Posts Tagged ‘Gentrification’

Polarization And Gerrymandering

October 6, 2017

Analysis finds there to be endless speculation, with statistical backing, on “the polarization of America” on the majority of issues facing our children’s future. Whether this is a readily available handle on the news by the news media, or “fake news” promoted by tech savvy raconteurs (both foreign and domestic), or is actually so but impossible to grasp unless you are a main frame computer is a contemporary puzzle. The US Supreme Court is currently hearing a case questioning Wisconsin’s political redistricting. Labeled gerrymandering, the issue is rather one of domination than polarization. Locally, in Newark Ohio, we have the destruction of the courthouse square gazebo which ostensibly is part of the City of Newark’s public domain but sits adjacent the Licking County Courthouse (also a public domain but of the county, not city). Confused? It is all akin to the township trustee positions that some municipal voters get to vote on even though unaffected by any township adjudication. Where is the gerrymandering and polarization in all this when it comes to the Newark City Council, Mayor Jeff Hall, and the voting residents of Newark? A recent editorial, er, report by the Advocate editor, Benjamin Lanka, may shed some light on this (since obviously no one would admit to polarization in Newark let alone gerrymandering with the ward districting supplemented by at large representatives). Entitled “Newark Council: Gazebo should stay, but will it?” (10-6-17) it paints a rather ambiguous picture (THAT is an understatement!). In a nut shell, Lanka goes out of his way to survey each council representative and their views on the matter. All, save one, would prefer the gazebo remain and not be destroyed. All plead powerlessness to stopping Mayor Hall’s action (but for discretely polarized reasons!). The “save one” is none other than Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb’s son, Ryan Bubb. In the past, Ryan would have been given the benefit of doubt with regard to nepotism, but with the age of the Kushners being part and parcel of the White House administration, the doubt itself is more than doubtful. Commenters to Lanka’s editorial, er, reporting raised the obvious. When Lanka writes “The costs of moving and restoring the gazebo are being paid by private donors.” They ask “who are the private donors?” Analysis speculates it is probably a public private partnership (like JobsOhio) which is not obligated to disclose their “private” parts (so fashionable these days!). Investigative reporting is not this particular Advocate reporter’s forte. Lanka concludes his editorial, er, article by quoting Ryan Bubb: “”It’s going to be back better than it was,” he said.” Priceless! Analysis finds the gerrymandering and polarization of Newark to be a little more readily apparent when one asks a simple question – why has no one suggested (publicly voiced) recalling the mayor if he continues with his administrative action counter the people’s will? All of a sudden the polarization jumps out. The ambiguity of the GOP representative’s we’d-like-it-to-stay-but (“Would I like to see it stay? Absolutely,” Frazier said. “That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect the authority of the mayor.”) is obviously inevitable (an acknowledgement of the little man behind the curtain in Oz). It is what comes after the “but” that makes for the affirmative statement (we still abide by the GOP power structure). The reticence of the Democratic candidates to generate any action to save the gazebo (initiate a recall) points to the de facto gerrymandering (their very powerlessness). Their positions within their districts are none too secure. Analysis finds (on the national level) talk, reporting and commentary on gerrymandering and polarization to be often times, if not most of the time, couched in terms of economics. However, as the Newark gazebo shows, polarization and gerrymandering are about those who have power, and those who are lorded over. We will have our way because we can. And in this case, we can make the gazebo disappear. “It’s going to be back better than it was.” Now THAT’S power!

Irony, Thy Name Is Newark

September 27, 2016

Reporter Sydney Murray writes “Filmmaker Michael Moore took to social media Sunday night to ask why the Midland Theatre wouldn’t let him film a live show about the upcoming presidential election.” (Michael Moore denied Midland Theatre show 9-26-16 Newark Advocate) The Midland itself gives many, varied and different self justifications, like “But officials at the Midland said in a post on its own Facebook page that the reasons for the denial of Moore’s request came down to the same three criteria they apply to all shows: timing, audience and finances.” The “Moore” interesting reasons come at the end of the article (of course). “But the Midland’s own social media response takes exception with Moore’s claims that he was banned from the theater. In addition to [Midland Theatre Executive Director Nancy] Anderson’s statements, the Midland Theater Facebook post said since Moore is a filmmaker and the show was not a film, it was unknown what the actual show would be, and whether or not there would be audience interest. Finally, the post says the performance was going to be a free event, but since the Midland still needed to staff the event and pay other fees, it was not a financially smart decision to host the show.” The irony of all this will not be missed by the engaged followers of the current rebranding of the new and hip gentrification called downtown Newark. After all, come the spring and downtown Newark will be turned into an independent film festival hub (Newark FAMFEST), centered primarily at The Midland, not profitable but funded just the same by outside contributors and dealing primarily with documentaries and Newark selfies. (Whew!) And who, dear reader, has had a more enormous impact on documentary film production (and town selfies) than Michael Moore? Irony, thy name is Newark.

 

Weird News

October 1, 2015

Not to be found with the Advocate but perused by analytical accident, the Cereal Killer riots! “The $5 Cereal That Provoked a London Mob” by Heather Horn (9-30-15) for The Atlantic: “News of the mobbing on Saturday night [9-26-15] of the Cereal Killer Cafe in Shoreditch, in London’s East End…” Eventually, “The Facebook description for the demonstration (or “street party,” as its organizers called it) puts it plainly: “We don’t want luxury flats that no one can afford, we want genuinely affordable housing. We don’t want pop-up gin bars or brioche buns—we want community.”” Horn spends the rest of the extensive article investigating the reason for such a strange occurrence. After all, if you can open a business providing $5 bowls of Captain Crunch, what harm is there in that? Then again, as Horn rightly remembers, demonstrations occurred in San Francisco over Google’s commuter bus service causing housing prices to rise and folks had to leave their hearts by the golden gate because of that. The phenomenon in East London has been replicated and is the usual suspect. City loses residents/businesses, etc. vacant storefronts, apartments attract low income but educated, upwardly mobile inhabitants who thrive on the ‘edgy”, authentic atmosphere; eventually spawning specialty businesses like coffee shops, nightclubs, galleries and “ethnic” restaurants. Real estate values go up as equally educated but higher earning desire in on the now, not-so-edgy city living (gentrified). Happens all over – NYC’s Soho, then Brooklyn, soon to be Queens. In our neck of the central Ohio woods it could be the Short North, Italian Village and currently the near west side/Franklinton in Columbus. Horn presents an alternate take to that of housing. She quotes Paul Cheshire, an emeritus professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics – “the demonstrators, or at least the organizers, appeared to have a specific political-cultural agenda.” Nancy Holman, an associate professor of urban planning at the London School of Economics is quoted “Certainly I see at the university lots of people who graduate from the [master-of-science program] with a good job and prospects, living in a house with several other people living with them, and they’re doing that into their thirties. Really, what we’re seeing isn’t so much about gentrification but about feeling priced out—people who are in their twenties and thirties feeling that there’s not a lot of hope in their being a part of life in the capital despite the fact that they work and contribute.” Small chance of such insurrection taking place in Newark where development is not organic but by design. But then again, if a Cereal Killer were to be found across from the Jail Of Terror…?