Wednesday Aug 24, 2022
Prof. Michelle Wilde Anderson on challenges, opportunities, lessons, and misconceptions in Josephine County--and why it matters for Oregon and America | EP 70
Michelle Wilde Anderson is an award-winning Professor at Stanford Law School and an expert on poverty, inequality, and local government. Her new book The Fight to Save the Town (published by Simon and Schuster in June 2022) prominently features Josephine County as she describes signs of progress in places in America with high poverty and broke governments (the book also looks at Stockton, CA, Lawrence, MA, and Detroit, MI).
In this episode, Michelle provides a portrait of Josephine County and the people who live there--and what makes the place so interesting. We talk about the origin of poverty in southern Oregon, the caliber of people running for local office, and how communities provide "public safety" when the government fails to. Perhaps most importantly for our listeners, we talk about the lessons we can learn from Josephine County, a deeply conservative place with anti-government tendencies, where they finally passed a series of local levies after years of failed attempts. Michelle offers a more hopeful "counter-narrative" to what's happening in Josephine County than what you'll read in most papers.
Here is a short blurb on The Fight to Save the Town: The book "focuses on the dismantling and rebuilding of local government in high-poverty communities. Rooted in narrative portraits of urban and rural poverty, the book describes the fallout from decades of cuts to local government amidst rising segregation by income and race." We can't recommend the book enough -- it is engaging, sobering, and uplifting all at once.
Michelle's Recommendations on Organizations to Support:
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