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Showing posts from January, 2017

Housing Planning and Jobs Access

Housing is just as central to effective economic development as are the jobs themselves.

After all, entrepreneurs, workers, and people in general, prefer comfortable and safe places to live.

Land use controls how much housing and what types of housing will be built, and where.

Costs, soil conditions, adjacent zoning, transportation, are a few of the factors at stake when urban planning for housing is considered.

Where children live determines where they go to school, therefore housing policy is also a part of education policy.

Where one lives can determine access to social services and recreation, therefore housing policy is also part of environmental planning.

Where people live factors heavily into where they work, therefore housing policy is also economic development planning.

Ideally, people want to live close to where they work, and vice versa.

A lack of access to jobs opens the door for unemployment. Some of the well-documented adverse impacts of unemployment on communities and h…

National Disagreement is Not All Bad

In light of the recent transfer of power from Obama to Trump, the Women's March, and the future of Obamacare on the line, we see concerns and disagreements expressed about the Nation's future and the question of governmental authority limitations.

This governmental authority derives from the U.S. Constitution. 

One of the true gems of the United States is we can disagree without fear of punishment. That is not true for every country, nor for most eras in history. However, here and now, differences and varying opinions are welcomed and can be openly expressed.

Differences in constitutional interpretation, governmental authority, and people's rights are native to the U.S. since its' founding. Below is an excerpt from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams:

"The line of division was again drawn, we broke into two parties, each wishing to give a  different direction to the government; the one to strengthen the most popular branch,  the other the more permanent branch…

MLK Day 2017: Hidden Figures

If you have not already, I encourage you to see Hidden Figures
It tells a powerful and compelling story of three women who persevered through hardships and defied the odds at a time when discrimination and segregation was the law.
It is a microcosm of the struggles of African-Americans in their fight for fairness, justice, and non-discriminatory opportunities. Through that same microscope, it shows the awakening of mainstream America to the wrongness of racism and rightness of unity and equality. 
Augmenting the potency of Hidden Figures is it's reality: The film is based on true events and phenomena.
The accomplishments of many people of color still goes overlooked and left out of history books. In fact, the achievements of women, in general, often gets forsaken and discarded to future generations.
I believe we can all do a better job of documenting the stories of those we know who pushed through hardships to improve the world, especially those who derive from a minority or ma…

Presidential Transition Issues to Watch: Economic Growth

This particular post is not all-conclusive about the Nation's economy heading into the Obama-Trump transition. However, it does serve to depict our current growth and what awaits the new administration. 

The most recent report from the US Labor Department reflects a solid job market that continues to grow 7.5 years after the Great Recession. Check out these numbers:

US employers added 156,000 jobs in December 2016, ending a year of slow, but steady hiringHourly pay went up 2.9% over one year's time, the biggest increase in over 7 yearsJob growth averaged 180,000/monthThe health care sector added 43,000 jobsThe manufacturing sector created 17,000 jobsRestaurant and bars picked up 30,000 jobsTransportation and warehousing companies created 15,000 jobsLike in all economics, these behaviors can be traced to several causes:
For starters, more people started looking for work. The unemployment rate decreased to 9.2%, the lowest level since April 2008. Warehousing and transportation saw …

Presidential Transition Issues to Watch: Infrastructure Spending

Another issue to watch as we transition from President Barack Obama to President-Elect Donald Trump is infrastructure spending.

During his election victory speech, President-Elect Trump declared "We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals... We're going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of people to work as we rebuild it."

Both sides agree that America's infrastructure needs serious attention. However, infrastructure issues may take a different form than what we traditionally picture.

The Flint water crisis grabbed the Nation's attention and highlighted the inefficiencies of many inner city public water systems. Funding solutions will be necessary for upgrades and prevention from lead poisoning from old pipes.Transit in large cities is also moving to the forefront of infrastructure funding as more people and jobs gravitate to urban …

Presidential Transition Issues to Watch: Obamacare

As President-Elect Donald Trump prepares to take office and the 115th Congress already having convened, keep an eye on what happens with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

The campaign slogan from Trump and other congressional Republicans was "repeal and replace" Obamacare. That will be easier said than done.

However, with Republicans being in control of Congress and the White House, we know that major changes are in the works.

Congress seems likely to overhaul the state insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which allows workers without employer-provided coverage to shop for insurance.

Congress may also give states more control of their respective Medicaid provisions. Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have both favored the idea of turning Medicaid into a block grant program: the federal government would pay a fixed share and allow states to divvy the rest how they see fit.

Trump has voiced his support of keeping some of the ACA in place. Such as…