The partially completed Wall Street Place development, referred colloquially to as “POKO,” as seen from the former Leonard Street municipal parking lot, now owned by real estate broker Jason Milligan. Milligan’s purchase of the lot inspired the City and the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency to sue him and former owner Richard Olson of POKO Partners, charging that the sale violated the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for the property. The plaintiffs seek to reverse the sale.
Updated, 2:20 p.m.: Comments from Mario Coppola and Jason Milligan, story edited.
NORWALK, Conn. — A Superior Court judge has been asked to stop the Norwalk Common Council from voting Tuesday to clear the way for the revised “POKO” development.
Real estate broker Jason Milligan is seeking an emergency injunction to prevent the changes to the Land Disposition Agreement needed by JHM group to move forward with its revised plan for the mixed use development on the corner of Wall and Issacs Streets, formally called Wall Street Place. The City argues that Milligan does not have legal “standing” to request such an injunction because he is not party to the LDA, and states that his action is premature. Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola charged that Milligan is trying to force the City to include him in the deal, so he can make a profit. Continue reading Milligan seeks to block Council vote on revised ‘POKO’ plan
All of that raises a question: Is the U.S. better off with the public health interventions being used to keep the coronavirus from spreading or without them?
In a new working paper, I and a team of health economists from U.S. universities set out to answer that question from a humanitarian perspective. To do that, we reviewed the latest data and scientific research about the virus to evaluate the number of lives saved if public health measures remain in place. We also reviewed economic studies looking at deaths caused by past restrictions of economic activity to assess the number of lives that could be lost if those measures trigger an extended economic recession.
We estimate that by the end of 2020, public health measures to mitigate COVID-19, including shelter-in-place orders, school and business closures, social distancing and face mask recommendations, would save between 500,000 and 2.7 million lives in the U.S. The economic downturn and loss of income from shelter-in-place measures and other restrictions on economic activity could contribute to between 50,400 and 323,000 deaths, based on an economic decline of 8%-14%.
Counting lives alone, we conclude that the public health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 are justified and in the best interest of our society.
Why it matters
President Donald Trump likes to say that the cure must not be worse than the disease when it comes to coronavirus interventions that affect the economy. The public health approach works, but it can also hurt. Determining the “right dose” of a medicine always requires careful consideration of unintended consequences.
By acknowledging and fully exploring the possible ramifications of the economic recession in lives saved or lost, our hope is that we will create a more “apples-to-apples” comparison. Most comparisons of the costs of interventions being discussed put a dollar figure on lives saved or lost. If an analysis finds, for example, that the U.S. pays $1.5 million for every life saved, that raises a value question: Is that a reasonable cost or not? The answer can lead people and policymakers to resist public health measures. Our analysis instead compares the number of lives likely to be saved to the number of lives likely to be lost, keeping judgments about the value of a human life out of the equation.
The results are clear – the public health measures save more lives than they may jeopardize in the long run.
What still isn’t known
The current economic downturn is unusual in that it wasn’t caused by a structural economic problem, like a war or a housing bubble, but rather by a pandemic – a severe but temporary external factor. Therefore, it is unclear how long it will take for the economy to recover. It is also unclear how the pandemic may change over time.
The June and July jobs reports showed higher-than-expected jobs growth following the easing of economic restrictions. This seeded much-needed optimism for a quick economic recovery and suggested that the impact on the economy might be not as severe as people expected. At the same time, a recent study shows that many COVID-19 survivors may lose immunity to the virus within a matter of months, adding to reinfection concerns, which means public health measures may actually be saving more lives than once thought. Many of these uncertainties can impact our calculations.
Our team is continuously tracking these developments and updating our analyses.
Norwalk Planning Commissioners consider the 2020-21 capital budget, Jan. 29 in City Hall. (Paul Lanning)
NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk’s eight Planning Commissioners don’t draw much attention but wield power in City government.
Any project that would cost Norwalk $10,000 or more can neither be started nor contracted for without prior consideration by the Planning Commission. Even if Norwalk’s Board of Estimate and Taxation has approved a project’s funding, that project must still be scrutinized by the Planners.
Joe Kirby, technical manager at Woodard and Curran, speaks to the Norwalk Common Council Public Works Committee on Tuesday.
NORWALK, Conn. — About 50 homes and buildings along Saddle Road, Surrey Drive, and other streets in the Friendly Pond area could see some relief soon from flooding issues that have affected that section of Norwalk.
Norwalk taxpayers discard social distancing concerns during a rainstorm at City Hall. “There are markings outside City Hall for people to space out, and staff routinely checks to encourage social distancing,” Norwalk Communications Manager Josh Morgan wrote. (Contributed)
NORWALK, Conn. — The City Hall walk-up window has been getting plenty of use recently, as evidenced in a set of photos submitted to NancyOnNorwalk.
The “new norm” implies both that it is here (and indeed it is) and that it is permanent. However, let us examine what it is, its consequences and what should not be, the “new norm.”
We all know the COVID-19 virus “pandemic” by the growth of illness and deaths attributed to it in the U.S. and other countries. Reportedly, it occurs more likely among individuals and “senior citizens” with preexisting medical conditions. Effects of the illness have been reported as asymptomatic, mild among most healthy individuals, serious among others, and sometimes confused with the common cold or other strains of influenza. Tragically, death “has happened” (to quote the warnings for many prescription drugs advertised in the media today) to an alarming extent. Continue reading The ‘new norm’ — permanent or temporary? — a reality check
Governments across national, state and local levels have called into focus health and to a lesser degree economic issues associated with COVID-19. Policies have varied, impacting budgets, education, different socio-economic groups and the economy. Amidst the pandemic, city officials have also faced protests over instances of racism and symbols of inequality from government institutions. We’ve seen it in Norwalk. With events like these dominating headlines, we can’t lose sight of the one constant in Norwalk – this Administration’s pursuit of density at the expense of everything else. Injustice manifests itself in many forms. It’s time to reflect on what’s happening in the place we call home. Continue reading Density: Where’s Norwalk headed?