Policy Bits ~ 5 Things to Know & Watch This Week
May 16-22, 2016 ~ Karly Malpiede Andrus

I.   Hundreds of miles of Colorado Wilderness Lost to 21st-Century Development Boom

  • The urban expansion, road-building ad energy production is causing a breakup of natural space that threatens wildlife. A bear walking a random path couldn’t go farther than 3.5 miles on average before encountering “significant human development”, according to an analysis by Conservation Science Partners. Colorado ranked second only to California in total natural area affected. Development across 11 western states now covers more than 165,000 square miles, with more than 4,321 square miles converted since 2001, the “Disappearing West” study found. In fact, urban sprawl, commerce and drilling claim the equivalent of a football field every 2 1/2 minutes. http://goo.gl/Xy0rUX
  • The US is a young country, we do not have hundred year old buildings or monuments but we have a fantastic way of life. Out west, all this development is affecting the way of life that so many seek or value. In order to address this problem all stakeholders must come to the table ready to find solutions or we risk turning our greatest monuments into postage size vistas of what life used to be like.

II.   PolicyLink & the Marguerite Casey Foundation Teamed up To Produce Issue Briefs

  • PolicyLink and the Marguerite Casey Foundation teamed up to produce a series or issues briefs and a variety of topics to bolster their equity advocacy toolkit. These briefs highlight the economic imperative of equity for the 13 policy planks of the foundation’s Equal Voice Campaign National Family platform; child care, criminal justice reform, education, elder care, employment/job training, equitable food systems, healthy environments, health care, housing, immigrant inclusion, LGBTQ inclusion, transportation and youth engagement. http://goo.gl/6VlygG
  • Telling a compelling story is critical for advocates to win policy changes and facts matter when trying to make the case, these issue briefs aim to build an “all-in nation” where everyone can participate, prosper and reach their full potential.

III.  What’s Happened to the Great American Dive Bar?

  • Over the past decade, millions of people in cities around the nation have witnessed firsthand the growing epidemic: the closing en masse of dive bars, largely due to rent hikes. While they are thriving in rural areas that have yet to encounter astronomical real estate surges (and where people are more likely to actually own their business properties) the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit organization focused on sustainable community development, reported commercial rental listings in cities saw double digit increases between 2015 and 2016. In their wake, new, upscale facsimiles cater to recent college and post-grad transplants, sans grit or order, and with fully-functional toilets and sinks. Venues that managed to survive did so by incorporating upscale liquors, craft beers and raising prices that make them no longer affordable for the long time regulars but a steal to the neighborhoods’ newer, wealthier residents. It’s a part of the general gentrification process and correlates with decreases of affordable housing across cities. In their place sometimes dive bar chains emerge, many feel this is a co-opting of poverty in order to provide a genuine sense of community connection to those newer wealthier transplants.  http://goo.gl/1iRxAP
  • There is no hard and fast rule for what exactly constitutes a dive bar but as the age old phrase goes, “You know when you see it” and they bring flavor to a place. This tale from the field shows how important complete, genuine communities are and what that means in terms of retail and restaurant options.