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Mayor Manny Diaz
Miami, FL / Pop. 404,048 / Elected 2001

“The media and the pollsters focus on issues like war, abortion, gay rights. Quite frankly, for those of us in the trenches, they're not the hot button issues.”

— Mayor Manny Diaz

Alon Levy on 12.13.07:

First, it's not true that 50% of Americans don't vote. About 50% of adult US residents don't vote, but that figure includes non-citizens and convicted felons. The true voter turnout in the US is in the low 60s.

Second, yeah, the US is ignoring urban issues. The federal government has been engaging in a war on its cities for more than fifty years. It subsidized new building rather than renovation, homeowners rather than renters, cars rather than mass transit, roads rather than rail networks. For much of the 1950s and 60s, it encouraged cities to demolish every neighborhood that stood in the way of a highway or didn't conform to its vision of car-oriented living. The new upper middle-class suburbs used restrictive zoning to keep the working class and minorities out; the federal government used redlining in inner cities to keep the middle class out. That's why New York State's tax imbalance with Washington is twice and half again what it would take to implement the universal health care plan Amy describes, and why New York City's tax imbalance with the state could fund a project the size of Second Avenue Subway every year and a half.

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