June 5 roundup

  • Why New York City can’t build new infrastructure at reasonable cost (“Every factor you look at is flawed the way the MTA does business, from the first step to the end.”) [Josh Barro]
  • “‘He’s finally getting his due.’ Serial ADA filer faces charges as store owners rejoice” [Sam Stanton, Sacramento Bee on tax charges against Scott Johnson, whose doings are often chronicled in this space] Flashback: vintage Sacramento billiards parlor Jointed Cue closes after being named in one of Johnson’s 1,000+ accessibility suits [Kellen Browning, Sacramento Bee last year]
  • “Four-Year Court Battle Between Deaf Advocates and Harvard Over Closed Captioning of Videos Proceeds to Discovery With Some Limitations” [Kristina M. Launey & Minh N. Vu, Seyfarth Shaw; earlier on takedown of Berkeley online courses]
  • More on copyright battle between state of Georgia and Carl Malamud over whether he can publish online the laws of Georgia with annotations commissioned and approved by the state under agreement with private publishers [Adam Liptak, New York Times; earlier]
  • Reviewing the harms of rent control: a view from Seattle [Kevin Schofield, SCC Insight]
  • California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) “imposes liability on cities that elect their representatives through an at-large system and have racially polarized voting.” Generous attorneys’ fee provisions have encouraged assembly-line filing of complaints [Federalist Society forum with J. Michael Connolly; Mark Plummer, LAist; Carolyn Schuk, Silicon Valley Voice (Sunnyvale); Robert Haugh, Santa Clara News Online]


  • re: NYC infrastructure. What NYC needs is a modern-day Robert Moses!

  • In re the Seattle Rent Control article:

    “Second, regardless of whether Seattle enacts rent control (and whether it ever takes effect), the city needs to make a massive investment in public housing. Sawant has made this point many times, and she is 100% correct. We can have a robust debate about the extent to which the private market will deliver enough housing for people earning the median Seattle income or higher, but there is no rational argument to be made that the market will deliver housing for people with incomes below 80% of the median income; it simply won’t. Meeting that need will require government intervention. ”

    Sadly, this is where the author jumps the shark in the sense of looking at rent control (and how the ill effects have been lessened in other cities) in isolation.

    “This article is the story of…the obscure changes in land-use rules and departmental regulations that have now strangled a practical, modest, sustainable, unsubsidized form of inexpensive living that held enormous potential both for Seattle and for the rest of Cascadia.”

    The author should have read the linked article which demonstrates, perfectly, how market forces can deliver low cost housing, even in hot markets like Seattle. IF and ONLY if economically ignorant politicians would simply get out of the way.

    Read how by regulation, Seattle can turn a market based, unsubsidized, development of 40 units for $900 / month each morphs into 21 units at $1400 / month each

  • Regarding California voting, now that lawyers have sued or intimidated multiple cities to change from city-wide city-council elections to district-based elections, we can have a new set of legal disputes regarding the gerrymandering of those districts.

  • The article about NYC infrastructure never did explain why a public bathroom costs $3 million. There is presumably no need to relocate utilities or for cooperation between agencies. Environmental review presumably isn’t an issue.

  • “copyright battle between state of Georgia and Carl Malamud over whether he can publish online the laws of Georgia“

    So ignorance of the law may yet prove to be an excuse!?!