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The W - Current Events & Politics - What's an urbanist?
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Corajudo
Frankfurter








Since: 7.11.02
From: Dallas, TX

Since last post: 19 days
Last activity: 3 days
#1 Posted on
In a post in the protest thread, Moe referred to himself as an urbanist. I've never heard this particular term before and was wondering if someone could explain it to me. Maybe I should have sent a private message to Moe, but I can't be the only one unfamiliar with this term (can I?).

Thanks in advance.
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Grimis
Scrapple








Since: 11.7.02
From: MD

Since last post: 1182 days
Last activity: 979 days
#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29
Webster's defines it as "a specialist in urban planning" but there has to be more to it than that politically speaking...



There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.
- Theodore Roosevelt, Ocotber 12, 1915
Gavintzu
Summer sausage








Since: 2.1.02
From: Calgary ... Alberta Canada

Since last post: 2779 days
Last activity: 2779 days
#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
This is all a misunderstanding. Moe meant to write that he was "urbane", but made a typo.

Urbane: adj 1: showing a high degree of refinement and the assurance that comes from wide social experience; 2: characterized by tact and propriety 3: marked by wide-ranging knowledge and appreciation of many parts of the world arising from urban life and wide travel ...

Just imagine the Gates household in NYC on Sunday morning --the Sunday Times spread out on the kitchen table, with the crossword two-thirds finished. Moe is sitting in his drawing room, listening to Ella Fitzgerald singing the Noel Coward Songbook while he furiously pounds out a reply to one of Grimis' posts in the Politics forum, his pipe clenched in his jaws, while Mrs. Gates pulls the freshly-baked croissants from the oven. Urbane, man. Urbane.

(Of course, I'm not sure where pro-'rassling fandom fits in with the urbane image Moe is trying to cultivate, but hey, whatever turns his crank. )






If it's true a rich man leads a sad life
(that's what they say, from day to day),
Then what do all the poor do with their lives
On Judgement Day -- with nothing to say?

------------------------------------------------
Joe Strummer Lives!
MoeGates
Andouille








Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

Since last post: 3 days
Last activity: 9 hours
#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.73
Subsitute "5%" finished for "2/3" finished, "Eddie Harris" for "Ella Fitzgerald" and "Shitty dial-up access so I don't post" at home with "T-1 access at work and it's not very busy in the winter so I post here" and you've got it There's something I could have done with Mrs. Gates (she actually kept her last name, don't you know urbane women do this?) and the croissants too I suppose, but it's just not coming to me now. And nobody under 50 can pull off smoking a pipe.

To reply, I won't go into a big discussion of what an "urbanist," is, but I can tell you that what I personally meant was that I favor candidates that recognize the impotance of cities to America and invest and legislate accordingly. This tends to be a big issue in states (like New York) with a lot of city-suburb tensions, which generally arise from the culture, infrastructure, and tax code of the city being significantly different from its suburbs.

On a national level, it essentially manifests itself as wanting the transportation commitee to approve more funds for subways in New York, not Highways in Alabama (for an example).



It seems that I am - in no particular order - Zack Morris, John Adams, a Siren, Janeane Garofalo, Cheer Bear, Aphrodite, a Chihuahua, Data, Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel, Amy-Wynn Pastor, Hydrogen, Bjork, Spider-Man, Boston, and a Chaotic Good Elvin Bard-Mage.
Pool-Boy
Lap cheong








Since: 1.8.02
From: Huntington Beach, CA

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#5 Posted on
Hey now- I pull off smoking a pipe just fine! I am hurt!



Not that restraint when posting in a "public" forum isn't a good thing...

Bizzle Izzle
Bockwurst








Since: 26.6.02
From: New Jersey, USA

Since last post: 159 days
Last activity: 159 days
#6 Posted on

It's interestinig that Moe's definition of 'urbanist' isn't a real word since 'ruralist' is and can mean someone who lives in a rural area or advocates a rural life. I'm certainly a "ruralist". I've always seen the reason for any tension between cities and the suburbs/country is that the city slickers think they are better than everyone else who might be from some "bumblefuck" country town/area. (not trying to pick a fight with any cityfolk here)



'But if one is struck by me only a little, that is far different, the stroke is a sharp thing and suddenly lays him lifeless, and that man's wife goes with cheeks torn in lamentation, and his children are fatherless, while he, staining the soil with his red blood, rots away, and there are more birds than women swarming about him.' Diomedes, The Iliad of Homer

Maiden RULES!!!
Corajudo
Frankfurter








Since: 7.11.02
From: Dallas, TX

Since last post: 19 days
Last activity: 3 days
#7 Posted on
Moe--Thanks for the answer; I get the basic idea now. Like Grimis, I looked it up in the dictionary and wondered how that could be a political philosophy.

Bigger thanks to Gavintzu for the picture of Sunday morning at the Gates. My guess is that's how they prepare for the pay-per-view. Bake the croissants first because the pate and the Beluga caviar are best served cold.

Pool-Boy: No, you don't.

And, Bizzle, that's an interesting way not to pick a fight.

And, not to get into a political discussion, but how does an urbanist suggest integrating the city-suburb differences, especially in regards to local tax and infrastructure issues? If the city government passes a different tax code than the suburbs, I don't understand what should be done.

FWIW, where I live (in Dallas), the suburbs generally have higher taxes (mostly property taxes) because the proceeds are used to fund the school districts and the suburban public school districts are far superior (hence the attraction of the suburbs) so people are willing to pay higher taxes because of the perceived higher benefits.
MoeGates
Andouille








Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

Since last post: 3 days
Last activity: 9 hours
#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.73
city slickers think they are better than everyone else who might be from some "bumblefuck" country town/area. (not trying to pick a fight with any cityfolk here)

I have no problem with "bumblefuck" county/town. I actually think that non-transient urban residents and folks from "bumblefuck" county/town tend to have very similar values, even if perhaps they are expressed in different ways. And I think the goals of urban and rural areas aren't exclusive from each other, and converge quite a bit. What I have a problem with are suburbs, which fuck over both rural areas and cities.

And, not to get into a political discussion, but how does an urbanist suggest integrating the city-suburb differences, especially in regards to local tax and infrastructure issues? If the city government passes a different tax code than the suburbs, I don't understand what should be done.

The problem (at least here in New York) is that the city can't pass a different tax code from the suburbs (other than property taxes). It's got to go through the state.

I should have phrased "tax code" differently. What I meant to point out was just as cities have revenue-spending needs than the suburbs, they also have different revenue-raising needs. Just as you have a choice between spending money on trains or highways, you also have a choice between raising subway fares or bridge tolls. Right now cities get a very raw deal compared to the suburbs when it comes to their needs being met. Even if you want to look at it from a more Republican view, cities put much more money into State and Federal taxes than they get back in services, compared to the suburbs.

How do I suggest we integrate the city-suburb differences? I don't suggest they should be integrated. I think they should be more segregated in fact. Different people like to live in different kinds of areas, and I have no problem with that. My problem is that people who live in one kind of area have a disproportionate amount of political influence.

My (completely pipe dream) solution is to redraw state boundaries so that cities have a fair share of influence in their respective states, and therefor on a national level as well. In the short run though, I try (as I posted before) to vote for candidates that will give cities a fair shake when it comes to revenue-raising and spending.




It seems that I am - in no particular order - Zack Morris, John Adams, a Siren, Janeane Garofalo, Cheer Bear, Aphrodite, a Chihuahua, Data, Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel, Amy-Wynn Pastor, Hydrogen, Bjork, Spider-Man, Boston, and a Chaotic Good Elvin Bard-Mage.
Corajudo
Frankfurter








Since: 7.11.02
From: Dallas, TX

Since last post: 19 days
Last activity: 3 days
#9 Posted on
Thanks, Moe. It seems like this must be a bigger issue in the Northeast than it is down here.

I'm no expert on local government issues or on public finance, but it seems that, in Texas, cities and suburbs have more leeway in deciding on how they tax and spend. For instance, with sales tax, there is a component that goes to the state, but there is also a component that goes to the city or local government. So, there are a couple of suburbs in the Dallas area that tend to have more stores and malls because their sales tax is a cent or two lower. This works out for those areas in the long-run in the sense that a comparative advantage of a 1-2% lower sales tax might generate more than a 2% rise in revenue. I believe that local areas have similar leeway in setting other taxes (car rental, hotel, etc.) and do not need state approval.

Personally, I'm a big believer in decentralizing this kind of decision making. Also, put me in the camp that prefers to live in the city, but the abysmal schools there make it necessary to live in the suburbs. And, the thing that really pisses me off is that the schools in the city are not abysmal because of a lack of money; it's that the money is managed extremely poorly.
spf
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: The Las Vegas of Canada

Since last post: 16 days
Last activity: 4 days
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#10 Posted on
Corajudo pointed out one of the things that really gets my goat here in Illinois, and that is the disparity in school funding. The schools in the poorest parts of the state (be it out in the backwoods or the urban ghetto) sometimes have $10,000 less per student to spend. The high schools in the best suburbs are as well equipped as as many small colleges, while other schools are in atrocious condition. And while yes, there are management issues (best thing to happen to Chicago schools was to strip the Pershing Rd. Mafia of their power), the funding gap is just not a good thing. Equalizing school funding would do more to alleviate poverty or racial inequality than any affirmative action or welfare program could ever do.



The Most Bitter Place On The Net.

The current artist tickling my fancy: Brenda Weiler


Immortality
Grimis
Scrapple








Since: 11.7.02
From: MD

Since last post: 1182 days
Last activity: 979 days
#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29

    Originally posted by spf2119
    Equalizing school funding would do more to alleviate poverty or racial inequality than any affirmative action or welfare program could ever do.

Actually, addressing problems within the education system would help end poverty and racial inequality because addressing the problems with the school systems will continue to address the problem. Funding doesn't do it alone because if the system is in disarray, it's like throwing good money after bad.

Look at the stats from the Department of Edcuation. The states and territories with the highest per pupil spending are the following:

1. New Jersey: $10,748
2. District of Columbia: $10,611
3. New York: $10,514
4. Connecticut: $9,620
5. Alaska: $9,209

Spending ridiculous amounts on education haven't made DC schools anything to write home about.



There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.
- Theodore Roosevelt, Ocotber 12, 1915
Corajudo
Frankfurter








Since: 7.11.02
From: Dallas, TX

Since last post: 19 days
Last activity: 3 days
#12 Posted on
    Originally posted by spf2119
    Corajudo pointed out one of the things that really gets my goat here in Illinois, and that is the disparity in school funding. The schools in the poorest parts of the state (be it out in the backwoods or the urban ghetto) sometimes have $10,000 less per student to spend. The high schools in the best suburbs are as well equipped as as many small colleges, while other schools are in atrocious condition. And while yes, there are management issues (best thing to happen to Chicago schools was to strip the Pershing Rd. Mafia of their power), the funding gap is just not a good thing. Equalizing school funding would do more to alleviate poverty or racial inequality than any affirmative action or welfare program could ever do.


I agree that there needs to be some way to filter money to the rural districts. This is a pretty severe problem here in Texas, especially given its size.

However, as Grimis pointed out, the problem is that high funding can result in low performance and miserable schools. In the Dallas ISD (a miserable school system with a lot of money), increases in funding tend to do things like put nicer furniture in a new, bigger house for the superintendent (in the expense statement, this fell under 'office' expenses) and expand the school bureacracy (you know, we're forming a task force and hiring consultants to investigate why our schools suck--the results are that we need more money and we need more studies). Then, taxpayers wonder how come their higher tax bills cause school quality to fall even more. So, the response (if they have the means) is to move to an area where high taxes yield good schools. And, in the suburbs, the superintendent lives in a relatively modest house while the school facilities are nicer than most junior colleges (and I know because I used to teach in a jr. college) and the high school academic teams and bands and so on compete in national and state competitions. It's strange how school quality improves when money is spent on (GASP!) schools and students and things that actually foster education.

The thing is that in some cases, school funding needs to equalized, while in other cases, the school district's system and infrastructure need to be changed. The question is how to do both of these things and address both of these problems.

(edited by Corajudo on 21.2.03 0846)
spf
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: The Las Vegas of Canada

Since last post: 16 days
Last activity: 4 days
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#13 Posted on
I know this will be a discussion that will never gain traction with you Grimis, since as a good conservative I have to assume that you have a dartboard with the word "teacher's unions" on it somewhere in your home (I had one back when I worked for the GOP, I turned it in when I was excommunicated from the flock), but I have just one question. If/when you have kids, would you want to send them to a well-run school with $10,000 to spend per student, or a well-run school with $3,000 to spend per student? And before you answer "yes, because they'll go to private school" just don't say it, the two things are apples and oranges. Because in the end no matter what one does to change management, if you live in a place where local property taxes determine the resources available to the public school system, there is going to be a disparity. And even the best administrators can only wring so much chicken salad from chicken shit. And the fact that there are people who do squander these resources does not change that basic fact.



The Most Bitter Place On The Net.

The current artist tickling my fancy: Brenda Weiler


Immortality
Grimis
Scrapple








Since: 11.7.02
From: MD

Since last post: 1182 days
Last activity: 979 days
#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29

    Originally posted by spf2119
    If/when you have kids, would you want to send them to a well-run school with $10,000 to spend per student, or a well-run school with $3,000 to spend per student? And before you answer "yes, because they'll go to private school" just don't say it, the two things are apples and oranges.

Like every other person on the planet, I'd take the $10K. BUT I would rather send my kid to a well-run school with $3,000 to spend per student than a poorly-run school with $10,000 to spend per student because the quality of the education has a pretty good chance of being better at the cheaper school.


    Originally posted by spf2119
    Because in the end no matter what one does to change management, if you live in a place where local property taxes determine the resources available to the public school system, there is going to be a disparity. And even the best administrators can only wring so much chicken salad from chicken shit. And the fact that there are people who do squander these resources does not change that basic fact.

There are lots of schools that can do wonders with little mondey...

And then there is Baltimore city. The schools of Baltimore city and Prince George's County, MD are awful. It got so bad that Governor Glendening created the Thornton Commission to create a plan to reallocate resources to poorer school districts(Robin Hood in action). Of course, the richester jurisdiction(Montgomery County) now gets more than it would've before because otherwise it wouldn't have passed.

And as for Baltimore city? It recently was discovered that over two dozen city school board employees make $100K+.

Managmenet, teachers, curriculum is what's important. Sure, most teachers don't exactluy want to work in the Ghetto, but some people do and some people are damn good. Their ability to teach and the curriculum they use would be good to teach kids on $3,000 a year or $10,000 a day.

The solution to all of our problems is not to spend more money on everything.



There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.
- Theodore Roosevelt, Ocotber 12, 1915
Jaguar
Knackwurst








Since: 23.1.02
From: Phoenix, AZ

Since last post: 111 days
Last activity: 111 days
#15 Posted on

    Originally posted by Grimis

      Originally posted by spf2119
      Equalizing school funding would do more to alleviate poverty or racial inequality than any affirmative action or welfare program could ever do.

    Actually, addressing problems within the education system would help end poverty and racial inequality because addressing the problems with the school systems will continue to address the problem. Funding doesn't do it alone because if the system is in disarray, it's like throwing good money after bad.

    Look at the stats from the Department of Edcuation. The states and territories with the highest per pupil spending are the following:

    1. New Jersey: $10,748
    2. District of Columbia: $10,611
    3. New York: $10,514
    4. Connecticut: $9,620
    5. Alaska: $9,209

    Spending ridiculous amounts on education haven't made DC schools anything to write home about.



Of course, I do have to point out the fact that this doesn't really say all that much. Depending on how those figures were calcutlated, we may not be seeing that a very small number of schools in New Jersey are getting a lot of money, and that the rest are being left to fend for themselves.

And while throwing money at it certainly isn't going to be the solution to fixing our school system, how we raise and teach our children is on the top of my priority list. So if I have money to throw at things, that's where it's going to go.

-Jag



No matter how obvious the trap, you can't complete the game unless you fall into it.
TheCow
Landjager








Since: 3.1.02
From: Knoxville, TN

Since last post: 2362 days
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#16 Posted on
Don't even get me started about Memphis school funding.

From what I understand, Shelby County Schools (where I graduated from) received the lowest amount of funding per student in the entire state of Tennessee (granted, some of this is probably due to overcrowding). Take into account that Tennessee is horrid when it comes to funding school districts (bottom 5 states of the nation), and it really looks bad. However, the ironic part about this is that SCS are among the best schools in the state (not saying much, granted, but I came out all right, I suppose).

Memphis City Schools are even worse - some of these schools (especially the inner-city ones, Whitehaven / Orange Mound area) don't have air conditioning - which becomes an issue come May, when the temperature normally tops 90 with a humidity in the 70's. Try getting 7 and 8-year olds to learn in that kind of environment. It kind of goes without saying that there's not enough money for any kind of modern supplies in most of these schools.

Point of this? Although funding does have its limits, there does need to be enough to sustain the school.







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