Economic crisis widens the racial finance gap…DMV ranks as one of the best for the creative class…Leggett’s support for Baker’s casino plan benefits the whole region [News, 7.9.12]

EQUITY | A Washington Post analysis of mortgage disclosure data finds a massive credit gap between black and white Americans:

The implosion of the subprime lending market has left a scar on the finances of black Americans…They disproportionately held subprime mortgages during the housing boom and are facing foreclosure in outsize numbers. That is raising fears among consumer advocates, academics and federal regulators that the credit scores of black Americans have been systematically damaged, haunting their financial futures.

Though the article doesn’t mention it for some reason, the corresponding data charts appear to show that Hispanics have fared about the same as blacks – at least in terms of loan rates, home equity change, and wealth. (WaPo, 7/9)

CREATIVITY | Ten years ago, Richard Florida wrote about the rise of the creative class in America – people across all sectors who “create for a living.” Florida has revised his book with new statistics ranking the country’s highest concentrations of the creative class. Our region ranks third with an impressive 46.8% of our workforce being part of the creative class. (Atlantic, 7/9)

REGION | As debate continues about the proposed Prince George’s County casino, County Executive Rushern Baker is getting support from his next door neighbor, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. Leggett praised Baker’s efforts to explain the economic benefits of the plan, and WRAG President Tamara Copeland points out that Leggett’s support is an important demonstration of regionalism:

Ike Leggett certainly didn’t need to voice his support for the project – and he could have even opposed it on the grounds that a casino in Prince George’s County would draw entertainment dollars away from Montgomery. Instead, his support offers leverage for Baker’s economic argument. A more prosperous Prince George’s would most certainly benefit Montgomery County as well. A favorite adage continues to ring true – a rising tide in Prince George’s raises boats across the entire region.

PHILANTHROPY | Pablo Eisenberg has a theory about how funders can promote democracy – buy local newspapers (Chronicle, 7/9):

Rich donors could individually or collectively buy ailing newspapers to make certain that they continue their service as publicly minded information providers and watchdogs. Perhaps the most effective strategy might be for wealthy philanthropists to purchase the papers and convert them to nonprofit institutions…

Excellent idea. Eisenberg goes on to condemn “unaccountable institutions and corrupt politics” and suggests that local newspapers protect the free flow of information.

As a pop culture tangent (sorry, I’m a nerd), it is no coincidence that Superman - who stands for truth, justice, and the American way – works for a newspaper.

HEALTH | Deal consolidates P.G. emergency rooms (Examiner, 7/9)

EDUCATION | The Examiner breaks down the region’s charter schools by jurisdiction. As charters thrive in the District, experts say that Maryland and Virginia both have some of the worst laws governing charters in the entire country. (Examiner, 7/7)


It seems that we’ve finally (if temporarily) escaped the inferno! Congratulations are in order to all of us for surviving the heat wave. Now that we can enjoy being outside again, Summer Nights from Grease seems like an appropriate anthem – especially since somebody recreated the movie scene with Legos.

And a question for all of you. The legendary Ernerst Borgnine passed away at the ripe age of 95 this weekend – what was your favorite role of his? Mine was Dutch Engstrom in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch.

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