By Michael Gecan
An established neighborhood organizer outlines how to opposite the fifty-year decline in social mobility and monetary development.
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Additional resources for After America's Midlife Crisis (Boston Review Books)
A Roman Catholic pastor I met in Nassau County described this state of affairs as suburbia’s midlife crisis. It may be part of America’s midlife crisis as well. michael gecan No longer young, no longer trendy, no longer the place to be, no longer without apparent limitations or constraints, these places, like people, have developed ways of avoiding reality. Denial (supported by ever-stronger doses of public relations). One way is just to deny that there are new realities, or that these new realities will ever affect them.
Second, the machine had to keep finding ways to deliver jobs, contracts, favors, and opportunities for profit to its most loyal supporters. Real estate, zoning, insurance, and title work have always been mainstays, as has tax assessment. Private and public colleges, including community colleges with construction and patronage opportunities, have played bigger and bigger roles. Hospitals and medical centers are today’s troughs. While there is not much fat in honest-to-god affordable-housing development, the foreclosure business is booming for lawyers, sheriffs, court clerks, and moving companies.
County government prided itself on its lean budgets and effective service-delivery. By the date of the meeting, however, the developers who had helped double DuPage’s population in just 30 years had run out of land. The income generated by their construction efforts had dwindled to a trickle. Education and public safety costs continued to climb. Scores of specialized local districts and commissions—water, sanitary, and others —absorbed hundreds of millions of dollars that never made it after america’s midlife crisis into the general operating budget of the county and were subject to little, if any, scrutiny or oversight.
After America's Midlife Crisis (Boston Review Books) by Michael Gecan
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