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April 8, 2024

Accountability Comes to Public Housing

With little fanfare, the impossible just happened at the Hope Gardens public housing project in Bushwick: the management got fired. Repairs to the project’s high rises and townhouses had been delayed, and, per an official notice, “cost-saving measures to curb ballooning controllable operating expenses” hadn’t been adopted. Such lack of foresight constitutes a typical day…

April 3, 2024

The Fearless Fund, DEI, and Attacks on Philanthropic Freedom

Anyone who believes foundations have the right to decide who and what they fund should be concerned about the lawsuit brought against the Fearless Fund, and its associated foundation, over a grant contest exclusively for Black women. That includes those of us who don’t support race-specific policies and programs. The organization behind the litigation currently winding its way…

March 31, 2024

Can Local Journalism Be Saved?

American local journalism is withering away. Between 2004 and 2019, reports Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, the country lost more than 2,000 newspapers, with the total number falling by about one-fourth, from 9,000 to 6,700. The decline bodes ill for democracy. Americans rely on local governments to provide basic public services, on voters to hold…

March 30, 2024

Preventing Weed Smoking — Not More Weed Shops — Is What NYC Needs Now

There’s no getting around the fact that New York’s retail cannabis rollout has been a mess. A few dozen legal weed shops have been swamped, per the most recent count, by at least 2,000 illegal competitors — the unsurprising result of legalizing pot more than a year before the state Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) issued…

March 21, 2024

It’s Not Just Minority Neighborhoods—NYC’s Entire Property-Tax System Needs Reform

There is good reason to conclude, as the state Court of Appeals did Tuesday, that New York City’s property-tax system leads to disproportionately high tax bills for minority homeowners. But those high taxes aren’t the result of discrimination; they’re just one example of a dysfunctional tax-assessment system that burdens homeowners and discourages new housing construction —…

March 14, 2024

A Crucial Fix For Rent Regulation

Housing legislation has moved to center stage in Albany, with proposals to provide aid for everything from granny flats to new, subsidized construction on the table. But one especially surprising, common-sense change in the state’s rent regulation appears to be attracting bipartisan support. A state Senate plan would permit up to 6% rent increases following major capital…

March 7, 2024

Jamaal Bowman’s Voting Rights Hypocrisy

Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York, best known for pulling a fire alarm in the Capitol, has made voting rights a signature issue. A member of the uber-progressive “Squad” led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bowman has even engaged in a hunger strike and been arrested while protesting the Senate’s failure to suspend the filibuster rule to…

March 6, 2024

Caitlin Clark and Civil Society

When Larry Bird won his first National Basketball Association championship with the Boston Celtics in 1982, he made one of the best locker room interview comments ever.  Between puffs of a victory cigar, he said, “This one’s for Terre Haute.” He was literally referring to the Indiana city which had supported his Indiana State college team—but…

February 23, 2024

After Milton’s MBTA Housing Defeat, The Way Forward Is With Persuasion, Not Mandates

It’s difficult to avoid seeing Milton’s referendum defeat of a proposed zoning law to permit higher-density housing construction as a signal setback for the state’s effort to pressure towns to make housing more affordable. There’s no getting around the importance of that effort. High housing prices not only burden current Bay State residents but act as a…

February 15, 2024

Harvard (Mis)Leading Housing Study

 Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies is back with its annual State of the Nation’s Housing report—and once again it reaches a bleak conclusion based on a loaded and leading question designed to sound an alarm for more federal housing subsidies. Its key metric is what it calls “cost-burdened renters”—those spending more than a third…