Re: Fair Housing Act

1

I don't buy it. For one thing, the recent Supreme Court decision he's talking about didn't make it easier to sue, it just declined to kill off the disparate-impact FHA claim. So it's not going to unleash a wave of FHA claims that couldn't previously have been brought or anything like that. The new HUD rule will make a difference but not super huge I don't think.

And note that the one example he offers as an "indicator of how similar jurisdictions will respond" is a heavily democratic county that elected a republican county executive but still voted for Obama by a huge margin. That sucks, local politics is of course important, but it's a far cry from abandoning the democratic party. The author has been peddling this kind of "democrats need to abandon core democratic issues or they'll lose voters" bullshit for ages.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:07 AM
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Great! Except for the expected lack of progress part.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:21 AM
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3

Massachusetts has had anti-snob zoning for years and is still, as has been noted, one of your more Democratic-voting states. Tendentious horseshit is my vote.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:23 AM
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Four more years. Four more years.


Posted by: Opinionated Tendentious Horseshit | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:24 AM
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3 is a bit circular. Maybe Massachusetts is so genuinely progressive that they can enact such legislation without turning away Dinos, as evidenced by the fact that they enacted such legislation on their own without being pressured federally.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:25 AM
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All local politics is local.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:31 AM
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7

Circular arguments run in a circular motion.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:33 AM
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Hey, math lady, was that a circle or a point?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:38 AM
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9

Depends on scale.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:39 AM
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I think Carp is saying there are less dimensions to this than you think.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:39 AM
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Love is like a little point upon a horizon line.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:42 AM
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An area in which I can speak with some authority- fuck residents of Westchester (and really this is talking about northern Westchester) if this makes them switch to voting Republican. They're only superficially Democratic voters anyway- the more local you get the more Republican they've always been, this isn't some huge change. They briefly elected a Democrat to Congress (he's still the one!) but have never been solidly D.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 6:43 AM
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I really don't get this "ooh 5 storeys tall" bogeyman sentiment, but that's city-dwelling for you I guess. Is any of that sentiment genuine, or is it just dog-whistles?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:08 AM
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It's genuine. Even where it's not specifically about racism, people who live in apartments are undesirable neighbors and probably disgusting lowlifes. Not where I live, but that's a standard belief in most of the country.

It pisses me the fuck off, as someone who's never lived in a single family house, but it's definitely sincerely held, and I will expect that people here will explain that under American conditions it's really true: decent respectable people mostly do buy single family houses, so being wary of people who don't is fair. (And maybe they have a point, I'm just being preemptively pissy about it because I take it personally.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:16 AM
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I've really never been happy with somebody else living above me (because thumping) and I assume that everybody below me was upset with me for the same reason. I like having from the earth to the air being one unit, which would be tricky once you get past three stories.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:19 AM
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I will expect that people here will explain that under American conditions it's really true: decent respectable people mostly do buy single family houses, so being wary of people who don't is fair.

Yeah, no, I can't believe there is anywhere in the US this is actually true.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:22 AM
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As a current apartment dweller I can confirm that we are mostly lowlifes. I have some nice neighbors but I manage to bring the average down by being a degenerate.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:24 AM
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15: Yeah, the noise issue is a thing that I understand but can't empathize with, because neighbors above and below have been my whole life. You walk softly and tune out the thumping. But I do get that it's very hard to deal with without annoyance if you come to it as an adult.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:24 AM
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There may be places where almost everyone winds up living in a single family house, but then that means all the indecent irresponsible people (or whatever) do too.

I've really never been happy with somebody else living above me (because thumping) and I assume that everybody below me was upset with me for the same reason. I like having from the earth to the air being one unit, which would be tricky once you get past three stories.

My mom lives in a neither top nor bottom apartment in an amazing multi-unit building that is actually built so solidly that you cannot hear anything from above or below. It's wonderful.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:25 AM
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Only briefly did I ever had enough money to live in a nice apartment building and not have a house. I mostly lived in shitty ones.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:26 AM
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21

That's not a very good sentence.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:27 AM
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22

This is one of those articles premised (secretly) on "rich white votes are the only votes that count", right?

Still, I suppose it's worth worrying about this kind of thing before we end up with a system where one party represents only white higher income assholes and the other party represents pretty much everyone else. Oh, wait....


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:28 AM
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Thinking back, for me the worst thing about living in multi-unit buildings was that they were in crowded neighborhoods which meant lots of assholes with car alarms set to detect a leaf touching their precocious paint. You still get that where I am now, but rarely.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:30 AM
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I'll admit that I'd be pretty upset if someone knocked down a few of the sfhs next to me and built apartment buildings. Noise, traffic, and, depending on which houses, impairment of light/view.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:32 AM
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I think it's a fine thing to get developers to build in affordable housing when new developments are planned, including adequate infrastructure etc.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:38 AM
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You need a sewer with bandwidth for all the extra poop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:44 AM
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My single-family house is literally right next door to (and probably only 10 feet away from) a 16-unit apartment building. I can't see any adverse effects, other than on the property value (which I benefitted from in purchasing the house). I mean, I wish the owners of the apartment building took much better care of it than they do, but I've felt the same way about neighbors in single-family houses (and I'm sure neighbors have felt the same way about me).


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:58 AM
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I think my neighborhood would be more dense if there were less infrastructure. Most of the traffic is people driving through to get to downtown or Oakland. If the roads were shittier, more of them would have to live closer in.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 8:59 AM
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16: I don't think that it's true or fair, but in a decent amount of the U.S., one is in an apartment only when one is a) just starting out b) poor or c) a slovenly student.

Around here, it's mostly single family homes, and the areas where rental homes dominate are less desirable because they're not kept up (town went through a late boom and crash, so lots of developers were sitting on properties that they couldn't afford to flip.) We bought mostly because we didn't like the apartments available, and shiv really wanted a garage.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 9:28 AM
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Right down the street from me they recently built an affordable housing building. It's "green" in some way, so it's sort of ugly/Lego-looking. Contrary to what one might expect, the neighborhood association lobbied quite hard to get it built and it is expected to bring quite a lot of business to the neighborhood. Of course, I live among the poors - and by upper middle class professional standards I'm poor myself - so my experience is different. Also, we elected and relected (and will almost certainly keep re-electing him until he retires or moves on to bigger things) the only Muslim Representative in Congress, so I think this neighborhood is unlikely to go over to the Republicans.

I like having the building - not only is it boosting sales at the local bodegas and minor service providers, but it also means that there are more people around. I feel much more secure when there are lots of eyes on the street. (Did I recount my accidental-home-invasion story here? That was really scary.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 9:33 AM
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the only Muslim Representative in Congress

Andre Carson of Indiana as well.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 9:41 AM
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Is Keith Ellison not in Congress anymore?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 9:47 AM
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32: My neighborhood is KE's neighborhood. I have seen him myself! Indeed, I voted for him.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 9:50 AM
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34

Ohhh. I thought you lived somewhere else. But of course you live there. Duh!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 9:52 AM
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31: How many representatives could fit an Andre Carson?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 9:53 AM
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34: Somewhere hipper and more glamorous, I hope.

I had forgotten about Andre Carson.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 9:59 AM
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Somewhere hipper and more glamorous, I hope.

Portland, obviously.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 10:02 AM
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36: You shouldn't do that. He has "Dre" right in his name.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-15 10:09 AM
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I'm home in my hip, glamorous birthplace. My childhood neighborhood has mostly completed its gentrification arc, which means high density infill is all "tasteful" craftsman-style McMansions which occupy every square foot of the available lot. Because I guess everyone wants to live in a 3500 sq. ft. house on a 3/4 size lot? Anyways, the surrounding houses are always smaller or fit better on the lot size, so even though these houses are for gauche assholes not multi-occupant, they still manage to stick out weirdly.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 07-19-15 12:59 PM
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I didn't realize this was Edsall, but that's not surprising. I lump him with Gleaser as someone who's occasionally right, but is mostly dedicated to promoting a reactionary agenda without seeming to do so.

I actually read about this through Kriston's response* to it, which I think was tendentious along at least three axes:

1. characterizing a white flight suburban place like Westchester County as "liberal" is just absurd; the village where I lived as a little kid was basically 100% Irish & Italian, the poster ethnicities for white backlash. The fact that they've voted for Obama and against Bush doesn't let you call them liberal, or treat them as synecdoches for how IRL liberals would respond (I do take Heebie's OP point that we need their votes, but (as I read him) Capps isn't primarily talking national politics, he's talking urban policy).

2. Like many/most members of the jukebox mafia when writing about city planning, there's a libertarian presumption of illegitimacy of zoning. He cloaks this inherent skepticism in "NIMBYism is never about race, except when it is", as if (effectively) all-white places like Boseman don't have NIMBYism, because it's really just a cloak for racism. I'm not denying that racial fears/white supremacy don't factor into reactions against density when race is actually an issue, but there are basically zero jurisdictions in the US where density is welcomed by existing stakeholders. But by effectively casting all anti-density as racist, he bootstraps his zoning skepticism into the argument as racial enlightenment. (Worth noting here that the origin of zoning in the US has zero to do with racial anxiety and everything to do with... density, specifically in the form of tall buildings without setbacks).

3. His argument about the culture wars ending is not tendentious, just weird. I mean, he's right that "while immigration or religious freedom or #TeamTaylor vs #TeamKaty will continue to divide people, the configurations of these skirmishes and their salience in down-ticket elections could change," but does he really want to hang any part of his argument on the GOP suddenly offering broad appeal to urban elites? People like that Mudcat Saunders (?) are always trying to suggest that poor Southern whites are on the cusp of joining the Democrats, and people just laugh; why should we take the obverse argument seriously?

Bottom line: nobody every went broke overestimating the racism of American whites, but the idea that a modest shift towards denser construction with more poor residents in suburban enclaves will cause SWPLs to join forces with the Party of Trump seems absurd. The fact that it comes with a healthy dose of "white liberals are the real racists" just goes it that extra frisson of Lord Saleton.

*is there a word for this sort of article, which is much more than mere aggregation, but also wouldn't exist without the first article?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 12:00 PM
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Note that the article linked in 40 uses the phrase "Liberal in the streets, NIMBY in the sheets" without attribution to Unfogged or Smearcase.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 12:31 PM
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41: Noted indeed.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 1:41 PM
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I haven't read the article linked in 40, but I think I 95% agree with JRoth. The five percent is that I actually do know some nominally Democratic-voting white men who will quite openly admit to (their version of) the old saying, "Black people can get as high as they like, as long as they don't get too close". (These are Northerners, obviously.)

They usually frame it as being about housing values. Happy to see black Americans succeed because Isn't This Country Great...but don't want them to move into the neighborhood because What About My House Price.

(I just had to teach a foreign-born black American about blockbusting. Boy that was a weird conversation.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-20-15 5:56 PM
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