first_imgShare20Tweet18ShareEmail38 SharesBy City of National City, California, Public Domain, LinkOctober 3, 2017; Next CityWith a campaign that began in 2005, National City in California made headlines as the first city in California to pioneer including environmental justice as part of their comprehensive plan. A year ago, a bill, SB 1000, authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) and cosponsored by the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) and the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), was signed into law by California’s Governor Edmund G. (“Jerry”) Brown, Jr.. The law took effect this January. The law requires that California cities address environmental justice in their planning, as the Civic Solutions consultancy indicates, “either through the preparation of a standalone Environmental Justice Element or through the adoption of goals, policies and objectives incorporated into other elements.”So, as Next City writer Rachel Dovey explains, California cities face several new requirements. Cities must have a comprehensive, long-term plan for development; they must identify disadvantaged communities; and plans must have an environmental justice element that will “identify objectives and policies to reduce the unique or compounded health risks in disadvantaged communities.”National City’s 155-page plan is now a model for the field and forms a key element of an upcoming toolkit, scheduled to be released by CEJA on October 9th.  National City, it would appear, has something to share with its wealthier California brethren (think San Francisco or Santa Monica, for example), which now may have to catch up with their poorer border city cousin.National City is among the state’s more economically and environmentally disadvantaged cities. According to the San Diego County Department of Health, National City is “home to 32 million pounds of hazardous substances and 870,000 cubic feet of toxic or hazardous gases.” Nearby La Jolla, with a similar population size, had 3.8 million pounds of hazardous gases. As a result, National City has an asthma rate 60 percent higher than the county average, among other environment-related health challenges.People of color dominate the city’s population. Almost 60 percent are Latinx and a little under 18 percent are Filipino; whites make up about 14 percent of the city’s population. About two-thirds of residents are renters, and nearly a quarter of its residents live below the poverty line.As Smithsonian Magazine pointed out, “the reality is that low income, diverse areas are often exposed to significantly more environmental pollutants than other socioeconomic groups and neighborhoods. Environmental discrimination is a subset of almost every other kind of prejudice.”The EPA defines environmental justice as a situation where people have:the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, andequal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.Unfortunately, after years of ignoring community health and sustainability goals in urban planning, cities have reached a point where having more money buys you not only a nicer but a healthier place to live.“When you integrate community members who may not have been planners for 10 or 20 years or may not have had access to higher education into the planning process, it creates room for things to be solved in different ways,” notes Carolina Martínez, associate director of policy at the National City-based Environmental Health Coalition.Urban planning, if done in cooperation with disadvantaged communities, can reduce other elements of injustice as well. For instance, in 2015, Rick Cohen discussed Michelle Alexander’s claim that community-based urban planning can help undo the dynamic of the “New Jim Crow,” a system of incarceration and disenfranchisement that targets Black Americans.Many cities are slow to do the periodic urban planning updates that would help them more accurately accommodate the needs of residents. “It’s a major undertaking,” Christopher Calfee from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research told the Orange County Register. “The update takes a long time, and it can be quite resource intensive, and expensive.” We then have a chicken-and-egg situation, where money is inefficiently spent due to outdated information, which then drains the pool of money to spend on updating the data that would improve spending patterns…you get the picture. Some cities in Orange County haven’t updated their plans since the 1970s.But the toolkit and the National City example provide valuable resources for those who generate the political will to take the plunge. As Dovey writes:National City’s experience, as well as the other case studies CEJA highlights from Fresno, Jurupa Valley, the Los Angeles region and Richmond, serve as instructive and inspiring examples for other cities hoping to tackle local health inequities. CEJA’s toolkit also helps cities identify disadvantaged areas in their own jurisdictions, understand the requirements of SB 1000 and locate funding sources. It will no doubt be very helpful for California cities—at least the ones that don’t ignore or willfully obstruct state law.—Erin RubinShare20Tweet18ShareEmail38 Shareslast_img read more

first_imgShare32TweetShareEmail32 SharesBy Anthonyt31201 [CC0], from Wikimedia CommonsSeptember 11, 2018; WBUR“Boston’s past and current city administrations have permitted an explosion in luxury real estate property construction that is reshaping the city’s skyline and economic composition,” write Chuck Collins and Emma de Goede in a report titled Towering Excess: The Perils of The Luxury Real Estate Boom for Bostonians, published by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), a nonprofit think tank. “With thousands of new luxury units either under construction or seeking permits, city officials ought to be seriously exploring the perils these units pose.”As Simón Rios reports for WBUR, a Boston public radio station, “The study looks at 1,805 units with an average price of $3 million.” Looking at the dates of construction of these buildings, it appears that many luxury buildings are built toward the end of economic booms and often open shortly after economic crashes. One of the twelve buildings Collins and de Goede examine opened in 1982 (itself the end of a recession). Four opened in 2000 and 2001 (i.e., after the bust of the 1990s dot-com boom), then another three opened in 2008 and 2009 (at the start of the Great Recession). In recent years (2013-2016), three have opened and one other has expanded.Now, as NPQ’s Kelly Phipps observed, a host of new luxury buildings in Boston is expected. The IPS report identifies 17 potential properties and more than 3,000 units of housing. But how big is the market for $3-million condominiums? Is Boston’s elite that flush?This is where things start to get interesting. As it turns out, most luxury condo units are not bought by New Englanders. An editorial in the Boston Business Journal explains that “many of these condos are used by wealthy elites overseas as vehicles to store wealth, rather than as full-time housing. Further, more than a third of the units in those projects are owned by limited liability corporations (LLCs) or trusts that obscure the real owners.”In fact, Collins and de Goede report that only 650 or so (36 percent) of the 1,805 condo owners claim a residential tax break. The other 64 percent of the units are either rented out, secondary residences, or investment vehicles. The result, they note, is the emergence of “towns [that] have no stoop life, less foot traffic, fewer customers for neighborhood businesses, and weakened neighborly bonds.” De Goede remarks that she “was surprised by the lack of residency in luxury buildings that are promoted as ‘communities in the sky’…these buildings are far more comparable to ghost towns than they are to integrated communities.”It is all perfectly legal, although Collins and de Goede caution that cash real estate transactions can be used to launder illicit gains. “We spot-checked some of those buildings and found there were large numbers of cash purchases by shell corporations, which is sort of a red flag for possible use of illicit funds,” Collins tells Rios.Meanwhile, 52.5 percent of Boston area renters and 35.8 percent of homeowners are presently “housing cost burdened,” with over 30 percent of their income going to housing expenses. And 21 percent of Bostonians spend more than half of their income on housing.Every fall, Northeastern University publishes its Greater Boston Housing Report Card. In its 2017 report, authors Barry Bluestone and James Huessy note that, “In the period 1996 to 2003, more than 39 percent of all permits were for affordable units [but] since 2011 the proportion has fallen to about 18 percent.”The city of Boston invests in affordable housing, funded in part by linkage fees assessed on market-rate developments. “The luxury units are giving us a ton of cash to create affordable housing through the city,” says city housing director Sheila Dillon.But as NPQ has noted, a focus on production can mask larger trends. Nonprofit advocates would do well to promote—and city leaders to implement—policies that foster a healthier housing market. No matter how much new affordable housing you build, it’s hard to keep housing affordable when the median price of housing in some Boston low-income neighborhoods increased by over 50 percent between 2010 and 2015. Overall, concludes Renée Loth in the Boston Globe, construction “is not solving the housing affordability problem.” The Boston Business Journal editorial board concurs:None of this [the report’s findings] is news to those in the business community—especially in real estate—who’ve watched over the past two decades as the city’s developers have increasingly catered to mega-rich, international buyers. Meanwhile, the city’s workforce is being forced to live farther and farther from the city, and endure longer and longer commutes, crowded out by projects like Millennium Tower and One Dalton.In their report, Collins and de Goede make a number of recommendations, including taxing luxury housing. The Boston Business Journal writes that, “While we’re always reluctant to embrace a new tax, the need to ensure an adequate workforce to fuel Boston’s growth is a bigger concern in this case. City housing experts agree that a tax on real estate transactions on properties selling for upwards of, say, $2.5 million, or some kind of tax on vacant condos—with the proceeds dedicated to building affordable housing—may well be…needed.”—Steve DubbShare32TweetShareEmail32 Shareslast_img read more

first_imgShare24TweetShareEmail24 Sharespeoplesworld / Voter ID, or Voter IDiocy?November 9, 2018; ABC-11 and FortuneLast Tuesday, more than two million North Carolina voters, 55 percent of the total, said “yes” to a state constitutional amendment that will require people to present a valid photo ID in order to vote. An earlier attempt to impose the same requirement through legislation had been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court, prompting North Carolina’s Republican-dominated legislature to place the measure on the November ballot. Just days after the election, a recently formed nonprofit, Spread the Vote, announced it was springing into action to make sure this wouldn’t keep eligible voters from participating in the next election.Voter ID requirements are one of several contentious efforts to suppress votes. Thirty-four states have some kind of voter ID law in place, with 22 requiring a state-issued form of identification. The stated rationale is that ID prevents fraud and qualified voters can easily meet the requirements. Opponents see it as a solution to a nonexistent problem and one that’s really designed to limit the power of the poor and communities of color, for whom the cost and difficulty of obtaining the necessary documents present a high barrier.Spread the Vote’s approach is not to engage in legislative struggles to overturn these laws. Rather, it seeks to increase voter turnout and help voters meet the requirements that now face over 21 million otherwise qualified voters. Spread the Vote sees the following barriers that must be surmounted:The voter must gather documentation—things like birth certificates, naturalization papers, social security cards, marriage certificates for women who have changed their names, and proof of residence. Original copies are usually required, which can cost money to obtain. The poor face the challenge of paying for all this paperwork. The homeless lack the residential address required to register. Elderly voters who were born in rural areas may have never been issued birth certificates, and must make their way through an endless bureaucratic maze in order to prove their identities. Students and young voters may find their dormitory addresses are not accepted. Native Americans who live on reservations may find that PO Boxes are not accepted either.Within days of learning the election results, Spread the Vote announced it would expand its current five-state operations to include North Carolina. It will hire a local staff director and, by January, begin recruiting the volunteers to reach those whose right to vote is at risk. According to ABC11, “volunteers will be going to senior-living facilities, homeless shelters, and college campuses—assigning mentors to help people not just get IDs but also the vital records required to get the ID, such as birth certificates or social security cards.”Spread the Vote Founder Kat Calvin said, “IDs are hard to get. I mean they’re not free. You can’t just walk into the DMV and get an ID. You have to pay for the ID. You need birth certificates…Spread the Vote pays all the costs required to get an ID. We’ll pay for documents. We’ll pay for the ID itself. And we pay upfront. It’s not reimbursement. So that’s not something someone needs to worry about when they work with us.”The challenge that Spread the Vote has taken on is large, and their 2018 results were quite small. According to Fortune, the organization “spent $770,000 this year to help more than 600 voters in Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Florida obtain IDs.” For 2019, they have set an aggressive goal of getting IDs for 10,000 voters and are expecting to spend more than $3 million in that effort.Calvin, perhaps recognizing that at more than $1,000 per individual, their program is costly, added another perspective to their value proposition in comments to AXIOS: “IDs are about so much more than voting. Our clients use their IDs to get jobs, housing, medical care, food at food banks, nights at shelters, and so much more.”—Martin LevineShare24TweetShareEmail24 Shareslast_img read more

first_imgVoddler has launched a movie streaming service with Dolby’s Digital Plus audio for certain smart phones.The Scandinavia-based video-on-demand operator said the service, which at launch is available on Nokia smart phones, is the first of its kind and delivers cinematic surround sound to the mobile devices.last_img

first_imgOn-demand TV software specialist Espial is acquiring IPTV technology company ANT.Espial will acquire all outstanding shares in ANT in a deal that values the company at £5 million (€6.1 million). The acquisition is expected to close during the first quarter of 2013.Espial said it hoped the acquisition would lead to increased revenues and customer base, an expanded customer footprint in Europe, North America and Asia along with additional intellectual property including client and user experience products, technologies and patents.“Multiscreen video services on set-top boxes, smart TVs, tablets, PCs and smart phones are quickly becoming the new expectation for today’s consumers. Delivering a superior user experience across these devices is a critical element to the success of TV service providers” said Jaison Dolvane, CEO of Espial. “The acquisition of ANT provides Espial with the increased scale, resources and depth of experience to extend our HTML5 market leadership. ANT provides rich expertise in delivering HTML5 user interfaces and applications as well as delivering complex vertically integrated client software solutions. We believe the acquisition of ANT will extend our capabilities to establish Espial as a clear market leader as TV service providers aggressively move to IP video delivery. We’re excited about this combination and are committed to continue working with ANT’s existing customers and partners to ensure their ongoing success”.last_img read more

first_imgSouth African pay TV operator MultiChoice has introduced a new DStv Family pack, to launch on April 9, priced at ZAR175 (€14.50) a month.The pack will include over 45 channels, 17 of which have not been on lower-tier bouquest previously. These include Sony Entertainment, Discovery TLC, Nat Geo Wild, KykNET Musiek and Cartoon Network.Two new channels – Fox and KykNET & Kie – will also be added to the DStv bouquest on April 9, available via the Compact and Premium bouquets as well as the new Family pack.Fox will feature shows including Falling Skies and The Walking Dead, while kids channel KykNET & Kie will give customers on DStv Compact and DStv Family access to some kykNET shows such as Villa Rosa, Binneland, Toks en Tjops, Enuus and Dagbreek. KykNET & Kie will absorb existing kids service KooWee, airing shows including Tjiff and Tjaff, Lappies, Pikin and Zimzim.last_img read more

first_imgPan-European sports channel Eurosport has named Philippe Denery as chairman and Jean-Thierry Augustin as CEO following the appointment of Laurent-Eric Le Lay, who combined both roles, as CEO of TF1 Publicité.Denery will remain in his current post as executive vice-president of TF1 Group finance, combining that with his chairmanship of the TF1 majority-owned sports broadcaster.Augustin (pictured, left) has been promoted from his previous position of managing director, distribution, right acquisition and development.Le Lay was last week named as the successor to Laurent Solly at TF1’s advertising arm following the latter’s departure to take over as head of Facebook France.TF1 said that the change at Eurosport reflected its ambition to enable to the broadcaster to continue developing as part of the partnership agreement signed with Discovery.Discovery has acquired a 20% holding in Eurosport, with the option to increase this to a 51% majority stake.last_img read more

first_imgTechnology firms and device manufacturers ABB, Bosch, Cisco, and LG aim have agreed to set up a smart home software platform consortium in Germany. The firms have signed a memorandum of understanding and, subject to antitrust approval, said they plan to develop an open architecture for data exchange that will allow different devices and services – ranging from security to entertainment – to exchange information with each other.The firms said that a common platform like this has not been available before now and that they aim to make different devices compatible with each other and able to communicate over WiFi and wired connections.“This consortium represents an opportunity to bring together a variety of business ecosystem partners, all working together to help make the ‘internet of things’ for the home a reality. Cisco is looking forward to participating in the consortium and creating a standard that allows consumers to experience a connected home,” said Jesper Andersen, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Service Provider Video Software & Solutions Group.last_img read more

first_imgAMC/Sundance Channel Global president Bruce Tuchman has added the role of president, MGM Channel Global to his duties.AMC Networks has handed Tuchman the role following its acquisition of Chellomedia, which had acquired the international MGM channels business in August 2012.The MGM Channel is distributed in more than 130 territories.Tuchman has a long history with MGM, having joined AMC Networks from MGM Worldwide Networks in 2011, where he oversaw the then-studio-owned cable, satellite and other networks business.Following Tuchman’s new appointment, responsibility for sales, scheduling and operations for MGM Channel will remain with the AMCN Chellomedia business units that operate the network, namely Chello Central Europe, Chello Latin America, Chello Multicanal and Chello Zone.Tuchman will coordinate these divisions and work to further develop the brand. He will continue to report to AMC Networks COO Ed Carroll and be based in New York.“Bruce has done a great job building Sundance Channel into a global brand and this new role allows us to take advantage of his long history with MGM,” said Carroll.Before joining MGM, Tuchman was at MTV Networks, where he was general manager of Nickelodeon Global Network Ventures and senior VP, Nickelodeon New Media Ventures.last_img read more

first_imgUK cable operator Virgin Media has launched a ‘Season Ticket’ offer that will give customers 10 months of access to Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 3, Sky Sports 4 and Sky Sports 5 for a one-off upfront cost of £150.Virgin said the offer will save customers “hundreds of pounds on the cost of watching Sky Sports channels at home and on the go,” and establishes it as the only UK provider to offer every major live sports channel in one place.“Virgin Media is now the home of all the major live sports in the UK in HD or on the go. This is the first time all the Sky and BT Sport channels will be available in one place, backed by superfast broadband, for a single great value price,” said Dana Strong, chief operating officer at Virgin Media.last_img read more