Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle Gurley is The American Prospect’s deputy editor. Her email is ggurley@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Can the Feds Get Washington’s Metro Right?

The D.C. Metro system is in crisis, and a power struggle between federal agencies fighting for the right to oversee safety isn’t helping.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP Images
The D.C. Metro system is in crisis, and a power struggle between federal agencies fighting for the right to oversee safety isn’t helping. Washington Area Metro Transit Authority General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s decision to shut down portions of the system for massive repairs comes in the wake of continued infighting between federal agencies over which one of them should bring the hammer down on the hapless, accident-prone subway system. The partial shutdown will slow train travel so that work crews may expedite repairs after a troubling series of fires and other incidents. The imbroglio has its origins, in part, in the inability of the Obama administration and its predecessors to persuade Republicans on Capitol Hill to step up and provide more funding for the authority’s long-overdue maintenance and repairs. Metro, like most of the country’s big-city transit agencies, has a lengthy roster of infrastructure issues that have not been addressed because the dollars...

Kildee: Michigan Austerity Policies Doomed Flint

Anti-government mania is to blame for the city’s contaminated-water crisis, says Flint’s congressional representative.

(Photo: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
The contaminated-water crisis in Flint, Michigan, has propelled the city from a public relations disaster to municipal freefall. As President Obama prepared to travel next week to a city where residents still don’t trust their tap water, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed criminal charges against two state officials and one city employee who monitored Flint’s water supply. Meanwhile, despite a national uproar and a declared public health emergency, Congress has been slow to provide emergency aid to the poor and predominately African American city. This week, one of the city’s most outspoken leaders, U.S. Representative Dan Kildee, the Democrat who represents Michigan’s Fifth District, once again called on Congress to come up with a federal aid package . The two-term congressman has placed the blame squarely on Republicans’ anti-government ideology. The city’s crisis is the direct result of “ an obsession with austerity as the...

Can Cities and States “Clawback” Their Economic Development Advantages?

Boston and Massachusetts have persuaded General Electric to move by pledging multimillion-dollar subsidies. But ensuring a return on the investment will be the hard part.

(Photo: AP/Steven Senne)
Can General Electric deliver 800 jobs to the greater Boston economy? That is one question that will consume local economic developers in the wake of the Fortune 500 leviathan’s surprising decision to move its corporate headquarters from Connecticut to Massachusetts. In the course of wooing GE, Boston pledged up to $25 million in city property-tax concessions, and the state and the city together pledged more than $250 million in various other subsidies, to persuade the corporation to relocate. Having the GE HQ in Boston, they hope, will pay bigger dividends down the road. But some deals don’t, and there often is little recourse for the cities and states that have laid out taxpayer dollars. One recourse open to such jurisdictions is “clawbacks”—requiring the corporations to give back some of the subsidy if the promised benefits are not realized. A summary of the incentives offered to GE has already sparked some public grumbling. But according to a recent...

Evicted? San Francisco Says Not So Fast

Amid an overheated housing market that has sent San Francisco evictions soaring, the city has stepped in to protect schoolchildren and teachers from landing on the street.

(Photo: Eric Risberg)
One of the pernicious byproducts of a San Francisco housing market that is too hot for many renters to handle is a relentless increase in evictions. Landlords have increasingly taken advantage of a loophole that allows them to evict tenants—not for tenant behavior or late rent payments, but because the property owner or a relative supposedly wants to move in. But last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a new ordinance that prohibits landlords from instigating “no-fault” evictions during the school year if a child under 18 lives in the unit, or if the tenant is a schoolteacher. San Franciscans are well-versed in the hardships fueled by the mismatch between income and housing affordability. San Francisco has the ninth-highest level of income inequality in the United States, according to a January study by the Brookings Institution. The housing crunch dates to a dot-com-fueled real-estate boom that started in the 1990s and continues to...

Atlantic City: The Fall of the Boardwalk Empire

Gambling as an engine of economic development turned out to be a bad wager, and the famed New Jersey city is paying the price.

(Photo: AP/Wayne Parry)
Four decades ago, Atlantic City rolled the dice on the city’s future—and lost. In 1976, visions of dollars sloshing into municipal and state coffers lured New Jersey voters into establishing casino gambling into Atlantic City. It was the ultimate Faustian bargain: Gambling industry investments would save the fading grand dame of the Jersey Shore. What could go wrong? In fact, everything. Atlantic City ushered in the era of “gaming,” as the industry likes to call it, on the East Coast—but today, city and state officials are bickering over last-ditch proposals to pull the city back from the precipice of bankruptcy. Atlantic City made a bad bet, yoking its economic aspirations to a single industry in a market that has since become saturated with casinos all up and down the East Coast. The empty casino buildings along the city’s fabled boardwalk stand as grim totems to the perils of seizing on gambling as the antidote to municipal distress. A fiscal...

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