Opinion Let the market decide Eric Fruits Christopher J Connor I n a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, President Donald Trump and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson promised to "protect America's suburbs" from "a relentless push for more high-density housing in single-family residential neighborhoods." This seems to be a reversal from Carson's earlier advocacy for using the federal government to loosen local zoning laws. As with most public policies, the issues are too complex to be distilled into simple left vs. right, us vs. them, or even NIMBY vs. YIMBY. But if we had to simplify them, the clearest divide here is the conflict between choice and coercion. This debate is playing out across the country, and recent policies enacted in Portland, Ore., show the tensions between coercion and choice even among those in favor of more density and development. The Portland region, along with other west coast cities, have some of the most highly regulated housing markets in the U.S. and has some of the worst housing affordability in the country. Last year, the Oregon Legislature took a small step toward loosening regulations with a law requiring cities with a population over 25,000 to allow construction of duplexes on properties initially zoned for single homes. In the Portland metro area the law requires cities and counties to allow the building of denser housing such as quadplexes and "cottage clusters" of homes around common yards. When laws such as Oregon's are passed, headlines celebrate (or jeer) the legislation as a "ban" that "eliminates" or "outlaws" single-family homes. That's a crude-and false-simplification. Oregon's law does not eliminate single-family homes. Before the law, property owners in single-family zoned areas could build only one house per lot. The new law provides property owners the option to build single- or multi-family developments. The law freed up opportunities for property owners. This freedom has value and will be reflected in higher land values and cheaper housing. It's one of those rare progressive policies that increase choice and possibly wealth. But, there's a darker, coercive side to this push. Forcing neighborhoods to allow more types of housing isn't forcing anyone to do anything - quite the opposite, since it gives people more freedom to use their property rights in the way they decide. But some jurisdictions are turning what should be a removal of coercion into coercion of a different kind. For example, when the city of Portland revised its zoning codes to comply with the law, it imposed new restrictions on housing. New single family homes are now limited to a maximum of 2,500 square feet and duplexes are limited to a total of 3,000 square feet. With 3- and 4-plexes limited to a total 3,500 square feet, the city's getting into stackand-pack territory, stifling choice and reducing wealth. Planners and policymakers have mixed emotions about the free market. On the one hand, they trust the market enough to lift restrictions on the number of units built. On the other hand, they don't trust the market enough to build units small enough to fulfill their high density dreams. It's this distrust that drives higher housing prices and reduces affordability. Recent research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows stricter land use regulations go a long way toward explaining reductions in housing affordability. Increased density conveys clear benefits, imposes clear costs. Denser neighborhoods tend to have more opportunities for shopping and dining within walking distance. They usually bear smaller per-unit costs on infrastructure. At the same time, denser neighborhoods can be cluttered with onstreet parking and traffic congestion. They can place burdens on crowded public schools. People know the tradeoffs, and they should be allowed the choice to face the tradeoffs in building what they want and buying where they want. But, city-wide restrictions on the size of new housing are a very costly and crude way to force that choice. Some people want a house that's larger than 2,500 square feet. Some multi-generational families feel they need a larger home. On the other hand, some households may relish the idea of sharing a common yard with others. The Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA) stands to renew the nation's commitment to infrastructure modernization and environmental protection, allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to address maintenance needs and conduct feasibility studies unlocking the potential of America's water resources. Kourosh Ziabari cultural centers affiliated with mosques, seminaries and Islamic denominational universities were established. Even the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, a gigantic media conglomerate employing upward of 48,000 staff members and operating on an annual budget of 17 trillion rials (US$77.9 million), has been involved in deluging its audience with religious programming, and in 2013, a provincial director of IRIB, Hojatollah Rahimzadeh, asserted that 80% of its programs had religious motifs. This is while since 1979, audiovisual content on Iranian culture and civilization has been conspicuously absent from IRIB's airtime, a broadcaster that is on the public payroll and is obviously bound to meet the needs of the entire Iranian population, while satellite TVs are officially banned. This disproportionate underwriting of Islamism while shrugging off the characterizations of national culture and traditions has generated an ominous dichotomy of religion versus nationalism, resetting public attitudes to the concept of identity, and alienating Iranian youth from their past. Even so, it is not only the identity crisis emanating from the authorities' disregard of Iranian values and history that is threatening the resilience of an ancient cultural tradition. Now, cashing in on Iran's international isolation, its skirmishes with the global community and its leadership's indifference to armoring the nation's heritage against oblivion, neighboring countries and some other states in the region are finding it expedient to appropriate Iran' cultural assets as well as its historical illuminati in their own names. Major conundrums Recently, Turkey submitted a bid to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to inscribe "Islamic calligraphy" in the organization's inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a craft of Turkish origin. Iranians are credited with making seminal contributions to the sciences, culture and arts, contri butions that are deplorably eclipsed by the plethora of unfavorable media coverage of Iran's tumultuous politics and its poor relations with the West. George Koo Collaboration for justice Michelle Duster T his August marks the centennial commemoration of women's suffrage and the passage of the 19th amendment. New books, musicals and museum exhibitions are widening the historical lens to add the names of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, ZitkalaSa, Lola Armijo, Mabel Lee and other women of color alongside more well-known White suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. This long overdue and more accurate account allows us to reflect on the roles our own ancestors Ida B. Wells and Madam C. J. Walker played in the fight for women's suffrage. It is our hope that once included in our collective history, these stories motivate and inspire today's social justice activists. Ida B. Wells - Michelle Duster's greatgrandmother - is best known as a journalist, suffragist, anti-lynching activist and a co-founder of the NAACP. In May, she was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for her courageous reporting. Madam C. J. Walker - A'Lelia Bundles's great-greatgrandmother - was a beauty industry entrepreneur who provided jobs for thousands of Black women and became a philanthropist and political activist. Excluded from key White suffragist initiatives, Ida, Madam and thousands of Black women created their own organizations. Through enfranchisement, they believed they could begin to combat legally sanctioned racial violence and the institutional racism that denied housing, education, jobs, health care and fair wages in their communities. On March 3, 1913, when White suffragist Alice Paul tried to consign Black marchers to the rear of a suffrage parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., Ida defied the order and joined the otherwise all-White Illinois delegation. In August 1917, at the first national convention of Madam Walker's sales agents, the delegates sent a telegram to President Woodrow Wilson urging him to support legislation to make lynching a federal crime. Because of the militant stance on racist federal policies, both women were spied upon by Wilson's War Department and labeled "Negro subversives" in a classified military intelligence report. For Black women in 1920, the franchise of the 19th Amendment remained elusive. The fight for suffrage continued for another 45 years until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and indeed continues to this day. In the spirit of our ancestors, we join forces to bring equity to Black women while also documenting the work and giving credit to women who paved the way for the next generation of activists on the frontlines of change. The literacy tests, grandfather clauses and poll taxes that blocked our ancestors from voting have been replaced today with purges of voter rolls, shuttering of polling places and tampering with the U.S. Postal Service. Because of Ida and Madam, we know voter suppression when we see it. Despite these obstacles, we are energized by the political power of women, especially Black women, who have consistently turned out in higher percentages than other voters in recent elections. Ida and Madam would have been pleased to see that 102 women were elected to the U.S. Congress in 2018 and that a quarter of U.S. senators are women, including California Sen. Kamala Harris (D), who has been chosen Vice President Joe Biden's vice presidential running mate. Like Ida and Madam, we know that women of color must continue to fight on many fronts and that American democracy remains a work in progress. If we had a wish, it would be, like Ida and Madam, that the opportunity to have a voice in politics as both voters and public servants truly made available to all. If convicted, he will become the latest to join President Trump's inner circle of crooks. Will Bannon squeal? US feder- al prosecutors charged Bannon and three others with skimming millions from a fund raised to build a private version of the border wall facing Mexico. Jonathan Gornall “Between 2014 and 2015, the four were allegedly responsible for the sickening on-camera beheadings of dozens of captives in Syria, among them the American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning. Although in the Western media it was the fate of the Western captives of Islamic State that provoked the most outrage and attracted the majori- ty of headlines, it was Syrians and Iraqis who paid the heaviest price during the demonic rule of the short-lived "caliphate.”
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