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Why Great Local Transit is Worth Loads of Money to Local Businesses [Atlantic CityLab]
Employee turnover is at the heart of some new research that attempts to quantify just how much a good public bus system is worth to a business, and thus to a community. Economics scholars Dagney Faulk and Michael Hicks of Ball State University analyzed employee turnover rates among manufacturers and retailers in Rust Belt counties with and without bus operations between 1998 and 2010. In a new paper in Urban Studies, they report, quite simply, that “counties with transit systems have lower turnover rates”—a win for workers, businesses, and the broader economy alike.
Looking at Detroit Through Hollywood’s Lens [Next City]
But even if movies about the hell of American cities have become less prominent, there’s one notable exception: Detroit. Thanks to Michigan’s generous state tax credits for filmmakers, and the city’s continued post-industrial malaise, the depiction of Detroit as urban wasteland remains. The reboot ofAssault on Precinct 13 shifted locales from Los Angeles to the Motor City. Gotham is no longer a stand-in for the roughest parts of New York — the new Batman v. Supermanwas filmed in Detroit too. Transformers 4turned the city into Hong Kong and then exploded it.
“The Cleveland Model” is a gradually developing example of what that kind of supply-side investment looks like. The city of Cleveland leveraged public, private and philanthropic funds about five years ago to launch the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative, a cluster of worker co-op businesses developed to do business with the universities and hospitals. So far, Evergreen has kickstarted a laundry service, a solar energy company, and a hydroponic vegetable farm. Naturally, they have contracts with Case Western university and the medical centers to wash staff clothing, provide electricity and supply their cafeterias.
City Life: What Racism Has Done to Baltimore [New Yorker]
Talk to people in Baltimore—or Ferguson or Staten Island—and invariably you hear criticism of the police not as the police but as a symbol of an entire web of failed social policies, on education, employment, health, and housing. The real question is not one of police tactics: whether the use of body cameras can reduce civilian complaints or whether police-brutality cases should be handled by independent prosecutors. The real question is what life in an American city should be. The issues extend far beyond the parameters of race, but race is the narrative most easily seized upon. (It’s worth noting our tendency to think of declining, mostly white Rust Belt cities elegiacally, and of largely black ones moralistically.)
“It is so sad that the face of police brutality in America is going to be the 12-year-old face of Tamir Rice,” declared attorney Benjamin Crump, who is working with the Rice family, during a news conference on Monday. “We come here to Cleveland, Ohio, brothers and sisters, where we had video capture the whole entire episode of what happened to claim this baby’s life. And yet, after five months and counting, no one has been charged, no one has been held accountable for the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.”
Kasich set up a taskforce late last year to examine fractured police-community relations in Ohio based in part on the Cleveland car chase case. At a press conference on Monday detailing some early findings from the taskforce, he said he was concerned about the possibility of violent protests in Cleveland once the Brelo verdict is returned. “Communities melt down and it takes forever to recover,” he said. “We can’t afford to let that happen.”