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APA Dateline: May 13, 2002


A shadow of my former self
Staff member
May 13, 2002

-- Website Seeks Public's Ideas for Rebuilding NY --
Rebuilding a Community is a new community planning web tool designed to let
people get involved in the rebuilding of downtown New York in the wake of
September 11. The project is an initiative of the Civic Alliance, a
coalition of more than 75 business, community, and environmental groups
providing a broad "umbrella" for civic planning and advocacy efforts in
support of the rebuilding of downtown New York. Information and ideas from
the site will be used by the Civic Alliance to inform its recommendations
and reports to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the joint
state-city corporation that is overseeing the revitalization of Lower
Manhattan. The project hopes that "people who know and use downtown
intimately - residents, workers, and others" will contribute their local
knowledge to help build a vision for a revitalized downtown. The website is
intended to evolve as an information resource, and a place where people can
discuss issues while visioning, planning, and rebuilding takes place.
Visit the website: http://www.downtownnyc.org

-- Racial Disparities Persist in Mortgage Costs --
A new study from the Center for Community Change finds that African
Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately represented in the subprime
home refinance mortgage market. According to the executive summary of the
report, "Risk or Race? Racial Disparities and the Subprime Refinance
Market," researchers were surprised to find that the disparity between
whites and African Americans and other minorities actually grows at
upper-income levels and is greater for higher-income African American
homeowners than for lower-income white homeowners. High levels of subprime
mortgage lending represent markets where borrowers pay unusually high costs
for credit. The subprime market provides loans to borrowers who do not meet
the credit standards for borrowers in the prime market. Most subprime
borrowers use the collateral in their homes for debt consolidation or other
consumer credit purposes. According to the report, these patterns exist in
all regions and cities of all sizes, raising concerns about the absence of
prime conventional mortgage loans in these geographic areas. The study used
2000 data provided by the Federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.
Read the report: http://www.communitychange.org/NRP/riskorrace.asp
Center for Community Change homepage: http://www.communitychange.org/

-- Magic of New Urban Ballparks Fading Faster --
Baseball fans who thronged new stadiums in the 1990s regardless of the
quality of the teams are proving more discriminating in the 2000s, according
to The New York Times. If you build it, they will come, says the article -
but only for a while. Of the 13 parks that opened in the last 13 years,
attendance has declined at 11 of them. Only Safeco Field in Seattle and
Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco are packing in the fans, and both of
those teams are enjoying on-field success. "The notion that a new park is a
panacea has been disproven," said Steve Greenberg, the former deputy
commissioner of baseball and the managing director at Allen & Company, a
media and sports investment banking firm. "I think a new park is one factor,
but clearly the market, the performance of the team and the overall aura of
baseball are other factors." However baseball executives insist that teams
with new parks are better off than they would have been if they had stayed
in their old stadiums. The Times article does not analyze the financial
impact on cities and states who helped build the ballparks in return for a
share of revenue.
Read the Times story:

-- National Legislators Sound Off on Rural America --
Members of Congress view rural America as an incubator of traditional
values, but believe the absence of a strong national voice is an impediment
to drafting rural policy, according to a new study by the W.K. Kellogg
Foundation. The report, "Perceptions of Rural America: Congressional
Perspectives," interviewed 26 members of Congress, including 16 Democratic
House members and senators and 10 Republican House members and senators.
"Elected officials share the view that there is something unique and
particular about rural America that deserves attention, protection, and
support," said Anna Greenberg, vice president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner
Research. "But legislators express some pessimism about rural America. They
are disturbed about the death of the family farm and the effect that
consolidation has on ordinary farmers as well as the persistent poverty in
rural communities and the difficulty of bringing economic opportunities to
rural communities." Legislators identified job loss and the overall lack of
economic opportunities are the two greatest challenges facing rural America.
A list of rural issues includes increasing resources to family farmers,
expanding access to broadband, improving the rural health care system,
generating incentives for industry to locate in rural communities, and
preserving the rural environment. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Inc., a
Democratic research firm, and Greener and Hook, a Republican consulting
firm, conducted the interviews.
Read the report: http://www.wkkf.org/pubs/FoodRur/Pub3699.pdf
W.K. Kellogg Foundation: http://www.wkkf.org/Default.asp

Dateline is based on reports from Internet sources and public and private
organizations. For more information, contact sources mentioned in the news
item. If you have suggestions or corrections for Dateline, contact Ralph
Jassen at mailto:rjassen@planning.org or Cynthia Cheski at