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Zone It Right

by Miriam Axel-Lute July 16, 2015

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  In case you missed it, Albany is redoing its zoning code. Given that portions of it date back to 1968, conflict with each other or are too vague to consistently interpret, and are scattered through ...

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On Flags and Losing

by Miriam Axel-Lute July 2, 2015

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  I am glad the Confederate Flag is coming down in so many places. I am also glad that the attention on it has allowed its actual history as a explicit symbol of race hatred and ...

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The Anti-Bucket List

by Miriam Axel-Lute June 18, 2015

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  I’m turning 40 soon. Like so many of my cohort who are doing the same, I never expected it to be a big deal. I remember being really turned off by “over-the-hill” jokes when my ...

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Stitching the City Together

by Miriam Axel-Lute June 6, 2015

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  The map of Albany on the screen, at quick glance, looked a little like a heat map of poverty and distressed neighborhoods, with one large red area over the Sheridan Hollow, Arbor Hill and West ...

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Safe Trains

by Miriam Axel-Lute May 21, 2015

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  As regular readers may know, I’m a big fan of train travel. I intend to be taking a train home from New Orleans in less than a month. It will pass through Philadelphia, as do ...

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Beware the Self-Defeating Prophecy

by Miriam Axel-Lute May 7, 2015

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  Yesterday I saw a link to a set of well-wisher cards intended to be sent to people with serious illness, like cancer. Some were unusually blunt (“happy last day of chemo, let’s eat anything that ...

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How to Increase Vaccination Rates

by Miriam Axel-Lute February 12, 2015

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  Here are seven steps to increasing vaccination rates without being an asshole to anybody along the way: One: Remember that even now, anti-vaxxers are not actually the biggest reason for missed vaccines. Poverty is. From Mother ...

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Funding the City

by Miriam Axel-Lute January 29, 2015

  At a regional forum on inequality earlier this month, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan made some remarks that jumpstarted some regional discussion about regional equity, commuter taxes, and the like. As reported by Jimmy Vielkind at ...

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Fracked Gas, Coming Through

by Miriam Axel-Lute January 15, 2015

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  The land where Patricia Kernan grew up, in the foothills of the Northern Catskills, is 1,000 acres of unbroken forest, from which trees have been carefully, sustainably harvested for at least 70 years. It contains ...

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Charity and Justice

by Miriam Axel-Lute December 31, 2014

  A few weeks ago my daughter got a bee in her bonnet about wanting to help homeless people. Like many of her peers she has begun to notice the world outside of herself and has ...

Critical Mass of Grief

by Miriam Axel-Lute December 18, 2014

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  Grief lasts a lot longer than anger. Anger burns itself out, but grief comes in steady waves. When I look around at the tremendous outpouring of #BlackLivesMatter activism of these past weeks, of I Can’t Breathe ...

Progressives and Picket Lines

by Miriam Axel-Lute December 4, 2014

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  The story was very different, depending who told it. To the organizers of the two affordable housing conferences I attended a few weeks ago, news that the Seattle Olive 8 hotel was under boycott by the ...

Is History Destiny?

by Miriam Axel-Lute November 20, 2014

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  Don’t tell anyone, but I recently abandoned my longstanding resistance to both podcasts and NPR and binge-listened to a bunch of Planet Money episodes on a couple of bus and plane trips where I couldn’t ...

Hey Albany, We Have a Land Bank

by Miriam Axel-Lute November 6, 2014

  Albany has a lot of abandoned buildings and vacant lots, as most of us know. They can be an incredible drag on neighborhoods, inviting crime and disinvestment, and they represent a tremendous waste of potential, ...

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How (Not) to Talk About Vaccines

by Miriam Axel-Lute October 9, 2014

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  There are two topics about which people who otherwise tend to agree with each other tend to figuratively rip each other’s throats out about. Since I wrote about Israel and Palestine in my last column, ...

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No Longer Looking Away

by Miriam Axel-Lute September 25, 2014

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  The e-mail message had no content. Only a subject line, which read “Enough already. Sign me up.” The e-mail came from a rabbi to Jewish Voice for Peace this summer as the attacks on Gaza were ...

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Ferguson On My Mind

by Miriam Axel-Lute September 11, 2014

  Outside my house, two young African-American boys, maybe 9 or 10, scoot by on skateboards. One is carrying something on a leaf and stops to show me a giant slug. We chat about it a ...

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Vote Teachout

by Miriam Axel-Lute August 28, 2014

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  Part of progressive frustration with the Tea Party, aside from shaking our heads over the sheer lack of enlightened self-interest shown by most of its on the ground supporters, is jealousy. They run primary campaigns ...

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Income for Everyone

by Miriam Axel-Lute August 12, 2014

  If you wanted to come up with a totally cockamamie idea to attribute to someone to smear them as unrealistic bleeding-heart socialist, what would you come up with? Possibly “the government should just give everyone ...

Compassion for All at the Border

by Miriam Axel-Lute July 31, 2014

  If your social media feeds lean the way mine do, you’ve likely been seeing a picture of a sign getting passed around that says “Keep the kids. Deport the racists.” As slogans go, it very neatly ...

Artists and Urban Renewal

by Miriam Axel-Lute July 17, 2014

  Conventional wisdom says that artists and gay people are tend to be pioneers in distressed neighborhoods, signs that change is ’a coming. While there have been some funny, and likely apocryphal stories about unlikely conservatives ...

Actually United States

by Miriam Axel-Lute July 3, 2014

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  Americans are a people hopelessly divided by culture wars and fundamental disagreements about the role and appropriate size of government. You know this; I know this. Everyone knows this. In some parts of the country ...

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Dry Detroit

by Miriam Axel-Lute June 26, 2014

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  Water is a human right: Even the much beleagured CEO of Nestle, who has been accused of trying to privatize the water resources of poor communities for the benefit of its bottled-water profits, officially agrees. He ...

Small, Gritty, and Equitable

by Miriam Axel-Lute June 19, 2014

  At the United Tenants of Albany annual dinner last week, Mayor Kathy Sheehan spoke about her “equity agenda” for the city of Albany. We’re only as strong as our weakest neighborhoods, she said. We have ...

Making Reparations

by Miriam Axel-Lute June 5, 2014

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  I bought my house with the help of a downpayment from my parents. My parents got help to buy their house from my father’s parents. At the time when my father’s parents bought their house, ...

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