What the end looks like

The New York Times is stepping up its coverage of Detroit once again, as the city’s emergency manager issues dire warnings to creditors and seems to be paving the way to bankruptcy. There was a flurry of stories about the possibility of the Detroit Institute of Art perhaps being liquidated …

In Embattled Detroit, No Talk of Sharing Pain – NYTimes.com

Detroit, currently under the governance of an emergency manager, seems destined for bankruptcy or mass default (it has already begun to default on some of its credit payments. Either scenario will be groundbreaking in municipal finance and in the power relationships between bankers, retirees, cities, and states. The impending battle …

San Francisco throws good money after bad

After wading through article after article about cities that can barely afford to pave their roads and keep libraries open, this is the kind of piece that makes me cringe. A sailing race for billionaires convinces the city to play host and pour all kinds of money into piers, advertising, …

New York City’s libraries: open less than Detroit’s!

It’s no secret that libraries are getting squeezed by repeated budget crises (threatened cuts, then partially restored funding, over several years adds up to libraries that spend more and more time closed). New York City’s proposed budget is yet again threatening big cuts to library funding, in a city where …

Transparency and budget cuts: a winning combination?

There has been a lot of talk about making public data more readily available, and of involving the public (most obviously in the participatory budgeting movement). These two strategies sit in curious counterpoint to the equally popular trend of treating municipal finances as increasingly complex and needing expert (i.e. private …