• What Happens After the Police Report

    Our quiet little Reno neighborhood is amazing.  Out-of-towners would be amazed to find that just beyond the neon lights of the casinos is a perfectly wonderful, tree-lined, Norman Rockwell-esque neighborhood.  To us, it just seems like a little slice of heaven.  Great neighbors, fun block parties, fantastic schools, all walking or biking distance to main street.  

    Recently however, we have become increasingly aware of crime in our neighborhood.  Burglaries, car thefts, attempted break-ins, and even violent crime (see this horrible story) have hit neighbors all around us.  We had someone come into our back yard and steal a bike with our kid's bike trailer attached - a petty theft, but it left us feeling violated nonetheless.

    Traditional Crime Prevention is Good, But It's Not Enough 

    The neighborhood is reeling.  We are all trying to figure out how to stop this nonsense.  Our family has installed motion lights, a security system, we leave our porch lights on all night.  We've got the gear!  

    I attended a Neighborhood Advisory Board meeting where a Reno Police officer gave a presentation on setting up Neighborhood Watch.  Basically it's, "Talk to your neighbors, lock-it-up, watch for strangers, call the cops."  All good advice, but it left me feeling a bit powerless.  

    Random Crime is Likely to Continue

    Any intelligent person looks at a trend and tries to figure out likely causes.  I would guess our crime problem is related to a few factors: our proximity to the center of the city; our neighborhood is relatively affluent but not "gated"; a friendliness that screams we are less likely than other neighborhoods to have guns under our pillows.  

    I'm not sure if any of this is true, its just a hunch.  Even if these are the causes of crime, my personal feeling is that I wouldn't want to change any of this.  I like that we are close to the center of the city. I like that we are not gated. I like that we are friendly.

    The bottom line is that I think we can only make marginal improvements in preventing crime.  I think crime will continue to happen in a more or less random pattern.  I also fear that an overly-paranoid, locked-up, and stranger-fearing neighborhood can erode the very reasons we all love living here.

    Reno spends well over $100 million a year to prevent and respond to crime, fires, and medical emergencies.  People's opinions range on whether this is way too much or way too little to spend on emergency services.  We are devoting lots of resources to what happens before and during an emergency.  But we are missing a much deeper set of neighborhood responsibilities.  What do we do after the police report is filed?    

    When Awful Things Happen to Our Neighbors, How Do We Respond?

    We should be making a neighborhood plan for how we respond to crime (and other unforeseeable awful things that happen to our neighbors).  I believe that great neighborhoods have both organic and systematic ways that they respond to these horrible things.

    After the police or fire department is called, there needs to be a second call.  This needs to animate an appropriate community response that helps people pick up the pieces, feel safe again, and otherwise repair the damage that is done.  What can we do as a neighborhood that transforms every bad event into something that actually draws us closer together?

    Here are a couple of ideas:

    • After any incident, we need to make sure the person has increased contact with the people on their block - collecting and sharing names and contact information of neighbors.  Encouraging their neighbors to stop by and say, "I heard what happened, that is not right, I am here for you!"
    • We need to shower the victims of crime with baked goods, home cooked meals, and cards and flowers to let them know we care for them and sympathize with their hardship and help them devote their time fixing damage, filing claims, and restoring order.
    • In the event of a violent crime or a home invasion, we need to make people (especially single, female, or elderly) feel safe again.  Trusted neighbors need offer to sleep on the couch until nerves are settled.  We can call or knock to check in in the days and weeks after the event.
    • If the crime results in property damage, do we have list of highly trusted handymen/handywomen who can be first responders to put the door back on the hinges, board up the broken window, or add a deadbolt where one was missing etc.
    • If some one's car is stolen, do we have a few people that would volunteer to loan their extra car or give a ride to the victim.  Yes, insurance companies provide rental cars, but this may take time to organize and it does nothing to support the victim. 

    Much of this happens organically already.  We should be proud when it does.  Great neighborhoods guarantee a positive response to the bad things in life.  The act of offering support is a powerful medicine.  How neighbors respond to crime can make neighborhoods better, stronger, more connected places to live.   

  • Part II: How to Really Fix the Spaghetti Bowl

    This is a follow up to a recent post I made in regard to Reno's "Spaghetti Bowl" interchange.  Neoma Jardon, who is both Chairwoman of our local transportation planning agency (RTC) and a Reno City Councilwoman is pushing to spend the lion's share of our transportation budget on a failed experiment: widening freeways to relieve congestion. 

    This is catastrophic thinking.  It is especially disheartening to hear this coming from a woman who: 1) is incredibly smart and community minded; 2) has enormous influence on the priorities of the city and region.  We could be investing in local neighborhood building that would actually reduce congestion and help boost Reno's competitiveness by using the highways for freight and logistics.   

    "But you don't have to take my word for it..."  Charles Marohn is a civil engineer, certified planner, and traffic engineer.  His organization, Strong Towns, is pushing a smarter vision for our streets and towns.  He is the type of person that we could employ or hire as a consultant before we spend the $2 billion on rebuilding the spaghetti bowl.  Wouldn't it be wise to actually think about how to reduce traffic congestion at its source?  

    In this great podcast Chuck speaks generally about how widening freeways are the absolute worst way to fix our transportation system.  Listen to the whole podcast, but here is a quick summary:

    • Highway builders are lobbying the government to spend money to widen highways to "relieve congestion" that they say costs society $1 trillion in lost time.
    • The accounting is highly suspect.  Minor time savings are aggregated to justify billion dollar projects.
    • The same highway builders who want to "save" society $1 trillion, actually estimate the cost to fix the system is $2.2 the investment is actually a huge loss for society.
    • The reason these projects rarely pay-off is that they have no price mechanism to charge people.  Less congestion just induces people to drive more, quickly filling the new capacity.  Developers in the suburban fringes build housing that takes into account the new, quicker, commute.
    • Transportation engineers and planners should learn from the lessons that hydrologists have learned in controlling flooding.  You don't make bigger rivers, you build many little retention ponds and better water infiltration on the fringes of the watershed.  This reduces flooding.
    • In the same sense, cities should not try to solve traffic congestion by widening arterials (i.e. Moana Lane, Pyramid/McCarran).  Cities solve traffic congestion with land-use.  We need more corner stores and mixed-use neighborhoods, where basic services and jobs require reduced or no driving.  That is the way to fix congestion and not dump $2 billion on a boondoggle.

    What Should Neoma Do?

    If you grab a coffee with any of the smart transportation planners at RTC they will confide that they really can't fix the transportation system themselves.  Their hands are tied by they way we build our neighborhoods and commercial centers around Reno.  Land use fixes transportation, not the other way around.

    That is why we need people like Neoma Jardon to have the best thinking about the future of our transportation system.  People who sit in both worlds of municipal governance and transportation planning need to devote their full attention to solving these regional issues.  We can't afford to have people in her position who think that unbalanced suburban subdivisions are just the choice of the free market.  We need to find out what this type of development costs - it won't be pretty.

    Here are some emergency policies:

    1) Make an accounting of regional traffic demand.  Where are the subdivisions that are sending most of the commuter traffic through the spaghetti bowl.  I am predicting we will see the Somerset, Spanish Springs, and Stead areas are the main culprits...these areas have few jobs, mostly just housing.  We can't fix the problem until we know where the "flooding" is coming from.

    2) Make a plan to reduce trips from these commuter communities.  If your "free choice" actually is forcing us to spend $2 billion, I would prefer that you pay some or all of the costs.  We need to rebuild these communities so there are more jobs closer to home.  How about a property tax surcharge on congestion if you own property in one of these areas?  As soon as these neighborhoods figure out how to reduce their traffic load on the region, we could eliminate the special tax.  Until then, lets transfer all of the money to our urban core and build infrastructure in successful places like complete streets, bike lanes, and boulevards.

    3) Put a moratorium on green field development.  All development in the exurban fringes should be infill.  These neighborhoods do not have enough density to support jobs.  We can build all of our future housing capacity on existing sites (see book Reshaping Metropolitan America) and utilize streets, pipes, and traffic lights that we already have built.  The large back yards of suburban homes should have a building boom of ADUs (granny cottages).  If you help build a sustainable neighborhood, lets reduce property taxes for these parcels.

  • Part I: The Great Spaghetti Mess

    Neoma Jardon is a Reno City Councilwoman with huge influence because she is also Chairwoman of the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC).  From what I know of her, she is passionate, extremely intelligent, and a strident advocate for breast cancer awareness and homeless outreach.  And, she is dead-wrong about Reno's transportation vision.  

    A Shaky Bet: Doubling Down on a Boondoggle

    In a recent Reno Gazette articleJardon posits that Reno's biggest transportation issue is fixing the Spaghetti Bowl interchange.  Everyone drives in the spaghetti bowl, so it seems like "fixing" it would be a politically savvy move.  The freeway interchange has seen a massive increase in traffic since it was first built in 1974.  Since then it has been constantly widened, rebuilt, and re-plumbed.  

    After 40 years of trying to "build our way out of traffic congestion" Jardon is pushing the RTC for one last hail-Mary boondoggle of a project that would conservatively cost $562 Million.  RTC Executive Director Lee Gibson could see the project costs escalate to over $2 Billion if the "fix" requires "land acquisition" (translation: above market payouts to private land owners with public money; bulldozers cutting through neighborhoods and businesses to make more space).

    RTC needs to be reformed.  Neoma Jardon wants to double down on costly projects that have dubious long-term benefits.  

    From Cow Town to Sagebrush Sprawl

    Reno has experienced rapid growth.  Since the Spaghetti Bowl was constructed the population of Reno-Sparks has doubled.  But this growth dream has mutated into a sprawl nightmare which is costing us dearly.  Growth, smartly invested, should mean economically balanced neighborhoods where people can get most of their daily needs met close to home.  The density and property values would support a solvent municipal government, a thriving downtown, and a top quality transit system.  Freeways and highways would support interstate commerce (their intended use) and help preserve Reno's dominance as a logistics hub for the west coast. 

    But the opposite has happened.  Vehicle miles traveled per person has grown from 6,800 to 7,600 since 1980 - meaning we have nearly 2 billion miles more in car traffic every year in Reno-Sparks.  This massive increase in driving is hammering air quality and enforcing a gruesome national trend - when American children die in accidents, nearly half die in or under a car (as I write, this is the front page story on  

    We have built houses further into the desert and purposefully incentivized job growth outside of Washoe County.  Massive flows of suburban commuters now clog our freeways and erode the transportation advantage that having a logistics center in Northern Nevada once had.

    More Driving, More Broke, More Spending in the Wrong Places

    Despite our massive growth, Reno has only grown poorer.  Reno has over $500 million in public debt - we are dead broke.  Our ability to pay for our own city transportation projects are severely limited.  A huge share of our transportation money is now flowing to projects that are trying to build our way out of this mess by increasing driving capacity in the suburban fringes:

    $75 Million - Pyramid/McCarran -  Widening a single intersection in Sparks and bulldozing 30+ buildings in an existing neighborhood to improve suburban commutes for new subdivisions in Spanish Springs.

    $290 Million - Southeast Connector - Community groups have tied the project up in court, it cuts through wetlands, farmlands, and provides a more direct connection between two massive exurban shopping malls (Legends and Summit).

     $574 Million - Freeway Expansion and Galena Creek Bridge - Improve commute times between Reno and Carson City.

    What Reno Needs

    Neoma Jardon is an unapologetic believer in suburban housing expansion as driver for economic growth.  This creates the very congestion she is trying to build capacity to beat.  She doesn't understand that this style of growth comes at incredible expense and subsidy from central Reno (inside the the McCarran loop).  We need someone who wants to account for these costs and create an equitable system that improves the quality of life in Reno proper.  If she doesn't want to reform how we prioritize transportation spending, we need to find someone who does.

    Check out another Reno neighbor's take on this from another angle:

  • Can't We Just Paint it Green Ourselves?

    Everyone knows that getting bike lanes on streets can be a difficult endeavour.  But once they are already there, shouldn't we be able paint them green ourselves?

    Green bike lanes are safer.  Green bike lanes are easier for both people on bikes and people in cars to navigate.  They promote biking in general.  Businesses along the corrdiors where they are installed get more bike customers.  They reduce incidence of people parking in the bike lanes and perhaps remind people parking to check before they open their door into passing cyclists.

    Green paint is a no-brainer, no-risk, low-cost, high-return investment for existing bike lanes.  If my neighbors and I want to see green bike lanes in our neighborhood what are our options?

    Currently you would have to do something like "How a Bill Becomes a Law" ( to get something like this done...that's why it won't get done.  It's not paint, or money, or's all process.

    I have hope that we can change this in Reno.  Luckily we have a Mayor who was inspired to run because of her frustration with the business licensing process.  She knows what its like for a small business owner to show up at City Hall, ready to breathe life into their dream, only to be drowned in process.

    I want to be able to show up at City Hall, pay a permit fee, hire a qualified road striping contractor (or have one oversee my group of fun, passionate neighbors), and paint the dang things green ourselves.  What a photo-op for the Mayor and neighborhood council person!  

    We can't build a good little city with overwhelming 14 hour city council meetings.  We shouldn't be bothering RTC planners and public works with these no-brainer projects.  Most of all, we can only build real community when local people can get together and get things done.    


    If you want to listen to a profound thinker on the mechanisms for better cities:


    Header Photo Credit: Bryan Stieger (@stieger_pants)

  • 30 Parking Spots are Blocking a Bike Lane that Would Connect 20,000 Students to Reno Businesses

    Reno is on a path to rebuild it's most important street without a bike lane through its most important section.  When the street is complete, this section may have as few as 30 on-street parking spaces.  Here are 4 images that explain why sacrificing a bike lane that could connect an entire city for a few parking spots is silly, silly business.

    *The Midtown district currently has approximately 100 parking spaces in this section.  The street redesign will cut the number to about 50.  Some private developers have stepped forward to say they plan to request further elimination of their street parking in favor of wider sidewalks or bike lanes.  

    We believe the final number of parking spaces after Fire Lanes and Bus Stops are in place may bring the number to about 30 spaces.  There is not enough width in the street to fit both bike lanes and on-street parking in this small 6 block section between California Ave and Vassar.  A choice must be made.

    To learn more about the Great Streets Coalition, read our endorsement letter:

    Endorsement Letter

    Or visit our Facebook Page:

    Or find us on Twitter @greatstreetsco

  • A Father Begs City Council for Safe, Slow Streets

    Above: My visit to Reno City Council Last Week to ask for slower, safer, more family-friendly streets in Reno.  My daughters bicycle helmets on the lectern for effect (Photo Credit: David Pritchett).  My public comment:

    My name is Brian Hunt, I am a member of the Great Streets Coalition and I am not a bicycle advocate.  I’m a roofing contractor, I’m your neighbor, and I’m a native Nevadan...but most importantly, I am a new father of two young girls.  These are their bicycle helmets.

    When I became a father my perspective on life changed.  Like all new parents, you become obsessed with the safety of your children.  And a simple fact has scared me to death: when children die by accident in America nearly half do so in car accidents.  Let me say that again...when children die by accident in our country nearly half do so in car accidents.

    So what’s our response to this?  My wife and I have chosen to live in a wonderful Reno neighborhood where walking, biking, and shorter, slower car trips are the way we get family life accomplished.  I bike my girls to their preschool, to the Discovery Museum, and to Carter Brothers’ Ace Hardware.  We do this for our own health and happiness, but also for the safety of our girls.

    But here’s the conundrum.  When I put my girls in our bike trailer and strap these cute little helmets on their heads, I’m still scared to death.  I’m scared that I am being foolish.  I’m scared that this silly layer of styrofoam is just about the stupidest excuse I would have if we were struck by a car.  And I pray a prayer that I think every parent has thought: that if my girls were ever killed by a car, God-willing, please kill me too.

    Now here is the good news.  We can build a Great Street in Reno.  We can build a street that is slow and safe.  We can build a street where families on foot and on bike will get their daily needs met.  

    We know how to do this, but it takes political will to build a Great Street.  We have a city council who gets it!  We have smart and compassionate people within the RTC with their own precious children.  They want to build something great, but they need your leadership.  They need you to demand that they don’t just build a mediocre street where the status quo is preserved.  

    Street design is more about morals and ethics than it is about engineering.  Difficult choices must be made, but where there is a way to make the street slower, safer, and more pleasant for families and children - that is the path that I know your hearts will guide you.

  • Re-Plant Reno: Neighborhood Street Tree Planting Event

    Who: Neighbors, Lovers, Friends of Reno!

    What: Plant 16 new trees at the west-side corners of Arlington and La Rue

    When: Saturday June, 6th 9:00 AM

    Where: Meet in front of Brian's house, 640 La Rue Ave.


    Re-Plant Reno is a neighbor led initiative to plant new street trees in Reno.  Our forefathers were wise to build many of our neighborhoods with a "planting strip".  This middle area between the sidewalk and the street is perhaps our most valuable and underutilized land.

    Many of the trees in Reno's central neighborhoods are now 80+ years old.  Unfortunately we lose trees every year to old age and disease.  It takes an active community to re-plant the empty spaces where trees are missing. .

    Street trees are the secret sauce of really wonderful neighborhoods.  They give shade in summer, wow us with color in the fall, and sprout beautiful blossoms in spring.  

    Street trees help naturally slow traffic, give pedestrians a feeling of protection from cars, and are statistically proven to improve property values.  People want to live in tree-filled neighborhoods!

    So come join us!  We will be digging holes and planting 16 new street trees on two different corner lots at La Rue and Arlington.  

    Here is a tree planting map: 

    Special thanks to Reno Urban Forestry and Moana Nursery for their enthusiastic support!

    Below: La Rue Ave.  Facing east to Arlington.  A "naked" street with no Street Trees!

    Below: Same Street, Same Photo Location, Turn 180 degrees.  La Rue Ave. Facing west to Gordon.  A beautiful, leafy, and shady street with mature trees.

    Below: The empty planting strip on Arlington, both north and south of La Rue Ave.

    RSVP or Questions:  Call or Text Brian Hunt at 530-320-7361.  Or email

  • EDAWN's Anti-Urban Legacy

    Reno is incredibly fortunate to be hosting the Next City Vanguard Conference this week.  Dozens of young urban intellectuals have descended on the community and will be looking for "tactical" (i.e. lightweight, low-cost, common sense) ways to improve downtown Reno.  

    Their efforts should be applauded!  Many people (myself included) will be attending the Thursday night presentation of Vanguard scholars' ideas for how to improve Reno.  When you get this many young, smart people in one place, be prepared to be dazzled with how creative a fresh perspective can be for our fair city.

    While I am optimistic for the Vanguard participants, I am skeptical of one of their sponsors.  The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) has a conflict of interest in Reno.  They love to market "Start-Up Row," "Midtown," and "4th Street."  Yet their track record is that they are boosters of sprawl and leave-no-trace economic development (i.e. you wouldn't even know that Apple, Amazon, and Tesla are operating in the region).

    Here is my hit piece:

    EDAWN is an organization whose primary function is relocating businesses to Northern Nevada from other states.  Let me repeat, EDAWN moves companies to Nevada, not to urban Reno.  They use tax incentives and tax abatement from the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) to help lure businesses to low cost, tax efficient locations, nominally called "Reno" but actually in far flung plots of desert 30+ minutes drive outside city limits.

    Their bread and butter is moving the logistics and shipping arms of major corporations to mega facilities on greenfield sites (aka sagebrush) on previously worthless land outside of Reno.  The employees who work these facilities are most likely employed by an intermediary staffing agency who takes an usurious cut of their pay checks, right off the top.  The average person in Reno has more personal debt than anyone else in the country.   Wonder why people in Reno look so broke, look where they get their paychecks.  

    EDAWN's breeding ground has been the Tahoe Reno Industrial Complex (TRIC) in Storey County (not Washoe County where Reno is located).  Before TRIC, Storey county was renowned for one primary industry: brothels.  In fact the Tesla deal which EDAWN helped broker included the State of Nevada buying absolutely worthless desert land for $40 million from Brothel owner Lance Gilman.

    EDAWN speaks out of both sides of its mouth about Reno.  They host visits for corporate site selection committees at the wonderful Whitney Peak Hotel.  They show off the funky and Junkee midtown with its bohemian bars and restaurants.  They talk up the beauty of Lake Tahoe.  Yet their policies are distinctly anti-urban.

    Here is where the rubber meets the road.  The polices that EDAWN implements at every level compel companies to locate their operations in rural Nevada, at Reno's expense.  Just check out the policy sheet.  Rural placements get priority over urban placements.  Cheap desert land should be incentive enough for rural areas, but GOED and EDAWN lower the bar further.  The incentives should be inverse.  Instead EDAWN is an agent of sprawl adding subsidies to develop on already dirt cheap land.  With the help of state and federal subsidies, rural Nevada is a maquiladora right in the heart of America. 

    EDAWN is hosting an event full of bright, insightful, and optimistic thinkers on urban development. Yet, they implement policy which prioritizes companies that locate in car dependent, heavily subsidized, "desert and dirt" rural Nevada.

    EDAWN has a dismal track record relocating companies to central Reno (what locals would call "inside the McCarrann loop")*.  If you really believe in urbanism, this would be where you would want companies to be.  In central Reno, companies can take advantage of the massive economies of scale and already built infrastructure: schools, roads, sidewalks, fire and police service, transit, arts and culture.

    So my dear and delightful Vanguard participants, please, talk critically to your sponsors.  Encourage them to adopt policies which are pro-urban, not pro-sprawl.   You are proposing light-weight, lean, and innovative fixes for a better, urban Reno.  Demand the same from your hosts and you will help us become a Good Little City. 

    *To my knowledge EDAWN is in process of re-locating one company, Clear Capital, to downtown Reno.  However, this company was only located a few miles away in Truckee, California and many (if not most) of their employees were already Reno natives.  Using public money to compel companies that are already participating in the regional economy, is certainly not a best practice of economic development.  

  • Reno's $10,000,000 Surplus

    The news that Reno has a $10 million budget surplus caught many locals by surprise.  Woohoo! Boom town is back!  Not so fast.

    What I remember from my UNR accounting class is that an income statement and a balance sheet are two different things.  While our income statement (city budget) ended up with a $10 million surplus, our balance statement is still in the red to the tune of $534 million.  Uh oh.

    Perhaps its an oversimplification, but at this rate, we would need 50 years of surpluses to pay down our tab.  And public debt is not our only problem.  The average person in Reno has the highest personal debt load of anyone in the country at approximately $27,000 (in 2012).  Reno is both publicly and privately broke.  

    Much of the City's debt is related to pet projects over the last 15 years that catered to the casinos.  The train trench, bowling stadium, and events center were all publicly underwritten, but these projects clearly have a few major beneficiaries downtown (Harrahs, Circus, Silver, and Eldorado).  If gaming goes belly-up we are all on the hook to pay these massive debts.

    Going forward, city manager Andrew Clinger has put forth a new plan to hire back around 50 public employees.  The hungry hungry hippos of Reno Police and Reno Fire will take the majority of the positions.  

    Police and Fire are an absolutely necessary service in any city, but their continued expansion does nothing to solve our fiscal problems.  A failing Detroit is litterally consumed in the flames of arson.  Police and Fire demand have gone to infinity - not a good thing.  Thriving communities should be producing healthy, wealthy, and safe people and be reducing their demand for Police and Fire service.

    There are really only a few levers a city has to pay off its debts (other than a Detroit-style full default).  Basically Reno needs to find ways to increase property and sales taxes while decreasing spending on infrastructure maintenance and city services.  Luckily, we don't need to come up with a "magic bullet".  The answer is to develop compact and walkable urban places that do not require miles of public infrastructure to service.

    If Reno will ever pay its bills, we need a style of development which is highly productive.  In other words, will the property taxes be high enough to pay for all of the public infrastrucutre over the long term?  What are things we could do to fill in what we have already built to make it work even better? For example:

    • Stop annexing far-off suburban subdivisions.  This is meth culture infecting city planning.  Its a quick financial shot, for a long-term hangover.  We are suckers if we believe the tax revenue from a low density suburban house will pay for all of the roads, pipes, fire, police, and parks.
    • Place an urban growth boundary at McCarran Blvd.  No more converting sage brush to subdivisions.  If you want to build something in Reno, build it where we can actually service it, using the infrastructure we have already built.
    • In our nicest neighborhoods, will we allow people to build In-Law Cottages in their back yards.  It's currently illegal.  This would dramatically increase tax revenue on parcels where the roads, pipes, sidewalks, and streets are already in place.
    • If I want to build an apartment building downtown, can I choose how much parking to provide based on what my tennant mix will want.  Remove parking minimums and let the private developers figure out parking.  This is valuable urban land, its highest and best use is almost certainly not parking.
    • We need urban triage.  We need to do an accounting of every parcel in the city.  Let's look at what it generates in property taxes and what it requires to serve and maintain over the long term.  If your neighborhood is in the red you should have three choices: raise taxes, leave the city and go it alone, or agree to changes in land-use that can dramatically improve the financial viability of the neighborhood.  
    • My prediction is we would find counterintuitive results: some of the crowded, low-rent districts will probably be the real winners.  A single family house on a half acre lot in Stead, Spanish Springs, or Galena is probably receiving a massive public subsidy in the form of roads, sewers, water, and sidewalks that the property taxes will never cover when it comes time to fix them after 25-30 years.