News AAND Notes: Mixed BAG Edition

During the Great Depression, the New Deal became a lifeline for communities in economic and literal shambles. Its massive funding for public works projects left an indelible mark on the nation, and on Ohio, reports Cincinnati CityBeat. In addition to bringing about good things like parks, highways, housing and more, the New Deal also continued, and potentially exacerbated, no-good, very bad racial segregation.

Based on the story and what our aging brains retain from History 101, it’s fair to say the New Deal’s effect on Cincinnati was a mixed bag, with lots of treats—like one million seedlings and saplings planted in Mount Airy Forest, or jobs for black workers—and a few tricks—like further concentration of powers in the executive branch or the fact that those jobs given to black workers were often back-breaking. We may also thank critics of similar government spending for stalling the $1 trillion infrastructure plan the current presidential administration trotted out in June. Given what we know of that family, it would’ve included so many Trump Highways and so, so many Trump Parks. At least Trump University is taken.

Thanksgiving may be behind us, but there’s still plenty more holiday where that came from. And with these holidays comes everyone’s least/most favorite 2017 pastime: talking politics. Of course, arguing is probably a more fitting term. See also screaming, fist-fighting, elbowing, head-butting, wedgie-giving, arm-pinching and cake-heaving. Trust us: Nothing spoils good tidings like picking merengue out of your hair. So, to that end, our pals at Creative Loafing Tampa have compiled a very funny, very useful set of instructions on avoiding family fisticuffs. Advice like “don’t instigate,” count your alcohol units, change the subject, stuff your face, and don’t, we repeat, don’t, rise to the challenge of proving Cousin Ira is the mouth-breather everyone always suspected. Their one exception to holding your tongue: “Unless the relative in question is a flat-earther. Fuck those guys.” Peace be with you.

For most cities, local theater is a love-it or hate-it kinda thing. Quality varies widely, even within the same playhouses, and the range of talent can be broad or cringingly narrow. In Santa Cruz in the ’80s, the local theater scene was resplendent with amazing performances, talent and entertainment, in large part thanks to the famed Actors’ Theatre, according to Good Times Santa Cruz. Wilma Marcus Chandler told the outlet it all began with a 1982 National Festival of Women’s Theater, which was attended by 80 theater companies from around the world.

Subsequently, in 1985, the Santa Cruz Actors’ Theatre was founded. It thrived for well over a decade, but by 2011, the glory days were long gone. Enter Chandler and Bonnie Ronzio, who together are endeavoring to resurrect the Actors’ Theatre to again be a year-round cutting-edge contemporary theater company with quality productions featuring rising stars and talented playwrights.

In news that might stun anyone familiar with those lunatics in the Florida Legislature who have yet to meet a corporate incentive they don’t like, there’s a state that’s potentially even deeper in bed with big business: Wisconsin. See, the state has a loophole that lets businesses pay property taxes based on market value of rent in similar properties, including vacant ones, reports Isthmus. The so-called “dark store” tax loophole has been exploited by corporations, which have sued cities and towns across the state to lower their tax bills.

According to Isthmus, “In July, Walmart filed its lawsuit against Monona seeking to reduce its tax assessment from $24.5 million to $9 million, which would slash its tax bill by $433,000.” To maintain public services in a town with a population just a shade more than 8,000, the city of Monona would need to effect a tax increase of $113 per homeowner; commercial properties (that Walmart hasn’t put out of business) would pay an additional $660. Wisconsin state legislators are currently trying to close the loophole, and have broad bipartisan support, but Republican state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald may prove to be a snag, as he apparently “has a policy of only bringing forward bills if he has unanimous approval from his caucus.” Sounds reasonable. Wait … no, it doesn’t.