Ranked Choice Voting: One reform to save America

By David Brooks, 1 June 2018 NYTimes.com There are a bunch of different ways to do democracy. In Western Europe, most countries have proportional representation and a lot of different parties representing voter interests. In this country we’ve gone with a two-party system and winner-take-all elections. During the middle of the 20th century, it seemed like we’d chosen the right …

The American Housing Crisis Might Be Our Next Big Political Issue

By BENJAMIN SCHNEIDER, 16 May 2018  Several new advocacy groups have sprung up to push for better housing policies at the state and national level. Their first job: Communicating how significant the problem really is. The advertising executive Michael Franzini, founder of the nonprofit ad agency Public Interest, has created campaigns to fight AIDS, spur Holocaust awareness, and advocate for STEM …

A Crop of Reform-Minded Mayors Is Trying to Fix Policing and Fight Mass Incarceration – Pushing back and finding new paths forward in Durham, Baltimore, NY, Jackson and elsewhere

In their choice of a police chief and through other local initiatives, mayors can make major strides in improving the way their constituents interact with police and the criminal justice system. By Collier Meyerson, The Nation, MARCH 12, 2018 Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba of Jackson, Mississippi; Ras Baraka, mayor of Newark, New Jersey; and Mayor Michael D. Tubbs of Stockton, California, …

Yes, Transit-Rich Neighborhoods Are More Affordable

Living near transit should lower your transportation costs. But not all residents choose to take advantage of this benefit. Damian Dovarganes/AP By SCOTT BERNSTEIN and PETER HAAS for CityLab, 29 May 2018 Contrary to the implications of a recent attention-grabbing study, “location efficiency” matters—good transit does lower transportation costs. Decades of research show how. In October 2017, a study called “Complicating the Story of Location …

The emerging data economy

A new economy is emerging. And this new economy is powered by a new type of fuel: data. As the data economy becomes increasingly prominent, there are troubling signs that it is worsening existing power imbalances, and creating new problems of domination and lack of accountability. But it would be wrong simply to draw dystopian visions from our current situation. Technological …

Basic US political reform

Americans elected Trump under the terms set forth in the Constitution. Americans created the Electoral College, which allows a candidate with a minority of popular votes to become president. Americans were those who gerrymandered electoral districts to rig them in favor of a given political party. The Supreme Court issued the infamous Citizens United decision that allows corporate financing of candidates for …

Social Housing for the US: Homes for All

By Jimmy Tobias, the Nation, 2018 These developments could not be bought or sold, nor could landlords raise the rents at will, so they remained consistently affordable. However, this made them a threat to the real-estate industry. David Walsh, a US senator at the time, complained that the PWA-constructed houses “in New York, Cleveland, and Boston and elsewhere are really in …

How a Small City Is Taking on the Big Power of Dark Money: Dispatches from the Urban Resistance

By Jimmy Tobiasm 30 March 2018, The Nation Voters enter and exit from their polling station early, November 8, 2016, in Tempe, Arizona. (AP Photo / Matt York) Late in January, a small army of right-wing oligarchs and political operatives gathered in Southern California for the Koch Network’s annual winter seminar. They were there to learn about the network’s plans for the 2018 midterm …

How Kids and Families Pay the Real Cost of Health Inequality When families can’t take paid time off to care for a sick child, the social costs can be overwhelming

By Michelle Chen in the Nation, May 2018 When you’re too sick to go to work, you shouldn’t be punished for taking time to recover. That simple truth has driven many cities to enact paid leave policies in recent years, guaranteeing paid sick days, or some kind of paid medical- and family-leave time, as standard workplace policy. But those vital policies are still not …

What if School Lunch Programs Promoted Public Health, Good Jobs, and the Environment? From LA to Cook County, local governments are using their purchasing power to transform the food system.

By Anna Lappé and Jose Oliva in The Nation, 25 May 2018 Students eat lunch at the cafeteria at Marston Middle School in San Diego, California, March 7, 2011. (Reuters / Mike Blake) Eleven billion dollars. That’s the total tally of the national school-food program in the United States and just a small fraction of what public institutions in this country spend every year in …