Neal Peirce

Commentary: Heavy Mistrust of Elections’ Honesty — But Where’s the Groundswell for Reform?

By: - October 4, 2006

Partisanly chosen state election officials, reports, have become “a new flashpoint for bitter partisan struggling over how balloting is run.” It’s as if the rancor engendered by the razor-thin 2000 presidential vote in Florida , when Republican Secretary of State (and Bush campaign cochair) Katherine Harris was accused of raw partisan decisions, has never […]

Beyond Pork Barrel: An Ingenious New Way to Rebuild America

By: - December 26, 2005

You have to wonder: If Katrina and its multibillion-dollar bill to repair faulty levees haven’t awakened us to our massive national infrastructure deficit, what will?   Regularly, the American Society of Civil Engineers reports on how disastrously far behind we are in fixing our outmoded or disintegrating roads, bridges, schools, dams, waterworks, rail and public transit […]

Kids and Us: Groundbreaking Experiment

By: - December 19, 2005

Just as the Christmas season celebrates a very special child’s birth, it’s hard to disagree that children—even from our poorest families—are a national treasure and our shared future.    But states and cities find it easier to expend billions of dollars on after-the-fact cures and fixes – foster homes, juvenile courts, prisons – than to […]

The Wal-Mart Struggle: Shaping America’s Future

By: - November 27, 2005

The Wal-Mart Watch campaign, a labor-environmental group highly critical of America’s mega-mega retailer, recently launched more than 1,000 events nationwide for its “Higher Expectations Week.” A scathing documentary by independent filmmaker Robert Greenwald with a focus on Wal-Mart’s business tactics and treatment of workers began to play to audiences across the country. Wal-Mart is fighting […]

Balanced, Fair Tax Reform: Too Much to Ask?

By: - November 21, 2005

In a rare breakthrough of common sense, President Bush’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform has produced a balanced agenda for tax reform. It deserves better than the sharp attacks special interest groups are aiming at it. You may know the salient points already – simplifying income tax brackets, eliminating the increasingly feared “alternative minimum […]

The Prince and the Mayor: Survivors With an Urban Vision

By: - November 13, 2005

Courage, whether it’s confronting terrorism—or just plain derision? Unshakable belief in livable, learning cities, and a better urban future? If you like those qualities in leaders, check two very different survivors who’ve been visiting the   U.S. recently.The first: Dora Bakoyannis, the first woman mayor of   Athens in its 3,500-year history. In 1989, terrorists gunned down […]

Eminent Domain: A Fair Middle Path?

By: - November 1, 2005

Sparks continue to fly across the country as a result of last June’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding this city’s use of eminent domain powers to seize homes in a working-class neighborhood so that a private developer could build a riverfront hotel and office complex. Measures to curb or totally forbid taking of private property […]

How Katrina Keeps on Hurting

By: - October 24, 2005

Katrina keeps on hurting. America’s most vicious storm in a century left hundreds of thousands homeless, incurring its deepest scars on the lives of the poor. And now, Katrina is about to hurt again, not this time by the force of nature but by the very odd decisions being made by President Bush and power-wielders […]

Smart Growth 2000: Bumps And Breakthroughs

By: - December 27, 2000

The “smart growth” movement is growing up, gaining attention, developing conflicting voices, scoring victories on some issues, taking its lumps on others. Most of all, this movement to stem sprawl and sustain America’s town and city fabric has clearly “arrived.” Just check the hundreds of related measures on state and local ballots last November and […]

Dual Election Reforms Now Vital: Electoral College + Ballot Systems

By: - November 21, 2000

The presidential election has thrown two elements of America’selective system into deep doubt. Clearly, there’s the electoral college. Not only does thisquaint mechanism date from the era of the outdoor privy; itspotential to thwart the popular vote of the American people –which it has apparently just done — reeks appropriately. How, under the sun, can […]