Seattle gives you three choices: Eat all your dinner, have a smelly compost bin, or pay a fine

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Happy planet, happy composter, happy flies.

There’s a lot not to love about compost bins: The smell. The fruit flies. The general ick factor. The Seattle City Council has a response to your concerns:  Get used to it or else. Continue reading

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Arlington, VA says $1 million bus stop too expensive; will build next ones for only $539,000.

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A million dollars doesn't buy what it used to.

A million dollars doesn’t buy what it used to.

Transit Oriented Development is an innocent-sounding term that gets some critics of local government all wee-wee’d up. In a nutshell, it’s based on the belief that your Subaru is killing the planet, so we should all ride our bikes in the rain to a train that drops us at a station just a second soggy bike ride to the office. Continue reading

Quote of the decade

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We have 5 1/2 years to go, but here’s the one to beat: At a city council meeting, a 20-something community task force member was asked when her group would pave a sidewalk near a school.

Her answer? “Oh, we don’t do anything. We’re just a Task Force.”

The gangbangers who couldn’t shoot straight; NYC shootings up 41%; murders down 15%

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Early in the morning of  Tuesday, July 1, two rival gangs bumped into each other in the Good Stuff Diner on West 14th Street in Manhattan. Their animosity soon tumbled into the street, where they proceeded to reenact the gunfight at the OK Corral. Continue reading

Who’s the looniest city in America? Introducing The MoonPie Award

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First Prize. A dozen Original Marshmallow Sandwiches for you, a dozen for your favorite local politicians.

First Prize. A dozen Original Marshmallow Sandwiches for you, a dozen for your favorite local politicians.

So your city council is going to pass a resolution honoring the 71st birthday of the United Nations,  but is too busy to fix a pothole that broke three axles last month. Continue reading

Parasitic redwood tree attracts international attention; pits trainlovers against treehuggers

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Poems are made by fools like me, but bigger fools want to save this tree

Poems are made by fools like me, but guess who wants to save this tree.

A thriving redwood tree is one of nature’s most majestic creations. It can grow over 300 feet tall, with a trunk that can be more than 15 feet in diameter. One tree inspires awe by itself, and when gathered in groves, they create a deeply shaded cathedral that touches even non-believers like me.

The redwood in this story possesses none of those qualities. Continue reading

I say “Resilient Communities” like it’s a bad thing

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The other day, I came across an innocuous-looking website that easily costs America’s cities and counties billions in wasteful projects, and billions more in lost business opportunities. It’s called Resilient Communities for America. Continue reading

Ghost of Eva Peron haunts New York City

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New York City's newest policymaker, who received exactly as many votes as I did

New York City’s newest policymaker, who received exactly as many votes as I did.

Quick, name a bitter woman who muscled her way into power by rushing in to fill the moral vacuum created by her husband. No, not Eva Peron, Imelda Marcos, Hillary Clinton, or Michelle Obama; they’re yesterday’s news. Today’s self-appointed dictatorette is Chirlane McCray, the wife of recently inaugurated New York Mayor Bill De Blasio. Continue reading

“A 14.5% raise? And only 90% of our healthcare paid for? We’re going on strike.”

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Will County, Illinois might not be a household word, but its county seat is Joliet, which was made famous by the Blues Brothers. The official county website says it’s one of the fastest growing counties in the United States, and offers “fantastic business opportunities and a remarkable environment to all who live, work and play here.” Continue reading