October 2018

Thorny Property Politics: Cook County’s 2018 Democratic Primary for Assessor

October 30, 2018 // 1 Comment

By Amanda Kass | Assessors play an important role in the property tax process in the United States. A homeowner’s taxes are based on the estimated value of their home, and that estimate is made by the assessor. If an assessor over- or under-values a property, then the homeowner will be over- or under-taxed. Over-taxation can produce a cascade of negative consequences, including foreclosure for failure to pay property taxes, while cities want to maintain high collection rates. Read More

Jerusalem: The City Not Allowed To Be a City

October 26, 2018 // 0 Comments

By Michael Ziv-Kenet and Noga Keidar | All of Israel’s largest cities, including Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Beer-Sheva, will hold state-wide local elections on October 30. These elections will be mostly decided on traditional urban issues like public transport, plans for urban development, as well as on candidates’ charisma and basis of supporters. In Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, however, urban affairs have taken only a marginal space in the debate – instead, national politics’ embeddedness in the election sweeps a side almost any other issue. Read More

Making (Political) Magic in Anaheim

October 18, 2018 // 0 Comments

By Peter F. Burns Jr. and Matthew O. Thomas | For the past decade, the theme of Disney vs the neighborhoods has dominated Anaheim politics, and this conflict is central to the city’s 2018 elections.  When voters go to the polls in November, they will select a new mayor for the first time in eight years, elect three city council members as part of the city’s new district-election format, and decide on a local living wage referendum, which may or may not eventually apply to Disney. Read More

An Applied Economic Development Project for Urban Politics Classes

October 15, 2018 // 1 Comment

By Aaron Weinschenk | I have the pleasure of teaching an upper-level political science course called “Urban Politics & Policy.” In order to help my students connect what they are learning to real-life situations, I have them (in small groups) create economic development plans for actual U.S. cities. To make the project challenging, I usually pick 6 or 7 struggling U.S. cities and assign them to the groups. (This year’s cities are Detroit, Toledo, Buffalo, Tucson, Stockton, and Memphis). I want students to have to think seriously about issues like poverty and unemployment that are so common in many of today’s urban areas. The groups work on their plans over the course of the semester and at the end give 20-30 minute presentations to the class and turn in professional economic development reports, which are usually around 25-pages. Read More

Urban Governance in the Suburbs: Politics in In-Between Places

October 12, 2018 // 0 Comments

By Hannah Lebovits | Much of our understanding of urban politics and local governance is shaped by a focus on large central cities. Yet, many US residents don’t live in these urban spaces. In fact, a report from the Brookings Institute, notes that the distribution of population in many MSAs is significantly dispersed between the central city and suburbs. And while research on local elections and political behavior is growing, literature on politics in suburban cities remains underdeveloped. Read More

Progressive Local Voters in the U.S. South: Athens, Georgia in 2018

October 8, 2018 // 0 Comments

By Simon Williamson | In May 2018, Athens-Clark County, the home of the University of Georgia, local elections took place alongside gubernatorial and other statewide office primaries, in which  the mayor’s office and five seats on the 10-member unified county commission were up for their regular four-year terms, along with half the schoolboard and two judgeships. Although Athens-Clarke County is ideologically liberal, the 2014 elections for these offices saw moderate and right-leaning candidates win these non-partisan offices. Read More

Chicago’s 2019 Elections and The Legacy of Rahm Emanuel

October 1, 2018 // 0 Comments

By Thomas Ogorzalek and Jaime Domínguez | Incumbent Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel’s recent announcement that he will not seek re-election for a third term (the election is in February 2019, with a possible run-off in April) was an earthquake that shook the city’s political landscape. Despite fairly low approval ratings, Emanuel was still the front-runner in a field in which none of the dozen declared challengers had been elected to major office. Since the announcement, many prominent Chicago pols have explored their options, and the pool of candidates is almost certain to change before the November 26 filing deadline. Chicago’s politics sit at a crossroads, as a relatively progressive and prosperous metropolis in a region where urban crisis and creeping conservative drift have been more common lately. Read More