- Britain’s Labour Party conference pledges to take over private schools, confiscating endowments as well as land and property [Benjamin Kentish, Independent]
- New York Department of Education readies moves to place private and religious schools under much tighter government control [Peter Murphy, City Journal]
- Chicago teachers’ union sends delegation on “solidarity trip” to Venezuela [Mark Glennon, Wirepoints; Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune]
- So-called Blaine Amendments bar religious schools in participating in voucher programs to which they would be admitted were they nonsectarian. A case of religious discrimination, and if so, violative of the First Amendment? [Ilya Shapiro and Dennis Garcia on Cato merits brief in Supreme Court case of Espinosa v. Montana, Trevor Burrus and Patrick Moran on certiorari stage brief]
- “The [California] draft curriculum says that ethnic studies courses created by districts from the proposed curriculum will… ‘critique empire and its relationship to white supremacy, …capitalism, and other forms of power and oppression'” [Valerie Strauss, Washington Post/Lowell Sun; Elizabeth Castillo, Cal Matters; Joanne Jacobs]
- “Kamala Harris expresses ‘regret’ over California truancy law” [Katie Galioto, Politico; background; “Souvarine”, Daily Kos (“criminal penalties for parents of truant children” are among “the earliest and most enduring progressive victories”; also tracing publicity on the issue to a certain scribbler of “libertarian claptrap,” though I made clear I was building on the earlier work of, e.g., the Marshall Project)]
- Despite strenuous efforts in Seattle and D.C. suburbs to impose “equity lens” on school systems and train all sides about implicit bias and systemic racism, no sign that actual outcome gaps are likely to budge [Rebecca Tan, Washington Post]
Well, why not? I outline some arguments in a new post at Cato.
Suburban D.C.: “This is not verified,” she continued, “But we have heard through reliable sources that this woman has threatened a lawsuit against the village over the [dog] park. Well, many dog park users are lawyers, too, so we’re wondering, should we get a lawyer? Do we have grounds to sue?” [Jessica Contrera, Washington Post/Bangor Daily News]
As population and the job base in the Washington, D.C. area continue to expand, households face a crunch in the price of housing, made worse by the reluctance of local governments to permit residential construction near most of the major employment centers. A unanimous county council in Montgomery County, Md. has now made it slightly easier for homeowners to create in-law units or backyard cottages, but along the way had to face down noisy opposition. I tell the story in a new Cato post.
For small businesses, regulation vies with taxes as the most complained-of public policy issue. Commonly, however, no one regulation is singled out as causing most of the problem: it’s more the cumulative and interactive hassle of various burdens, especially as a company grows or tries to enter new markets or take on new functions. The Federalist Society has launched a “regulatory thicket” project aimed at shedding light on the problem. Among its products so far: an overview paper by Anastasia Boden et al.; a paper on how the thicket operates in one urban jurisdiction, the District of Columbia [Yesim Sayin Taylor]; a video on how it affects an Oregon couple’s home-based telecommunications services firm; and a teleforum with Brooks Rainwater and Luke Wake.
A related op-ed [Braden Boucek and Luke Wake, Real Clear Policy] notes that reformers often appeal to state legislators, with ideas such as sunset laws and regulatory impact statements for new legislation. But other actors can be involved too:
One especially interesting proposal that has been tried in Arizona with success is giving people a way to challenge regulations in court when they needlessly burden the right to earn a living. That way lawmakers are not the sole party able to bring about reform.
State governors are also in a position to help trim the regulatory thicket in many cases. Governors might follow Canada’s success in controlling the growth of regulation by requiring government agencies to eliminate regulatory impositions for every new mandate. President Trump’s executive order to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation is another instructive example. Likewise, state legislatures might assign the task of reviewing and eliminating regulation to a special commission.
- NYC landmark decree will strangle famed Strand used bookstore, says owner [Nancy Bass Wyden, New York Daily News, Nick Gillespie, Reason, earlier] NIMBY resistance to Dupont Circle project behind Masonic Temple insists on preserving views that weren’t there until fairly recently [Nick Sementelli, Greater Greater Washington]
- “Barcelona city hall has finally issued a work permit for the unfinished church designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí, 137 years after construction started on the Sagrada Família basilica.” [AP/Guardian] At least they’re not in one of the American towns and cities that would make them tear down work outside the scope of permit before proceeding;
- FHA lending tilts heavily toward detached single-family housing over condos, encouraging sprawl [Scott Beyer]
- “San Francisco’s Regulations Are the Cause of Its Housing Crisis” [Beyer]
- “What Should I Read to Understand Zoning?” [Nolan Gray, Market Urbanism]
- I think we can all guess which union was not cut into a share of the work in this Bay Area housing development [Jennifer Wadsworth, San Jose Inside (Laborers union files CEQA suit), Christian Britschgi, Reason]
In D.C.’s Cleveland Park, a neighborhood that reporter Peter Jamison describes as a “bastion of urbane liberalism,” a stately apartment complex called the Sedgwick Gardens is something of an experimental subject for a combination of various progressive housing policies. “As of February, tenants with city-issued housing vouchers had filled nearly half of the building’s roughly 140 units,” and many of the new tenants “are homeless men and women who came directly from shelters or the streets, some still struggling with severe behavioral problems.” Jamison tells the story in this Washington Post article (reprinted at Seattle Times).
More on the District of Columbia’s “source of income discrimination” law, under which landlords commit a violation if they reject a prospective tenant because he or she will be paid for by a voucher, here and here.
“A proposal before the D.C. Council would allow up to 80 regular citizens, 10 in each ward, to issue tickets to vehicles parked where they aren’t allowed — blocking crosswalks, in bike lanes, in front of bus stops.” What could go wrong? [Luz Lazo, Washington Post, also Laredo Morning Times]
Still, others say most people would prefer enforcement be left to trained, public employees.
“Public officials may be far from perfect .?.?. but there is that extra layer that at least you can train them and they are likely to have the time on the job that allows them to build up their expertise,” said Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. They also have protocols to follow — and a job at stake.
“The cellphone evidence can go a long way, but it still doesn’t always tell the whole story,” he said. “A lot of times you are going to have people who are genuinely guilty and you will be enforcing the law as it was intended to be enforced. But traffic enforcement does have a lot of judgment calls.”
But Olson says he can see why the practice would be attractive to cities.
“The city gets more revenue without having to pay salaries,” he said. “The potential increase in ticket revenue would get their interest right away.”
- “Everything would be all renewable all the time if we could just pass the right laws.” The wishful underpinnings of the Green New Deal [Cato Daily Podcast with Caleb Brown and Regulation Magazine editor Peter Van Doren]
- “The U.S. rail system is optimized for freight, vs. European and Japanese systems that are optimized for passengers (it is hard to do both well with the same network). The U.S. situation is actually better, much better, for energy conservation.” [Coyote]
- Federalist Society discussions of climate litigation based on public nuisance theories: National Lawyers Convention panel with David Bookbinder, Eric Grant, James Huffman, Mark W. Smith, moderated by Hon. John K. Bush; “Originally Speaking” written debate with John Baker, Richard Faulk, Dan Lungren, Donald Kochan, Pat Parenteau, David Bookbinder; Boston Lawyers Chapter panel on municipal litigation with Steven Ferrey, Phil Goldberg, Donald Kochan, James R. May, Kenneth Reich] Climate nuisance suits have met with an unfriendly reception in American courts and there is no good rationale for filing copycat claims in Canada [Stewart Muir, Resource Works]
- “Public Universities Exploit Eminent Domain Powers with Little Oversight” [Chris West, Martin Center]
- Many pro-market reforms would reduce the risks to life and property from natural disasters, climate-related and otherwise [Chris Edwards, Cato]
- “On patrol with the enforcer of DC’s plastic-straw ban” [Fenit Nirappil/AP via Peter Bonilla (“Welcome to the worst ride along ever”)]
- “Elephant Habeas Case: Steven Wise’s Forum Shopping Apparently Fails” [Ted Folkman, Letters Blogatory, earlier here and here]
- Right now owners of gas stations in D.C. “need approval from the Gas Station Advisory Board (GSAB) to close. However, there’s one small problem. The GSAB hasn’t had members since 2008, so there’s no one to get approval from.” [Daniel Warwick, Greater Greater Washington]
- “Jones Act Reform Gaining Momentum” [Colin Grabow, Cato, earlier]
- “Serving Two (or More) Masters: Civil Service and Bureaucratic Resistance in our Administrative State” [Adam White working paper and related video as part of Hoover Institution’s Land, Labor, and Rule of Law conference]
- MoCo vs. NoVa in business site relocation, Baltimore policing, charmless climate suit, red flag law and more Maryland policy in my latest Free State Notes;
- New York appears ready to return to the days of confiscatory rent control, a policy that helped ruin wide swaths of the city in the 60s and 70s [Charles Urstadt, City Journal]