2021 Boston Mayoral Race

DZH22

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So let me get this straight. You are arguing that Hoover caused the great depression, in order to prove that Roosevelt was bad? I think you lost track of your own thesis. That said, I agree with you that Hoover's approach was misguided and harmful. I also agree with @DBM that Roosevelt's approach was important for reasons far beyond economics. He literally saved this country from communism, but is ironically now called a communist by misguided right wing ideologues.
1. It's not my argument. You're not quoting ME. You're quoting my quote.
2. It looks like the argument is that the great depression was due to government intervention that was meant to help the economy, but instead had the opposite effects as intended. The intervention was started by Hoover and continued by Roosevelt.

Nothing about communism in this specific quote, just the state of the economy. Both points can be true, although I have less knowledge about the communism piece unless you're referring to WW2 (then yes, of course). He could have saved us from communism in the 1940's while also unintentionally keeping the economy depressed in the 1930's. The whole premise though is that most of us believe the stock market crash kicked off the great depression, except it turns out the economy seemed to be fixing itself over the subsequent 12 months and it wasn't until government got more involved (we're here to help!) that everything fell to pieces and unemployment shot through the roof.

While stats can be misrepresented, this is based on very simple stats regarding a very simple premise. What were the monthly (published, widely available) unemployment rates leading up to the stock market crash, in the 12 months after the crash, and then in every subsequent month of the 1930's? These are apples to apples, very straightforward stats.

It's not like, say, comparing household income instead of individual income while intentionally neglecting to mention that the size of these average households has been steadily decreasing for decades. Individual per capita income tells a very different story from household income. However, those with an agenda will use household income without making the obvious acknowledgement that multiplying by 2.53 people per household (2020) will probably yield a lower number than multiplying by 3.33 people per household from earlier decades (1960 for 3.33). Here's a graph showing those numbers.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/183648/average-size-of-households-in-the-us/

Here's an article with similar (although a tiny bit different) numbers, with a graph near the top that shows the same ongoing decline from earlier decades. That graph starts too far in the past but the point remains that the average US household size is only between 75-80% of how large it was in the 1960's.

So while stats can clearly be misrepresented, I have a hard time seeing how comparing the national unemployment rate across time could be skewed in the same manner as the above.
 

Beton Brut

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Of interest…

 

FK4

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I agree that Wu supports this and I applaud her for that. My point was that when it comes down to actually changing the zoning code in neighborhoods, and the neighborhood strongly opposes it, who will Wu side with? As an example, the residents of Jamaica Plain, one of her political strongholds, still routinely oppose projects under the JP/Rox Planning guidelines even though the BPDA spent years working through that to get height increases in exchange for affordability requirements and lower parking. The next mayor will have to confront this problem where residents who are used to weighing in on every single project might have to relinquish some control if we are going to move forward as a city.
Going a little further back in the thread today, and reading this post and the conversation on September 15, some good points being made. I’m voting for Wu but I share these concerns: there are very, very powerful pressures against reforming the zoning code across the entire city, which is what really needs to be done.
 

SuffolkHeights11

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Going a little further back in the thread today, and reading this post and the conversation on September 15, some good points being made. I’m voting for Wu but I share these concerns: there are very, very powerful pressures against reforming the zoning code across the entire city, which is what really needs to be done.
Since my original post, I have come around and am now cautiously optimistic about a Wu administration regarding zoning reform - especially in light of the recent City Council vote to eliminate parking requirements for at least 60% affordable residential projects. Feels like momentum (maybe even consensus) is building towards some common sense reform.
 

FK4

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Since my original post, I have come around and am now cautiously optimistic about a Wu administration regarding zoning reform - especially in light of the recent City Council vote to eliminate parking requirements for at least 60% affordable residential projects. Feels like momentum (maybe even consensus) is building towards some common sense reform.
I guess. The city vote actually makes me skeptical. Yeah, affordable housing, great. But I think I am not alone in the frustration that the problem with Boston is not only the lack of “affordable housing” as technically defined, but the more general and pervasive problem of lack of housing that anyone who’s not rich can afford. This is a general issue nationally and I do think one needing more attention locally. I am on board with truly affordable housing but it’s another buzzword issue that people rally behind and ignore the greater issue of affordability for all. I do not want Boston to become a city only of millionaires and super poor, either. Building below market rate housing requires substantial subsidies and / or hard handed policies and this isn’t anywhere near enough to fix the housing problem. We need policies that actually make it CHEAPER and EASIER to build housing, period. I fear that saying “affordable housing” gets a lot of people including wealthy, nimby, liberal hypocrites on board and then ends up stopping there. So, we’ll see what happens, but I don’t necessarily think this city council vote which sounds great to everyone cuz “yay affordable housing”, necessarily translates into more acceptance citywide on the numerous ridiculous impediments to constructing buildings for people to live in.
 

kz1000ps

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64% to 35% at the moment.... basically what the polls have been saying for some time.
 

KCasiglio

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Guess all of the attack ads of Wu wanting to defund the police and being in the pockets of the developers did not work.

Good.
I teach civics and we were in the middle of our media literacy for campaign season. Used the "defund the police" radio ad as a case study because it was driving me up a wall.

Outside of Boston: Lynn and Somerville also got pro-urbanist mayors. Any other results of notes?
 

tysmith95

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I teach civics and we were in the middle of our media literacy for campaign season. Used the "defund the police" radio ad as a case study because it was driving me up a wall.

Outside of Boston: Lynn and Somerville also got pro-urbanist mayors. Any other results of notes?
Beverly and Salem kept their incumbent pro development mayor's by large margins over competitors that were anti development.
 

kingofsheeba

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Guess all of the attack ads of Wu wanting to defund the police and being in the pockets of the developers did not work.

Good.
It’s become such a gaslighting tactic. “Defund the Police.” But a few other things of note.

1) Michelle Wu never said that she was going to do any of that. Not once. She’s probably just as pro Law Enforcement as her challenger.

2) She brought up the Highway Revolt on 1970 in her speech where Roxbury and Mattapan residents saved their neighborhood. Now before anyone calls her a NIMBY…go off. She probably is. But you can understand and respect why black residents didn’t want the Inner Belt essentially destroying their neighborhood.

3) Michelle Wu is hardly a progressive in my opinion. That’s the (winner and still champion) media. Her victory was a referendum on his fast Boston has been growing. The NIMBYS have been freaking out because they’re seeing too many cranes recently and they wanted to go back to yesteryear. Boston has been growing too rapidly in the minds of the NIMBYS and last night proved that Bostonians wanted to pump the breaks on growth.

4) I met Annissa Essaibi George when she was running for City Council back in my reporting days. She didn’t have the accent. Or at the very least, it wasn’t jarring like in the campaign. She was humble and different. Not the “motha and the teachah.” One thing that disturbed me was that she advocated for child beauty pageants and was one of the judges for the Little Miss East Boston. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. Gross. Sucks because as someone of North African origin, I would love to have seen someone who is Tunisian become elected Mayor. And let’s not forget those “Defund the Police” ads. 🤦🏽‍♂️

5) Sorry not sorry to be sexist. Michelle Wu is hot. HOT.

6) Let’s be open and wish her well and she what she has in store. I’m keeping a very open mind. Because as bad as things might seem in Boston, they can always be worse like in New York City with Mayor-elect “Step’n fetch it.”
 

jms13

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Outside of Boston: Lynn and Somerville also got pro-urbanist mayors. Any other results of notes?
Newton re-elected everyone, as in, the mayor and every incumbent City Councilor ran for re-election, and every single one won. Notable mostly in that there are always a couple of exceptions (whether via retirement or challenger), but nope, this time it'll be exactly the same when the new session starts. This was a more pro-development outcome than the alternative: the challenger for Mayor is not fully anti-development in her personal approach and voting history, but she was definitively the candidate for that side of the issue in this election. The city council also sits somewhere between the old two-thirds and the new 50%+1 in terms of general favorability to multi-family projects, while the challengers in races that had them were in large part being pushed to get it under 50%. No news should be relatively good news. The big long-term potential is that zoning reform (which has been underway for a literal decade now) may actually have a chance to move forward meaningfully.
 

SuffolkHeights11

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Unaware of any threads dedicated strictly to zoning policy - so I'll put this here. The mayor's office is proposing raising the IDP percentage to 20% (from 13%) along with increase in linkage fees and a possible expansion of IDP-eligible projects (i.e. lowering the current 10 unit and above threshold). My reaction:

1. Cambridge recently went to at least a 20% affordable housing requirement in all new developments. Does anyone know roughly how many units have been built under this? I suspect very few.

2. The announcement came with some jarring IDP stats. Since 2000, only roughly 6000 IDP units have been developed. There are two approaches to take from that: (1) we should require more IDP units or (2) developers cannot finance projects with the current 13% IDP subsidy and thus do not build substantial numbers of multifamily housing so we should lower it. Proponents of raising the IDP threshold have presented zero evidence that following the first approach will lead to more IDP units. Paradoxically, reality shows raising the IDP threshold to 20% will lead to less IDP units.

3. I support the recent action of the City Council and the Zoning Commission to eliminate parking for affordable housing developments. Unless someone can provide clear evidence that raising the IDP threshold will lead to substantially more housing construction, I feel as those this is a large step backward.
 

Brattle Loop

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Paradoxically, reality shows raising the IDP threshold to 20% will lead to less IDP units.
Do you have any evidence for this statement? You mention in the preceding bullet point that Cambridge went to the same standard, and then implied that you don't have any statistics/knowledge of its impact. (I'm not saying that it's not true, because for all I know it could be, I don't have numbers.)
 

DZH22

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The fallacy with these types of policies is the belief that developers will still react the same way, such that the same amount of housing will be built, only with 20% affordable instead of 13%. The reality is we will have a better PROPORTION of new affordable housing, but less housing (including affordable!) overall than otherwise would have been built. You can force a developer to include X amount of affordable units, but you can't force them to build more than 0 units. Nothing is stopping them from focusing on other cities instead, like Portland, NY, Philadelphia, etc. Our loss will be those cities' gain.

Same thing with increasing fees on office and lab buildings. We are well positioned today (well, we were a year ago at least) but if the cost difference becomes too drastic, expect more labs in places like DC, RTP, Philly, and Chicago, again at our expense. Progressive policies always boil down to the same thing, getting a bigger slice out of a smaller and smaller pie. This woman has literally 0 economic sense and this is just one way Boston is going to suffer over the next few years. It was good while it lasted, although even then half of our top-line projects didn't end up getting built. Frankly, when I look around, in many cases I can't help but think it should have been better. But now, once the existing approved and u/c pipeline runs out, we can expect to enter Boston's next dark age in construction (other than out-of-the-way 5 over 1's of course).
 

bigpicture7

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The fallacy with these types of policies is the belief that developers will still react the same way, such that the same amount of housing will be built, only with 20% affordable instead of 13%. The reality is we will have a better PROPORTION of new affordable housing, but less housing (including affordable!) overall than otherwise would have been built. You can force a developer to include X amount of affordable units, but you can't force them to build more than 0 units. Nothing is stopping them from focusing on other cities instead, like Portland, NY, Philadelphia, etc. Our loss will be those cities' gain.

Same thing with increasing fees on office and lab buildings. We are well positioned today (well, we were a year ago at least) but if the cost difference becomes too drastic, expect more labs in places like DC, RTP, Philly, and Chicago, again at our expense. Progressive policies always boil down to the same thing, getting a bigger slice out of a smaller and smaller pie. This woman has literally 0 economic sense and this is just one way Boston is going to suffer over the next few years. It was good while it lasted, although even then half of our top-line projects didn't end up getting built. Frankly, when I look around, in many cases I can't help but think it should have been better. But now, once the existing approved and u/c pipeline runs out, we can expect to enter Boston's next dark age in construction (other than out-of-the-way 5 over 1's of course).
So, if there is $100 lying on a sidewalk, and a person is walking by and sees it, they bend over and pick it up. But if there's $75 lying on the same sidewalk and the same person walks by, they just keep walking?
 

DZH22

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So, if there is $100 lying on a sidewalk, and a person is walking by and sees it, they bend over and pick it up. But if there's $75 lying on the same sidewalk and the same person walks by, they just keep walking?
Building is a risk. There is no risk to picking up money off the sidewalk (unless you think *GERMS* or something). The person picking money off the sidewalk isn't putting millions of dollars on the line, or anything at all really.

I'd say nice try, but honestly it really wasn't. So... Try again?
 

Brattle Loop

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The fallacy with these types of policies is the belief that developers will still react the same way, such that the same amount of housing will be built, only with 20% affordable instead of 13%. The reality is we will have a better PROPORTION of new affordable housing, but less housing (including affordable!) overall than otherwise would have been built. You can force a developer to include X amount of affordable units, but you can't force them to build more than 0 units. Nothing is stopping them from focusing on other cities instead, like Portland, NY, Philadelphia, etc. Our loss will be those cities' gain.
If everyone behaves in a purely economically rational way...maybe. I don't question the bones of the economic theory at work in this argument. At the same time, while there's logically a "tipping point" where excessive costs (here a quasi-tax in the form of a de facto reduction in the amount/proportion of market-rate units permissible) become a disincentive to development, what evidence is there to suggest that the impact will be particularly more severe at 20% versus 13%? (I'm not suggesting it couldn't or won't have an impact, just that the argument, while theoretically valid, is hazier in practice.) Moreover, while you can't force them to build here versus other cities, again, we're not dealing with pure economic theory here. There are, yes, some developers that are more-or-less capable of acting anywhere, and there are a bunch that aren't for a variety of reasons. Every city has its own particularities and regulations, and its own mucky web of connections and politicking, which is relevant to whether a developer can just "pull up stakes" and work somewhere else. If the costs of doing so outweigh the cost of eating the extra 7% (or making it up elsewhere), they're not so likely to go elsewhere to develop.

This woman has literally 0 economic sense and this is just one way Boston is going to suffer over the next few years.
I don't know if you intended it this way, but I've often encountered a very disdainful, dismissive attitude on the part of people not inclined towards progressive economic policies that assumes that anyone who supports them is simply flat wrong on the economics and thoroughly knowlegless about economics, which is often completely untrue. (Whether the new mayor is, I don't know.)

A counter-argument, rather easily made, is that there is room to increase things such as the required proportion of affordable units, or other progressive economic policies for that matter, without substantially burdening the economy. (I.e. instead of arguing that the 13% requirement is just right and the 20% is harmful, it'd be arguing that 13% is too low and 20% is the most efficient at achieving the policy goal without excessive economic harm) Alternatively, it could also be argued that such a policy would have some impact on development, but the net benefit (I.e. if the net number of affordable units was higher, say) was deemed worthwhile by the administration. Either of those arguments is at least economically plausible in the same way that your anti-20% argument is (in that they are not based on pure ideology, though ideology always comes into governmental-political cost/benefit analyses), and the "correctness" of them would have to be established with facts, data, and possibly experimentation.
 

bigpicture7

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Building is a risk. There is no risk to picking up money off the sidewalk (unless you think *GERMS* or something). The person picking money off the sidewalk isn't putting millions of dollars on the line, or anything at all really.

I'd say nice try, but honestly it really wasn't. So... Try again?
No, the analogy works fine. Risk can be (and is always) simply factored into overall project valuation. The only thing missing from my simple analogy is that there are limits of applicability (which @Brattle Loop speaks to above). Someone may choose to bend over to pick up $100, and yet may choose not to bend over to pick up 1-penny. But where in between does it start to matter? The point is that simply lowering the incentive from $100 to something else doesn't automatically mean everyone's going to ignore the opportunity. My analogy emphasizes how comical that notion is. For instance, if now the opportunities are at $100 but tomorrow they are at $99, does peoples' interest in pursuing the opportunity become zero. Of course not.

There is nothing wrong with discussing whether developers can or should contribute more. You are correct there's a tipping point, and correct that policymakers have probably made poor decisions in past examples. But the notion of asking whether we're demanding the right amount from developers is not an invalid notion in and of itself.
 

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