Friday News Round Up!

Friday the 13th! Avoid bad luck by reading our news round-up!

  1. Why Can’t the Bronx be More Like Brooklyn?” Adam Davidson of NPR’s Planet Money contributed to this week’s New York Times Magazine with an article about urban development in the Bronx. Economic growth in NYC has far outpaced growth in the Bronx, and it has been somewhat impervious to the gentrification that is changing Western Brooklyn and Queens. But Davidson suggests the comparison between the only mainland borough and the rest NYC is less valid than we may think.  He suggests we should be comparing the Bronx to rust belt cities like Buffalo and Detroit, cities whose growth is far more stagnant than the Bronx’s.
  2. The Bronx certainly struggles from a negative perception problem, but the northernmost borough is home many NYC gems! (If you haven’t, visit it!) Simply changing its perception doesn’t necessarily do justice to the real struggle that Bronx tenants face, as illustrated by this NBC News video inside the College Avenue buildings owned by Eli Abbott and featured on Bill de Blasio’s Worst Landlord Watch list.
  3. Chicago is challenging Obama’s Secure Communities program. In a new ordinance, Mayor Rahm Emanual has proposed barring police from turning anyone over to ICE unless they have been convicted of a serious crime or have an outstanding search warrant.  Isn’t this what S-Comm was originally intended to do, anyway?  (Not that we agree with deporting anyone with criminal records, but that’s another story.)  An article in the NYTimes cites Emanuel as saying that he plans to make Chicago the most immigrant- friendly city in the country.  Fighting S-Comm is certainly a good start.
  4. Unionized employees of Con-Edison, Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), are striking for better wages, better pensions, and affordable healthcare.  Thirteen days ago, 8,500 union workers were locked out of Con-Edison during negotiations after the expiration of a 4 year contract.  The lockout is particularly contentious due to the on-going heat wave, which is raising the risk of power failures and endangering New Yorkers prone to heat stroke.  Christine C Quinn has voiced her public disapproval of Con-Ed’s lockout, calling on them to end it now in order to provide safe, consistent electricity to New Yorkers.
  5. On Monday morning, Amtrak unveiled plans for a Northeast High Speed Rail Line. The Atlantic Cities gives a brief overview of the history of trains in the Northeast, and describes how a high speed rail could truly impact (for the better) the smaller, struggling cities within a few hours of New York. “By shrinking the distance between vibrant urban cores and the smaller communities that lie between them,” Yoni Appelbaum writes, ” high-speed rail could spark an economic boom.” Don’t get too excited: the project is 10 years away at least.