Omar Wasow Profile picture
20 Jul, 10 tweets, 4 min read
California developer planned 18 new homes for low-income families. Original build cost specced at $414K per apt. However, ”political, economic and bureaucratic forces converged.” Project shrunk in size by nearly half and build cost swelled to 1.1M per apt. latimes.com/homeless-housi…
”California has the nation’s highest poverty rate when housing and other living expenses are factored in. Rising rents and skyrocketing home prices are a growing threat to the state, widening income equality and eroding economic mobility.” latimes.com/opinion/story/…
”California poverty rates are due to high rent costs. Under rule that rent shouldn’t exceed 30% of income, KPCC reports minimum wage workers should pay ~$546 in rent. Yet, a two-bedroom apartment in the most populated areas of CA costs more than $1,500.” unitedwayla.org/en/news-resour…
”Californians say they want big, progressive changes. But when it comes to their neighborhoods, or anything that might even marginally slow the stratospheric ascent of their property values, many balk. And too many legislators cower at their discontent.” latimes.com/opinion/story/…
”LA’s land use policy is, generally, a disaster. Strict zoning regulations (born largely out of overt racism) prohibit building anything other than single-family homes in most of the city, making it nearly impossible to add enough affordable housing.” latimes.com/opinion/story/…
”Single-family mandates were appealing because they maintained racial segregation without racial language.” Amid a push for fair housing laws in California, ”LA’s zoning capacity was sharply reduced between 1960 and 1980.” lewis.ucla.edu/programs/housi… Image
The NIMBY capture of California politics is extreme but liberal and conservative ”homevoters” blocking new housing, entrenching racial segregation and driving up poverty is a problem across America.
”Berkeley was most likely the birthplace of single-family zoning, which constricts housing supply and pushes up the cost of housing. This policy puts it out of reach for low-income households, in particular the people of color it was intended to keep out.” nytimes.com/2021/07/26/opi…
”California Environmental Quality Act requires environmental impact assessments of new developments. NIMBYs have capitalized on this reasonable requirement, burying proposed developments in CEQA litigation that can slow projects or kill them entirely.” nytimes.com/2021/07/26/opi…
”California’s well-meaning ideas to increase democratic participation are now used to foil the public will. We have become what Francis Fukuyama calls a ‘vetocracy’ — a system defined by how easy it is, and how many ways there are, to block action.” nytimes.com/2021/07/08/opi…

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More from @owasow

27 Jul
A good way to understand Trump’s coalition through a cross-national lens: @Pavithra_Suri explains how in India ”status politics enables anti-redistributive coalitions. Poor and wealthy voters unite to defend status interests, and protect institutions key to maintaining status.”
Two implications of @Pavithra_Suri’s analysis: 1/ egalitarian-oriented pushes will tend to generate hierarchy restoring counter-mobilizations. 2/ Egalitarian-oriented coalitions should think more about how to affirm some forms of symbolic status compatible with rest of agenda.
.@TheoLandsman rightly raises concern that it’s ”Hard to know in the moment which symbols are benign and which are culturally toxic.” The Olympics might offer one example of a form of reasonably benign nationalism that can unify without dangerous spillovers.
Read 6 tweets
25 Jul
Bob Moses helped inspire my father to travel from Los Angeles to Mississippi to fight for voting rights. Moses also helped train a generation of activists on how to use bottom-up, strategic civil disobedience to fight for human rights. My dad just texted me: ”A great man.” RIP.
In 1964, Bob Moses was a ”shy, bespectacled math teacher” who guided Freedom Summer, ”busing hundreds of college students into backwoods Mississippi to register black voters. ‘The purpose,’ Moses says, ’was to break open Mississippi as a closed society.‘” nytimes.com/1993/02/21/mag…
In early 1990s I met Bob Moses through The Algebra Project.

Moses said, ”The question we asked then was: What are the skills people have to master to open the doors to citizenship? Now math literacy holds the key.”

That work helped inspire how I teach. nytimes.com/1993/02/21/mag…
Read 11 tweets
22 Jul
“Kelli Dillon was sterilized without her knowledge in a California prison in *2001*.” npr.org/2021/07/21/101…
”In the early-to-mid 1900s, California forcibly sterilized tens of thousands of women and men as part of a eugenics program. The state banned forced sterilizations in 1979 but, between 2006 & 2010, still sterilized ~150 incarcerated women without required state approvals.”
”Kelli Dillon was 24 years old when she underwent an abdominal surgery and a simple procedure to address some possible cysts. Afterwards, she began to experience many strange symptoms which she finally learned were symptoms of menopause…” npr.org/2021/07/21/101…
Read 6 tweets
17 Jul
How did a sleepy Salvadoran beach town come to be known as ”Bitcoin Beach”?

”An anonymous US donor gave a small local charity $100,000 to be distributed directly to residents of El Zonte with the aim of kickstarting a local bitcoin economy.”

Listen: latimes.com/podcasts/story…
”Two years after a $100,000 donation, El Zonte is known as Bitcoin Beach — one of the only places on the planet where people can use cryptocurrency for routine transactions such as buying groceries or paying bills — and bitcoin fever has swept the nation.” latimes.com/world-nation/s…
When older people weren’t interested in bitcoin, ”they started to pay teenagers in bitcoin to work as lifeguards or pick up trash along the shore. It gave out bitcoin to students who earned good grades in school and to families weathering the pandemic.” latimes.com/world-nation/s…
Read 7 tweets
16 Jul
Study ”analyzed body camera footage from more than 100 police officers and found a subtle but clear pattern: During traffic stops, officers spoke to Black men in a less respectful and less friendly tone than they did to white men.” latimes.com/science/story/…
”Compared with white residents, Black community members were 57% less likely to hear the officer use words such as ‘sir,’ ‘ma’am’ and ‘thank you’ and 61% more likely to hear words such as ‘dude’ and ‘bro’ and commands such as ‘hands on the wheel.’” latimes.com/science/story/…
”On a scale of 1 to 6, the average score of officer tone toward white drivers was 3.72 (slightly positive) while average score toward black drivers was 3.5 (neither positive nor negative). ‘They’re not huge…but there are differences that can be detected.” latimes.com/science/story/…
Read 7 tweets
14 Jul
In 1964, my father went to Mississippi to register voters as part of Freedom Summer. Though he made it home, others like Goodman, Cheney and Schwerner were murdered. Today, @NPR interviewed my father & me about how the fight for voting rights continues. npr.org/2021/07/14/101…
To this day, I can’t look at the photos of Andrew Goodman, James Cheney and Michael Schwerner without getting choked up. The national Republican assault on voting rights is not just about policy or politics, for me it’s deeply personal.
My whole life I’ve had a profound sense of gratitude to the civil rights activists of my parents era for their persevering fight to ensure a kind of intergenerational inheritance: an America that might finally live up to its promise of being a true multiracial democracy.
Read 7 tweets

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