The day began with questions about why a young man was killed. It ended as a referendum on the militarization of American police forces.
Inside of a week, two black teen-agers have been shot by police and, in both instances, the bureaucratic default setting has favored law enforcement, fueling a perception that the department is either inept or beholden to a certain nonchalance about the possibility of police brutality.
What transpired in the streets appeared to be a kind of municipal version of shock and awe; the first wave of flash grenades and tear gas had played as a prelude to the appearance of an unusually large armored vehicle, carrying a military-style rifle mounted on a tripod. The message of all of this was something beyond the mere maintenance of law and order: it’s difficult to imagine how armored officers with what looked like a mobile military sniper’s nest could quell the anxieties of a community outraged by allegations regarding the excessive use of force. It revealed itself as a raw matter of public intimidation.
Whatever happened to Michael Brown in the moments before he died has become secondary to what the response to his death has revealed. The name of the officer who shot him remains unknown. Even the number of times that Brown was shot has not been disclosed, despite the completion of a preliminary autopsy.
One gauge of how much urban planning has been redirected toward “achieving marketability of its product — urban space” (as in yesterday’s Susan Fainstein quote) is which metrics are typically used to define success. Emphases added in the following quote from the Urban Land Institute article “Making Public Spaces Work Overtime
More than 1,150 families had made homes in the abandoned financial tower, but now Venezuelan officials are relocating residents elsewhere.
Some nice images from Torre David.
Crazy that the people living here are being relocated so far away from where they currently live, instead of somewhere in the central city near where they are likely to already have jobs and social contacts.
It would be difficult to come with a more on-the-nose metaphor for New York City’s income inequality problem than the new high-rise apartment building coming to 40 Riverside Boulevard, which will feature separate doors for regular, wealthy humans and whatever you call the scum that rents affordable housing.
Extell Development Company, the firm behind the new building, announced its intentions to segregate the rich and poor to much outrage last year. Fifty-five of the luxury complex’s 219 units would be marked for low-income renters—netting some valuable tax breaks for Extell—with the caveat that the less fortunate tenants would stick to their own entrance.
The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development approved Extell’s Inclusionary Housing Program application for the 33-story tower this week, the New York Post reports. The status grants Extell the aforementioned tax breaks and the right to construct a larger building than would ordinarily be allowed. According to the Daily Mail, affordable housing tenants will enter through a door situated on a “back alley.”
Any of the unwashed folk who complain about such a convenient arrangement, of course, are just being ungrateful. As the Mail points out, fellow poor-door developer David Von Spreckelsen explained as much last year:
"No one ever said that the goal was full integration of these populations," said David Von Spreckelsen, senior vice president at Toll Brothers. "So now you have politicians talking about that, saying how horrible those back doors are. I think it’s unfair to expect very high-income homeowners who paid a fortune to live in their building to have to be in the same boat as low-income renters, who are very fortunate to live in a new building in a great neighborhood."
In these economically fraught times, it’s easy to forget that the super rich earned their right to never see you, hear you, smell you, or consider your pitiful existence. Expecting them to share an entrance would be unfair.
An advisory measure asking Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution and overturn the Citizens United court decision will go on the November ballot in California without Gov. Jerry Brown ’s signature on the enabling legislation, Brown announced Wednesday.
The following is a portion of the transcription of a talk delivered to Occupy Wall Street protestors in New York’s Liberty Plaza on October 9, 2011.
“so what are we doing here? let me tell you a wonderful, old joke from communist times. A guy was sent from East Germany to…
Well here comes expanded corporate personhood.
To a great extent, the decision turns on whether a business is a “person.” This is the same minefield the court seeded in its infamous Citizens United case in 2010, when it held that campaign finance laws limiting corporate contributions violated corporations’ free-speech rights. The detonation of those mines has laid waste to the electoral process, turning it into a playground for corporate interests. (More of a playground, anyway.)
Here the court’s majority rules that a privately held company is, in effect, a “person” that can express religious convictions. Alito sugarcoats that finding, acknowledging that corporate personhood is a “fiction,” but one designed to “provide protection for human beings.”