May 26, 2016

Et tu Local Level?

Seeing national politics as hopeless, I've been increasingly interested in local.  And it's interesting if discouraging how citizens even at that level seem to lack power. Witness how developers end up calling the shots for most cities (this from Paul Lambert) on background for something called "Win-Win" agreement between Columbus and her suburbs:
This is a long sad story that begins with the well-intentioned but disastrous ruling by the Federal court in "Penick vs Columbus Board of Education" to force Columbus City Schools to implement a busing program to racially balance Columbus Schools. In his book "Getting Around Brown," Gregory Jacobs argues pretty convincingly that this ruling caused great harm to the fabric of the African-American community in Columbus, and cause the "White Flight" to the suburbs that left Columbus Schools more segregated and poorer than ever, and the suburbs with a bulging schools districts that lacked the economic foundation of the vast commercial development in the City of Columbus.

The Win-Win evolved from an effort ... to [realign] municipal and school district boundaries.

Except to the developers, who were making a fortune building all those thousands of houses desired by the folks trying to escape busing. The Win-Win was created to appease the developers - not homeowners who have little political power.

In that context, it's important to ask why the Win-Win is getting attention again. The answer, in my opinion, is that most of the open space left in desirable school districts like ours is outside of the areas which can be annexed by the suburbs, meaning they can be annexed only by Columbus, which by virtue of the Win-Win, causes such land to be shifted to Columbus Schools. And the developers don't want that.

I'd argue that from that perspective, the Win-Win protects Hilliard Schools from another onslaught of growth to the west of Alton-Darby Rd. But of course, that all depends on what happens with the Big Darby Accord...

... and what the developers want.


CowPi said...

You might be interested in a recent podcast by 99 Percent Invisible called "Turf Wars of East New York". It starts with the current gentrification of its neighborhoods but dives back into history with its white flight of 1960s fostered by scare tactics and predatory lending practices. There is an interesting side story about how then-mayor John Lindsay successfully de-escalated racial tensions and avoided race riots similar to Watts in LA. The current gentrification of East New York is again fueled by developers.

Your story and this illustrates the first rule of investigative reporting--follow the money.

TS said...

Thanks, looks intriguing... "follow the money" reminds me of why Bible says the love of money is the root of all evil.