems.

There are white versions of Sandtown-Winchester. The literature on “rural ghettos” has grown impressively since the term was coined in the early 1990s.

As many riot-aftermath reports in the past week have noted, Sandtown-Winchester was the subject of enlightened urban renewal in the 1990s when Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Jimmy Carter’s Habitat for Humanity, and developer James Rouse poured $130 million into a community of 11,000 residents to fix homes and schools.

The neighborhood was also designated a “homeownership zone” by the feds, who spent $30 million to saddle people with arguably the last thing they needed, a mortgage that tied them down to a community without jobs and decent schools.

A study by the Abell Foundation about these disappointing results has been widely cited in the past few days, but unmentioned is the apologetic note on which it ends: “While mobility programs and community development are sometimes seen as at odds with each other . . . [m]obility programs allow poor families to leave violent neighborhoods in the short run, instead of being trapped in the low-performing schools and poor quality housing that exist while their communities await larger redevelopment investments.”

That’s right, an alternative to shoveling money in has been getting people out. Gautreaux was a public housing lawsuit in Chicago in the 1970s that randomly transplanted single mothers to suburban apartments: Half who had never worked before soon had jobs, and 52% of their kids went to college.

It’s sometimes unpopular to point out that people who behave responsibly and are willing to work generally do not end up chronically poor in America. People who live in neighborhoods where these norms are not respected or even realistically practicable, however, do experience chronic poverty. Using census data to identify those with a high proportion of teenage mothers, high-school dropouts, welfare dependents and jobless men, the Urban Institute discovered a disturbing change: Between 1970 and 1980, the number of such neighborhoods tripled to 880. Their combined population rose from 750,000 to 2.5 million.

Culprits were fingered: the loss of low-skilled manufacturing jobs, the availability of welfare. But neighborhoods themselves are clearly transmitters of poverty. The problem for residents isn’t racism: it’s where they live.

Government programs can’t save everybody in such sad places where people without money, prospects or good life habits tend to congregate. But it can help the willing to get out, by using housing vouchers, say, to transplant individuals to neighborhoods with intact families, intact schools and intact employment opportunities.

Placed-based urban renewal blames outside forces for denying resources to poor communities. It tends to ratify the persistence of concentrated victim communities whose troubles can be gratifyingly attributed to racism. This approach undoubtedly serves a lot of needs. It just doesn’t serve the needs of residents.

Crafty_Dog

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Pravda on the Hudson makes case for running from police
« Reply #69 on: May 11, 2015, 07:29:30 AM »
Running From Police Is the Norm, Some in Baltimore Say

By JOHN ELIGONMAY 10, 2015
Photo
Desmond Davis of Baltimore says he has stopped running from the police, though he has sometimes regretted that decision. Credit Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times


BALTIMORE — Some do it because there are warrants for their arrest. Others because they possess drugs, are seeking a thrill, or are just plain scared. Sometimes people do it even when they have done nothing wrong.

Young men in the heavily policed neighborhood where 25-year-old Freddie Gray was chased by the police — and suffered fatal injuries in custody — say running from officers is a way of life with its own playbook, passed down on the streets in much the way a young girl learns double dutch by watching others on the block.

Turn at the nearest corner to escape the officers’ view. Cut through alleys or narrow paths with hiding spots. Once the pursuers have been eluded, stay put for a while to make sure they are really gone. And if getting caught seems inevitable, surrender where there are plenty of witnesses to reduce the odds of being beaten.


“People been running from the police,” said Desmond Davis, 24, a Baltimore resident. “People going to always run from the police.”

The Race Gap in America’s Police Departments:  Hundreds of police departments across the nation have forces with a white percentage that is more than 30 percentage points higher than the communities they serve.
OPEN Interactive Graphic

Mr. Gray’s death was among a number of recent cases in which unarmed men, who were either black or Hispanic, were killed after fleeing from the police. Other cases include ones in North Charleston, S.C.; Tulsa , Okla.; and Pasco, Wash.

For the nation, those deaths have spurred debate on the use of force by the police, particularly against people suspected of low-level or nonviolent crimes. But for young men in Baltimore, Mr. Gray’s death highlights a sharper dilemma they have long struggled with: Is running worth it?

Many say that it is, and that Mr. Gray’s death has not changed their calculation in deciding whether to run.

“That makes you run faster,” said one young man standing on a street near the neighborhood where Mr. Gray encountered the police.

Running from the police is common enough nationally that the Supreme Court has considered the question of whether the police are justified in stopping and searching people solely because they have fled approaching officers.

In a 2000 case from Chicago, Illinois v. Wardlow, the court ruled that police officers can establish reasonable suspicion to stop and search if the person is in a high-crime area and sees the officers before fleeing. Many legal experts believe those criteria apply in the arrest of Mr. Gray in West Baltimore, a neighborhood known for its drug trafficking, where one of the arresting officers said Mr. Gray made eye contact with him before running.

Naturally, many people run if there are warrants for their arrest, fearing that if the police check their names they will be hauled to jail. People might flee because they have drugs and do not want to be in possession of contraband if officers catch them.

Yet some say they also are driven by fear of the unknown. In St. Louis, for instance, young men talk of being caught up in what they call a “free case” — in which, they believe, an officer trumps up charges or plants contraband to meet arrest quotas. Here in Baltimore, residents complain that the police might rough them up during random stops, even if they do not try to escape.

Jeff Roorda, the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, challenged the contention that people run from the police because of harassment or brutality.

“I’m not going to refrain from swimming in Loch Ness because I think there’s a monster in there any more than a kid on the street should refrain from complying with the police because of the urban myth that the cop has some motivation to make up the charges,” he said. “People don’t get ‘free cased.’ They run from the police because they’ve got some reason to run from the police.”

And when that happens, Mr. Roorda added, the results can be bad. “Not because of something the police do,” he said. “Because of something the guy running did, and that is fail to comply.”

As children, several Baltimore residents said, they turned running from the police into a high-stakes game of tag. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity or gave only their street names because they did not want to be identified by the police.

A 21-year-old man who goes by Reek said his youthful encounters with the police usually went something like this: Officers would pull up while he stood with friends on a corner and tell them to move. They would make a smart remark to the officers, the officers would respond, and so they would jaw back and forth until the officers seemed to have enough and got out of the car.

“And they’ll chase us,” Reek said.

“Around here, you grow up into that stuff,” he added. “Now, as I’m older, it’s no point. Because now, if you look at it, if you run, it’s going to make matters even worse.”

Yet for some, there are very basic reasons to run, even as an adult.

Nelly, a 27-year-old from Baltimore, said that as a pair of officers were preparing to arrest him for having a marijuana joint last summer, he had a quick calculation to make. He had just gotten a new job as a maintenance technician at an apartment complex, so going to jail that night could have meant missing work the next day and possibly losing his job. The officers had a loose grip on him, and he knew he could break free if he wanted. But was it worth the risk?

Yes, he decided.

He bolted and quickly caught a break when one of the officers fell off the curb. Nelly said he cut down an alley, jetted into an abandoned house and lay face down.

“It was bugs and everything,” he said.

He waited for about an hour, he said, and then used his cellphone to call a friend to pick him up.

The police did eventually catch up with him, about a week later, he said, when the officers who had given chase recognized him and took him into custody. When the arresting officers asked why he had run, he said, he told them: “Man, I had to work. I got three kids, you know. I couldn’t miss no work.”

He did not run the day they took him into custody, he said, because he was outside playing with his little cousins at the time.

“I didn’t want to set a bad example,” he said.

But his friend Devin, 26, said he did not have as much luck several years back when he ditched the all-terrain vehicle he was riding illegally and led the police on a foot chase. With a police helicopter overhead, Devin said, he made it to a truck storage yard and hid inside a discarded tire. But when he heard the crackle of a police radio, he hopped a fence and landed back on the street. Right in front of him was a burgundy Crown Victoria with police officers inside.

He walked nonchalantly as if he were just another person on the sidewalk until he heard the screech of tires from a police car, he said.

“I took off,” he said.

But it was blazing hot that day. He already had shed his hoodie and removed his gloves, yet after just a few blocks he was breathing heavily as the police car cruised alongside him.

“If I keep running,” he thought, “I’m liable to pass out.”

He saw four elderly women standing on the sidewalk, he said, and stopped in front of them and raised his hands in surrender. An officer then slammed him to the ground, he said.

“Sir, what you do that for,” he recalled one of the women asking the officer. “He gave up.”

Their presence saved him from further force, he said he believed.

Mr. Davis, who believes that people will continue to flee from the police, said he stopped running in recent years because he felt he was not doing things that warranted legal trouble. Still, he sometimes regrets that decision. He has been locked up numerous times, he said, for what he sees as petty offenses like possessing small amounts of marijuana. One time, it happened when he was smoking a joint in his backyard, he said.

“Those times,” Mr. Davis said, “I should have run.”

Crafty_Dog

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Newt on The Collapse of Baltimore
« Reply #70 on: May 15, 2015, 06:44:15 PM »
The Collapse of Baltimore City

Fact: the last Republican city council member in Baltimore City left office in 1942.
That is 73 years of solid Democrat city councils.

Fact: the last Republican mayor of Baltimore City left office in 1967.
That is 48 years of unbroken control of the mayor's office.

Fact: the Maryland Senate is currently 33 Democrats to 14 Republicans.

Fact: the Maryland House is currently 90 Democrats to 50 Republicans.

Fact: the last time Republicans held both the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates was 1897.

Fact: the last time Republicans held even one chamber of the Maryland General Assembly--the House--was 1917.
That is unbroken Democrat control of the Maryland legislature since 1918--or nearly a century of Democrat control.

Fact: 7 out of 8 members of the Maryland delegation in the U.S. House are Democrats.

Fact: Last Republican U.S. Senator from Maryland was elected in 1980.

Fact: it was Baltimore’s Democrat mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who said:
“I’ve made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech. It's a very delicate balancing act. Because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate."

This ”space to destroy” policy led to riots which resulted in:
•   130 police officers injured
•   More than 350 businesses damaged (increasing inner-city unemployment)
•   15 pharmacies damaged (limiting inner-city residents’ access to medicine)
•   Korean American businesses targeted while gangs protected businesses owned by African Americans
•   144 vehicle fires
•   Firehoses cut as firemen fought fires

The collapse of order has a continuing effect. There has been a drastic increase in shootings and homicides in Baltimore since April 27. More than 50 people have been shot. At least 10 have been shot and four killed since Saturday May 9. Nonfatal shootings are up nearly 50 percent.
All of this happened under the leadership of a Democrat mayor who was worried more about the rioters’ free speech than about the safety, protection, and livelihoods of innocent Baltimoreans.

The first duty of government is to protect the innocent and the weak from predators and violence. Once again a Democrat favored the violent over the victims.
The protesters charge that the police are racist.

Fact: More than half of the Baltimore City police force is minority.

Fact: four of the six top commanders are African American or Hispanic.

Fact: half of the police officers being prosecuted are African American.

The protesters point to poverty--and they’re right. Poverty has devastated minority communities. But it is left-wing policies implemented by Democrats that have created destructive incentives and denied opportunity to generations of young people.

Fact: Baltimore City spends $17,329 per student, and its unionized, bureaucratic schools fail.
As Terence Jeffrey of CNS News quotes a lawyer for Freddie Gray’s family as saying, "The education system has failed them." The lawyer is right. "These kids have had bad experiences in school," he said.

Jeffrey outlines the absolute failure of the unionized bureaucratic Baltimore City school system: 84% of eighth graders score below grade level in reading. 87% scored below grade level in math.

For $17,000 a year, Baltimore City students could get much better educations at Catholic schools, private schools or even with an organized home schooling program (8 students could pool $120,000 a year to hire a personal tutor as was done when Thomas Jefferson was young).

Amazingly, as Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori points out, the Catholic schools cost $6,000 a year and have a 99 percent graduation rate. Yet the Democrats are committed to locking poor children out of those schools if it takes a dime away from funds for failing, unionized public schools.

With school choice policies, we could save children's lives while saving money. Instead the left wing unions and bureaucracies ruthlessly exploit children, ruining their lives while the Democratic leadership in the Maryland House blocks school choice bills that would give children a chance to attend better schools and would force schools to compete for students by actually being good schools.

There is no greater example of the relentless dishonesty of modern Democrats than their willingness to destroy children's lives while blaming others. President Obama could quit blaming Fox News and simply demand school choice (which of course he opposes) and he would radically improve the lives of millions of trapped poor children.
Of course, it is Democrats who control the teachers union that traps Baltimore City's children in schools that fail and ruin their lives. They do so on behalf of the unionized bureaucratic political machine that controls the city.

Poverty in general has been institutionalized by the destructive ideological biases of Democrat President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. On May 22,1964 President Johnson said, "Our society will never be great until our cities are great. Today the frontier of imagination and innovation is inside those cities and not beyond their borders."
Tragically, his policies trapped people in dependency, killed small businesses in favor of bureaucracy, and favored unionized workers over children. The result has been a 50-year disaster which no liberal Democrat is prepared to analyze honestly.

Charles Murray's classic study of destructive welfare policies, Losing Ground, and Marvin Olasky's decisive repudiation of the idealistic premises of big government liberalism’s approach to poverty, The Tragedy of American Compassion, explain decisively the failure of the Baltimore City Democrats. Their values, principles and organizations doom their efforts to failure.

A sound program has to start with safety and work.

That policy has to begin with favoring public safety and small business.

All Americans should care enough about their fellow citizens trapped with bad leadership, bad government, selfish bureaucrats, and misleading news media. All of us should care about creating a much better future for poor Americans.

That future has to start with a fact-based analysis of how we got here and who has been responsible.

In Baltimore City, the answer is Democrat officials who for a half-century have crippled and weakened what was once a great and vibrant city.
In future weeks, I will outline a strategy for a renaissance in Baltimore City.

Your Friend,
Newt

G M

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues
« Reply #71 on: May 15, 2015, 07:03:53 PM »
Facts are raaaaaaaAaAAAAAaaaaaacst,

DougMacG

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re: Maryland politicians
« Reply #72 on: May 15, 2015, 09:48:20 PM »
Speaking of Baltimore politicians, there was a famous Governor of Maryland, undergrad Johns Hopkins, Univ of Baltimore JD.  Baltimore County Executive.  White Republican Governor of Maryland back in the 60s.  Linked up with a politician from Calif.  Called his critics the "nattering nabobs of negativism".  But the critics looked back and said he had pulled a 'Hillary' earlier.  Then, because he was a Republican, it was all over.

G M

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues
« Reply #73 on: May 15, 2015, 10:59:07 PM »
Baltimorons will bitch and burn things down, the go back to the polls and vote dem for decades more and never question why things continue to worsen.


G M

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Re: Baltimore surges in murders and shootings
« Reply #75 on: May 19, 2015, 07:22:18 PM »
http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2015/05/18/alarming-surge-in-murders-and-shootings-in-baltimore/

If you are a BPD officer, and can't afford to retire or leave, then your best option is to retire on duty.

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues
« Reply #77 on: July 01, 2015, 10:17:31 AM »
Chicago Tribune today:  Community braces itself for violent holiday weekend

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-chicago-violence-july-4th-met-20150630-story.html#navtype=outfit

Doug:  Why?

My city is bracing itself for a holiday weekend of picnics, family get-togethers, boating and fireworks.  Has had no murders - ever.

Why?

Our national strategy is to make all cities more like Chicago.  And eliminate all communities like mine.

Why?

DougMacG

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America's Inner City, Chicago Homicides 2016: 812
« Reply #78 on: January 12, 2017, 09:51:28 AM »
The city posted a decades-high homicide count of 812 in 2016, per the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
https://aminewswire.com/stories/511071497-chicago-homicides-even-higher-than-reported

Where is this happening?
http://crime.chicagotribune.com/chicago/shootings/
Who is doing this?
Why?
What should be done about it?

ccp

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues
« Reply #79 on: January 12, 2017, 04:36:25 PM »
Who is doing this?
Why?
What should be done about it?

Doug,

The LEFT just will not own up to this.  It is forever somebody's else's fault.  Yours and mine.  We did this.

G M

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Re: America's Inner City, Chicago Homicides 2016: 812
« Reply #80 on: January 12, 2017, 06:49:48 PM »
The city posted a decades-high homicide count of 812 in 2016, per the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
https://aminewswire.com/stories/511071497-chicago-homicides-even-higher-than-reported

Where is this happening?
http://crime.chicagotribune.com/chicago/shootings/
Who is doing this?
Why?
What should be done about it?


I blame Doug. I bet if I showed Doug's picture to a BLM activist, they'd blame Doug too!


DougMacG

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues, Chicago continued
« Reply #81 on: August 09, 2017, 06:57:31 AM »
I visited my daughter in Chicago over the weekend and witnessed the amazingly diverse parts of the urban experience.  I visited the downtown financial district.  Saw the outdoor concert crowds.  We played tennis in Lincoln Park while people walked their dogs and new parents attended to their young children on swings.  Biked the Lake Michigan coastline.  Flew in through O'hare.  Left via the bus station. Within this 9 million person metro one can find the best and the worst in our 2017 civilization.

While we enjoyed a beautiful, peaceful day in Lincoln Park on a Sunday afternoon...


other people in other parks had a different experience:

4:20 p.m. Friday — Man shot in Humboldt Park
4:39 p.m. Friday — Man shot following argument at Chicago Lawn business
7:55 p.m. Friday — Man, 29, wounded in Austin shooting
8:24 p.m. Friday — 2 shot in Brighton Park
10:15 p.m. Friday — Man shot, seriously wounded in parked vehicle in Gresham
11:20 p.m. Friday — Man shot on sidewalk in Lawndale
1 a.m. Saturday — Man hurt in Portage Park shooting
1:22 a.m. Saturday — Man shot in chest in Albany Park
5:44 a.m. Saturday — Man in critical condition after Back of the Yards shooting
11:04 a.m. Saturday — Man critically hurt in East Garfield Park shooting
10:15 p.m. Saturday — 2 teenage boys among 3 wounded in Little Village shooting
10:40 p.n. Saturday — Police: Man shot to death while driving in Englewood
11:50 p.m. Saturday — Man shot, critically wounded in South Chicago
12:20 a.m. Sunday — 2 men wounded, 1 critically, in Hanson Park shooting
2:35 a.m. Sunday — Police: 14-year-old boy killed in Pilsen drive-by shooting
3:20 a.m. Sunday — Man shot in Humboldt Park
4:10 a.m. Sunday — 2 wounded in East Garfield Park shooting
4:41 a.m. Sunday — Man shot in Sheridan Park
5 a.m. Sunday — Man wounded in Pilsen drive-by shooting
5:18 a.m. Sunday — Police: Man killed in domestic-related shooting in Clearing
7:56 p.m. Sunday — 2 men wounded in Near North Side shooting
10:50 p.m. Sunday — 19-year-old man shot in South Shore
11:50 p.m. Sunday — Man wounded in West Pullman shooting
3:58 a.m. Monday — Man, 23, shot in Washington Park

ccp

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues
« Reply #82 on: August 09, 2017, 05:41:56 PM »
Amazing how many people shot is a single weekend

looks like a nice tennis court

my favorite job was working at tennis courts for my home city during summer break in the 70s.

When I first started I still had a wooden racquet. I didn't put it is a press and it got warped.   
Then someone sold me a T 2000 .  surprisingly I could not control it like Jimmie Conners! 

 Do they even make either of them anymore?

DougMacG

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues, Chicago
« Reply #83 on: August 10, 2017, 08:08:46 AM »
ccp,  The quality of the public courts in Lincoln Park was impressive.  I could feel the cushion as I walked on, similar to playing on a tour level facility. Very expensive to build, up to date and heavily used.  And the elegant brick houses where liberal elites live are so tall and close together that you can't even hear the gunfire from the south side.

My first job also was in tennis.  At 16 I would go in (on my bicycle in January) and clean carpeted indoor tennis courts for $1.65/hr.  (Jobs they mostly don't have in the inner city).  At 17 I was teaching assistant to an NCAA champion and at 18 I strung racquets that won two  events at Wimbledon (1974).  But in liberal nonsense America, we degrade entry level jobs, remove the economic ladder and want to see how many people can make it by starting at the top!

No they don't make wooden racquets anymore, the Jimmy Connors (steel) T2000, nor are space shuttle aircrafts made out of Kitty Hawk materials... )  Occasionally groups will host a wooden racquet tournament so people can see how hard it used to be.

ccp

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues
« Reply #84 on: August 10, 2017, 08:27:20 AM »
 "At 17 I was teaching assistant to an NCAA champion and at 18 I strung racquets that won two  events at Wimbledon (1974)"

Wow!

I remember we had a young man come and play tennis with an orthopedic surgeon who was sponsoring him.  He was 4th at the NCAA.s  He had an incredible serve.  I doubt if I was on the court I would have been able to see it let alone return it.  

I don't recall his name but I don't think he got far in the pros .

The court surface was called Hartru which was a "softer" hard court.  I doubt they use that  now a days :))

I got paid handsomely compared to you .  It was $ 3 an hour.  What would that be today ?  10 or close to it? not bad for a simple job.


« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 12:11:23 PM by ccp »

Crafty_Dog

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Henninger: Liberalism's Summer of '17
« Reply #85 on: August 10, 2017, 09:22:33 AM »
Liberalism’s Summer of ’17
Liberals whine about being governed by Trump. Pity those governed by them.
New York City commuters, July 10.
New York City commuters, July 10. Photo: Bloomberg News
By Daniel Henninger
Aug. 9, 2017 7:10 p.m. ET
589 COMMENTS

Liberals whine and wail about being governed by Donald Trump. But what about the millions who wake up every day to be governed by liberals?

This is the summer of ’17 for people who live in politically blue northern cities, but few would call it the best days of their lives.

New Yorkers are living through the “Summer of Hell,” the phrase that defines a city whose ancient transportation infrastructure has finally hit the wall. It’s hard to say who got the worst of it—the commuters trapped for 45 minutes without air or lights on a southbound F train or the riders in Harlem who were evacuated after the tracks caught fire.

Naturally, Mayor Bill de Blasio says the solution is a $700 million tax increase on “the wealthiest in our city.”

In Chicago, more than 100 people were shot over July Fourth weekend, with 14 ending up dead. So naturally Mayor Rahm Emanuel has filed a sanctuary-cities lawsuit against the federal government to protect the city’s immigrants.

Hartford, Conn., at the brink of insolvency, last month hired a law firm specializing in bankruptcy. The owners of dozens of destroyed businesses sued the city of Baltimore in June for mishandling the mayhem, two years after the riots ended.

For decades, urban liberalism has sold itself as a compact between government and taxpayers. The people paid, and with that revenue liberal politicians would deliver infrastructure, services, economic opportunity and civil order. But liberal governance, instead of keeping its side of the bargain, is at a dead end.

Writing in City Journal last year on the widespread fiscal distress of northern cities, Stephen Eide noted a study which found that “among the 1,100 census tracts in major metropolitan areas with poverty rates of 30 percent or more in 1970, only about 100 had seen their poverty rates drop below the national average by 2010.”

Defenders of the liberal model argue that cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles are changing into sophisticated, cosmopolitan hubs that attract a new class of young professionals who will restore urban America. Instead, many of these urban revivals are producing a phenomenon economists now call “racially concentrated areas of affluence,” or RCAAs.

An area gets RCAAed when the residents who pack themselves into it are mostly white people whose median incomes are unprecedentedly greater than the city’s poverty level. Some of the most RCAAed cities are liberal duchies like Boston, Baltimore, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Economists for Citigroup have called cities like New York and San Francisco “plutonomies”—urban economies propped up by a plutocratic minority, which is to say, young professionals inured to both taxes and nearby poverty. But they vote their “consciences.”

Progressives are acutely aware of this embarrassing reality in cities under their control. A writer for In These Times identified the problem as “a lack of revenue caused by the refusal of Wall Street banks, big corporations and millionaires to pay their fair share in taxes.” Put forth solutions, he said, “to make them pay.”

“Make them pay” might work if the U.S. were East Germany, so that the wealthy could be captured and jailed as they tried to escape across the border.

We’re not living yet under a President Sanders or Warren, so the steady, documented outflow of residents will continue from New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, California and New Jersey.

Many of those now climbing over the Democrats’ blue walls were willing to live under the original liberal governance model that existed before 1960 because it recognized the legitimacy of private economic life. The wealthy agreed then to pay their “fair share.”

Today, private economic life, especially that of the urban middle class, is no longer a partner in the liberal model. It’s merely a “revenue source” for a system whose patronage is open-ended welfare and largely uncapped public-employee pensions. I’d describe the liberal-progressive governing strategy as ruin and rule.

Not widely noticed is that liberalism’s claimed beneficiaries—black Americans—are also fleeing its failures. Demographers have documented significant black out-migration from New York, Michigan, California and Illinois into Florida, Georgia, Texas and North Carolina. North to south.

Now comes the summer-of-hell infrastructure crisis. Residents of the northeastern slab from New Jersey to Boston have been living off infrastructure created by their grandparents and great-grandparents during the golden age of American capitalism.

They are now asking the federal government, meaning taxpayers who live in parts of the U.S. not hostile to capitalism, to give them nearly $15 billion to replace the 100-year-old train tunnel beneath the Hudson River. Why should they? Why send money to a moribund, dysfunctional urban liberal politics that will never—as in, not ever—clean up its act or reform?

Maybe we need a new default solution to the urban crisis: Let internal migration redistribute the U.S. population away from liberalism’s smug but falling-apart plutonomies.

Write henninger@wsj.com.

DougMacG

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An inside look at gang activity and thinking in Chicago
« Reply #86 on: February 10, 2018, 07:32:53 AM »
The Strange Realities of Chicago’s Gang Wars
Terrible decisions follow cold calculation

https://warisboring.com/49736-2/

One writer talks to one gang member and gets a lot of sad and stupid insight into what is happening in Chicago's most murderous neighborhood.  
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 09:12:33 AM by Crafty_Dog »

G M

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Well worth watching
« Reply #87 on: April 24, 2018, 06:24:31 PM »
https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/flint-town-netflix-chronicles-liberalisms-tragic-disaster/

Flint Town: Netflix Chronicles Liberalism’s Tragic Disaster
 BY DAVID FORSMARK APRIL 24, 2018

Flint resident Merin Johnson watches on while other residents get eight cases of free bottled water, worried he may not receive any before the site runs out, while waiting along Dort Highway in a line of dozens of cars that continued to grow on Friday, April 6, 2018 in Flint, Mich. (Jake May/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)

In the 2016 campaign, Democrats decided Flint, Michigan was going to be the centerpiece evidence of uncaring Republicanism. To Michigan residents, it seemed an odd choice. Even in Flint’s surrounding suburbs, blaming anyone but Flint for Flint’s problems fell on deaf ears.

But this crisis seemed too good to go to waste. So Bernie and Hillary trooped over and joined the chorus that Republicans had poisoned Flint. It was a little like blaming the chaos in Somalia on the U.S. troops who came to feed people.

Flint’s decent into anarchy was decades in the making.  Leadership in the city and county was made up of a toxic combination of union and ethnic politics that drove away business and hindered law enforcement. Local Democrats were in charge every step of the way -- except when governors, both Republican and Democrat, sent financial managers to restore some fiscal guidelines to prevent total collapse.

The Netflix documentary Flint Town chronicles the results. It is not primarily a political history, but an incredibly candid look at trying to bring law and order to a city where the last shred of trust in institutions has broken down, and the police force is woefully undermanned.

The focus is on an old-school cop, Tim “Two Guns” Johnson, brought out of retirement to try to stem the tide in a city where the bad guys knew they had little to fear from a police force overwhelmed by numbers.

In the late 1980s, when Flint had nearly three times the sworn officers they have now, I used to do third-shift ride-alongs with a patrol officer buddy of mine. One night, several people called in sick and the shift was extremely short-handed -- only two officers showed up.

One was Tim Johnson.

The plan was to show a lot of presence, so the bad guys wouldn’t know. At the time, I didn’t know Tim Johnson, but I remember his name, because I heard it on the radio. All night long.

My buddy would occasionally chuckle and say: “There goes Supercop.”

Flint Town viewers meet Johnson as he becomes Flint’s new chief of police. By the time of his appointment, his department is as short-handed as that one-third shift patrol was 30 years ago.

But now, the bad guys know it. Everyone knows it.

As Flint Town opens, we meet Officer Bridgette Belasko, as she responds to days-old 911 calls. Victims complain as much about the FPD as they do the person who broke into their house. Belasko tells us she came to Flint for the action, figuring it’s a fast track to a federal job because of all the experience she will get.

She’s working third-shift patrol. Responding to calls for help. Alone.

Johnson decides he has to put criminals on notice. He forms a special unit called the CATT Squad (Crime Area Target Team), a hand-picked group of aggressive officers designed to make the criminals uncomfortable for a change.

It’s a fairly desperate strategy, but it works -- for a while. Yet Johnson knows he needs more than a show of force; he needs a bigger force. He gets approval for a few more recruits from the police academy, and even tries training and deputizing armed civilian volunteers. But hanging over all of them is the specter of a police millage that needs to be passed to prevent total collapse, police officers getting even more burned out by the pace, and the bad guys starting to realize that they still have the numbers advantage.

Desperate for revenue, Johnson even decides to sell confiscated guns at auction, rather than make the politically correct gesture of destroying them that most cities make.

Recruiting isn’t easy, even in a city where jobs are scarce. One of the promising young academy members, Dion Reed (who is astoundingly in the class with his 40-something mother), is candid about his black friends who despise his choice.

Here is where Flint Town is amazingly frank.

Police officers, black and white, recruits, and civilians talk to the camera without reservation about racial tensions. Black cops talk about their community being suspicious -- or worse -- of them. They shake their heads that their white colleagues are receptive to Donald Trump.  White cops talk about the tension of working a majority black city at the time of riots and Black Lives Matter.

Cameras are there in the briefing room as national news breaks about police shootings, and ambushes of police officers. We see both the unity of everyone being part of the (very) thin blue line, but also the differences in the reaction to various national events.

Part-time Flint pastor and full-time cop Brian Willingham puts it best: “The people who secure the city are less secure than they’ve ever been.”

Flint Town gives two quick peeks at the sheer lunacy that is the Flint City Council: The idiocy of the debate when new Mayor Karen Weaver replaces the nice, politically connected police chief with the hard-charging Johnson; and Weaver and Johnson confronting the Council over making no budget upgrades for the department after the millage actually passes.

Johnson blows up when a councilman protests that at least they haven’t made cuts: “I always wondered why this city was in the position it was and now I see why, it’s at the top!”

It’s impossible to watch these clowns and think Flint’s problems are mostly from the outside.

Flint Town is a real-life companion piece to The Wire. It’s unflinching and apolitical, and required viewing for anyone who wants to talk about the problems of inner-city America.

DougMacG

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https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/08/07/chicago-gun-violence-homicide-clearance/925630002/

America is partly a third world country. Everybody knows it. Nobody does anything about it.

ccp

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues
« Reply #89 on: August 08, 2018, 06:10:09 AM »
   
"America's Inner City; weekend in Chicago, 72 shootings, 13 killings, no arrests"

We hear leftist complaints about the "white girl " in Iowa disappeared and how that makes headlines but we don't hear the same about Blacks but at the same time we rarely hear from MSM about the problems with gangs unless of course , as this USA article suggests it is about "guns"
and not cultural problems in inner cities.

I don't know why Emanual is still mayor.  Obviously he is part of the local swamp .


DougMacG

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues
« Reply #90 on: August 08, 2018, 06:31:44 AM »
Rahm Emanuel alone as mayor is not the cause, but his politics is.

The culture in these neighborhoods is the result of our welfare state. They don't live in a free country or a positive incentive based economy. The women and children find their Financial Security through the government  and the men are left  with lives without meaning or responsibility . Currently, there is no mood on either side to fix it and it's a human tragedy millions of times over.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 06:36:19 AM by DougMacG »

ccp

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Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues
« Reply #91 on: August 08, 2018, 08:26:18 AM »
How Emanuel is still mayor can only be explained by the word "swamp"

Some blacks may complain about the fanfare the missing white girl from Iowa is getting but we don't usually see the same for blacks
but whenever any one points out the carnage and the obvious causes all we get is retorts about the messenger is racist.

or the problem is "guns" not the culture.

Dems twist everything around .


ccp

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PJ Media writes it all down
« Reply #92 on: August 08, 2018, 05:27:56 PM »

G M

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Re: PJ Media writes it all down
« Reply #93 on: August 08, 2018, 07:46:08 PM »
pretty obvious
that is why CNN ignores:

https://pjmedia.com/homeland-security/the-real-reasons-for-chicagos-deadly-crime-wave/

The people of Chicongo have voted for this. They deserve it.


DougMacG

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Re: America's Inner City; The tragedy of Baltimore
« Reply #95 on: April 09, 2019, 08:16:29 AM »
Any idea what's causing this:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/12/magazine/baltimore-tragedy-crime.html

The Tragedy of Baltimore
Since Freddie Gray’s death in 2015, violent crime has spiked to levels unseen for a quarter century. Inside the crackup of an American city.

By Alec MacGillis
March 12, 2019

On April 27, 2015, Shantay Guy was driving her 13-year-old son home across Baltimore from a doctor’s appointment when something — a rock, a brick, she wasn’t sure what — hit her car. Her phone was turned off, so she had not realized that protests and violence had broken out in the city that afternoon, following the funeral of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who drew national attention eight days earlier when he died after suffering injuries in police custody.

As she saw what was happening — fires being set, young people and police officers converging on the nearby vortex of the disorder — she pushed her son, Brandon, down in his seat and sped home. “Mom, are we home yet?” Brandon asked when they pulled up at their house just inside the city line, where they lived with Guy’s husband, her grown daughter and her husband’s late-teenage son, brother and sister-in-law.

“Yeah,” she told him.

“You’re still holding my head down,” he said.

Guy grew up in an impoverished, highly segregated part of West Baltimore near what was now the focal point of the street clashes, but she had long since climbed into a different stratum of the city’s society; she was working as an information-technology project manager for T. Rowe Price, the Baltimore-based mutual-fund giant. Seeing her old neighborhood erupt changed her life. After long discussions with her husband, who manages the office of a local trucking company, she quit her job and went to work for a community mediation organization. “It just felt like it was the work I was supposed to be doing,” she said.

In Baltimore, you can tell a lot about the politics of the person you’re talking with by the word he or she uses to describe the events of April 27, 2015. Some people, and most media outlets, call them the “riots”; some the “unrest.” Guy was among those who always referred to them as the “uprising,” a word that connoted something justifiable and positive: the first step, however tumultuous, toward a freer and fairer city. Policing in Baltimore, Guy and many other residents believed, was broken, with officers serving as an occupying army in enemy territory — harassing African-American residents without cause, breeding distrust and hostility.

In 2016, the United States Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division concurred, releasing a report accusing the city’s Police Department of racial discrimination and excessive force. The city agreed to a “consent decree” with the federal government, a set of policing reforms that would be enforced by a federal judge. When an independent monitoring team was selected to oversee the decree, Guy was hired as its community liaison. This was where she wanted to be: at the forefront of the effort to make her city a better place.

But in the years that followed, Baltimore, by most standards, became a worse place. In 2017, it recorded 342 murders — its highest per-capita rate ever, more than double Chicago’s, far higher than any other city of 500,000 or more residents and, astonishingly, a larger absolute number of killings than in New York, a city 14 times as populous. Other elected officials, from the governor to the mayor to the state’s attorney, struggled to respond to the rise in disorder, leaving residents with the unsettling feeling that there was no one in charge. With every passing year, it was getting harder to see what gains, exactly, were delivered by the uprising.

One night last October, after Guy and her husband, Da’mon, had gone to bed, Da’mon’s brother banged on the bedroom door. “Yo, yo, get up!” he shouted.

It was around 11:30 p.m. Da’mon’s 21-year-old son, Da’mon Jr., whom Shantay had helped raise, would ordinarily have been home by then, after his bus ride across town from his evening shift working as a supply coordinator at Johns Hopkins Hospital. But he was nowhere to be seen. Da’mon Sr. rushed to the door and asked what was going on.

“Dame’s been shot,” his brother said.

Four months later, I met Guy and Da’mon Jr. at a cafe near my office in the center of the city. Da’mon had recently been released after spending 47 days in the hospital, with 20 surgical procedures. His inferior vena cava, which carries blood from the lower body to the heart, no longer functioned; he had to rely on collateral veins instead. He was trying to go back to work, but swelling in his legs and shortness of breath were making it hard.

Da’mon told me he had no idea who was behind the shooting, which he surmised was either an attempted robbery or a gang initiation. It was unnerving, he said, knowing the shooter was still out there somewhere. “I don’t like it when cars slow down to me or people are staring at me too long at stop signs,” he said. “Any one of y’all could be that person. You never know.”

But Guy, somehow, had come through the experience even more committed to the cause she had signed on for. “Our city needs restoration,” she told me.

It takes remarkable fortitude to remain an optimist about Baltimore today. I have lived in the city for 11 of the past 18 years, and for the last few I have struggled to describe its unraveling to friends and colleagues elsewhere. If you live in, say, New York or Boston, you are familiar with a certain story of urban America. Several decades ago, disorder and dysfunction were common across American cities. Then came the great urban rebirth: a wave of reinvestment coupled with a plunge in crime rates that has left many major cities to enjoy a sort of post-fear existence.

Until 2015, Baltimore seemed to be enjoying its own, more modest version of this upswing. Though it is often lumped in with Rust Belt economic casualties like Cleveland, St. Louis and Detroit, Baltimore in fact fared better than these postindustrial peers. Because of the Johns Hopkins biomedical empire, the city’s busy port and its proximity to Washington, metro Baltimore enjoyed higher levels of wealth and income — including among its black population — than many former manufacturing hubs.

The city still had its ills — its blight, suburban flight, segregation, drugs, racial inequality, concentrated poverty. But as recently as 2014, Baltimore’s population, which is 63 percent African-American, was increasing, up slightly to 623,000 after decades of decline. Office buildings downtown were being converted to apartments, and a new business-and-residential district was rising east of the Inner Harbor. The city was even attracting those ultimate imprimaturs of urban revival, a couple of food halls.

The subsequent regression has been swift and demoralizing. Redevelopment continues in some parts of town, but nearly four years after Freddie Gray’s death, the surge in crime has once again become the context of daily life in the city, as it was in the early 1990s. I have grown accustomed to scanning the briefs column in The Baltimore Sun in the morning for news of the latest homicides; to taking note of the location of the latest killings as I drive around town for my baseball coaching and volunteering obligations. In 2017, the church I attend started naming the victims of the violence at Sunday services and hanging a purple ribbon for each on a long cord outside. By year’s end, the ribbons crowded for space, like shirts on a tenement clothesline.

The violence and disorder have fed broader setbacks. Gov. Larry Hogan canceled a $2.9 billion rail transit line for West Baltimore, defending the disinvestment in the troubled neighborhood partly by noting that the state had spent $14 million responding to the riots. Target closed its store in West Baltimore, a blow to a part of town short of retail options. The civic compact has so frayed that one acquaintance admitted to me recently that he had stopped waiting at red lights when driving late at night. Why should he, he argued, when he saw young men on dirt bikes flying through intersections while police officers sat in cruisers doing nothing?

Explaining all this to people outside Baltimore is difficult, not only because the experience is alien to those even in cities just up or down the Interstate from us (though a handful of cities elsewhere, like Chicago and St. Louis, have experienced their own waves of recent violence, albeit less dramatically than Baltimore). It’s also because the national political discourse lacks a vocabulary for the city’s ills. On right-wing talk radio, one of the few sectors of the media to take much interest in Baltimore’s crime surge, there are old tropes of urban mayhem — Trump’s “American carnage.” Typically lacking from these schadenfreude-laced discussions is any sense of the historical forces and societal abandonment that the city has for decades struggled to overcome.

On the left, in contrast, Baltimore’s recent woes have been largely overlooked, partly because they present a challenge to those who start from the assumption that policing is inherently suspect. The national progressive story of Baltimore during this era of criminal-justice reform has been the story of the police excesses that led to Gray’s death and the uprising, not the surge of violence that has overtaken the city ever since. As a result, Baltimore has been left mostly on its own to contend with what has been happening, which has amounted to nothing less than a failure of order and governance the likes of which few American cities have seen in years.

To understand how things in Baltimore have gotten so bad, you need to first understand how, not so long ago, they got better. Violence was epidemic in Baltimore in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as it was in many other cities, as crack intruded into a drug market long dominated by heroin. In 1993, the city crossed the 350-homicide mark. These were the years that inspired “The Wire.” They also gave rise to Martin O’Malley, a city councilman who was elected mayor on an anti-crime platform in 1999.

O’Malley set about implementing what was then known as the New York model: zero tolerance for open-air drug markets, data-centric “CompStat” meetings to track crime and hold police commanders accountable and more resources for law enforcement paired with tougher discipline for officers who abused their power. By the time O’Malley, a Democrat, was elected governor of Maryland in 2006, crime rates, including murders, had fallen across the board, but at a cost. Arrests had jumped to 101,000 in 2005 from 81,000 in 1999 — leaving a city full of young men with criminal records and months and years away from jobs and families.

This perturbed a police detective named Tony Barksdale. At the time a colonel in his mid-30s, Barksdale, a bald, bearish man with a lugubrious manner, grew up in a rough section of West Baltimore. “I saw my first guy get shot at a football tryout at Franklin Square,” near his home, he told me when I met him for lunch last spring in the city’s Canton neighborhood. His own block was relatively safe, however, because a police officer lived on it. Barksdale was drifting through Coppin State College, “blowing Pell grants,” when he saw a bunch of young black cops on the street one day. The sight inspired him to sign up himself.

Early in 2007, he proposed a more targeted approach to policing to Sheila Dixon, the City Council president who finished O’Malley’s term as mayor after he was elected governor. Dixon, like Barksdale a product of the city’s black working class, agreed with Barksdale’s vision for reducing the murders without mass arrests. “She said, ‘How long will it take you?’ ” Barksdale recalls. “I said, ‘One day.’ ”

Fred Bealefeld, Dixon’s new police commissioner, promoted Barksdale to deputy of operations — he was the youngest deputy commissioner in the city’s history — and Barksdale got to work. He developed plainclothes units with a more surgical approach to policing, which targeted the most violent corners and worked with homicide detectives to arrest the people whose names surfaced in connection with killings. He and Bealefeld met weekly with top-ranking staff members in the mayor’s office and sat down with top city officials every couple of weeks in CitiStat meetings — the municipal equivalent of CompStat — where Bealefeld was quizzed on overtime costs, recruiting and other markers of departmental health. Every couple of weeks, representatives of the police, the state’s attorney’s office and others met to review data on firearms prosecutions.

Arrests fell by a third from 2006 to 2011 — and homicides plummeted as well, to 197 in 2011, the city’s first time under 200 in almost four decades. A 2018 study by Johns Hopkins found that the new approach to policing was the city’s most effective in recent years. “Baltimore had it going on,” Barksdale told me.

But while Dixon had carried on O’Malley’s government-accountability practices, she proved less than ethical in her own affairs. A few years into Barksdale’s efforts, she was charged by the state prosecutor with theft and fraud. The prosecutor had scrutinized contracts and jobs her friends and relatives had received from the city — investigations that led to the discovery that she had personally used hundreds of dollars in gift cards solicited from developers and meant for poor children.

Dixon was convicted and resigned, and was replaced by the City Council’s president, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, an Oberlin- and University of Maryland School of Law-educated daughter of a powerful state legislator. Rawlings-Blake, a more reserved leader than Dixon, wanted Bealefeld to communicate with the public more often than he was inclined to but also less candidly; a white cop from a family full of them, Bealefeld was known for his blunt talk about “punks” and “knuckleheads.” In 2012, he retired, as did two of his closest City Hall allies, and Barksdale became interim commissioner.

Barksdale interviewed for the permanent job, but Rawlings-Blake instead hired Anthony Batts, the former police chief in Oakland, Calif. Batts had resigned in Oakland amid tensions with the mayor and federal court monitors, but he had a doctorate and spoke fluently about the need for community relations. Batts’s profile suited a city that wanted to believe that its most violent days were behind it. Barksdale didn’t find out he had been passed over until he got a call from Justin Fenton, The Sun’s lead police reporter.

When the Black Lives Matter movement transformed the debate about policing in 2014, Batts embraced an image as a reformer. He attended street festivals in full uniform. He reined in Barksdale’s plainclothes teams after a series in The Sun reported how much the city was spending to resolve lawsuits over rough arrests — more than $5 million since 2011. On Bealefeld and Barksdale’s watch, there had also been a rise in shootings by police officers, which roughly doubled between 2006 and 2007 before dropping to earlier levels — a fact Barksdale remains unapologetic about. “To hit the brakes on crime, there will be police-involved shootings,” he recalls telling Dixon and Bealefeld. “I know their mind-set. They’ll respect you if you’re willing to die just like them. And there are people who just don’t get that.”

It was a controversial approach and one that Batts did not subscribe to. He replaced much of the command staff, and other people left on their own. Among them was Barksdale, who retired at age 42. “I like a commissioner who says, ‘Look, we have people in the community we have to arrest,’ ” Barksdale told me. “Not cops out here dancing in full uniform.”

Political developments, meanwhile, had eroded foundations of the department’s recent successes, which depended heavily on coordination with City Hall and state and federal prosecutors, as well as with Maryland’s parole-and-probation office and other state agencies that might not have been as attentive to the city if the governor had not been a former Baltimore mayor. But in 2014, Maryland elected Larry Hogan, a Republican suburban real estate developer, as O’Malley’s successor for governor. Hogan put less pressure on state offices to work closely with the city’s police. And the new state’s attorney, after an upset victory in a low-turnout Democratic primary, was Marilyn Mosby, a 34-year-old former assistant prosecutor who had run with the apparent goal of shaking up the city’s law-enforcement bureaucracy. She jettisoned not only top deputies but also many prosecutors; more left of their own accord. Over time, senior members of her office became a less-frequent presence at CompStat and other meetings with law-enforcement partners. (Mosby’s office did not respond to requests for official comment.)

A woman collapsed after finding out that her son was murdered in Baltimore in October.CreditPeter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times
In her campaign, Mosby called for diverting more nonviolent drug offenders into treatment. One halfway house used for this purpose was in West Baltimore, and drug dealers had zeroed in on its residents as a clientele, according to a member of Mosby’s staff. On March 17, 2015, Mosby’s office asked a police commander to target a nearby intersection for “enhanced” drug enforcement. A few weeks later, two officers on bike patrol a couple of blocks south of that intersection encountered a man named Freddie Gray.

Among the deaths at police officers’ hands that animated the Black Lives Matter movement in its early stages, Gray’s was uniquely ambiguous. He was not shot, as were Laquan McDonald in Chicago, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Walter Scott in North Charleston, S.C. All that is known for certain is this: When he encountered the police officers, Gray — who had engaged in low-level dealing over the years — ran. When the police gave chase and tackled him, they found a small knife in his pocket and placed him under arrest. Gray was put in the back of a police van shackled and unbuckled, in violation of a new department policy. When the van arrived at the Western District’s headquarters, Gray was unconscious with a nearly severed spinal cord. He died seven days later.

Protesters took to the streets after Gray’s death. Batts, who had canceled a European vacation he was scheduled to take the previous week, appealed to Hogan’s new state police chief for reinforcements, but he received an offer of only about 120 officers, far fewer than he hoped for. The demonstrations proceeded mostly peacefully for a week until Saturday, April 25, when rowdy baseball fans headed to Camden Yards — including out-of-town Red Sox fans — taunted a group of protesters who had marched into downtown. In the mayhem that ensued, some teenagers and young men smashed in police cruisers’ windshields and bar windows and looted a 7-Eleven.

The police held back, making only about a dozen arrests. It appeared as if Batts wanted to set himself apart from the heavy-handed tactics in Ferguson, where anti-riot police officers bristled with military hardware. That night, Batts, who declined to be interviewed on the record for this article, hailed his officers’ limited response to the disorderly crowd amassed downtown. “We’re taking our time to give them the opportunity to leave,” he told reporters.

Bealefeld, Batts’s predecessor, told me: “There were people inside police leadership circles that were being celebrated for their restraint. People were thinking, ‘Aha, we want to be seen in that light.’ ” But this hands-off response drew resentment within the department, where many were already disgruntled with the commissioner from California. “It would have been over that night if we’d been able to do our jobs,” one veteran officer who attended a command briefing that weekend told me, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. “They let it fester.”

The approach was notably different two days later, the day of Gray’s funeral. The police were on edge over two separate rumors — a social-media call for a youth “purge,” or rampage, into downtown after school let out, and talk of gangs uniting to attack police officers. The F.B.I. quickly determined that the second threat was baseless, but Batts responded heavily to the first rumor, sending 300 officers to confront students at a big west-side transit hub after school and stand guard outside the adjacent shopping mall. Someone in authority — to this day, officials won’t say who — ordered a shutdown of transit service. Some of the stranded teenagers started throwing rocks and bricks at the police, who lacked proper protective gear and had received little riot-response training. Before long, a CVS pharmacy a mile away was on fire.

In hindsight, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the riot was probably avoidable — if Batts had had more officers at his disposal, if his officers had been better trained, if there hadn’t been the seeming overreaction to Monday’s swirling rumors. But within three hours it was out of his control. Governor Hogan dispatched National Guard troops and established a command center in West Baltimore. That Friday, Mosby — whose policing request may very well have led to Gray’s arrest — held a televised news conference announcing a long list of serious charges against six officers, including “depraved heart murder,” or causing death through indifference. “I have heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace,’ ” she declared.

Her announcement of charges — based on an investigation her own office conducted, not trusting the department’s — helped stanch further unrest, but it delivered a profound blow to morale among rank-and-file officers, who were already aggrieved over their leadership’s handling of the riot, in which 130 officers were injured. Officers bridled at the ringing, declamatory tone of her announcement. “It was the way she did it — the grandstanding,” the veteran officer told me.

A gun that was discovered in Moore’s Run Park after a police chase of suspects in a stolen car in February.

A gun that was discovered in Moore’s Run Park after a police chase of suspects in a stolen car in February.CreditPeter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times
“Cops don’t necessarily stop in their tracks because another cop is charged in a crime,” Kevin Davis, one of Batts’s deputies at the time, told me. “Typically it’s a bad cop, a crook, a drug dealer or a drunk or someone who abuses his wife. But when these cops got charged criminally and the probable cause was not easily understood by the rank and file — that gave them a sense of dread.”

The department’s officers responded swiftly, by doing nothing. In Baltimore it came to be known as “the pullback”: a monthslong retreat from policing, a protest that was at once undeclared and unmistakably deliberate — encouraged, some top officials in the department at the time believe, by the local police union. Many officers responded to calls for service but refused to undertake any “officer-initiated” action. Cruisers rolled by trouble spots without stopping or didn’t roll by at all. Compounding the situation, some of the officers hospitalized in the riot remained out on medical leave. Arrests plunged by more than half from the same month a year before. The head of the police union, Lt. Gene Ryan, called the pullback justifiable: “Officers may be second-guessing themselves,” he told The Sun. “Questioning, if I make this stop or this arrest, will I be prosecuted?”

Ray Kelly, a West Baltimore community activist, had achieved measured success in building relationships with officers along the drug-riddled Pennsylvania Avenue corridor, where his organization had an office. Suddenly, those officers were gone. “We saw a pullback in this community for over a month where it was up to the community to police the community,” Kelly told me. “And quite frankly, we were outgunned.” In the vacuum, crews took new corners and people settled old scores. Not a single person was killed on the day of the rioting. But the following month, May, would conclude with 41 homicides — the most the city had experienced in a month since the 1970s, and more than the city of Boston would have for the entire year.

Late that month, Batts admitted he was having trouble getting officers to do their job. “I talked to them again about character and what character means,” he told me and other reporters following a City Council hearing. He grew so mortified over the pullback that he started wearing suits instead of his uniform. By July’s end, 45 people had been killed during the month, and Rawlings-Blake had replaced Batts with Davis. The department was hemorrhaging officers now, at all ranks.

Amid the upheavals of 2015, Shantay Guy found herself recalling, as a girl on North Avenue in the 1980s, diving under a car during a shooting, getting oil on her favorite shirt. Her work at T. Rowe Price suddenly seemed unacceptably rarefied. “I’m not doing enough,” she thought. “I’m doing a lot to make rich people richer.”

She approached a friend, Erricka Bridgeford, who is director of training at the Baltimore Community Mediation Center, a nonprofit group that helps settle personal and neighborhood conflicts. Bridgeford encouraged Guy to take her training course. Guy started volunteering as a mediator and was soon offered the job of leading the center. She took it, along with a two-thirds salary cut.

Across Baltimore, there was by then a mounting sense that whatever path there was to be found out of the city’s chaos, its residents were going to have to find it themselves — that the authorities were no longer up to the task. The lawlessness that followed the police pullback had persisted, and the city ended 2015 with 342 homicides, a 62 percent increase over the year before, within a dozen deaths of the worst year of the 1990s. Ninety-three percent of the victims were black. The rate at which detectives were able to close homicide cases fell from 50 percent in 2013 to 30 percent, as residents grew even warier of calling in tips or testifying.

In July 2016, Mosby’s office dropped all remaining charges against officers in the Gray case, after trials resulted in three acquittals and one hung jury. It was that August that the Department of Justice released its 163-page report on the Police Department, a result of a yearlong investigation it opened at the request of Rawlings-Blake after Gray’s death. The report concluded that the police had engaged in “a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law.” The police’s pedestrian stops were disproportionately focused on African-Americans. They frequently patted down or frisked people “without identifying necessary grounds to believe that the person is armed and dangerous.” Baltimore officers used “overly aggressive tactics that unnecessarily escalate encounters, increase tensions and lead to unnecessary force,” the report stated.

Officer Gregory Parker searching for two men who were suspected of mugging a family in October.CreditPeter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times
The report affirmed years’ worth of civilian complaints about the department. But it also essentially ignored Barksdale and Bealefeld’s largely successful efforts to move toward a more targeted policing approach. It suggested that mass arrests led inexorably to Gray’s death and the protests, when in fact by 2014, arrests had been halved from a decade earlier. Barksdale was especially livid about the report’s suggestion that the department, which is roughly 40 percent black, was prejudiced because it arrested mostly African-Americans in many parts of town. “Now a cop in a black community is wrong because he confronts black people?” he told me.

He was also confounded by the report’s mockery of the department’s crackdowns on dice games, a frequent target of robberies and shootings. “Dude, you can’t have [expletive] open-air dice games,” he said. Armed robbers “want to stick that up, and if they have a shotgun and buckshot, you’ll have six or seven victims.” The failure of the report’s authors to grasp this, he said, betrayed a fundamental ignorance of local realities. “They have no understanding of what these things mean in Baltimore,” he said.

By that point, Baltimore had elected yet another new mayor: Catherine Pugh, who won the Democratic primary that April — in Baltimore, the only election that matters — after Rawlings-Blake opted not to run for re-election. That December, Pugh came to her first meeting of CitiStat, the municipal accountability body started by O’Malley. The meetings were held on the sixth floor of City Hall, where top city officials sat around a curved table and put questions to whichever agency head had been called to the lectern that day to defend his or her agency’s performance.

Very few people knew what to expect from Pugh. A longtime state legislator, she had won mostly by virtue of not being Sheila Dixon, who, having served her community-service sentence, ran again for her old job and narrowly lost. Pugh’s inscrutability extended to her bearing — she spoke in muffled tones, and her bangs often hung so low as to almost cover her eyes.

At the CitiStat meeting, a major topic of discussion was a rise in carjackings. Earlier that month, an 80-year-old member of the City Council was attacked by two teenage boys while getting into her car in a parking garage, leaving her with a black eye. Davis, the commissioner, and his deputy said that the carjackings appeared to be the work of violent drug crews, who were deploying teenagers to steal cars as an initiation of sorts, and then often using the cars while committing homicides.

Pugh grew agitated. The carjackings weren’t a law-enforcement problem, she said; they were a problem of footloose youth. Why wasn’t the meeting instead focusing on how to get teenagers into jobs or after-school programs? She declared the meeting a waste of her time and left. It was the last CitiStat meeting she would attend for at least six months.

Pugh seemed overwhelmed by the continuing violence. It was not until August 2017 that she announced her plan to counter it. It would be built around daily meetings to focus city services in high-crime areas — which she dubbed the Violence Reduction Initiative — as well as the addition of a Boston-based program for at-risk young people called Roca, and the expansion of Safe Streets, which deploys ex-offenders as “violence interrupters.”

At the core of Pugh’s plan was the notion that crime was driven by root causes. This was true, but it risked overlooking the most immediate dilemma: People inclined toward lawbreaking increasingly thought they could do so with impunity. Delivery of basic services to address root-cause problems was also undermined by the departure of key city officials, as word spread that Pugh was not easy to work for.

Mayor Catherine Pugh tours a neighborhood with city and law-enforcement officials in February.CreditPeter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times
By this point, it was plain that the surge in violence was not simply going to abate. Robberies and burglaries had also risen sharply. The city’s population was falling again, nearing a 100-year low with less than 615,000 in a census estimate released in March 2017. There were other, more ambient signs of disorder: the dirt bikes, squeegee boys at intersections. The city’s bike-sharing program was so plagued with vandalism that it was eventually shut down.

That summer, Erricka Bridgeford, Shantay Guy’s friend at the mediation center, started Baltimore Ceasefire, an effort to get the city’s criminal element to put down their weapons for one weekend every three months. The group’s main slogan was straightforward: “Nobody Kill Anybody.” A second slogan was aimed at those inclined not toward violence but toward apathy: “Don’t Be Numb.” During the first cease-fire, that August, two men were killed. Bridgeford went to the scenes to mourn the victims.

The Justice Department’s report, meanwhile, had led to the federal “consent decree” that the city negotiated with the department — a sweeping set of reforms of the Police Department that set out new rules governing stops and searches, internal discipline and much more. Gene Ryan, the leader of the police union, complained that his organization had been shut out of the process of drafting it. Tony Barksdale, who had been retired for three years and now spent his days trading stocks online, attacked it incessantly on Twitter, accusing city leaders of “handcuffing your own cops while turning the city over to criminals.”

One afternoon not long after Guy began her job as the consent-decree monitoring team’s community liaison, she strapped on a bulletproof vest and rode along with a city police officer to see the realities he and his colleagues faced. The officer started his shift at 9 a.m. and, because of the department’s shortage of officers, would work until 2:30 the next morning.

They cruised block after block of rowhouses in an especially drug-plagued area. The officer received a text message to disperse a cluster of young men — a frequent point of confrontation in the city. Young men often congregate in front of corner stores or liquor stores, sometimes just hanging out, other times selling drugs; the city would have a record 692 fatal opioid overdoses in 2017.

“I’m supposed to clear this corner,” the officer told Guy, showing her the address on the screen.

“Can you do that?” she asked.

“No,” he said. As he understood it, the consent decree barred him from dispersing the young men. So he didn’t. But then his phone rang. “I guess when I ignore a call, then I get a phone call telling me I need to do my [expletive] job,” he said. Which was indeed what the call was.

He and Guy drove to the address, where half a dozen young men in their late teens or early 20s were standing outside. The officer got out of the car and told them to move along. “The kids are angry,” Guy recalled; they had already been booted from a nearby corner that afternoon. “Like, ‘What the [expletive], we’re just standing here. We’re not doing anything, what’s going on?’ ”

For Guy, the moment affirmed her belief in the consent decree. This sort of rote policing seemed pointless; nothing was accomplished by confronting the young men beyond fomenting ill will. “The question for me becomes: What’s the intention for clearing the corners?” she told me. “Are you clearing the corners in white neighborhoods? The corners would not be so crowded if we actually became responsive to community needs.” This was, in essence, Pugh’s strategy — if only it could be made to work.

On Nov. 15, 2017, a veteran detective, Sean Suiter, drove with a partner to a blighted corner of West Baltimore to investigate a recent homicide. Suiter told his partner he had seen someone suspicious in a vacant lot and went to investigate. Shots rang out. His partner found Suiter bleeding from the head, his gun lying under his body. The 43-year-old father of five died the next day. His death was ruled a homicide, the 309th of the year.

The police locked down six square blocks around the scene for six days. Davis, the commissioner, pleaded with the community to offer tips to identify the “heartless, ruthless, soulless killer.” The death felt like the city’s reaching its nadir, in more ways than one. As the public learned in the week that followed, Suiter was scheduled to testify the next day before a grand jury in a vast corruption case that federal prosecutors filed earlier in the year: a conspiracy that painted a picture of a Police Department that, amid the lawlessness of the city, had descended into widespread lawlessness itself.

The accused were eight current and former members of an elite plainclothes unit called the Gun Trace Task Force, which, prosecutors said, had developed a penchant for robbing people, mostly but not exclusively drug dealers. Six of the officers pleaded guilty to racketeering and robbery.

The trial of the remaining two, when it started in January 2018, offered daily revelations of brazen amorality. There was the video shot by the unit to document “discovering” $100,000 in a drug dealer’s safe from which they had removed nearly twice that amount to divvy up. There was the bail bondsman describing how, over the course of many months, he sold $1 million in drugs funneled to him by Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, the group’s ringleader, including bags of pills looted from pharmacies during the April 2015 riots.

There was the wiretap of officers’ conspiring to lie to avoid detection for causing an accident during an improper high-speed chase, while doing nothing to help the victim lying in pain across the street. And there was the extremity of their fraudulent overtime, many tens of thousands of dollars for each — they were being paid while at the beach, while spending weeks doing exurban home renovations — all of it draining the treasury of a city where, as the trial was taking place, thousands of children were shivering in unheated classrooms.

The trial was an indictment of the string of police chiefs who had, despite some headline-making arrests of corrupt officers, presided over the decay of measures O’Malley pushed for as mayor, like reducing internal-affairs trial backlogs and expanding integrity stings. The court proceedings also illuminated how the surge in violence after Gray’s death abetted the corruption. Some officers had been lining their pockets for years, but their activities became a true conspiracy amid the chaos of 2015-16, as commanders were so desperate to stem the violence that they gave them free rein.

After the trial concluded, a dozen officers gathered at headquarters for a focus group, convened by the department to solicit their input on new policies stemming from the consent decree, on which they were to start receiving training in 2019. But the officers had no interest in talking about the decree, according to one participant. Instead, they vented about the impossibility of doing their job in a department in meltdown. They were bitter about being constantly “drafted” into mandatory overtime — departures and anemic recruiting had left the department with only 2,500 sworn officers, down 500 from five years earlier.

A block party on the weekend of a cease-fire, organized by Baltimore Ceasefire, in August.CreditPeter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times
A change in how the department scheduled shifts — made during Batts’s tenure at the urging of the police union despite the warnings of Barksdale and Bealefeld — had helped cause the city to pay $47 million in overtime in 2017, three times overbudget; some days, 40 percent of patrol shifts were being staffed with mandatory overtime, wearing down officers. The officers were also angry about the lack of resources and equipment. They fumed over the conflicting orders they received. “It’s: ‘Go out and stop crime, but don’t hurt anyone’s feelings,’ ” the veteran officer told me. “ ‘Be aggressive — but not too aggressive.’ ”

In January 2018, Pugh replaced Kevin Davis with a new commissioner, Darryl De Sousa, but De Sousa resigned five months later after federal prosecutors charged him with failing to file tax returns for three recent years. The interim commissioner, Gary Tuggle, had barely stepped into the revolving door of leadership when he found himself facing fresh crises: an officer who quit after being caught on video pummeling a man on the sidewalk, another found passed out drunk in his patrol car, a top commander who quit after throwing a chair against a wall during an argument at Police Headquarters.

And then there was the stunning conclusion of the independent review panel investigating the death of Detective Suiter: He had most likely committed suicide in the vacant lot and made it look like a cop-killing, the panel ruled in August. The investigators believed his suicide was possibly due to his ties to the corruption case.

On a hot day in mid-August, several dozen city officials, police officers and commanders gathered at a bedraggled shopping plaza in the Highlandtown section of southeast Baltimore for one of the regular neighborhood walks that Mayor Pugh was conducting in her effort to exude a sense of authority. The mass of suits and uniforms did a slow circuit of a few blocks of rowhouses, trailing behind Pugh. “Watch your step,” someone called out as the group neared a dead rat.

A neighborhood leader pointed out problem spots: a dark block where prostitutes congregated, a bus stop in front of a liquor store that allowed loiterers to claim they were waiting for the bus, piles of trash. It was far from the city’s roughest neighborhood, but Pugh was visibly taken aback by the disorder on display. She expressed particular displeasure over the trash bags that had been piled into containers in advance of pickup day. “You don’t see trash out front in Ashburton,” the middle-class black enclave where she lived, she said under her breath.

Two weeks later, I met Pugh in her office in City Hall. The month was on its way to ending with 30 homicides, almost one per day. But when I started to ask her about the surge in violence since 2015, she cut me off. “If you follow the trends lately, since November of last year we’re trending downward,” she said.

“They’ve trended down only so much,” I protested.

Pugh looked down at an iPad, swiping through crime-data summaries. “May, we had almost a 30 percent reduction in violence. In October of last year, when I created the Violence Reduction Initiative, the following month, November, we dropped by almost 18 percent. We dropped again in December, in January, in February.”

“Year to date right now,” I replied, “we’re barely below where we were last year, and last year was our worst year ever.”

“No,” she said.

“We just had more than one a day this past month,” I said.

“This has been one of the worst months, but we’re about 20 percent down in homicides this year thus far,” she said. “That’s tremendous in comparison with last year.”

“We’re very likely to end up at 300 again this year,” I said.

“We’re very unlikely to get to 300 this year,” she said.

There were 17 homicides in a single week in late September. The year would end with 309 homicides — the fourth straight year above 300. It was the early 1990s all over again — or even worse, considering that the city was now registering comparable numbers despite having 100,000 fewer people living in it.

In mid-November, Pugh announced her choice for the next commissioner: Joel Fitzgerald, the police chief in Fort Worth, Tex. But reporters at The Sun discovered overstatements in his résumé; the City Council expressed doubts about confirming him; and he himself seemed ambivalent. Finally, after Christmas, with the city in its eighth month without a permanent commissioner, Pugh told reporters that she was considering bringing back Tony Barksdale, as head of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

It was an intriguing development, given how outspoken Barksdale had been in his criticisms of current department leadership and of the consent decree to which the city had committed itself. When I met with him a second time a couple of months earlier, in October, he told me he did not doubt the need for reform; he was mortified that some of the corrupt officers had come from the plainclothes teams he created. But he was worried that things had gone too far. “The criminals are so emboldened now,” he said.

The decree’s demands had made it too difficult for officers to clear drug corners, he said. He was hearing from his former colleagues that loiterers were already reciting the limits it imposed on the officers to them on patrol, mockingly. (I had heard similar reports from a community activist who favored the decree.) Its broadened definition of “use of force” — physical actions that officers had to document in reports, which went on their records and would be scrutinized — made officers less likely to bother engaging physically.

“What do you think happens when these guys see the cops not getting out of their car?” Barksdale said. “Years ago, if I pulled up and said ‘Let’s move,’ they moved. Now who has the control? They have control.” Citizens lose trust in the police not only if they abuse their authority but also if they do nothing about people wreaking havoc on their community. “Look at the number of bodies,” he said. “We’re losing horribly in Baltimore City.”

It was two days later that Da’mon Guy Jr., Shantay Guy’s stepson, got off the bus in the northwestern part of the city. As he began his walk toward home, a purple Volvo S.U.V. pulled up with four or five people inside. He heard the locks click open. As he ran, he heard a shout, then a gunshot. It didn’t register that he was hit in the lower back, he said later, until he realized that he couldn’t get up. He called his own ambulance.

West Baltimore in February.CreditPeter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times
Mayor Pugh visited him in the hospital several times. She was in the room when Da’mon, unable to speak because he was intubated, texted his stepmother: “Am I going to die tomorrow? Do my legs work?”

A couple of days later, he went into cardiac arrest. Doctors and nurses rushed in. Da’mon Sr. was in the hallway, out of his mind with panic, shaking and screaming. “He was just O.K.! I was just with him! He was just O.K.!” People were trying to restrain him. “Just let me see him!” he screamed.

As the blip of Da’mon’s heartbeat returned on the monitor, Guy tried to calm her husband: “Can you hear it?” she said. “Just focus on the sound.”

As Guy recounted the story in the cafe, I asked what she thought had driven the surge in violence. It was the perception, she said, that “police officers are not doing their jobs, and folks out there doing dirt see that they’re not doing their jobs and whatever they’re doing they can get away with.”

This was not so different from what I heard from Barksdale (who would learn in early March that he wasn’t getting the City Hall job), but she insisted the answer was not a return to tougher tactics. “Tony and I aren’t going to agree,” she told me. “I’m always going to be looking at what’s throwing the children in the street: What’s happening upstream to get them there?” That applied even to the person who shot her stepson, she said. “What happened to him or her that made this O.K. for them?” she said. “I believe they’re victims, too. I really do.”

Guy had recently left her role with the consent-decree team to take a job at a civic-leadership organization, but she was still involved in police reform. She would be leading meetings around town in which yet another new commissioner would be introduced to residents: Michael Harrison, late of New Orleans. Pugh had settled on him after the Fort Worth chief pulled out in January. Harrison seemed a good fit, someone who knew what it was like to police a violent city. And he came from a department that had been in deep turmoil, after Hurricane Katrina, and was now operating under its own consent decree.

On nine occasions, Guy stood alongside Harrison as he listened to the crowd turning out to see him. A vast majority of questions were from residents, most of them African-American, asking for the department to provide their neighborhoods with more officers and a more energetic response to crowded corners and other signs of disorder.

One of the meetings was in a school auditorium in Edmondson Village, a section of southwest Baltimore that has been especially hard hit by the surge in violence. Last summer, just a few blocks from the school, a 7-year-old girl was fatally shot in a car off Edmondson Avenue, the thoroughfare that the transit rail line that Hogan canceled would have run along. A police officer had been sitting in his cruiser a block away with the windows up; residents rushed to alert him.

The meeting was standing room only. “We just want to feel safe, period,” Monique Washington, president of the Edmondson Village Community Association, told Harrison. “Our people are in fear, and we’re tired.”

An hour into the forum, a neighborhood resident named Renee McCray stepped up to the microphone. She described how bewildering it had been to accompany a friend downtown, near the tourist-friendly Inner Harbor, one night a few months earlier. “The lighting was so bright. People had scooters. They had bikes. They had babies in strollers. And I said: ‘What city is this? This is not Baltimore City.’ Because if you go up to Martin Luther King Boulevard” — the demarcation between downtown and the west side — “we’re all bolted in our homes, we’re locked down.” She paused for a moment to deliver her point. “All any of us want is equal protection,” she said.

It was a striking echo of the language in the Department of Justice report and the activists’ condemnations of the police following Gray’s death. Back then, the claims were of overly aggressive policing; now residents were pleading for police officers to get out of their cars, to earn their pay — to protect them.

You could look at this evolution as demonstrating an irreconcilable conflict, a tension between Shantay Guy and Tony Barksdale never to be resolved. But the residents streaming into these sessions with Harrison weren’t suggesting that. They were not describing a trade-off between justice and order. They saw them as two parts of a whole and were daring to ask for both.


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Reagan Biographer Steve Hayward posting at Powerlineblog.com:

POSTED ON JULY 29, 2019 BY STEVEN HAYWARD IN CITIES,

RATS! IT’S DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN
The controversy about rat-infested cities provokes a strong sense of deja vu, as a proposed federal rat eradication program was perhaps the turning point against LBJ’s “Great Society” back in 1967. A little background and the climax to this story from the first volume of my Age of Reagan:

Many poor urban neighborhoods have yet to recover [from the rise in crime], for it was precisely the poor, and largely black, populations of central cities who suffered most from this negligent criminology—the very constituency liberals thought they were advancing.  Blacks were two and a half times more likely than whites to be victims of crime in 1966, and this gap would widen over the next decade as black victimization in the inner city soared.  Charles Murray noted that “it was much more dangerous to be black in 1972 than it was in 1965, whereas it was not much more dangerous to be white.”  By 1970, social scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded, a person living in a central city faced a higher risk of being murdered than a World War II soldier did of dying in combat. But when Richard Nixon and conservatives called for a return to “law and order,” the phrase was attacked as “a code phrase for racism.”

Even among many Democrats, the Great Society was losing its allure.  Wilbur Mills, as we have seen, led the unsuccessful charge to restrain welfare.  But the surest signal that the political tide was turning against the War on Poverty came in the summer of 1967, when, just days after the Newark riot, Congress voted down Johnson’s proposal for a $40 million federal rat extermination program for the cities.  It was a typical expression of the view that social problems required a centralized federal solution.  Moynihan noted that there was no serious data on the extent of the rat problem in American cities.  “That wild rats should be controlled, no one would question,” Moynihan [Democrat-NY] wrote, “but it was not unreasonable to ask whether yet another Federal categorical aid program—a few million dollars to be spread over a continent—was the most sensible approach.”

Fifty-nine House Democrats joined with 148 Republicans to vote down the rat bill. It was the rhetoric, and not the comparatively modest sum involved, that made this a notable episode.  Congressmen joked about LBJ’s “civil rats” bill, with a “rat corps” to be presided over by “a high commissioner of rats.”  “Mr. Speaker,” the typical speech went, “ I think the ‘rat smart thing’ for us to do is to vote down this rat bill ‘rat now.’” Florida Democrat James Haley suggested releasing “federally funded cats” in the cities instead.  The rat bill was successfully revived at the end of the year as a part of a bigger spending bill, but its ignominious treatment in mid-summer foreshadowed the growing revolt against the relentless centralization of modern liberalism.

P.S. When Trump acquired the dilapidated building that became his first major real estate deal—the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street—he solved the building’s rat infestation during renovations by rounding up stray cats in New York City and moving them into the building. The rat infestation was eradicated quickly—without a government program!