- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
Time to Get Back to Work! Forging a Progressive Philadelphia Policy Agenda
Well, it's been a fun few weeks for political geeks. The primary election has brought new people into the progressive electoral fold, and here at YoungPhillyPolitics, we're pleased to welcome many new readers and contributors (and, we had a kick-ass happy hour, if I do say so myself).
For those of you who are new here (or those who have been around, but are easily distracted) I wanted to remind folks that as much fun as electoral politics is, YPP is just as much a place for young Philadelphia progressives to come together and move new policy ideas forward, as it is a place to talk about winning elections.
As we head into the fall election, where we will beat Rick Santorum and maybe even take back some Republican House seats, we need to beef up our progressive policy perspective. It's not enough to elect people because we like them and because they self-select as "progressives" by virtue of membership in one of our groups. There should, after all, be objective standards for "progressive" policy ideas and practices.
So, I want to kick off a discussion about progressive policy standards by pointing to a column in the Daily News by Earni Young (thanks ACM!) about the need for inclusionary zoning.
What is inclusionary zoning? Click read more below to find out.
According to Wikkipedia, inclusionary zoning is:
Inclusionary zoning, also know as inclusionary housing, refers to city planning ordinances that require a given share of new construction be affordable to people with low to moderate incomes. The term inclusionary zoning is derived from the fact that these ordinances seek to counter exclusionary zoning practices which to exclude affordable housing from a municipality through the zoning code. In practice, these policies involve placing deed restrictions on 10%-30% of new houses or apartments in order to make the costs of the housing affordable to lower income households. The mix of "affordable" and "market-rate" housing in the same neighborhood is seen as beneficial by many, especially in jurisdictions where housing shortages have become acute. Inclusionary zoning is becoming a common tool for local municipalities in the United States to help provide a wider range of housing options than the market provides on its own.
Earni Young of the DN argues that:
Philadelphia may be more of a boomlet than boomtowns like Washington, New York City or Miami, but our housing market is showing more staying power than those more-explosive markets. More than 6,000 housing units have been delivered since 2000 and another 10,000 are in the pipeline.
And Ali Kronley of ACORN (who obviously agrees) is a part of a campaign to enact inclusionary zoning with a 25 percent set aside or cash payments into an affordable housing fund. Ali said this to the DN:
We don't want to stop the development, but we believe the tremendous wealth that is being generated by Philadelphia's luxury housing boom needs to be distributed fairly so that all Philadelphians can reap the benefits
Now some of you may have noticed that when I speak of the progressive community in Philadelphia, I put it in quotes (like this: "progressive community"). Why, you might ask, do I do that?
Well, I think that we have not yet forged a common definition for "progressive" in this city. Neighborhood Networks and OnePhiladelphia have probably worked the hardest to define "progressive," but none of the typical, white liberal activist groups (my own, Philadelphians Against Santorum included) has really gotten all of its members to come to consensus on “progressive” in name and in action.
The result is that many so-called progressives hate organized labor, don't care about taking money out of politics, love tax reform, and don't get identity politics--especially around race and class.
The issue above, inclusionary zoning, lies at the intersection of just about everything that is happening in Philadelphia politics right now, and how the "progressive" community reacts is important.
Economic development policy in Philadelphia is often done in the dark, and an effort to implement inclsuionary zoning is going to freak out some of the white liberal, condo-buying, mocha swigging folks who think the continuance of ten-year tax abatements and the elimination of the BPT would be god's gift to Philadelphia. This reaction means that it's entirely possible that people that one group of people who calls themselves "progressive" could end up fighting bitterly with another group who claims rights to the same label.
As you can probably tell, I think inclusionary zoning is a great idea, and it is an issue I would love to see front and center in upcoming mayor and Council races. Progressives--especially white, middle-class progressives--need to figure out how to promote inclusionary zoning to their own peer groups and then also figure out how to be strong allies to low-income-led efforts to make it happen.
And, if you aren't down with inclusionary zoning, I'd go so far as to say that you--horror--just don't meet an objective definition of progressive.
That all being said- the fact that the DN is identifying Councilman Clarke has a possible sponsor of this bill means that anti-Street folks are going to have to reassess their views of Street and his faction if they end up fighting on our behalf against a Verna-faction if they chose to fight inclusionary zoning. No matter what you think of Street, he has fought harder for economic justice than Nutter/Verna folks, and this really could be their marquee issue in the last year of their active session.
What do you think?