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Should we hate cops, or hug them?

The long-delayed release of the Philando Castile video, along with a Minnesota jury’s inexplicable decision to acquit the policeman who killed him, raises basic questions of self-governance in this country. I’ll mention three. First: Is competent, humane policing really that difficult? Second, does our criminal justice system even function in such cases?

Thanks to the obtuseness of Minneapolis’ gay rights leaders and their enablers in the media, a third question arises: Why do liberals keep stepping on their own message — dividing Americans by race, class, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and now, by profession — all under the banner of “tolerance”?

That’s a lot to unpack, so let’s start with last July’s killing of Castile by St. Anthony Police Department Patrolman Jeronimo Yanez. Although I didn’t hear the presentation of evidence in court, along with millions of other people I’ve now seen the video of the fateful encounter — and cannot fathom the jury’s verdict.

Yes, Jeronimo Yanez was afraid for his life once Castile mentioned calmly and respectfully that he had a firearm with him. The officer’s fear was evident. It’s also obvious that Yanez panicked, and did nothing by the book. He approached the white Oldsmobile he’d pulled over casually, and pleasantly told Castile that he had a broken brake light. What was in Yanez’s mind, however, was that Castile might be a suspect in an earlier armed robbery. So he apparently had two thoughts going on his head at one time.

Thought One: It’s a broken taillight with a cooperative driver, a female passenger, and a little kid in the back seat — a routine stop; nothing to be alarmed about. That seems to be what his partner, who stood on the passenger’s side of the car, believed.

Thought Two: This guy may be a stickup man and he still has his gun with him!

Consequently, Yanez gave Castile conflicting instructions: “Do you have a license and registration?” and “Don’t pull it out!” Castile was complying with both directives, when without warning Yanez pulled out his police pistol. Even as the motorist said calmly, “I’m not pulling it out,” Yanez began pulling the trigger, firing seven shots into Castile. Even after wounding him mortally, the cop still screamed, “Don’t pull it out.”

“I wasn’t reaching,” said the dying man. Even then, the hysterical Yanez repeated, “Don’t pull it out.” But it was too late for that.

A properly trained officer, if he was that frightened, would have ordered Castile to put both hands on the wheel. This cop lost his head. Although it won’t bring Castile back to life, this is unlikely to be the last legal action relating to this tragedy. It was revealed Friday that the family of Michael Brown settled with the city of Ferguson, Mo., for $1.5 million in the wrongful death of the slain teenager, who authorities had determined was charging at an officer when he was killed. How much more culpable will the town of St. Anthony’s be for a school cafeteria worker gunned down while sitting in his own car?

Twin Cities Pride didn’t wait for that process to unfold. An annual march dating to 1972 is now part of Gay Pride Week, and the parade has become a fixture on the Minneapolis-St. Paul social calendar. But LGBT leaders in the Twin Cities now have the dubious distinction of being first to tell gay and lesbian police officers they aren’t welcome. This Orwellian development was reported locally in the double-speak of the fringe identity left, proving that anti-free-speech campus craziness has permeated liberalism’s bastions.

“Twin Cities Pride organizers are asking police officers not to march in the big Minneapolis parade on Sunday in light of the Philando Castile case and continued tension between officers and marginalized communities,” the state’s biggest newspaper duly reported, as though telling a group of citizens they no longer enjoy the right of free assembly is as American as lingonberry pie.  “Marginalized communities” in Minnesota now officially include police officers. The hypocrisy was rich, given that Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau is a prominent lesbian who served as grand marshal for Twin Cities Pride three years ago.

“I am beyond disappointed that you didn’t feel you could talk with me before making such a divisive decision that has really hurt so many in our community, including the LGBTQ members of this Department (and their family members),” Harteau wrote to the organizers. “I really struggle to see how this decision helps our community heal, and the message of division and not inclusion is hurtful to many of us.”

St. Paul Deputy Police Chief Mary Nash noted that some two dozen St. Paul officers have participated in previous years. “If your organization is about love and acceptance,” she said, “it’s kind of ironic.”

That’s one word for it. This year’s grand marshal, a local television reporter named Jana Shortal, played the role of Switzerland, saying she could see both sides. Normally, that’s what you want a reporter to say, except when the First Amendment is at stake. And what’s a journalist doing participating in an advocacy organization anyway?

The intolerance of Twin Cities Pride had an unexpected result, however. It connected non-hateful Minnesotans to their inner Rosalyn Baldwin. She’s the 7-year-old girl from Hammond, La., who reminds us that only a tiny fraction of police officers ever do anything remotely similar to what Jeronimo Yanez did. After officers were ambushed and murdered in Baton Rouge and Dallas, Rosalyn decided that she wanted to give police officers a hug in all 50 states. Why? As she explained publicly, “Because they risk their lives and want to keep us safe.”

Rosalyn is a preacher’s kid, and she says her inspiration came “from what the Bible says about love.” She traveled first all over the Southeastern states and has been branching north. In mid-June, she was in Chicago, which has taken its share of knocks over questionable police shootings. In the Windy City, as in every state Rosalyn has visited, the gratitude among the officers she hugged was palpable. Hardened cops wiped tears from their eyes as the little girl told them she loved them.

The person Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel should have wanted to hug was President Trump — or maybe U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. A spiritedly partisan Democrat, Emanuel wasn’t in a position to do that. He wouldn’t even thank them for quietly lifting a draconian Justice Department consent decree imposed on the Chicago Police Department by the Obama administration as it headed out of office. Although Emanuel wouldn’t even discuss it publicly, the Trump administration’s act had to be a relief to the city. The consent decree was expensive, alienated many rank-and-file cops, and was served up to the city with a side dish of patronizing progressive pabulum about Chicago being willing to “lean in.”

Asked about the lame-duck nature of the feds’ action, outgoing Attorney General Loretta Lynch said a week before Trump was inaugurated that the decree would continue “regardless of who sits at the top of the Justice Department.” This turned out to not be the case. So Chicago’s police officers won’t have the feds watching them. But as we learned in St. Anthony, Minn., somebody needs to.

Carl M. Cannon is executive editor and Washington Bureau chief of RealClearPolitics.

Original Article:
Date: 1498384234

Original Source

How to take advantage of the retail apocalypse

Amazon’s stunning acquisition last week of Whole Foods signaled an inflection point in the development of retail, notably the $800 billion supermarket sector. The massive shift of retail to the web is beginning to claw into the last remaining bastions of physical space. In the last year alone, 50,000 positions were lost in the retail sector, and as many as 6 million jobs could be vulnerable nationwide in the long term. Store closings are running at a rate higher than during the Great Recession.

Yet, there’s an opportunity opening for cities and regions to take advantage of new space for churches, colleges, warehouse space and, most importantly, housing. Nationally, an estimated 15 percent of all mall space will need to find new uses within the next decade. As many as 275 malls, according to Credit Suisse, will close in the next five years — roughly a quarter of the total. America already has four to five times as much retail space per capita as countries such as the United Kingdom or Japan.

The infill opportunity

The biggest opportunity for Southern California lies in the production of new housing, which would help to make up for providing less than half the needed supply for the past decade. To date, misguided state policy has created a raft of poor outcomes — rising prices, low inventory, declining affordability, the second-lowest homeownership rate in the nation — in effect, chasing middle-class, younger families out of the state.

State policy has made things worse by putting ever more regulatory burdens on housing, particularly for those who build single-family homes on the peripheral areas, where lower-cost residences have historically been built. But the state’s policy of pushing “infill” development has also foundered, as the price of new apartments has shot up, in part due to the limited land for developments.

These policies understandably upset residents of many urban neighborhoods, who feel that developers are seeking carte blanche to make their areas ever more congested and uniform. In contrast, a strategy of focusing on redundant retail properties — think attached townhomes or detached townhouses — would actually produce fewer cars than even a poor-performing mall, and would appeal to such key demographics as first-time homebuyers, immigrants, minorities and downshifting baby boomers.

The future of retail: A physical community

Despite the grim predictions, physical retail does have a future, and a potentially bright one. In some cases, the more high-end malls, such as The Grove, South Coast Plaza or Fashion Island, will continue to thrive by attracting tourists and high-end customers. Primarily, it’s the low- and mid-range retailers, such as Sears, JCPenney and Macy’s, that are in the deepest trouble, while chains like Nordstrom seem to be able to maintain their businesses.

The real revolution will take place in declining older malls, as well as the ubiquitous strip malls. In these places, there’s already a noticeable trend toward those businesses that are hardest to duplicate online, such as restaurants, gyms, tutoring academies and professional services. Traditionally, these developments are anchored by food stores, an area of brick-and-mortar commerce that has shown more resilience, and part of the reason why Amazon decided to buy Whole Foods.

Savvy developers like LAB Holding’s Shaheen Sadeghi are now focusing largely on artisan-driven retail — which is far less vulnerable to online business — that will also include housing and workspaces in cities across Southern California. LAB is working to revive a small-town, communal feel to once interchangeable and utterly predictable developments. In many cases, such as the Haven City Market in Rancho Cucamonga, the focus is less on traditional retail, with a greater emphasis on food and dining, something that Amazon may not be able to provide.

A need for a historic compromise

California now has a unique opportunity to address its deepening housing crisis by combining some peripheral development with bold infill of retail space. This would replace the current doctrinaire “cramming” approach that clearly has failed to reduce prices or rents, and has made it increasingly difficult to build the single-family product preferred by the vast majority of consumers, including older millennials.

This transformation would be greatly helped if cities were given incentives to build such housing, perhaps by allowing more new property tax revenue to go to city coffers. Under the current tax system, which ties their fate to sales taxes, cities are tempted to double down on large-scale retail developments exactly when the market for these has become infinitely more challenging.

This two-pronged strategy offers a chance to develop new housing without threatening existing neighborhoods and inciting the wrath of “NIMBYs” trying to protect their communities. Some may want to turn failing malls into small apartments, as is already being done elsewhere, but larger, less dense units may better attract key groups like downshifting seniors, immigrants or young families, who generally prefer something bigger.

The coming years will see many dramatic changes in everything from retail to transportation. California, as the creator of many of these technologies, needs to commit itself to bottom-up innovation, rather than imposing top-down social engineering that threatens the middle class and the future of our families.

Joel Kotkin is the R.C. Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism (

Original Article:
Date: 1498384228

Original Source

See photos of Primus, Clutch and Fantomas opening for Tool at Glen Helen Amphitheater

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers deliver the hits to a packed crowd at Arroyo Seco Weekend

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have 40 years on the books now — that’s the point of the band’s current tour — so it almost seems unfair to only get 19 songs in a headlining set on the first day of the inaugural Arroyo Seco Weekend in Pasadena on Saturday, June 24.

But that ended up making for two hours of music, and in the end the fans who packed the festival grounds in front of the Oaks Stage — and we really mean packed; more on that in a bit — probably heard most of the hits they came for.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers perform during the Arroyo Seco Weekend festival on Saturday, June 24, 2017 in Pasadena. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers perform during the Arroyo Seco Weekend festival on Saturday, June 24, 2017 in Pasadena. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

“Rockin’ Around (With You)” opened up the night, a nod to the band’s history, with Petty noting it was “the first song on the first album we ever did.” Up next, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” an outtake from a Petty solo album that came out on a Heartbreakers’ greatest hits collection. Confusing? Not really, the Petty solo records were always practically Heartbreakers’ albums in all but name.

Related: These photos show you what it’s like to be at Arroyo Seco Weekend

And that’s how they were treated on Saturday, with solo hits such as “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and “I Won’t Back Down” fitting neatly around a Heartbreakers’ classic like “You Got Lucky.”

Most of these guys have been playing together for decades: Petty, guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench go back to Mudcrutch, the band they were in before they became the Heartbreakers, and the others have been in and out of the band for years, with Petty joking during the band introductions that drummer Steve Ferrone, who’s only been in the group for 23 years, is the new guy.

So they sounded as sharp and tight as you’d imagine. The keyboards and bass that open “You Got Lucky” in such an instantly recognizable fashion were terrific. And even the introduction of a new song in place of “Walls,” which has held a spot midway through the set on most dates on the current tour, went flawlessly.

“We’re going to try one here that we haven’t played in about 30 years,” Petty said by way of introducing that “Into The Great Wide Open” from the 1991 album of the same name. “By that I mean we haven’t rehearsed it, either.”

Related: From Jeff Goldblum to Alabama Shakes, these are the musical highlights from opening day of Arroyo Seco Weekend

No worries, it sounded great, and the crowd sang along loudly on the choruses as they did on many songs in the set. By my reckoning “I Won’t Back Down” and “Free Fallin’” had the biggest crowd choral accompaniment early in the set, with maybe “Yer So Bad” and “Refugee” the biggest in the back half.

“Yer So Bad,” when it arrived, provided a welcome boost of energy to the set. It followed three from the “Wildflowers” album — “It’s Good To Be King” in a version that might have gone on a bit longer than it needed, “Crawling Back To You,” and the title track. They’re good songs, a bit more folk than the earlier stuff, and backing vocals of the Webb Sisters were lovely, but it slowed down the pace a bit, which at the end of a long, hot day was dangerous.

Also threatening the good vibes of Petty’s set was the cluster-mess of the crowd. Festival organizers didn’t book any acts opposite Petty, choosing to close down the two other stages, which is fine, but that also meant everyone on the festival grounds tried to squeeze into a space that was too narrow to accommodate them — especially given that many, many people came with blankets and lawn chairs and staked out spots — large spots — on the lawn in front of the Oaks stage.

Related: Arroyo Seco Weekend is the hometown festival you actually want to go to

Traffic flow ground to a halt, and the search for a good spot to watch, and hear, Petty and the Heartbreakers was a challenge. I moved around a few times, trying to find a spot where the sound wasn’t muffled, eventually moving back beyond the rear speakers in order to get a clearer audio feed.

“Refugee,” one of the early classics by the band, and “Runnin’ Down A Dream” wrapped up the main set, before an encore of “You Wreck Me” and “American Girl.”

Now that I’m home and thinking about it I’ve realized how many great songs the band didn’t play: “Breakdown,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “The Waiting,” and a whole lot more. Come back next year, Tom! Play the rest of them and hopefully the lawn chair and blanket people will be moved into their own little corral so the rest of us can better enjoy the show. Or just add them in to your tour-closing show at the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 21, just announced on the band’s Twitter while it was playing at Arroyo Seco Weekend on Saturday.

Original Article:
Date: 1498384128

Original Source

Monday Properties Grabs DC, SoCal Office Assets – Commercial Property Executive

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