Victoria Sheil IDIS400: Section 2 Global Climate March

In order to engage with my community, I decided to participate in collective action. I find that when large groups of people gather and directly face power dynamics, there is a large chance of being heard. This is in comparison to individual effort or a single organization. So, on Sunday November 29th, I made my way to D.C in front of the White House and joined the Global Climate March. Meeting up with 300- 500 people, we chanted and listened to speakers in front of the White House. Then, we walked around the white house on the street, stopping traffic and smiling to people recording from the sidewalk. Our goal was to gather before the U.N conference met in Paris and make sure that the leaders knew the United States supports strong climate action. Our gathering at the White House was only one of over 2,000 events worldwide. The march supports renewable, clean energy and the reduced use of fossil fuels. I enjoyed participating in the march because I like to see how a large city like D.C can organize. Living in Rockville, events of similar nature are small scale and I do not feel they have a large impact on power dynamics. Participating in a larger collective action allowed me to see if size can make an impact on power relations.

In order to organize an event this big there were two main actors. Avaaz and 360 are large internet based organizations that allow people from all over the world connect and organize action. Avaaz allows its members to focus its objectives through online polls, ensuring how time and resources are used is based on the members themselves. 360, whose goals are divestment in fossil fuel, relies on grassroots effort by allowing branches of the organization to have control over regional efforts. Both have a very large amount of people associated with the organizations due to their easy access and internet presence. These groups were essential in the Global Climate March due to the communication needed to organize a collective action. Since this march was directed towards a global meeting, collective action of similar scale was important. The internet has opened communication to connect people everywhere giving collective action the opportunity to become a larger effort than ever thought before. International problems no longer have to be individually address or solved in small meeting with a few country representatives. It is now possible for average people to be involved as well. Pictures of the events were posted throughout the internet and delegates in the conference were presented with these powerful images showing collective action throughout the world asking for stronger climate action against fossil fuels and country emissions. When the international community comes together looking for similar solutions, it is hard not to be considered in the decision making process. The large participation in the Global Climate March will pressure governments to take the conference seriously and commit to action plans in order to combat climate change.

Even though climate change should be considered a serious issue, there is still a struggle to get governments to seriously commit to cutting emissions and investing in alternative energies, in some countries more than others. Industries still have the money and lobbying to keep politicians from fighting climate change aggressively. However, an international effort could change that. The industry’s influence in United States politics do not hold as much power in international negotiations, especially when the community fighting for climate action is far more organized on the larger scale. Events such as the Global Climate March and further efforts from multiple international organizations working together can change the power dynamics so that emission policy will reflect what the people want instead of industry. This will especially come true when these large organizations can get enough people to out resource these companies invested in fossil fuels. I am glad to be part of such an event and hope that when the conference concludes next week, there will be plans to protect the future generation and reduce the dangerous consequences of climate change.

Victoria Sheil IDIS: Section2- Social Response to the Baltimore Riots

Our last discussion about riots ended with more questions than answers. One that was brought up was policy response after riots. I remember when reading about the New York riots in the 1930’s, mayor La Guardia had responses to address discrimination and job opportunities. However, we did not get to discuss if any of the more recent riots resulted in a social response from the government. So, I decided to do some digging into the Baltimore Riots to see what social efforts appeared after the riot.

The first thing to show up in my search was the effort to change the Maryland’s Law Enforcement Bill of Rights (LEBOR). The issue brought up in the meeting was about “reducing a provision that gives officers 10 days to receive representation before cooperating with an investigation, opening trial boards to the public, and increasing from 90 days to a year and one day the length of time that someone may file a brutality complaint against an officer” (Wiggins). Many find Maryland’s bill of rights to be one of strictest one regarding filed complaints. The process to make the changes got as far as the committee meeting. However, the changes were never made. You can still sign the petition supported by ACLU of Maryland.

Even if the changes were made, Karl W. Bickel believes that it’s not enough for change. He says proposals “draw attention from the real problems contributing to unnecessary and excessive uses of force by police that have created the growing rift we are seeing today between police and the citizens they serve.”  This supports our discussion in in class. The idea that the grievances before the trigger for riots should be addressed and not just the aftermath of a trigger. His article indicated how formal government must support programs and encourage solutions to larger problems. So, I checked into the Baltimore city website to see what I can find.

That’s where One Baltimore steps in. One Baltimore was created in response to the riots by the current mayor Stephanie Rawlings- Blake. It was a way to fund damaged businesses but also has the organization to do more. On their website it says, “OneBaltimore will focus on the immediate, short-term needs of those communities affected by our recent unrest and violence, and seek to promote collaboration to focus on the systemic problems our city has faced for decades.” Since allocating funds to riot damage is temporary, it makes sense that the organization with continue to improve the area long term. This organization has the resources, money, influence, and organized structure need to pursue systematic problems. And they are making progress. Since the organization is integrated with the city government, they are expected to present plans of action at meetings. The group just recently met with the education and youth committee of city hall in August. In the meeting, the president addresses

Developing a ‘One Baltimore’ Agenda for Youth FOR the purpose of determining practical measures to address the short-and long-term needs of the Children and Youth of Baltimore City; and calling on ‘One Baltimore’ Director Michael Cryor to provide and overview of the ‘One Baltimore’ program and rollout, Deputy Mayor Dawn Kirstaetter to present several of the Mayor’s youth priorities and initiatives, and Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen to discuss the Youth Violence Prevention and Safe Streets program. (Baltimore City Council)

The group was only created one month after the riots, so physical changes are still in the beginning stages. However, the direct goal of addressing social problems in West Baltimore and having resources in forms of money and government interaction is promising for the future. Some of their current programs include Baltimore business recovery fund, Hiring Youth, Donations for City and Youth- related Programs, Maryland Unites, United Way, and Baltimore Community Foundation.  They offer a range of opportunities to approach problems such as employment opportunities and youth education. These programs also rely on the community’s participation. The importance of OneBaltimore as a collaborative public- private initiative means that the organization still relies on the broader community for engagement and progress.

Baltimore is aware of the larger social factors that were present before the riots occurred. In our previous discussions in class, it seemed that government policy responded to economic change and riot response. However, in Baltimore, the government response includes plans to address the larger structural issues that West Baltimore is facing. It is important that programs such as OneBaltimore sees further support from the government and at the same time encourage community engagement. Since OneBaltimore was created by the mayor, it has influence in the city government that other organizations have barriers. It will be interesting to see was resulted we will see in the next few years.



Bickel, Karl W. (2015, August 26) “Officers’ Bill of Rights is not the Problem.” Baltimore Sun. retrieved from

Wiggins, O. (2015, August 24). After Baltimore riots, changes to police ‘bill of rights’ sought. Washington Post. Retrieved from


Baltimore City Hall

Monday discussion sect2

Hello everyone. For tomorrow’s discussion we will be focusing on New York between the 1943 riot and the 1964 uprising. Please be familiar with the end of chapter four starting with the section: Intensified Political Mobilization in the 1940’s Foreshadows the Next Riot and get through all of chapter five. Thank you, see you Monday. 

Victoria Sheil IDIS Sect2: What’s Up with Daley?

After reading about the Chicago riot of 1968 in response to Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, the most shocking part is the controversy involving Richard J. Daley. He publicly made a statement wishing the police had shot the rioters. While the class also has a strong response to his statement, I kept thinking that his name sounded familiar. Then I remembered, he was also mentioned in Barbara Ferman’s Challenging the Growth Machine. So I began to wonder, does he play a bigger role in the events leading up to the Chicago Riot of 1968?  I wanted to rethink some of the preconditions specific to the Chicago Riots of 1968 and provide detail how formal governance relates to riots.

Janet L. Abu-Lughod explains the riot as a reaction to death of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4 1968. Reactions occurred throughout the nation, but Chicago’s manifested to be the most violent. Abu- lughod emphasizes the differences between the South Side and the West Side. Even though the city has a very large black population in the south, “rioting on the South side, which contained by far the largest proportion of African Americans in the city, was relatively sporadic and quickly suppressed, whereas the much smaller second ghetto of the West Side went up in flame” (Abu- Lughod 93). Abu- Lughod has very strong opinions that the riots in the West Side were specifically handled in a way to protect and promote white business. She hints at it several times, such as when the fires raged on, why 4,000 firemen could not control them (98). However, it was not until Daley’s comment about wanting arsonist shot that I began to think that the government reaction to the West Side rioting was in the interest of the business elite.

Daley’s position as mayor in the Chicago government is an example of a growth machine. Elected in 1955, he achieved a high degree of centralized power that promoted business interests. Gaining support of the business community to ensure his power, “Daley used his control over city government and the electorate to provide the certainty, deliver the resources, and manage the conflict that allowed an extraordinary amount of downtown development to occur” (Ferman 59). His connection to the riots is his role in the racial segregation in the city, one of the build ups that led to the riot. As the black population surged in the 1950’s, the business community was strongly resistant. Daley’s needed support from the business elites resulted in supported segregated housing policy that led to the West Side and South Side concentrations of the African American population. The West Side also became a favored site for public housing and the area was soon labeled as a ghetto. While Abu Lughod mentions one of the build ups to the riot as “the rising animosities between blacks and city hall” (93), Ferman details Daley’s role in the racial conflict within the city.

Daley’s support of the economic development in Chicago focused on the Loop, a highly sought after area for business investment and also near the West Side. The Development Plan of 1958, written by the private group but overviewed by Daley, sought to revitalize the Loop and surrounding areas (Ferman 60). Daley’s aggressive response to the riots in 1968 showed his goal to protect the Loop. In the first reactions to Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, the South Side was showing more violence, but the attention was focused on the West Side. Abu- Lughod explains, “Attention focused almost exclusively on the West Side- in large because expansion of the riot from there could possibly threaten nearby white businesses in the Loop, whereas on the enormous South Side it could be contained” (95). The city’s control under a growth machine led to the West Side rioting to become the most violent reaction nationwide to King’s death. Even after the riot, Daley managed to continue economic growth for the white business elite. The areas nearer the Loop “in the Second Ghetto, destroyed in the 1968 riot, were easily cleared and being rebuilt with glistening office towers and high- priced condos” (Abu- Lughod 111). The riots may have even accelerated the completion of the Development Plan of 1958 continuing support for Daley and the growth machine.

Abu- lughod’s mention of Daley sparked my interest because it was incredibly inappropriate. However, after reviewing Ferman’s analysis of the growth machine, I have learned how economic development and the business community support drove Daley’s decisions in order to stay in power. The business elite’s resistance to the African American community was exemplified in Daley’s statement to in response to the riots. It is the strength of the growth machine that led to the concentrations of the black population and the magnitude of the violence seen during the Chicago Riot of 1968.



Ferman, Barbara. 1996. Challenging the Growth Machine: Neighborhood Politics in Chicago and Pittsburgh. University Press of Kansas.

Abu-Lughod, Janet. 2007/2012. Race, Space and Riots in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Oxford University Press

Victoria Sheil: IDIS Sec2 Power Dynamics in the FAMPO Technical Committee

My interest in local decision making prompted me to investigate smaller organizations within the Fredericksburg local government. I ended up exploring the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (FAMPO) and its role in decision making. To do this, I attended a FAMPO technical committee to pursue non-participate observation methods. I discovered one member’s influence over the rest of the committee supports a relationship with the policy committee, in order to influence transportation decision making. FAMPO also makes decisions to receive state funds in order to gain some decision making flexibility outside of federal mandate.

Research Project One

Victoria Sheil IDIS sect 2: The Bruce Ratner Comparison

In order to explore power dynamics at the city level several theories provide explanations to who has the power and how they maintain position of decision making. The models we identified in class include the growth machine and the regime theory. The growth machine is local power structures in land- based coalitions (handout). Decision making is economically driven. Considering factors outside economic growth, Barbara Ferman explores the urban regime theory in her book, Challenging the Growth Machine explaining institutions role in shaping the opportunities for and conditions of, participation in the political system (8). Each has their own characteristics, however they both distinguish the relationship between local government and private interests. What is most interesting though is the power dynamic in “Brooklyn Matters.” The developer of Atlantic Yards, Bruce Ratner, supports existing thoughts that private interests can influence decision making, however Ratner has used dynamics to gain even more power and get rid of the local government relationship.

Several examples were included in class, including Ferman’s, to support the regime theory. Brooklyn Matters can also support this theory by looking at the way Ferman describes the relationship between public and private sector. Ferman describes power dynamics in which internal influences affect the governing regime in either the civic or electoral arena through which policy and political outcomes occur (11). Ratner follows this logic because business interest have influences in decision making. Similar to Pittsburgh, it is a civic arena where private interests can hold power (Brooklyn Matters 2007). This highlights the private sectors ability to be in the power dynamic of decision making.

The other theory discussed, growth machine has an even stronger argument in the movie. Local decisions are commonly looking to increase land values (handout). In class, we organized who had decision making power for the Atlantic Yards scenario, and it is very clear that business ownership dominates all other institutions, supporting the growth machine. The dominance of economic development in decision making give Ratner, a planner of economic development, a lot of support and credibility in power dynamics.

While the movie can both support regime and the growth machine, it can also contrast them. It is Interesting to watch the Movie “Brooklyn Matters” because the relationship between local government and business owners is almost nonexistent. Bruce Ratner’s decision making and the non-existence of local government power questions the theories in two ways. Does the current dynamics of local government allow individuals to gain more power and also, how does this disrupt current ideas of the too power theories?

Ratner’s ability to pursue Atlantic Yards meant a different strategy then the Ferman suggests. He went passed the local governance straight to the state level (Brooklyn Matters 2007). This dynamic disrupts the expected relationship between local governance and business sectors. However, it’s the way the relationship exists that allowed Ratner to gain more power. In Ratner’s case the regime dynamic actually opens the door for business interests to cut ties with local governance. A main concept of regime theory describes, “to make things happen in a community, to marshal resources, bring interests together, and enact and implement policies—in other words, to meet “social production” goals—government officials need to form coalitions with other groups within the community” (Reese and Rosenfeld 645). The local governance reliance creates an unbalanced relationship towards business. Therefore, is was easy for Ratner to bypass local governance and gain support from the state.

This contrasts current ideas and diminishes the role of local influence. For Ferman’s idea, any local level organizing no longer has an arena to influence decisions. Ratner’s dominance in decision making minimizes the CBO’s and neighborhood influence seen in Challenging the Growth Machine. For example, “Pittsburgh’s elites demonstrated expansionist or accommodationist tendencies, which set a precedent for future corporation between CBO’s and the governing regime” (Ferman 17). While groups with power interact with CBO’s and governing regime, Ratner barely has to interact with either. In fact, this disruption gave Ratner influence over certain CBO’S so that he could pinned governing regime against CBO’s, disguising the fact that neither had any decision making power for the project.

Each city developed institutional framework to shape expectations in decision making creating formalizations and governing orientations. Ratner bypasses all of that and goes straight to the state in order to undermine the institutional framework reconstruct the constraints and empowerment of certain activities. The power dynamic seen in Brooklyn Matters disrupts both the growth theory and the regime theory with consequences in local ability to make decisions. By giving power to the state for local city level decisions, Ratner gains power and locals lose control. The power dynamic is uneven towards the private sector so that the local governance is reliant on private interest in order to enact a form of power.


Reese, Laura A. 2002 Reconsidering Private Sector Power: Business Input and Local Development Policy Urban Affairs Review May 2002 vol. 37 no. 5 642- 674.

Brooklyn Matters 2007 Documentary

Ferman, Barbara. 1996. Challenging the Growth Machine: Neighborhood Politics in Chicago and Pittsburgh. University Press of Kansas.