Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle Gurley is The American Prospect’s deputy editor. Her Twitter is @gurleygg, and her email is ggurley@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

What Cities Can Learn from Houston Metro’s Hurricane Harvey Experience

The city’s bus and light rail network got through Harvey mostly unscathed because officials improvised—and learned lessons from previous storms.

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip) A Metro train runs along Main Street in downtown Houston on September 5, 2017, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. screen_shot_2017-07-19_at_4.28.52_pm.png I n early December, two groups of researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the World Weather Attribution, a global network of scientists, independently concluded that climate change made Hurricane Harvey’s record-setting torrents far more damaging. Hurricanes usually weaken and sputter out after making landfall, but Harvey sat and spun, drenching the metro region with nearly 50 inches of rain over five days . The storm surge that pushed against the coastline slowed the outflows from rivers already swollen by rainfall farther inland, contributing to major flooding. Climate change finds public transit agencies hard-pressed to confront and adapt to extreme meteorological events. Most transit systems have long-established emergency procedures to handle hazards like hurricanes,...

Boston’s Amazon HQ2 Fantasies Take Off

Who needs one million square feet of office space in Boston’s Seaport District? Amazon might. The Boston Globe reported Thursday that real-estate industry executives “with knowledge of the talks” dished that Amazon is in the market for one, maybe two office buildings in the bustling and picturesque waterfront neighborhood. (The Boston Business Journal first reported the story Tuesday.)

This latest revelation has set tongues wagging that “the Hub” (a Boston nickname, short for “Hub of the Universe”—yes, seriously) had moved to the front of the pack of more than 200 U.S. cities looking to land “HQ2,” Amazon’s much-discussed second headquarters—even though Amazon had already been in the hunt for more office space (the company has about 1,000 employees in metro Boston) long before company officials announced the new headquarters search.

Predictably, Amazon had nothing to say to the Globe. The company plans to make a decision on an additional Boston site at about the same time that it announces its short list of finalists for its new headquarters. The much-vaunted new HQ would employ about 50,000 people.

Massachusetts officials are salivating over the possibility of adding Amazon to its roster of corporate catches. General Electric has already decided to move its headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut, to Boston.

City officials have also proposed another location, a former race track in an eastern section of the city. The race track would be better able to provde the 8 million square feet that the company says it needs for a new campus. But emails obtained by the Associated Press indicate that state officials are trying to “pitch the whole state” as a potential site.

A whole-state strategy might be a more attractive option. Massachusetts prides itself on its highly educated workforce and its standing as home to dozens of other technology innovators.

That pitch has the virtue of glossing over some Boston negatives. The Seaport flooded in jaw-dropping fashion during a recent nor’easter. (Also known locally as the “Innovation District,” some locals refer to the area as the “Inundation District.”) Area residents fear that an HQ2 victory would drive up the metro region’s already astronomical housing prices and saddle new workers with a notoriously poor transportation system:

Boston’s Rendezvous with Climate Destiny

A coastal winter storm shows one of America’s oldest cities what sea-level rise really means.

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) A Boston firefighter wades through flood waters from Boston Harbor on January 4, 2018. W hen Hurricane Harvey hit Houston last August, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh expressed his fear that his own city would have been “wiped out” by a comparable deluge. Scores of people would be rendered homeless, waterfront areas would be ravaged, the damage would run into the multi-billions. Several years earlier, the city dodged a bullet during Hurricane Sandy: Boston was spared the flooding that paralyzed Manhattan only because the storm hit Boston hours after high tide. If Bostonians were apprehensive after Harvey, they are even more nervous after the first blizzard of 2018. Residents were jolted out of complacency as climate change–fueled sea-level rise, cyclonic winds, and high tides produced a storm surge that sent the Atlantic Ocean flowing into Boston’s coastal neighborhoods. Look at this video outside our window of flooding in #Boston historic #FortPoint #Seaport...

Black Alabamians Voted For Themselves

African American men and women turned out in historic numbers to quash the nostalgia for slavery, segregation, and disenfranchisement by terrorism when blacks kept their backs bent and eyes down. 

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images Doug Jones supporters celebrate his victory over Roy Moore at the Sheraton in Birmingham, Alabama W hat motivated African American men and women to vote on Tuesday in Alabama was not the Democratic Party’s plight or the fate of the republic. It wasn’t Cory Booker or Deval Patrick, or Charles Barkley. It was less about Donald Trump. Doug Jones’s role in bringing two Klansmen to justice, convicting them decades after they killed four little girls at a Birmingham house of worship gave him the credibility among black voters that a generic, good-government Democrat would not have had. But it was Roy Moore and his slavery good-times minstrel show that propelled black people to the polls. There were other tangible reasons to make the share of black votes actually higher than when Barack Obama was on the ballot in 2008 and 2012. On most election days, Americans go to the polls, cast their ballots, bid the poll workers bye-bye, and maybe grab a cookie if...

How Maine’s Medicaid Expansion Campaign Got to Yes

Frustration with the status quo and a powerful GOTV campaign helped produce the country’s first Medicaid expansion directly decreed by the voters.

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty Activist Susan Johnston helps coordinate the Election Day canvassing effort at the Mainers for Health Care headquarters in Portland I magine that expanding Medicaid coverage to tens of thousands of people somehow meant that hunting and fishing licenses would be more expensive. Fearing a price hike, hunters and fishermen would surely surge to the polls in off-year election to vote no on a Medicaid expansion ballot question. Which is why one of the ads unleashed by opponents of Maine’s Medicaid expansion voter initiative made that very—and very ridiculous—claim. Maine’s Republican Governor, Paul LePage, pugnacious as usual, was the face of the anti-expansion campaign. He took to Maine’s influential talk radio programs to dial up his base, backed by a PAC called Welfare to Work launched by one of his former advisors in August to fight the Medicaid measure. The message? “Able-bodied people” looking “medical welfare” should get off their collective butts and get...

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