Sunday Media List

The conventions are finally over  and there are only 99 days till the election – finally in the double digits!

Can you imagine a cop coming to your house to question your voting rights?

The Euro, like the EU, was the intended to bring Europe closer together to eliminate the possibility of war. Nobel Prize winner Stiglitz said it did the opposite.

It always amazes me how many hidden small costs there are in American daily life- whether it’s tipping at restaurants (OR LITERALLY EVERYTHING ELSE ) or  at the grocery store. Citylab writes on how grocery taxes may lead to higher rates of hunger. 

If you want a giant event to bring money to your city- just own the event.


See you Wednesday for lessons that we’ve took away from past major project failures!

Public Transportation – An Incomplete Defense

Four years ago, the biggest promise of the eventually winner of the Honolulu mayoral race appeared to be that he would fix potholes. In fact, after he was elected several publicity photos were released of him, with a shovel, fixing the potholes. This year, the biggest issue in the mayoral race is rail, despite the fact that Honolulu’s rail system is entirely under the control of an independent commission. The rail system in Honolulu is the largest public project works in its history. The project is now estimated to cost up to $10 billion dollars, when the original projected price was $5.16 billion dollars. I genuinely hate driving, I believe in dense development, and I think this is already shaping up to a disaster. But public work disasters aren’t new.

Public work disasters are frequently cited by the right as a reason not to invest in public transportation. Public works project are huge and by some accounts more expensive in the US than anywhere else in the world. Despite all of these, good public works has tremendous importance. Next week, I will be talking about some major public work disasters and lessons that we take from them. This week, let’s start with why we need to spend more in public transportation.

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Only $40 for a small coffee

stock-coffee-project-4Recently, a new banana frozen serve place opened up where two unsuccessful frozen yogurt places previously were. This banana place (Let’s call it – AweBan) already had a food truck and used a very successful kickstarter to go from food truck to brick-and-mortar. In today’s world of instagram and yelp, I’m not sure what new restaurant can open without a social media buzz. However, I am sure that it is easier for a young person to use an app in her native language than a forty year old using it in his second.


When we talk about gentrification, we often talk about rising rates, a loss of culture, and the somewhat overdone image of an artisan coffee shop taking over a bodega. So what about gentrification of our taste buds? It’s not a new concept and there’s been a great conversation around the idea of traditional non-American food being major inspirations around for chefs (primarily white men) in haute cuisine.

A restaurant that uses organic local ingredients might be great and maybe that does help the local economy. These days though, sometimes it feels like the only people who can afford to be local organic farmers are former stockbrokers having midlife crises with their wives.

Here’s what I worry about – a world of AweBans. Cool local expensive stores owned by people have figured out social media and the other side – big box stores. Big box stores that don’t give good wages, have paid family leave, or any of the other “luxuries” that have become necessities. AweBans are wonderful, we need them and young business owners are awesome. What I worry about are immigrants who come over and because they can’t figure out yelp, close their businesses and lose their life-savings. I worry about working class people who want to support their friends’ businesses but can’t because the only people who can make rents are people with huge nest eggs and big-box retailers.

I worry about well-meaning tourists who only go to these “cool” places but look down on 7-11s and Subways. I worry that I’m contributing to the creation a playground for the rich.

Sunday Media List

Hey – here’s what I’m writing about, going up Wednesday!

Pokemon Go has taken the world for storm.

I don’t think AirBnb is used like it should be, but then again – what is?

What do mayors care about the most this year? 

Hey most people don’t want the wall!


Happy reading!



Cleveland, Ohio and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this year face the immense challenge of pulling off one of the most important political events of the election season (which has dragged for well over a year).

Much has been written about the economic disasters of the Olympics and sports stadiums. Political conventions, on the other hand, seem benign. An event can be hosted in an already existing arena. Delegates, press, and other attendants of the conventions are expected to fill up to 15,000 hotel rooms. Not to mention, the press and the potential boost for incumbent candidates on tough reelection fights. Photo opportunities with the next president of the United States are often to make any politician ready for the challenge.

What exactly is the challenge this year? Scanning both Democratic and Republican press releases, cities should have a minimum of 650,000 square feet to host the event with exclusive access to the space 60 days and up to 3 weeks after the event. The cost of these events can be up to a staggering $85 million, both host cities and major donors are expected to give and fundraise both through checks and in-kind donations.

This year, with two of the perhaps the most unpopular candidates in history, security is of extra import. In Cleveland, originally a 3.5 square-mile area was cornered off away from protestors. When the courts ruled against them, the area was narrowed. In Philadelphia, semi-transparent fencing will put up to separate the protesters from the Wells Fargo Center. The Wells Fargo Center, in Philadelphia, will prohibit the use of drones and selfie sticks as a security precaution.

At the end of $85 million binge, what will be left? A slight bump in the polls, a shining accomplishment, or a political disaster waiting to happen? My money, not much –except a giant headache for taxpayers and donors