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Increase the Minimum Wage (M4M platform #1)

2:38 pm in Uncategorized by Danny Mayer

A guest post by Michael Dean Benton on Mayer for Mayor campaign platform #I: Raise minimum wage to $15 for all city workers.

This year we have seen increasing support for raising the minimum wage at the city, state and federal levels.  President Barack Obama in a speech at the end of 2013 condemned rising inequality and supported the raising of federal minimum wage standards to $10.10 an hour.  Connecticut was the first state to ratify its own version of Obama’s federal minimum wage and Maryland is on the verge of becoming the second. In Chicago, the third biggest city, voters successfully endorsed a petition to get a proposed increase of the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour on the upcoming ballot.  Overall in Illinois, 78% of surveyed voters demonstrated support for this increase. Read the rest of this entry →

Anything can be a folk song

7:40 pm in Uncategorized by Danny Mayer

While in school in Athens, Georgia, my girlfriend (now wife) and I caught Arlo Guthrie at the 40 Watt Club. Nearly 20 years later, I can still remember Guthrie telling this incredible story about playing a folk show in Germany with Pete Seeger just after the Berlin Wall had come down. The small festival had been overwhelmed with East and West Germans celebrating through song, and after several show-closing sing-along hours, Guthrie was all out of “folk” songs with which to lead the crowd.

As he tells it, the “Alice’s Restaurant” songsmith looked nervously over at the folk-icon Seeger, sheepishly started strumming a tune, and began to sing…”Wise men say….only fools rush in…” The crowd knew all the words, Seeger joined in to lead some verses, and Folk Elvis brought down the re-unified German house.

Guthrie’s point was, “Hey, most anything can be a folk song if we listen and participate together.” Check out this Frank Turner and Billy Bragg clip to see that definition in action: free music, collective singing, laughter, and if you stick around long enough, asking what it all can mean to a daydream believer and a homecoming queen.

Frank Turner and Billy Brag busk

You can follow Danny’s campaign on his Mayer for Mayor facebook page, or on his campaign website, www.lfucmayer.com.

Gentrification is about the choices we make

7:54 pm in Uncategorized by Danny Mayer

A house on North Limestone purchased for $35,000 and offered for $120,000.

Gentrification is the ugly downside to urban development. Beginning in December, I attended two publicized meetings on the topic by an urban-identified at-large council member. At the informal meetings, I was struck by how little some representatives knew about gentrification. Some cited it as an inevitable and also somewhat positive process.

One way these positive testimonies for gentrification have occurred is by segmenting the process away from its underlying drivers. In the meetings, most of my attempts to discuss gentrification in the context of city subsidies for projects like 21C and Rupp Arena–or the city’s current disinvestment in many poor-trending suburban and near-urban locations–fell on deaf ears. The consensus was that such things occurred in separate spheres with little practical connection to our topic. Read the rest of this entry →