Spring is risen.

Well, finally it is spring, real spring. (Seemingly, anyway.) After a totally sucktastic Friday and Saturday (40s, rain), Easter was sunny and mild, a true miracle of resurrection. It might not last. It probably won’t last. I took the rosemary plant outside and put it on the back steps, and I will not be bringing it back in. If it dies, it dies. I’m tired of looking at it in the kitchen.

Winter is over by the decree of Nance. So let it be written, so let it be done.

And now it’s Sunday night, the forecast for the rest of the week looks well above freezing, and I might take my winter coat to the dry cleaner. Been smashing those little tasks on my to-do list the last few days. The secret: Actually putting them on the to-do list in the first place. Yes, that sounds like a no-brainer, but over these last few months of old-lady Swiss-cheese winter-depression brain, putting stuff on the list in the first place has seemed like a huge hurdle. My thoughts run like this, most days:

Yeah I need to do that thing before Tuesday and oh look this article on Twitter looks interesting I’ll put it on my reading list with the 9 million other things I’m going to read anyway I really should read this novel because remember I had that short-story idea that I wanted to get done by March? And now it’s April? Oh shit there’s that other thing, and the bathroom is dirty and did I feed Wendy? Did I pay the phone bill? Am I going to get high-speed fiber internet and knock $60 off that bill? Did I remember to eat today? Dumb question. I never forget to eat. This tab has been open on my browser for four hours, and the story that looked really interesting four hours ago looks considerably less so now. I’m going to close it. No! Don’t close it! You won’t be a well-informed person if you do.

How on earth do people keep their minds cruel and simple? With to-do lists, that’s how.

One story that did stay open on the browser long enough for me to read was this one, about Pete Buttigieg’s blight-eradication program in South Bend. It’s from BuzzFeed. (Sigh.) The mayor set an ambitious goal of tearing down or rehabbing 1,000 homes in 1,000 days. This, BF notes, “smacked of gentrification,” which made me stare off into space for a minute.

Gentrification. In a city with a population of 100,000. In Indiana.

Maybe the problem is, no one can actually define what gentrification is. My working understanding is this: The rapid transformation of a neighborhood, where the pace of change is so fast that rents and taxes rise precipitously and has the effect of driving out long-term, lower-income residents. Owners sell, cashing in on the rising-price market. Renters are less lucky, finding their rents rising out of reach. This often includes businesses, because who needs a dry cleaner when you can have a wood-fired pizzeria/bistro in the same space, paying triple?

It’s a real problem. Maybe it happened in South Bend. But I seriously doubt it.

Eradicating blight is not gentrification. It’s improvement. The problems come when people want to stay in their houses but can’t afford to improve them (or pay their taxes), but Buttigieg’s plan wasn’t just to demolish; it also supported rehab. The main oppositional sources in this story aren’t even that opposed, if passages like this are to be believed:

“I’m not sure we got that completely right,” Buttigieg told the Christian Science Monitor last week, specifically with regard to aggressive code enforcement.

The mayor did not respond directly to questions from BuzzFeed News. His campaign manager, Mike Schmuhl, said in a telephone interview that a recent internal poll by Buttigieg’s mayoral committee found that 86% of respondents believed South Bend was on the right track. Schmuhl also noted that Buttigieg won his second term with more than 75% of the vote in both the Democratic primary and general election.

No one says that Buttigieg was guided by racial or sinister motives. (The mayor recently found himself explaining his 2015 declaration that “all lives matter” — a phrase that’s been used as a retort to the Black Lives Matter social justice movement.) But they also don’t buy his simplistic narrative, the story in which he’s the hero of a model program that could save cities like South Bend.

“Everyone wants to find a villain,” Williams-Preston said. “This is just how economic development happens. And I’m just constantly telling the administration: If we do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always gotten. And what we have always gotten in cities all across the country is displacement of poor people and people of color.”

I am by no means sold on Mayor Pete (although I like him more than Bernie. Sue me.), but I hope the national news organizations covering him make an effort to fully understand the problems of Rust Belt cities with the sort of depopulation South Bend (and Detroit) have faced over the decades. They ain’t New York. Or even Chicago.

OK, it’s Game of Thrones time. In the week ahead, a visit from J.C., en route to the U.P. So that’ll be fun.

Hope yours is pretty great, too.

Posted at 8:59 pm in Media |

36 responses to “Spring is risen.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 21, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    Somebody was watching “The Ten Commandments” last night.

    56 chars

  2. Jakash said on April 22, 2019 at 12:47 am

    “A city is built of brick, Pharoah. The strong make many, the starving make few. The dead make none.”

    101 chars

  3. Dexter Friend said on April 22, 2019 at 1:50 am

    Colombo, Sri Lanka, and 2 other cities witnessed some horrid terrorist attacks over the weekend, hundreds dead, and of course the headlines are about the 2 Americans dead. Also the news devoted time to some spelunkers , one man who helped save the soccer team last summer , the boys who had gotten trapped in a cave. Well, he grabbed more airtime as he was cave-diving in Arkansas as I recall, and lived in an air pocket for a couple days , was rescued, and got big laffs when he said he wanted pizza immediately. Hey pal ? Learned anything yet? Dangerous stuff there, ya get that? Damn. And France’s infamous yellow vesters rioting near Notre Dame, demanding the money given to the Catholic hierarchy to rebuild,that dough should be seized and spread out among the poorest wretches around Europe, a noble thought. Basically, the vesters want the government to tax the bejeezuss out of the rich and get down with hardcore socialism, and dole those euros out feely. 🙂 Noble thoughts, no?

    1001 chars

  4. beb said on April 22, 2019 at 3:30 am

    Here’s a different look at Mayor Pete blight eradication program…https://washingtonmonthly.com/2019/04/21/how-the-media-is-getting-mayor-petes-south-bend-gentrification-story-wrong/

    It’s a rebuttal to the Buzzfeed story.

    Either Buzzfeed did a very sloppy story or were feed some oppo research and didn’t bother to check it out (which is also sloppy journalism but also makes them a willing stooge).

    407 chars

  5. Linda said on April 22, 2019 at 6:22 am

    The Buzzfeed story uses the phrase “smacked of,” in relation to gentrification. That phrase is accusatory, lazy, and does a great deal of the work. Either make an accusation and marshal your evidence, or don’t make it. It seems like the kind of stories we will see in the news through the election.

    304 chars

  6. Joe Kobiela said on April 22, 2019 at 6:26 am

    Great Movie
    Pilot Joe

    41 chars

  7. basset said on April 22, 2019 at 6:43 am

    Tennessee, Dexter, the cave diver was in Tennessee… out here in flyover land it’s all the same anyway.

    106 chars

  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 22, 2019 at 7:33 am

    For my sins, I have three offices, and in each is a computer with at least thirty tabs open. There should be a word for the anxiety of closing a tab without having thoroughly dealt with it or processed the contents in some way, even when the dang thing has been open for close to nine months. It might be “procrastination” but that word doesn’t sound German enough.

    365 chars

  9. Heather said on April 22, 2019 at 8:31 am

    I just looked, I have two windows with 77 tabs open. Part of that is because I have not yet replaced my personal computer and am just using my work laptop–but yeah. I may have a problem.

    187 chars

  10. Suzanne said on April 22, 2019 at 8:56 am

    My iPad has a bunch of windows open to stuff I haven’t finished reading and am too lazy to bookmark.

    100 chars

  11. Jenine said on April 22, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Oh ye tab abusers, shut down and restart your computer every once in a while. It might need an update.

    102 chars

  12. Jeff Borden said on April 22, 2019 at 9:44 am

    I don’t agree with the violence of the yellow vests in France. Smashing store windows, burning cars, pelting cops with rocks. . .how does that advance their argument?

    That said, I kind of admire the French and the Europeans in general for their ability to mobilize and protest. Income inequality is just as much an issue in Western Europe as it is in the U.S., but the Euros take action. Marches, general strikes, demonstrations. . .they are shouting at their leaders to address their problems. You’d have to offer free doughnuts and beer to get Americans to participate in a general nationwide strike.

    606 chars

  13. Bruce Fields said on April 22, 2019 at 10:29 am

    “Oh ye tab abusers, shut down and restart your computer every once in a while. It might need an update.”

    Alas, browsers save tabs across boots these days.

    157 chars

  14. Deborah said on April 22, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Now I’m kinda proud of myself, I hardly ever keep tabs open. I got in the habit of bookmarking and then closing them out not sure what prompted me to do that. I don’t have very many good habits, I never thought of it as a good habit until reading this today. I also cull out my bookmarks on a regular basis, or else I’d never find anything… *patting myself on the back*

    377 chars

  15. Joe Kobiela said on April 22, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Jeff B @12,
    So how did you feel about the protest in Ferguson, or the anti Wall Street protesters?
    Is it different or the same?
    Curious not judging.
    Pilot Joe

    165 chars

  16. Bitter Scribe said on April 22, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Not to sound like one of those glibertarian buttheads, but isn’t so-called gentrification a function of the free market? A neighborhood becomes desirable after decades of neglect because it has certain natural advantages, like being close to downtown or having lots of classically styled buildings, resulting in a coterie of prosperous people starting to rehab homes and move in, and the whole thing snowballs. The only thing government can do is try to provide affordable housing for displaced people (or maybe impose rent control, although the wisdom of that is debatable).

    As for having abandoned and decrepit homes demolished or repaired, which is what Buttigieg is “accused” of doing, that is (or should be) a normal function of local government.

    752 chars

  17. Bitter Scribe said on April 22, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Joe @12, I can’t speak for Jeff Borden, but if I may address your “whataboutism” on my own behalf: “Not judging” would be a good attitude to apply to Ferguson, Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall St. I have never been the victim of racial profiling or prejudice, and I did not start my working years with crushing debt, so I wouldn’t presume to judge people who react with force out of anger at being treated that way.

    417 chars

  18. ROGirl said on April 22, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    In France, and probably other European countries, the unions mobilize the demonstrations.

    89 chars

  19. Julie Robinson said on April 22, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Leaving a tab open overnight means it gets closed the next morning without being read, almost without exception. 50 open would make me nutsy. How would you even find the one you want? Anyway, you can find them again easily in your history.

    I still struggle to use electronic lists and calendars. They are more convenient when you’re on the move, but less in your face, in a good way, than paper.

    How do people feel about Elizabeth Warren’s latest proposal to cancel student debt and make public colleges tuition-free? Brilliant stroke, or desperate attempt to appeal to the Bernie bros? It’s hard to think it would have any chance of becoming law.

    Herman Cain has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Federal Reserve. I’d rejoice if history hasn’t shown the next person will be worse.

    804 chars

  20. LAMary said on April 22, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Bitter, I agree that gentrification is largely a function of the free market but the government enables it quite often. Zoning is changed, government backed loans are offered, tax breaks etc. These same things can help rehab neighborhoods too, but often they’re used to drive out low income homes to free up space for luxury developments. Developers, like Trump, made good use of this through his homey Ed Koch in NYC.

    420 chars

  21. LAMary said on April 22, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Herman Cain has withdrawn from consideration for the Fed. I was so looking forward to revisiting 9 9 9.

    103 chars

  22. Bitter Scribe said on April 22, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    LAMary: Everything you say is quite true, but I don’t think Buttigieg has been credibly accused of any of it in South Bend’s particular case.

    141 chars

  23. Joe Kobiela said on April 22, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Protest all you want, fine by me just show respect for other people’s property, burning and looting and attacking people is unacceptable.
    Pilot Joe

    160 chars

  24. Dave said on April 22, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    nn.c history is interesting but it can be depressing, when it makes you realize how much time has passed. Looking today, I see that baldheadeddork has been gone for six years already and ten years ago, our hostess suffered a knee injury. Someone wrote in remarks (sorry, I don’t recall who) that getting old sucks. That begs the question, ten years on, how is said knee today?

    379 chars

  25. Brandon said on April 22, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    @Dave, nancynall.com history is interesting: Ten years and two days ago, this site noted Madonna’s falling off a horse. But Madonna had had another tumble in 2005, suffering three cracked ribs, a broken collarbone, and a broken hand.

    Despite all this, she still got back in the saddle.

    In more recent Madonna horse news:

    “Madonna, who has been living in Portugal since 2017, was set to film a video for the song “Indian Summer” in the Quinta Nova de Assunção palace in Sintra, a resort city near Lisbon.

    “Last week however, Sintra City Hall said the pop star could use the palace from March 15 to 20 but could not let a horse inside. The decision reportedly left her outraged.

    “In the script for the music video, Madonna was meant to pose next to the animal on the ground. But local authorities said a horse would threaten the safety of the building, given its wooden floor sits upon wooden beams and is ‘unstable, which prevents it from being used for activities that cause vibrations.'”

    1292 chars

  26. LAMary said on April 22, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    From what I’ve read and heard from Mayor Pete I can’t imagine he would be deal with the devil that way. Koch in NYC not so much. The one thing I appreciate Koch for is the signs on the major north south streets that read, “Don’t even think of parking here.” In my head I always heard that in Koch’s NY accent.

    309 chars

  27. Jeff Borden said on April 22, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Pilot Joe,

    Ferguson and even the Occupy marches aren’t what I had in mind. They were localized actions to (a) racism and police brutality and (b) greed of investment banks and Wall Street in general. The closest we’ve come recently to a truly national protest were the women’s marches the weekend the Orange King was inaugurated, which drew millions to cities large and small to express their outrage.

    I’m talking about the kind of national strikes largely alien to America. Not steelworkers striking for higher wages or teachers walking out for better benefits, but a very large number of citizens united in a common cause that almost forces government to sit up and take notice. The civil rights marches, for example, revealed the hideous power of Jim Crow laws to the nation at large. Watching and reading news coverage of state troopers and National Guardsmen busting heads, knocking over marchers with firehoses, loosing police dogs, etc. awakened millions of us.

    A one-day national strike involving large numbers of working Americans would get the attention of the powers that be by affecting the one thing politicians and the .001% really care about. . .money.

    But, as I noted above, that’s not how we roll in America. We have power as a people. We choose not to exercise it.

    1294 chars

  28. beb said on April 22, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Julie I was going to mention Elizabeth Warren’s proposal on student debt. I think it’s a great idea since student loans have become a great drag on the economy. People can’t buy houses or new cars because they are carrying too much debt from college. Forgiving them their debts will allow them to take on new debts that actually help the communities (homes and cars) Student Loans are money paid to financial institution and go to stockholders and CEO paychecks.

    462 chars

  29. beb said on April 22, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    You may well ask what is it with Mitch McConnell. He obstructed everything Obama proposed when he was minority leader, obtructed everything Obama proposed when he was Majority leader, stole a Supreme Court seat for the Republicans and is breaking with any and all traditions to pack the courts with rabid Federalist members. This dailyKOS post suggests there may be a sinister motive behind all this:
    He’s taking money (and orders) from the Russians.

    Probably not since his behavior is conventional Republicianism, but I would like to see him have to explain why he’s getting all this money from Russians.

    715 chars

  30. Julie Robinson said on April 22, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    beb @27, that would include both my kids.

    41 chars

  31. Colleen said on April 22, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    As someone who is carrying a decent student loan debt from my mid 40s career switch, I must say I find Warren’s proposal more than a little intriguing. It’s a pretty big chunk of change we fork over every month, it’s interesting to think what we could put that money toward if it were to be freed up. As it is, I am working two jobs to try to make a bigger dent in our debt, including the student loans, which I fear will be with me until death.

    445 chars

  32. Sherri said on April 23, 2019 at 11:57 am

    If your initial reaction was that Mayor Pete was probably right that incarcerated people shouldn’t get to vote, consider the assumptions behind that reaction. That incarcerated people have done something bad. That justice is handed out fairly. That our legal system hasn’t been used to create a modern Jim Crow with a pointless War on (some) Drugs.

    And read this: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/inmates-voting-primary/473016/

    Harris at least said we need to have the conversation.

    513 chars

  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 23, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Breaking news: Joe Biden will announce a run for the presidency.

    Breaking news: igneous rock is formed by heating and cooling processes.

    139 chars

  34. Deborah said on April 23, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    My first choice so far is still Kamala Harris. Elizabeth Warren is looking better and better to me and Amy Klobacher is still up there for me, all women of course. But I’ll vote for whoever (whomever?) gets the dem nomination with no regrets.

    Tomorrow we leave for Chicago for 2 days then on to my MIL’s 100th birthday in Charlotte, NC, then back to Chicago for a day or 2, then back to N.M. for about 3 weeks. Not looking forward to all the airport finagling, but such is life.

    I returned the rental car this afternoon that we’ve had since our Jeep has been in the shop for collision repair. It will be interesting and probably depressing to find out how much our insurance rates go up after this. The docs we got from USAA insurance refer to my husband as sergeant which is funny because he hasn’t been a sergeant for 50 years since he was in Vietnam.

    869 chars

  35. beb said on April 23, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    Hail Nancy, queen of snark!
    Good story of gentrification of a sort and plenty of snark to a well deserving schmuck.

    Nancy blow your horn once in a while!

    I have a brother-in-law who works down there — has a warehouse. He was filling us in on all this over Christmas. Nelson is buying up all these properties in Eastern Market, wants to renovate the place but in the process he’s driving out all the small, unique little places that made Eastern Market a fun and interesting place.

    587 chars

  36. alex said on April 24, 2019 at 7:22 am

    I had a weird scare this morning.

    Our house is full of those cheapo butane lighters that don’t seem to work half the time. The local gas station gives them away for free when you buy cigarettes.

    Anyway, this morning I woke up and decided to have a smoke in bed to get myself going. As I extinguished the cigarette in the ash tray I suddenly heard a sort of bubbling, hissing sound as if there were moisture in the ash tray. So I looked over and didn’t see anything. The bubbling and hissing stopped, then it started again. Then I realized that my cheap lighter had just spontaneously expelled all of its fluid. It was cold to the touch like an aerosol can and also wet. Thank God it waited until my cherry was out. A second sooner and it could have been a disaster. I’m getting rid of those junky things and only keeping Bics from now on.

    844 chars