Monday, October 17, 2016

BLOG VIEWS | 280K – Top Posts for CityEconomist

The CityEconomist blogsite just passed 280,000 page views.

Thank you for reading.

Please comment!

Here are the most viewed posts during the last month and since the inception of this blog ten years ago, in 2006.

GOVT REVENUE | License Plate Auctions
Oct 9, 2016
CAMPAIGN$ | Dem Home Stretch for Senate–Heidi's Tips
Oct 13, 2016
DONALD TRUMP | Why Did He Run as a Republican?
Jul 25, 2016
ED BIZ | Manager-Sharing, Long Island, N.Y.
Jul 31, 2016
GUTENBERG | Aug. 24–Bible First Published
Aug 24, 2016
BLOG VIEWS | 260K – Top Posts
Jun 10, 2016
FOOD BIZ | Rhinebeck, Gigi Trattoria (Update June ...
Jun 16, 2016
FOOD BIZ | Rhinebeck, The Local Restaurant (Update...
Jun 15, 2016
DODD-FRANK | Maloney Asks Five Agencies for Data
Aug 30, 2016
SENIORS | Most Livable Cities
Aug 8, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

CAMPAIGN$ | Dem Home Stretch for Senate–Heidi's List (Updated Oct. 25, 2016)

Joe Biden warns: The White House is
 not enough.
“If we win the White House and fail to take the Senate, it’s a Pyrrhic victory”–VP Joe Biden, New York City, June 2016

How to Help Democrats 
Win the Senate
 (Updated Oct 20, 2016)

Home-Stretch Tips from 
Guest-Blogger Heidi Fiske 

In the next few years, four Supreme Court justices are likely to retire. As Mitch McConnell has shown us, the Senate can drag its feet indefinitely on confirming a new justice. 

It is essential that Democrats regain control of the Senate. Supporting these candidates, therefore, is more important than almost any race specific to your district.

This year 2016 is an especially good one to try. Democrats will need to gain just 4-5 new seats, while holding the ones they have, to take control, because many more Republicans than Democrats are up for re-election. 

Despite this potential advantage, key races are very very close. On October 11, the NY Times “Upshot” called control of the Senate a 50-50 proposition.  

Each side is fighting hard. Republicans  -- shying away from Trump -- are pouring money and, increasingly, people on the ground into these races. In Missouri, for instance, Democratic candidate Jason Kander announced October 11 that a Republican SuperPac has purportedly already talked to one million Missouri voters in person or on the phone.  

But exhilaratingly, on October 18, the Clinton campaign began transferring $6 million to state parties in seven purple states to help Get Out The Vote for down ballot candidates,  and began putting new resources into red states like Arizona, Missouri and Indiana in an effort to win a landslide. And, according to Politico, Democrats will badly outspend Republicans on TV ads in the eight most competitive Senate races: $81 million versus just $65 million for the GOP.

Democrats need to fight the new GOP push with money and on-the-ground volunteers. 
This memo is written to help you figure out how to do that. It was written by Heidi Fiske 
for posting here. Please send comments and updates to her at heidifi33 [at] aol [dot] com.

What Not to Do
  1. Don’t waste your $ and time on California, Illinois, or Wisconsin, because the Democratic challengers are virtually certain to win in these states.
  2. And don’t waste resources on Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky and Ohio, because the Democratic challengers are almost certain to lose.
  3. Keep an eye on Indiana. It is likely that Democrat Evan Bayh will win, though he seems to be chewing through his earlier significant lead. The state has gotten redder since he left the Senate in 2011 with a serious war chest, which he is deploying here.
Heidi's Top 7 Senate Candidates
Where to Concentrate Your $ and Time

My Top 7 candidates are listed in rank order based on how likely the candidate is to win, as of October 13, 2016. (A more complete challenger list in 15 states follows.)

1. NH Maggie Hassan
Governor of New Hampshire
Special note:  Both parties have poured so much money into this small state that donations may not be half as useful here as volunteering. Race: Some polls put Hassan ahead; others the incumbent Ayotte.  Popular governor vs. popular senator.  Ayotte has recently withdrawn support for Trump; will write in Pence. Key positions: Hassan lists just about everything on her site. The first four are combating opioid crisis; national security; economy, jobs and innovation; education and workforce development.   HF note: Have heard her speak three times; she is likeable and an accomplished governor.  Website: To volunteer:

2. PA Katie McGinty
Former chief of staff to PA governor
Race: McGinty has been slightly behind but is climbing.  Key positions:  protecting environment (worked for both President Clinton and PA governor in key environmental roles); jobs and economy; education; affordable health care; women’s and LGBT rights, protecting SS and Medicare.  HF note:  Have heard twice, once at an event where she was backed by VP Biden. Attractive and vigorous.  Website: katiemcginty.comMake check to:  Katie McGinty for US Senate and mail to Katie McGinty for US Senate, PO Box 22447, Philadelphia, PA 19110 To volunteer:

3. NV Catherine Cortez Masto
Former Nevada Attorney General
Race: running to replace Harry Reid, and has his machine behind her, but is about tied with opponent Congressman and Brigadier General Joe Heck, though she is rising.  Key positions: overturning Citizens United; raising minimum wage; protecting Medicare and Social Security; comprehensive immigration reform. As AG she fought meth labs, sex and human trafficking, predatory lending and aggressive foreclosures, scams against seniors. HF note: Have heard her once; impressive. Website: Mail check to: Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate, 8020 South Rainbow Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada, 89139. To volunteer: Large Filipino population, so tagalog as well as Spanish is useful here. 

4. NC Deborah Ross
Former State Congresswoman
Race: Incumbent opponent ahead but unpopular; Ross not well known, hence volunteering is very important, and her head of volunteers, Sandra Johnson, is superb.  Key positions: for building infrastructure; women’s economic issues (e.g. minimum wage, equal pay and Social Security); solving student loan crisis; gun background checks; LGBTQ rights.  Also for protecting seniors and veterans and overturning Citizens United.  HF note:  have hosted a fundraiser and heard her speak elsewhere and met with her at length as well. Extremely impressive, poised, thoughtful. Website:  Make check to: Deborah Ross for Senate and mail to P O Box 28258, Raleigh, NC 27611. Contribute on-line to

5. MO Jason Kander
Missouri Secretary of State
Race: slightly behind incumbent Roy Blunt Key positions:  Advocating for women and African Americans; government accountability; environmental protection; support for small businesses; early childhood education. Wants constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget (!), which strikes me as a far-right, ill-advised fantasy. However as it will never pass, his other qualities make him a standout.    HF note: have heard once. Impressive, young candidate. Website: Make check to:  Missourians for Kander and mail to Missourians for Kander, PO Box 548, Columbia, MO 65205. To volunteer:

6. FL Congressman Patrick Murphy
Race:  This is such an important state that effort and money are worth it, even though Murphy is consistently seen as behind Marco Rubio, and this is the one close Senate race in which the Republicans have a bigger tv-ad war chest than the Democrats: $9.6 v. $4.2 million. However, Rubio has only 44%, not 50%; Clinton has a slight edge in the state; and Obama has done tv ads for both Hillary and Murphy, including in Spanish. Key positions:  growing the middle class; immigration reform; protecting voting rights; strengthening Social Security and Medicare. HF note:  no personal contact.  [JTM note: Alice and I have attended at least one fundraiser for him and found him to be fiscally knowledgable and alert, and socially liberal; he was the youngest person in the Congress when he was first elected; he has been elected twice with 60% of the vote in a GOP-leaning district.] Website:  Make check to: Murphy for Florida. Mail to: Murphy for Florida, 4521 PGA Blvd #412,  Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418

7. AZ Ann Kirkpatrick, Arizona Congresswoman 
Special note: Ann Kirkpatrick seriously lags John McCain in most polls. Also, not only does he have universal name recognition, but, because of his Senate seniority, through his committee assignments he controls a lot of benefits for Arizona. 

However, I am such a fan of Ann Kirkpatrick herself, her broad and well-organized campaign on the ground, and her money-raising team that her race is listed here as one to support. 

And she has some new advantages. McCain has said he will veto any Hillary Supreme Court nominee, which is bound to hurt him. Hillary is making a major push to take this Red State, with Michelle Obama campaigning for her there. Ann raised $3 million in the 3rd quarter. At the very least, help to her now can tee up another run in 2018, when Jeff Flake’s seat will be up.

Key positions: pro choice, pro LGBTQ rights, fighter for veterans, paid maternity leave, immigration reform, Affordable Care Act. HF note:  We have met twice at length, plus I gave a fundraiser for her, and was on the host committee for a second, so I have a good feel for her. Sweet, shrewd, down-to-earth, honest, compassionate. The word people at both fundraisers used most often to characterize her was “impressive.” Website:  Donate online at
Make check to: Kirkpatrick for Senate and mail to Kirkpatrick for Senate, PO Box 34421, Phoenix, AZ 8506 To volunteer:

15 Dem Challengers
In State Alphabetic Order

Dem Challengers are seeking to fill a Republican-held or vacant seat.

Table Column Headings
  • C or O? Challenger, or Open seat? (“Open” means the incumbent is not running)
  • DSCC: Endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which backs candidates in races they think are important, and winnable but not sure, hence where money is likely to have the most impact.
  • EMILY’s List: Endorsed by EMILY’s List
  • DFA: Endorsed by Democracy for America, whose candidates tend to be very progressive. (DFA backed Bernie for President.)

How to Donate: ActBlue or Check?
If you like donating frequently with small amounts, then ActBlue and other intermediaries are useful in reducing the administrative burden for campaigns of taking credit card charges and having to comply with reporting requirements for gifts. The greater frequency of small donations allows for faster feedback to candidates on how they are doing. However, donating by check keeps your email address more private and more of your money gets to the candidate without the haircuts taken by your credit card company and ActBlue.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

CRIME DATA | DWI Accidents and Arrests–East Hampton

I have observed in prior years that East Hampton has more than its share of traffic accidents, and many are related to driving while intoxicated. It's a resort town where one is expected to enjoy oneself and therefore alcohol is readily available.

But last month a police officer in East Hampton was hit by an SUV and had to be airlifted to a hospital. This brought home the current risks of traffic accidents and a probable cause.

This past week saw a high incidence of both accidents and DWI arrests. Long after the summer crowds have left, last week eight arrests were made in the Town of East Hampton or of a resident of the Town.

The alleged drunk drivers were not teenagers. Their ages ranged from 31 to 71, with the median age 43. Therefore the pattern here during the past week is different from that of the nation, where 25 percent of drunk driving arrests are of young people 18-24 and 40 percent are of people 18-29. (It would be interesting to check the arrest data over a longer period to see if this pattern holds up over time.)

Eight DWI arrests in a week is a rate of 416 per year in a population of 21,000, or 19.8 per thousand population. This is four times the national DWI arrest rate of 4.7 per 1,000 population (1.5 million U.S. DWI arrests a year in a population of 319 million). In the summertime one could blame irresponsible people From Away. But in October?

Several of the arrests followed the crashing of one or more vehicles, of which quite a few were large cars or pickup trucks, which should worry people who drive vehicles that would not hold up well against a big SUV or truck.
  1. A 46-year-old local resident with a Washington State driver's license was driving a 2000 Toyota Tundra in the lot when he struck another vehicle. He failed roadside sobriety tests and an open bottle of Smirnoff vodka was in the cabin of the truck.  
  2. Four hours later, a 55-year-old driving a 2014 Chevrolet pickup truck was involved in a three-car accident where Division Street forks into Hampton Street. The local resident failed sobriety tests. Police said they found an open container of alcohol in the cabin of the truck.
  3. A 40-year-old man was arrested after a crash on Cedar Street in East Hampton. He was driving a 2009 Nissan Altima when the vehicle veered off the road.  
  4. Erratic driving by a 71-year-old man resulted in a complaint that resulted in this arrest. From Davenport, Fla., the man was driving a 2004 Dodge pickup truck, who just missed striking several pedestrians crossing Woods Lane in East Hampton Village. He and a passenger had open bottles of Corona beer in the car.
  5. A 31-year-old woman with at least one prior DWI conviction was arrested for speeding on North Main Street in a 2008 Nissan.
  6. A 45-year-old man driving a 1996 Toyota on Montauk Highway was arrested for allegedly swerving across lane lines. Though his license carries a Queens address, he told the court he now lives in Sag Harbor.
  7. A 37-year-old Bridgehampton woman was arrested early Friday morning by East Hampton Town police. She was stopped because her 2014 Chevrolet Cruz, driving west on Montauk Highway near Daniel's Hole Road, had a headlight out. Police said she refused to take the breath test; her license was thereupon revoked by Justice Rana for a year.
  8. Also, a 36-year-old East Hampton man was charged with drunken driving Saturday night by Southampton Town police. He had been pulled over on Lake Avenue in Hampton Bays for an equipment violation.

VEGGIE DIET | Metros with the V-Restos

Pricenomics has just posted a list of the 50 metro areas with the most vegetarian restaurants.  Not surprisingly, the New York City metro area (CSMA? Metro Division?) has the most at 1,026, followed by LA with 814, and then San Francisco with 393.

This is not as interesting a number as the number of veggie restos per capita, i.e., relative to the metro area population.

Pricenomics has ranked metro areas by the number of vegetarian restaurants they offer per 100,000 residents, provided the metro area has at least ten vegetarian restaurants. Now most of the big eastern cities drop out (Ithaca, NY being an exception) and littler ones in states like NM, OR, AZ take over.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

STERLING | Pounded Below $1.23

Chart of exchange rate values over time

Predictions of a hard Brexit and an uptick in the US outlook have brought the pound down to $1.23 from its high near $1.70 two years ago.

This exchange-rate news is good for those in Britain being paid in dollars, like a few people I know... and bad for those in USA being paid in pounds. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

GOVT REVENUE | License Plate Auctions

Vanity license plates raise money for govt services.
An Indian car-owner happily paid $9 million for license number 5 in Dubai.

Others have paid more, also happily, as much as $33 million for number 1.

What's not to like with this form of revenue-raising for governments?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

INNOVATION | Top Five States for Entrepreneurs

The Channel Company's CRN arm has ranked the U.S. states for their suitability as a the home of young entrepreneurs seeking to establish a solution-providing startup.

The states were ranked on a variety of criteria including the Kauffman Foundation's ranking of the rate of entrepreneurship formation.

The ranking is described as a comparison of U.S. states according to their contribution to innovation and growth, with a focus on assisting innovators in providing solutions to current problems.

The top five were:
  • California
  • Florida
  • Washington
  • New York
  • Tennessee