Alan Ehrenhalt is a former executive editor of GOVERNING.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We all learned in school about the Battle of New Orleans, the glorious American military victory in the War of 1812 that took place weeks after the war had been ended by treaty. News of the treaty didn't make it across the ocean in time to prevent the battle from taking place.
I found myself thinking about that event this week when I came across a blog posting on Newgeography, a site about urban affairs that I find interesting and provocative, even though I often disagree with it.
In this case, Newgeography was writing about the Battle of Miami, a longstanding dispute over whether to establish a citywide zoning code aimed at fostering urban density. One of the site's contributors, Richard Reep, took considerable satisfaction in reporting that the code had been voted down at a Miami City Council meeting on August 7. He said defeat of the code suggested that Miamians were "concerned about Big Brother fussing about their property," and that "the much-ballyhooed flurry of high-density urban projects doesn't seem to fit" the South Florida lifestyle.
What I found curious was that Newgeography reported all this on Sept. 9, five days after the council had reversed itself and approved the code by a 4-1 vote.
Perhaps Reep didn't know about the reversal, even though it was covered extensively, both in Miami and in news media around the country. Or perhaps he was so pleased with the earlier vote that he couldn't bring himself to mention the later one. Either way, it's a little hard to understand. News travels faster today than it did in 1815 -- or at least it should.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.