The influence of neighbors

first_imgRyan Enos is out to prove that how people naturally organize themselves in the space they live in can have huge political significance.According to Enos, an assistant professor of government at Harvard, the space you live in and who is around you could affect your political behavior. “It’s not just where people live, it’s who else lives there with them. People spend a lot of time studying how diversity affects behavior, but we’re paying little attention to how we conceptualize the space around that diversity and that behavior.”But Enos is quick to point that this new diversity may not be all it’s chalked up to be. “People have preconceived ideas about how the diversifying of cities is going to affect interracial ideas and relations,” he said. “We have to stop and say that just because a new minority is moving into the same city doesn’t mean they’re actually going to be in the same space in that city as the old residents.”“My claim is that these neighborhoods, this natural segregation into which people separate themselves, has political significance. Who you live near can affect whom you vote for and how often you vote.”Enos put his claim to the test in 2008 and 2009 in the field of Los Angeles, where he was living at the time. “It’s a fascinating city to study,” he said enthusiastically. Los Angeles was a particularly good testing ground for Enos’ hypothesis because the population is not only rapidly diversifying but also has “meaningful levels of racial segregation.” Enos began by studying mixed neighborhoods, asking people what they thought of their new neighbors. “I had a good awareness that something was going on between the minority groups, and you didn’t have to dig far below the surface to feel the tension,” he said. “Many of the African Americans I interviewed said they vote because of fear of immigration from Latinos. Latinos are the new incoming competition for work.”Enos wanted to see how this tension would manifest itself politically. After accessing the voter files of residents in significantly African-American and Latino census “block groups” (meaning they were from the same area), he sent letters to both groups, highlighting areas on the map of the recipient’s block and the block nearby, and indicating the average frequency of voting on both these blocks.“I said nothing about race in these letters,” he said. “I made an assumption that these people would have a good enough mental image of their area to know which blocks were dominated by which ethnicities.” Enos checked the same residents’ records after the next election to monitor changes in voting behavior.Ultimately, the effect he found was that when African Americans received a letter that highlighted a Latino block close to them, and thus were more aware of the Latinos in their area, the African-Americans’ voting numbers shot up 10 percentage points. The same effect was not found in reverse; Latinos did not vote in higher numbers in either condition.“To me, this kind of reinforces the idea that these groups aren’t in conflict, but African Americans feel they are being displaced. The change in voting numbers could be pushback due to economic competition.”To Enos, and to those who witnessed the changes, the influx of Latinos to the cities closely parallels the process in the ’60s when African Americans were moving into cities, and there was a “backlash” from the new working-class whites. However, this time around, according to Enos, there’s one key difference: “African Americans have a history of knowing what it’s like to be the oppressed minority. They seem to always place themselves between Latinos and whites. They have sympathy for the new minority; they’ve been there. But they’re still competing with them for jobs.”Enos says it’s hard to see how this is going to play out. “It could have big implications. For instance, since we only have two political parties in the United States, there are necessarily a lot of different types of people in both those parties, and as the U.S. becomes increasingly diversified, so will those parties. We might see a sort of coalition of minorities.”But again, Enos notes that history repeats itself. “We saw something similar in the ’60s: the fracturing of the New Deal coalition,” he said. “Southern whites, who had traditionally made up the Democratic Party, fled to the Republicans when African Americans began to join. The Democrats saw a lot of their regular voters replaced with racial minorities who don’t vote as often, and thus we saw the decline of Democratic dominance. From 1968 onward we’ve been in a period of Republican domination of electoral politics, even with Democratic presidents.”Enos predicts the Democrats could face a similar problem moving forward. “These two groups are in conflict now, but since the Republicans have driven them out of their party, they’ve both become increasingly Democratic voters. Can they coexist? Would Latinos ever stop voting Democratic? Would African Americans ever vote Republican? It might sound crazy now, but if you go back in time, no one would have ever predicted that blacks would leave the party of Lincoln to join the party of Southern segregation.”Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that the question of race will not leave the political field for a long time. “Segregation is a social factor,” Enos said, “and it’s often interrelated with political questions.”last_img read more

University to consider construction of new parking garage

first_imgThe Notre Dame administration is considering constructing a parking garage on the south side of campus, most likely at the current location of Legends of Notre Dame, Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves said in an email to the University community Thursday morning.Along with the email, Affleck-Graves attached a survey intended to collect feedback from Notre Dame students, faculty and staff about the necessity of a parking garage for the campus community.“The next step in implementing the Parking Committee’s recommendations is to explore the feasibility of a parking garage,and share the findings with the University community,” he said in the email. “Over the next several months, the University will conduct a study of how campus would use a parking garage and what the associated costs would be for those who use it.”Affleck-Graves said the potential site of the parking garage would be in response to an expressed interest in “covered parking as close to the center of campus as possible” and recent expansions to campus.“With the opening of several new facilities on the south side of campus, the area in greatest demand for parking is the south side of campus,” the email said. “If a parking garage were to be constructed, we believe it would be built on the site where Legends restaurant is currently located.”Due to the high cost of building a parking garage, Affleck-Graves said in the email that the University would develop rates for its use, which would be “inversely correlated with the expected number of people who would use the garage.”“Since parking garages are much more expensive to build and maintain than surface parking, those who use the parking garage would cover the associated costs,” he said. “The University would seek to break even. We expect that there would be rates for hourly, daily and special event parking for faculty, staff, students and visitors. In addition, annual reserved parking passes would likely be available to faculty, staff and students.”Affleck-Graves said in the email that he would release the results of the study later in the semester.Tags: Legends of Notre Dame, parking, parking garagelast_img read more

Wacky Scarecrow

first_imgFarmers have used scarecrows to keep birds away from field crops for more than 3,000 years.He’s not a farmer, but University of Georgia blueberry scientist Scott NeSmith still has to keep birds away from his blueberry crop so he can research and breed new varieties for Georgia growers. His latest trick — using a “dancing man,” or a dancing, inflatable tube man, to scare the birds — may lead passersby to believe the UGA Griffin campus is selling cars.“We cover smaller plots of plants with netting to keep the birds out, but you can’t do that in larger areas,” said Ellis Moncrief, NeSmith’s research coordinator. He cares for the UGA blueberry plants on a daily basis.NeSmith must have berries for his research. He evaluates their size, taste and durability, among other traits, to determine which plants he will include as parent plants in his breeding program.“It is so important to control the birds because we have only a handful of fruit to evaluate from a single, small plant. If we let birds help themselves, it means we may not be able to evaluate a potential new variety,” NeSmith said. “We only get one chance per year to decide what to keep or throw out from our new plant material.”It is essential to keep the birds away from the blueberries on the earliest ripening plants. At this time in the blueberry season, there are often more birds than fruit.Moncrief came up with the idea to use the dancing man, like those often seen at car dealerships, and NeSmith was up to trying it. The blueberry research field is also equipped with an automatically firing carbide air cannon to help keep the birds away from the berries. The cannon produces a thunderclap-like sound to deter birds and other wildlife and is among the tactics used at airports to scare birds away from aircraft.At the UGA blueberry research plots, the goal is to keep the birds away from the plants until all of the varieties begin to ripen.“Once they all start producing fruit, it doesn’t really matter because then there are enough berries for our program and the birds,” Moncrief said.To date, NeSmith has released more than 20 blueberry varieties created specifically for Georgia farmers. Soon, he will release five new blueberry varieties bred with homeowners in mind.For more information on Georgia blueberries, go to read more

Highway 29 closed after collision

first_imgUPDATE – As of 8:50 p.m. the Highway is now open in both directions.UPDATE – As of 6:45 p.m. The highway is open to single lane traffic.FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Highway 29 is closed 18.5 km north of the Halfway River Bridge due to a collision.- Advertisement -There is no estimate on when the highway will be open and there is no detour.Here is the notice from DriveBC.Closed in both directions 18.5 km north of Halfway River Bridge because of Collision. Next updated at 18:00. Updated on Mon Sep 19 at 5:25 pm PDT. (ID# 220939)Advertisementlast_img