Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Houston accolades, transit crises, worst-run city, happy TX, and more

First, let me apologize for the inconsistent posting over the last month or so. It's been crazy-busy, and not just because of the holidays either. I've decided to cut back blog posting to once a week (from twice/week now) for the indefinite future. If things lighten up again, or if I find I suddenly have more to say, I'll go back to twice a week. Hopefully this will also allow me to put a little more time into each post and write up more of the 'big idea' essays I have in mind, but take a serious time commitment to generate.

On to the backlog of smaller items:
"By contrast, in cities such as Houston and Hong Kong the skylines are not the cause of their economic prosperity, but merely the most visible manifestation of it. That's a prosperity that has been built over the years on the basis of those old reliables: economic freedom, the rule of law, hard work and sound management. Without these, nations and cities alike build on nothing but foundations of sand."
Hat tip to James.
Public-Transit Passengers Face Rough Ride
Agencies Nationwide Raise Fares, Cut Service as Budget Pressures Mount;
In Chicago, 'Less Frequent, More Crowded Service'
The city's ineptitude is no secret. "I have never heard anyone, even among liberals, say, 'If only [our city] could be run like San Francisco,'" says urbanologist Joel Kotkin. "Even other liberal places wouldn't put up with the degree of dysfunction they have in San Francisco. In Houston, the exact opposite of San Francisco, I assume you'd get shot."

Hat tip to James.
But the election of Annise Parker in Houston makes clear that the Charlottes and Houstons are now at the forefront of American political change, while the shrinking and declining big cities of the Northeast and Rust Belt are bringing up the rear.

"Houston is your post-racial, post-ethnic future of America," said demographer Joel Kotkin. "It's a leading-edge place."
  • In case you didn't see it, Texas is again tops in population growth. Hat tip to Anthony.
  • If this study is to be believed, Texas is the 15th happiest state. Not bad when you note some of the heavy hitters at the bottom of the list: NY, MI, CA, NJ, IL, MA. We also beat out some pretty nice trendy states like Colorado and Oregon. But if Louisiana is the nation's happiest state, how come I see so many of their license plates in Houston?
  • Houston's economy looks good for 2010. Hat tip to Jessie.

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At 8:08 AM, January 13, 2010, Anonymous kjb434 said...

"But if Louisiana is the nation's happiest state, how come I see so many of their license plates in Houston?"

The 63 of 64 parishes that aren't New Orleans are quite happy places. The cess pool of New Orleans politics keeps that city from bouncing back as good as the rest of the state. Also, the feds pumping billions of dollars (which technically weren't needed) into the state didn't hurt either. Mississippi Gulf Coast has shown the joke that New Orleans has become in the recovery process after Katrina.

At 11:07 AM, January 14, 2010, Blogger Michael said...

>>But if Louisiana is the nation's happiest state, how come I see so many of their license plates in Houston?

Because we share a border? I'm sure you see plenty of Texas license plates in Louisiana as well. I know I go to New Orleans fairly frequently, and know plenty of people who go to Louisiana to gamble. Maybe Louisianans are coming to Houston more for business than pleasure, but still doesn't mean they are moving here.

At 4:48 AM, January 15, 2010, Blogger Alon Levy said...

Kotkin shouldn't be using "get shot" as a metaphor when Houston's murder rate is higher than San Francisco's. And despite what he says, many Eastern liberals are happy with San Francisco's solutions on social issues, and point to it as a city with much less corruption than New York or Chicago.

The SF Chronicle, however, is a crappy newspaper, and it's not surprising it's writing fluff like this.


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