Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle Gurley is The American Prospect’s deputy editor. Her email is ggurley@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Can Cities and States “Clawback” Their Economic Development Advantages?

Boston and Massachusetts have persuaded General Electric to move by pledging multimillion-dollar subsidies. But ensuring a return on the investment will be the hard part.

(Photo: AP/Steven Senne)
Can General Electric deliver 800 jobs to the greater Boston economy? That is one question that will consume local economic developers in the wake of the Fortune 500 leviathan’s surprising decision to move its corporate headquarters from Connecticut to Massachusetts. In the course of wooing GE, Boston pledged up to $25 million in city property-tax concessions, and the state and the city together pledged more than $250 million in various other subsidies, to persuade the corporation to relocate. Having the GE HQ in Boston, they hope, will pay bigger dividends down the road. But some deals don’t, and there often is little recourse for the cities and states that have laid out taxpayer dollars. One recourse open to such jurisdictions is “clawbacks”—requiring the corporations to give back some of the subsidy if the promised benefits are not realized. A summary of the incentives offered to GE has already sparked some public grumbling. But according to a recent...

Evicted? San Francisco Says Not So Fast

Amid an overheated housing market that has sent San Francisco evictions soaring, the city has stepped in to protect schoolchildren and teachers from landing on the street.

(Photo: Eric Risberg)
One of the pernicious byproducts of a San Francisco housing market that is too hot for many renters to handle is a relentless increase in evictions. Landlords have increasingly taken advantage of a loophole that allows them to evict tenants—not for tenant behavior or late rent payments, but because the property owner or a relative supposedly wants to move in. But last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a new ordinance that prohibits landlords from instigating “no-fault” evictions during the school year if a child under 18 lives in the unit, or if the tenant is a schoolteacher. San Franciscans are well-versed in the hardships fueled by the mismatch between income and housing affordability. San Francisco has the ninth-highest level of income inequality in the United States, according to a January study by the Brookings Institution. The housing crunch dates to a dot-com-fueled real-estate boom that started in the 1990s and continues to...

Atlantic City: The Fall of the Boardwalk Empire

Gambling as an engine of economic development turned out to be a bad wager, and the famed New Jersey city is paying the price.

(Photo: AP/Wayne Parry)
Four decades ago, Atlantic City rolled the dice on the city’s future—and lost. In 1976, visions of dollars sloshing into municipal and state coffers lured New Jersey voters into establishing casino gambling into Atlantic City. It was the ultimate Faustian bargain: Gambling industry investments would save the fading grand dame of the Jersey Shore. What could go wrong? In fact, everything. Atlantic City ushered in the era of “gaming,” as the industry likes to call it, on the East Coast—but today, city and state officials are bickering over last-ditch proposals to pull the city back from the precipice of bankruptcy. Atlantic City made a bad bet, yoking its economic aspirations to a single industry in a market that has since become saturated with casinos all up and down the East Coast. The empty casino buildings along the city’s fabled boardwalk stand as grim totems to the perils of seizing on gambling as the antidote to municipal distress. A fiscal...

The Great Diversion

Charter schools may or may not improve student outcomes—but they divert funds from other public schools.

AP Photo/Stephan Savoia
This article appears in the Spring 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazine . Subscribe here . When Boston Mayor Marty Walsh learned of plans by the city’s public high school students to walk out to protest proposed budget cuts, he told them to stay in class. They didn’t. On a cool, sunny March afternoon, thousands of young people marched through Boston Common and converged on the Massachusetts State House, where the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education was holding a hearing on a ballot question that would significantly increase the number of charter schools. Brighton High School senior Christopher Gayle left school, too, but he went into the building to testify. Gayle told state lawmakers that he had nothing against charter schools, but he blamed them for the cuts. “They’re taking away money from the Boston Public Schools,” Gayle said. Boston’s majority-minority public school system is the largest in the state, with nearly 57,000...

A Tale of Two Subway Systems

Washington Metro riders might complain about their subway system, but it could be worse—just look at Boston.

(Photo: AP/Alex Brandon)
Kvetching about the decline of Metrorail is a popular pastime in Washington, D.C. But area residents may elevate complaining to an art form if Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) officials decide to close off entire lines or sections of the region’s subway system for weeks or months at time—something they said was a real possibility earlier this week. Yet if Washington riders want to experience how bad commuting can get when a transit agency fails to properly maintain its transportation assets, they can head to the other end of the Northeast Corridor for a preview of coming attractions: Without drastically accelerated repairs, Washington, D.C., will soon have a subway system like Boston’s. The Metro announcement comes less than two weeks after WMATA General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld ordered an unprecedented one-day shutdown of all Washington Metro subway lines after a fire prompted system-wide safety inspections. But as disruptive as this closure...

Pages