Engage in Boulder’s Upcoming Local Election

Boulder has local elections every odd year. That means we are having a local election this year, with mail-in balloting starting on 10/16/17 and ending on 11/7/17.

Because it’s on an odd-year cycle, turnout has historically been relatively low (under 50%). As a result, a very small number of votes can have a big impact on the election results. This is especially important for the city council election.

A number of Boulder residents, including me, have organized a new group called Engage Boulder to help get out the vote in this election cycle. Between now and 11/7/17, you’ll see a number of suggestions, events, and encouragement.

Yesterday, Engage Boulder put out a short overview on why you should vote in the local election. It also had easy links to register for the mail-in voting. The overview follows – and, if you are interested – there’s a Get Out

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Technology Is Changing Transportation, and Cities Should Adapt

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It has taken only a few years for ride-hailing services to make urban journeys more convenient in many cities, much to the delight of city dwellers the world over. And as innovation brings self-driving cars, electric vehicles, in-vehicle data connectivity, mechanisms for sharing rides and vehicles, and other technologies to more people, getting around cities will become easier, faster, and safer.

Such improvements could help cut the costs of traffic congestion (about 1% of GDP globally), road accidents (1.25 million deaths in 2015), and air pollution (health problems like respiratory ailments). McKinsey and Bloomberg New Energy Finance have estimated that in 50 metropolitan areas worldwide, a rapid transition to advanced mobility systems could yield $600 billion in societal benefits through 2030.

The shift to next-generation mobility systems, however, won’t be easy for cities to manage. There is no telling how quickly advances will take place

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What Harvey Is Teaching the Health Care Sector About Managing Disasters

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The damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey has posed enormous health challenges in Houston and neighboring areas hit hard by the storm. As regional medical director of emergency medicine for the Houston Methodist Hospital System, one of us (Neil) has been on the front lines of the medical response. The other (Ranu) has been involved in responses to such public health disasters as the Ebola crisis in Africa, Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The response to Harvey is ongoing, but there are early lessons that could help governments and health systems in dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and other major catastrophes down the road.

Deploy existing resources creatively to address unforeseen challenges. All health systems have contingency plans and run drills for emergencies like a hurricane. However, the challenges wrought by a disaster can confound even the best-laid plans, and responding effectively requires using

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What Amazon’s HQ2 Wish List Signals About the Future of Cities

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Jennifer Maravillas for HBR

Amazon’s big announcement that it will build a second headquarters has caught the attention of local officials, economic development professionals, and pundits across the U.S. and Canada. And for good reason: “HQ2,” as it’s being called, would create upwards of 50,000 high-paying jobs and billions of dollars of new investment in whichever city it locates in. The city that lands this historic deal will see its economic and physical landscape transformed, albeit for a hefty price tag in the form of tax breaks.

Thus far, public attention has largely focused on two aspects of Amazon’s announcement: Speculation about which of the 50 eligible North American metropolitan areas are most likely to be chosen for HQ2, and how much public subsidy the winning city will offer the world’s 4th-largest corporation to seal the deal.

But this announcement carries far more profound implications for regional and local

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Research: Opposition to Federal Spending Is Driven by Racial Resentment

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Conflicts over federal government spending have been a defining feature of 21st-century American politics. It is not surprising that a general uptick in opposition to spending should follow a global economic crisis like the Great Recession. But the dynamics of the conflict are curious — in particular, fierce critiques of spending have come from areas of the U.S. that rely more heavily on federal money.

In a paper recently published in American Politics Research, we document and analyze this phenomenon, which we call the federal spending paradox. We began by calculating each state’s ratio of spending to taxes, dividing the average amount of federal money received by each state per year from 2001 to 2010 by the average taxes paid by each state per year over that decade. We used data on spending from the Census Bureau’s Consolidated Federal Funds Report and data on taxes from the Internal Revenue Service. States with

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Elucd’s polling pushes for greater community accountability for police

 From his time working as the wunderkind pollster for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign to the launch of his new startup, Elucd, Michael Simon has believed in the power of community feedback. At Elucd, which is graduating from the latest batch of Y Combinator startups, Simon is looking to take the skills he’d honed on the campaign trail and apply them to one of the… Read More