Where American Politics Can Still Work: From the Bottom Up

I was invited in April to give a paid book talk here in Lancaster, and I was so blown away by the societal innovation the town’s leaders had employed to rebuild their once-struggling city and county that I decided to return with my reporter’s notebook and interview them.

.. Greater Lancaster is a microcosm of America. The city has a population of 60,000, about 40 percent of whom are white, 40 percent Latino — mostly Puerto Ricans whose parents came decades ago to process chickens.

.. Unwilling to let their hometown die a slow death, and fed up with weak municipal politicians, Mann and other civic leaders “got together in my living room” to become catalysts for change. “Our first insight was that leadership matters” — and if it wasn’t going to come from the politicians, then it would come from them — and it would be devoid of party politics.

.. “We found that people who were responsible for key parts of the city, business and government had never met each other,” said Mann. “They were all in their own silos, and we — Hourglass — were neutral, so we could get them together.”

.. When a leader from York told him: “Ray, you know, we take care of our own. We’re doing things our way,” D’Agostino responded, “Maybe that’s part of the problem.”

.. locate the stadium in the city’s northwest corridor in 2005. Recalled Mann: “I went to opening night and sat next to people from suburbia and they said, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I’m in Lancaster.’”

.. Hourglass, and other groups provided the funds so public officials and the private sector could learn from the best experts in the world on how to lift their city and businesses. These included bringing in the mayor of Charleston, S.C., Joseph Riley, to explain how to build a thriving downtown; Edward Deming to teach quality improvement strategies; and an urban development expert from Brookings, Christopher Leinberger, to help create a long-term growth vision for the city and county. They’ve even looked to Denmark for insights.

..  found the hunger for best practices profound. “There is an awareness that all good ideas don’t start here,”

.. Gray, with the help of Leinberger, started by drawing up a long-term revitalization plan, which he carried around on a small note card every day to make sure every decision aligned with it.

..Gray told me he once remarked to F&M’s president, “You want to make Lancaster a place where students want to come and I want to make it a place where graduates want to stay.”

.. he forged a quiet partnership with Lloyd Smucker, a Republican who was then a state senator, to establish a community reinvestment zone that created the income stream to pay off the bonds needed to fund the convention center. “That was because Smucker and I could work together,” said Gray. “You get an awful lot done if you don’t worry who gets credit.”

.. Part of Gray’s strategic plan was also to bring public art into the city. “Art makes people feel better about themselves and their communities,” he told me, “so we made a huge push for public art

.. The unemployment rate in Lancaster County is 3.3 percent while in the city it’s over 10 percent. And while some 30 percent of the city lives below the poverty line, it reaches 50 percent in some of the poorest neighborhoods.



Video Shows Police Officer Firing Stun Gun at Unarmed Man Sitting on Curb

“Legs straight out or you’re getting tased,” the police officer can be heard saying on video, talking to an unarmed black man sitting on a curb.

The man appears to begin following the officer’s directions, then folds his legs up again. The officer fires his stun gun. The man writhes in pain, then is handcuffed by officers while lying on his stomach.

That encounter, captured by a bystander on a cellphone video Thursday morning in Lancaster, Pa., and then widely shared after being posted to Facebook, quickly led to a public outcry, including from the town’s mayor, who said an investigation would be conducted.

.. Nationwide, African-American people are far more likely than white people and other groups to be subjected to use of force by the police

.. Tasers, said Mr. Alpert, the criminologist, are often used by the police more freely than firearms when officers are seeking to get someone to comply with orders. But, Mr. Alpert said, Tasers themselves can be deadly.

.. when officers responded to reports that a man was attacking a group of people, they found Mr. Williams demanding his Social Security card from a woman.

.. The Police Bureau said in its report that directing suspects to straighten their legs helps prevent them from running away or fighting with police. “Noncompliance is often a precursor to someone that is preparing to flee or fight,” the report states.

As news of Trump’s taxes breaks, he goes off script at a rally in Pennsylvania

When Trump finally took the stage, it was clear that he was worked up about something as he quickly rushed through his usual talking points. He read the first sentence of the prepared statement: “A new audio tape that has surfaced — just yesterday — from another one of Hillary’s high-roller fundraisers shows her demeaning and mocking Bernie Sanders and all of his supporters.”

Rather than continuing, Trump demeaned and mocked Sanders himself, saying that he has “a much bigger movement than Bernie Sanders ever had” and that he has “much bigger crowds than Bernie Sanders ever had.”

.. He told the crowd to get a group of friends together on Election Day, vote and then go to “certain areas” and “watch” the voters there. “I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about,” Trump said. “So, go and vote and then go check out areas because a lot of bad things happen, and we don’t want to lose for that reason.”

.. “Did anybody like Lester Holt?” Trump said, naming the debate moderator as his crowd booed.

.. Our country is becoming a third-world country.”

.. Trump read the final sentence of the statement but by that point, he had overshadowed his campaign’s planned headline with numerous other ones. And he kept adding to the list.

Tech Lancaster Meetup

TechLancaster started as a simple local meetup, a safe place for like-minded tech people to come together and geek out. We’ve strived to be open, welcoming, and supportive to everyone in the community, regardless of their interest or background.

The past year has seen amazing growth in Lancaster’s tech scene, and we believe this is only the beginning. As members of the tech community, we want to support this growth and ensure the community remains a healthy, open, and welcoming place for all its current and future members.