4.30.2016

Surgery

http://www.asbestos.com/assets/uploads/blog-images/2015/02/recovery-after-cancer-surgery.jpgAs noted earlier this month, I had heart surgery on Thursday to try to correct an irregular heartbeat.  The procedure, a catheter ablation, was a total success.  I had to stay overnight for observation but was discharged the next morning.  Going to take it really easy this weekend and will hope to be in the office on Monday.  Alas, no exercise for a month, which will drive me batty but I have to let my heart heal.  Thanks for everyone's prayers and kind words.  My heart is whole on many levels.

4.29.2016

Position Opening: Marketing Assistant

https://dtlaexplorer.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/nowhiring.jpg
My firm has an opening for a relatively entry-level Marketing Assistant position.  Details below or here.


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Job Description
Our firm is seeking one full-time Marketing Assistant who will support the efforts of the Marketing and Business Development Department in the following ways:
  • Assist Director of Business Development with proposals
  • Responsible for generating and updating content of company’s website using WordPress
  • Assist with the production and update of marketing materials (both print and online, including but not limited to articles, presentations, press releases, monthly newsletter)
  • Compile and compose email marketing campaigns via Constant Contact
  • Assist with monitoring and growing ESI’s traditional media and social media presence
  • Work with Director of Business Development on projects dealing with business communications, success stories, media relations
  • Help coordinate our network of Senior Advisors
  • Inform Principals and staff of relevant market intel on a regular basis
  • Track and monitor calendar of events of partner organizations and clients
  • Present market trends and new online business opportunities
  • Draft and edit presentations, advertisements, and visuals related to business opportunities
  • Maintain department filing and tracking systems
  • Assist with other ongoing tasks as needed

Qualifications
  • BA or BS in Marketing or Communications or other appropriate field
  • Problem solving skills, proactive attitude and advanced research skills
  • Self-starter, internally motivated
  • 1 or 2 years of experience in the field or in related area preferred but not required
  • Excellent writing and strong copywriting skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Strong organizational and time management skills – ability to multi-task, prioritize and work under pressure and to tight deadlines
  • Competence in Microsoft Office applications, particularly Outlook, Word, and PowerPoint
  • Basic knowledge in database systems, website formatting and/or coding (basic HTML skills), and social media tools (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook)
  • Some experience and/or knowledge of Adobe InDesign and/or Photoshop

Benefits of Employment
  • A project-based and team-oriented work culture
  • An active role in the marketing activities of a small business
  • Opportunity for advancement within the firm
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Exposure to the important economic issues faced by the Greater Philadelphia area
  • The opportunity to learn from the experience and expertise of the Marketing/Business Development Department
  • Strong organizational connection to the Greater Philadelphia business community, Pennsylvania local governments, and the local universities and colleges

To apply, please send resume and cover letter to employment@econsultsolutions.com

4.26.2016

Too Long for a Tweet, Too Short for a Blog Post XXXIII

http://a57.foxnews.com/images.foxnews.com/content/fox-news/us/2015/12/29/space-strapped-san-francisco-mines-historic-african-american-neighborhood-for/_jcr_content/par/featured-media/media-0.img.jpg/876/493/1451375268140.jpg?ve=1&tl=1
Here are some excerpts from an article I just read, "The Disconnect Between Liberal Aspirations and Liberal Housing Policy is Killing Coastal U.S. Cities":

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The real problem here is that housing is never just a question of "build" or "don't build." It's "build here" or "build somewhere else."And if you live in a coastal U.S. city, somewhere else is usually way worse for the environment. People don't disappear just because they can't move to our cities; they move to the suburbs of Texas, where housing continues to be produced in abundance and, as a result, costs have stayed reasonably low.  Opposing development on behalf of the environment is essentially "greenwashing," and we need to acknowledge it for the lie that it is. It's an environmental crime, not a triumph. We don't celebrate the environment by moving into its midst and paving it over. In many metro areas, household emissions in the suburbs are roughly double those of city households. Another way of putting that: In terms of environmental impact, each time we turn away a person from our green, efficient cities, we're effectively cloning them and shipping them off to the suburbs of Texas to do twice as much harm. 

***
We've allowed mostly wealthy, mostly white homeowners to dictate our future and leave us fighting over the scraps of the housing market, even as their homes each increase in value by tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. We debate how to raise a few billion dollars for affordable housing on the backs of new residents—enough to build a couple thousand low income homes, maybe—while the value of single-family homes in Los Angeles County alone have increased by $500 billion over the past 25 years. We've been convinced that the built environment—not the people who inhabit it—is what makes a community; that neighborhood integrity is about the character of buildings, not that of our neighbors. This is not a liberal ideal. Rather than turn these people away, we need to recognize that new residents are just people like us, looking for a better life and new opportunities. Adding enough new homes so that they can find somewhere to live is a very small ask. We have to stop acting as though the subjective value of "neighborhood character" (which has always been and will always be a moving target) is of equal importance to the hard economic realities of unaffordable housing, inequity of opportunity, and homelessness. The latter issues are clearly of greater importance, and if you're willing to sacrifice them at the altar of "neighborhood character" then you need to take a moment and seriously question your commitment to progressive, inclusive values.

***
The reason housing is growing as a share of capital income is because housing has become so much more expensive over the last few decades, especially in coastal U.S. cities. Home and property owners are raking it in. We have a system in which relatively affluent residents in our cities each own a hugely valuable capital asset—their land and the home that it sits upon—which is appreciating at nearly double-digit rates each year, while everyone else just gets to pay more for rent, forever. So long as housing production and vacancies stay low, that trend will continue. There is a wealth inequality crisis afoot, and liberal cities are its greatest perpetrator. San Francisco is the vanguard of this movement: the most liberal city in the U.S., and one in which it is nearly impossible to afford unless you are very rich (enough to afford $3,000/month rents or $1 million homes) or very poor (and therefore eligible for a small number of subsidized housing units). It's a "poor door" masquerading as a city, and the rest of us are on the same trajectory.  The outcomes of our housing policies fly in the face of our ideology. For those in need, we support providing supplementary income, health insurance, educational support, and other social welfare programs—and then we erase their value by making our cities too expensive for those most in need of these benefits. Either low income residents can't afford to live in the city at all, or the cost of housing is so high that the value of the benefits is exceeded by the added cost of rent.  By doing essentially nothing but letting things happen, conservative America is kicking our ass at providing opportunities for low income and working classes to build wealth and get ahead. Cities like Dallas, Phoenix, and Atlanta have managed to stay affordable by simply allowing housing to continue to be built as their populations grow, and the result is that people keep moving there. As someone in his early 30s who is wondering how I'll ever be able to buy a home and build wealth for myself, I see the appeal. And that sucks, because I have no interest in living in any of those places. There will always be a premium to be paid for living in a great city, but the premium in our coastal cities is far beyond reason.


 

The real problem here is that housing is never just a question of "build" or "don't build." It's "build here" or "build somewhere else."And if you live in a coastal U.S. city, somewhere else is usually way worse for the environment. People don't disappear just because they can't move to our cities; they move to the suburbs of Texas, where housing continues to be produced in abundance and, as a result, costs have stayed reasonably low.
Opposing development on behalf of the environment is essentially "greenwashing," and we need to acknowledge it for the lie that it is. It's an environmental crime, not a triumph. We don't celebrate the environment by moving into its midst and paving it over.
In many metro areas, household emissions in the suburbs are roughly double those of city households. Another way of putting that: In terms of environmental impact, each time we turn away a person from our green, efficient cities, we're effectively cloning them and shipping them off to the suburbs of Texas to do twice as much harm.
- See more at: http://www.betterinstitutions.com/blog/2016/3/27/liberal-cities-housing-policy-hypocrisy#sthash.DO69Qnts.dpuf
The real problem here is that housing is never just a question of "build" or "don't build." It's "build here" or "build somewhere else."And if you live in a coastal U.S. city, somewhere else is usually way worse for the environment. People don't disappear just because they can't move to our cities; they move to the suburbs of Texas, where housing continues to be produced in abundance and, as a result, costs have stayed reasonably low.
Opposing development on behalf of the environment is essentially "greenwashing," and we need to acknowledge it for the lie that it is. It's an environmental crime, not a triumph. We don't celebrate the environment by moving into its midst and paving it over.
In many metro areas, household emissions in the suburbs are roughly double those of city households. Another way of putting that: In terms of environmental impact, each time we turn away a person from our green, efficient cities, we're effectively cloning them and shipping them off to the suburbs of Texas to do twice as much harm.
- See more at: http://www.betterinstitutions.com/blog/2016/3/27/liberal-cities-housing-policy-hypocrisy#sthash.DO69Qnts.dpuf
The real problem here is that housing is never just a question of "build" or "don't build." It's "build here" or "build somewhere else."And if you live in a coastal U.S. city, somewhere else is usually way worse for the environment. People don't disappear just because they can't move to our cities; they move to the suburbs of Texas, where housing continues to be produced in abundance and, as a result, costs have stayed reasonably low.
Opposing development on behalf of the environment is essentially "greenwashing," and we need to acknowledge it for the lie that it is. It's an environmental crime, not a triumph. We don't celebrate the environment by moving into its midst and paving it over.
In many metro areas, household emissions in the suburbs are roughly double those of city households. Another way of putting that: In terms of environmental impact, each time we turn away a person from our green, efficient cities, we're effectively cloning them and shipping them off to the suburbs of Texas to do twice as much harm.
- See more at: http://www.betterinstitutions.com/blog/2016/3/27/liberal-cities-housing-policy-hypocrisy#sthash.DO69Qnts.dpuf

4.25.2016

Lazy Linking, 170th in an Occasional Series

Stuff I liked lately on the Internets:



subiaco-vs-rome-sweynheym-and-pannartz170.1 Times Old Roman? bit.ly/1NyvZhf @ilovetypography


170.2 Harriet Tubman on $20 = 1st black, 1st female...& 1st disabled bit.ly/1XNNa4g  @margrev

170.3 New reference guide on where to put bike-share stations bit.ly/1r4RD85 @nextcityorg

170.4 Megan McArdle on the difference btwn avoiding taxes & evading taxes bv.ms/22VjdAC @bv

170.5 SW passenger booted for speaking Arabic was outed by an Arabic-speaker who heard threatening words bit.ly/1VzCn0g @dallasnews

4.22.2016

Race and Philanthropy

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41eSpPENwlL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend a book reading by Amy Brown, author of "A Good Investment?: Philanthropy and the Marketing of Race in an Urban Public School."  Ms. Brown has written a really insightful and brutally honest ethnography on her experiences embedded in a New York City school that serves predominantly students of color.  Her remarks focused a lot on how staff "performed" when before potential funders, versus how things were normally, and how much effort was put into telling a consistent and persuasive narrative about how donations would help disadvantaged kids to succeed.

As someone who dabbles in philanthropy, race, and education, the intersection of the three made for a fascinating discussion.  It elicited in me a question that time will provide the answer to, which is how enlightened and effective philanthropy can be in the future.  I am grossly over-generalizing here to keep things simple, but it seems to me that there are two major subsets of philanthropists out there (not trying to denigrate or dismiss present-day funders who are in neither camp).  First is old money, which is familiar with old race/income/class hierarchies and old patterns of philanthropy based on those hierarchies.  Second is new money, which prides itself on the "self-made man" archetype and seeks giving venues that help make that happen for others less resourced.

Cutting through today's burdens and injustices is obviously more racially and socially nuanced than these two perspectives, and there are some great funders out there today who get that.  But, a pretty big chunk of philanthropic dollars doesn't behave that way, and hence you get the performances and narratives described in Ms. Brown's book.  The question on my mind, which I don't know the answer to (I waffle between being hopeful and being depressed), is when today's young people hit it big and become tomorrow's captains of philanthropy, will their giving efforts be suitably informed or will they too engender carefully scripted performances in order to extract their dollars?

Sometimes I am hopeful for today's youth, because they are growing up with unprecedented appreciation for diversity, access to information, and motivation to be "woke."  But sometimes I am depressed, because I see a denial of the complexities of race/income/class and can extrapolate from that that they too will grow up being blind to and unconsciously contributing to existing disparities.  As I said above, time will tell.  I am holding my breath.



4.20.2016

Talking Taxes with Drexel School of Economics and Econsult Solutions, Inc.


http://www.lebow.drexel.edu/sites/default/files/logos/school_econ_250.png?1380820265
In one week, my firm will be co-hosting its 2nd Annual Urban Economic Policy Conference with Drexel School of Economics.  I'm proud we are one of two corporate sponsors of this school (some tiny company called Johnson & Johnson is the other), and this is one of the funner and meatier outgrowths of that partnership.  This year's topic is urban tax policy, so if that sort of thing is your cup of tea, please sign up here and put this on your calendar.




4.19.2016

Too Long for a Tweet, Too Short for a Blog Post XXXII

http://media.bizj.us/view/img/4924891/150128cjsonjatrauss3*600.jpgHere's an excerpt from an article I recently read, "In Cramped and Costly Bay Area, Cries to Build, Baby, Build," from the New York Times:


"San Francisco does not have enough places to live. Sonja Trauss, a local activist, thinks the city should tackle this problem by building more housing.  This may not sound like a controversial idea. But this is San Francisco.  Ms. Trauss is a self-described anarchist and the head of the SF Bay Area Renters’ Federation, an upstart political group that is pushing for more development. Its platform is simple: Members want San Francisco and its suburbs to build more of every kind of housing. More subsidized affordable housing, more market-rate rentals, more high-end condominiums.  Ms. Trauss supports all of it so long as it is built tall, and soon. 'You have to support building, even when it’s a type of building you hate,' she said. 'Is it ugly? Get over yourself. Is it low-income housing? Get over yourself. Is it luxury housing? Get over yourself. We really need everything right now.'”