There’s nothing quite like a good fearmongering op-ed to get the blood boiling. Unfortunately for everyone, the Wall Street Journal published a whopper yesterday about transportation, homelessness, and urban policy that got my blood circulating faster than normal. Not because I am terrified of the cabal of leftist agitators coming for my…zoning codes?…but because it is quite possibly the dumbest thing I have ever heard or read on urban issues, an impressive feat considering I have attended a lot of New York City community board meetings. The article in question, titled “‘New Left Urbanists’ Want to Remake Your City,” was penned by Chris Rufo, a contributing editor at City Journal, a publication of the right-libertarian Manhattan Institute, and former candidate for the Seattle City Council. Rufo’s contention is that these “New Left Urbanists” are secretly taking over local governments to re-shape cities to fit their priorities which include, among other things, public transportation, government-subsidized housing, and bike lanes. All of which he says are hopelessly out of step with John Q. Homeowner. Right off the bat, I feel compelled to note that I had never heard the phrase “New Left Urbanists” before, even though I’m fairly certain Rufo would qualify me as one. This had me wondering, does this phrase even exist? Of the 299 Google hits for the phrase at the time of my search, the only ones that don’t originate from Rufo’s article come from a 2011 book by George Washington University history professor Christopher Klemek, whose work… [Read full story]
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