urban politics

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

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

Race and Legislative Responsiveness in City Council Meetings

April 19, 2018 // 0 Comments

Bai Linh Hoang | The local council is one important institution that provides opportunities for constituents to directly interact with their legislators.  In holding public hearings on specific policy proposals and reserving time for the public to comment on more general matters, city council meetings enable constituents to voice their concerns about community and municipal-related matters to elected officials.  However, we know little of the potential disparities in how legislators treat different racial and ethnic groups in these meetings.  Are there racial differences in the propensity of legislators to respond to and acknowledge a constituent’s concern?   Read More

Nonprofit Organizations and the Local Politics of Immigrant Rights

March 2, 2018 // 0 Comments

Els de Graauw's new book Making Immigrant Rights Real: Nonprofits and the Politics of Integration in San Francisco unpacks the puzzle of how immigrant-serving nonprofits successfully navigate the many constraints on their advocacy to influence the local governance of immigrant integration. It focuses on nonprofit advocacy for immigrant rights in San Francisco, a traditional immigrant-receiving city with over 200 active immigrant-serving nonprofits, along with similar nonprofits in Houston, New Haven, New York City, Oakland, San Jose, and Washington, D.C. Read More

The Equity/Economic Development Tradeoff in Cross-sector Collaborations

February 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

Melissa Arnold Lyon and Jeffrey R. Henig | On a chilly October morning in Buffalo, New York, the Executive Director of Say Yes Buffalo sits at a table in a high school library with a group of about 20 community leaders. The group includes two local foundation leaders, the president of the local teachers union, a top school official, the vice president of a parent advocacy group, a few local higher education representatives, and a representative from the County Department of Social Services, among others. They gather for these meetings once every three weeks. On the agenda today is a discussion about inviting a representative from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to join this group, known as the Operating Committee of Say Yes Buffalo, as well as an update on programmatic data for initiatives such as school-based legal clinics, mental health clinics, mobile health units, and summer camps. During these updates, implementation challenges are discussed and the participants volunteer or call upon each other to figure out solutions. Not every issue is resolved, but the Operating Committee works together, argues a little, and eventually determines what it can accomplish.  Read More