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This blog serves my columns as an archive, a place to add footnotes,data sources and drafts of columns for the Sky Hi News(www.skyhidailynews.com) and after November 2019, the Winter Park Times, and postings on the Muftic Forum Blog. Often these are posted on my political Facebook page, The Muftic Forum. I have another facebook page for personal happenings found under feliciamuftic.
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Friday, May 8, 2015
The long, hot urban unrest
We have just gone through a long, hot period of urban
unrest, accusations and videos of police violence against minorities, from
white ruled Ferguson to minority governed Baltimore. We in a mountain valley far from those maddening
crowds come up with all kinds of theories of why, including a statement from a writer in this paper that Democrats
rule the cities so the problem “apparently” is corruption.
In a long hot summer
of the 1960’s a Denver neighborhood
called Five Points burned. Five Points
at one time was the thriving center of African American life, but as a post war
economy boomed, it was clear that neighborhood was left behind. Resentment
boiled over against those in charge, including the white, good ole boy mayor
who put his eggs in the basket of developing urban renewal skyscrapers. Even the health center where my husband was a
staff doctor was fire bombed and anger seethed in streets where I have walked
door to door registering voters and running surveys of grocery stores that revealed
the poor paid more.
It was not until the 1980’s that a series of Denver mayors, one Hispanic, two Blacks, and a
far-sighted Anglo led about as clean a local government as one could
wish. And, oh yes, they were all Democrats. Infrastructure attention
was paid to Five Points, including light rail to transport them to jobs. From time to time, police brutality is still
alleged, but police chiefs are reprimanded or fired. Their schools are underperforming, but
improving. Few however doubt that the
city administration does not care about them. Denver’s Mayor Michael Hancock,
an African American, was elected to his second term with 80% of the vote last week
in a city that is over 50% white.
Often ignored are the demographic and economic shifts that
characterized the last century. It was the migration of southern African
Americans to the north or Latino immigrants to the west in search of jobs
requiring little education. That worked until those manufacturing jobs moved to
the lower wage south or replaced workers with robots. That is particularly true
in Baltimore that recently lost its auto manufacturing base.
decisions have consequences, but policy is not always dictated by corruption. Baltimore put its development money into a
harbor front renewal project where wealth failed to trickle down to its
neighborhoods. Those projects are often a Chamber of Commerce dream, but
provide little hope for the urban poor if the tax money they generate fails to
address their needs, especially to provide good schools to make their citizens
So why are big cities nearly always governed by Democrats?
The party’s makeup has more potential for a chance their voices will be heard. The GOP is heavily composed of white men from
the south and mid west rural areas . Urban dwellers understand the GOP has few
policies that address their concerns. The GOP budget now in Congress, like
others before, will worsen income inequality with tax policies. It propose to take away some of what little
the government provides in assistance and opposes job generating infrastructure
projects. At the same time, the GOP
crusades to make it harder for them to vote and be heard.
A version of this appeared in the www.skyhidailynews.com May 15,2015