→ The Washington Post: Delaware is bailing out its casinos. Wait, what?
Earlier this week, Delaware’s casinos got a surprise windfall. Just days after saying no to tax breaks, Gov. Jack Markell (D) proposed that $8 million of the state’s budget surplus be distributed amongst its three struggling establishments, to forestall the layoffs that at least one of them had threatened.
That would seem to defeat the purpose of casinos: Generating revenue for states. The problem is, for the past decade, almost every state in the nation has tried to cash in–and gamblers aren’t keeping up. Twenty-three states have now legalized commercial casinos, and revenues are back to 2007 levels after taking a dip during the recession.
A small state surrounded by other states with lots of people and better casinos…
— Governor Chafee (@LincolnChafee) June 19, 2013
→ Next City: Loving My City Enough to Fight For It
These days, the zeitgeist has changed. If before, you were a happy but passive contrarian, enjoying the “lifestyle” that cost-of-living, accessibility, great culture, and tight-knit neighborhoods afforded — now there is a bit more at stake. The mood in Cleveland (speaking from my white, liberal, professional vantage) is more proactive. No longer can you just sip your wine and chat about how nice it is here. The ethos has shifted to an activist one: you have to help out, pitch in, you have to do something. There is an emergent sense of civic obligation.
Why this shift? Why this pressure to help the city’s economic, educational, political and cultural life? Not because things are worse but because they are better.
Think back to the last time you helped an elderly person cross the street. In most cases, you’ll remember making it up and over the opposite curb with just seconds to spare before the wall of rumbling oncoming traffic got their green go-ahead signal. Now, as this memory dawns on you, have you ever stopped to think about why this always seems to happen? Well, there’s a reason.
The biggest problem commuter rail faces is that its customer base lives in far-flung suburbs where cars are used for just about everything. “You are trying to attract people who are the least likely to use transit in the first place,” says Yonah Freemark, editor of The Transport Politic.
The headline is a little innacurate. Commuter Rail ridership is up nominally (basically flat) nationwide and in places like New York City is up notably. However some new lines in cities without a strong trandition of public transit, ridership is down.
→ Financial Times: Obama needs to embrace the promise of the US city
Among America’s presidents, Mr Obama is arguably the most urban of all. From Honolulu to Jakarta, to Los Angeles, to New York, to Chicago, to Boston, then back to Chicago and finally to Washington, his life’s journey has been exclusively through cities. It would be hard to imagine small-town America producing a Barack Obama. Yet America’s urban revivalists have had a largely fruitless time trying to catch his administration’s attention. “I was at a conference in Brazil of 16 countries and 15 of them were talking about how to upgrade their cities,” says Ben Hecht, president of the Living Cities foundation, which distributes philanthropic dollars in the US. “Guess which was the odd one out?”