A protester against the Texas state law to punish "sanctuary cities" stands outside the U.S. Federal court in San Antonio, Texas. Jon Herskovitz/Reuters

A morning roundup of the day’s news.

‘Arbitrary and discriminatory’: Texas’s controversial ban on so-called sanctuary cities won’t be taking effect Friday as planned. A federal judge temporarily blocked the law on Wednesday, dealing a blow to one of the toughest state-issued immigration laws in the country. The New York Times reports:

In his ruling, Judge Garcia said that the law’s provision banning policies that limit enforcement of immigration laws was unconstitutionally vague and failed to define the specific prohibited conduct. The provision, the judge wrote, “ascribes criminal and quasi-criminal penalties based upon violations of an inscrutable standard, in a manner that invites arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement against disfavored localities.”

Texas vowed to appeal Judge Garcia’s decision, setting the stage for the case to be heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, one of the country’s most conservative appeals panels.

Harvey politics: The devastation from Hurricane Harvey is testing the relationship of Houston Democrat Mayor Sylvester Turner and Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott—two leaders “whose personal styles are as divergent as their politics”—as they work together on recovery efforts. (AP)

See also: As a solution for Harvey damage in Houston, a Bloomberg View column revives an idea that economist Edward Glaeser once proposed for New Orleans: Instead of spending billions in federal aid to restore the city, why not give rebuilding money directly to residents?

The car-free argument: To prevent vehicular terror attacks like the ones in Charlottesville and Barcelona, the “most obvious solution” would be to ban cars entirely from crowded pedestrian zones, a New York Times column proposes. For several European cities already doing that, security is now another motive in addition to reducing pollution.

Trail map: Philadelphia is now the first U.S. city to have its urban trail system (400 miles of it) mapped on Google Street View, marking the start of a nationwide effort to digitize the off-road experience. (Philly Voice)

Retail void: When a Sears, J.C. Penney, or Macy's pulls out of small-town America—as they have in hundreds of places—the same factors that sent the retailers packing can make their abandoned storefronts challenging to fill. (Chicago Tribune)

Legalize Tacos: Despite its estimated 10,000 daily street food carts, L.A. remains the only major U.S. city that doesn’t legally permit sidewalk vending. After downgrading penalties due to fears of immigration crackdown, city council members are now working to lift the 1980 ban and regulate vendors. (L.A. Weekly)

The urban lens:

the world's largest sundial, as seen from the top of hawa mahal

A post shared by Varsha (@varshasundar) on

Show us your city on Instagram using #citylabontheground

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a map of future climate risks in the U.S.
    Maps

    America After Climate Change, Mapped

    With “The 2100 Project: An Atlas for A Green New Deal,” the McHarg Center tries to visualize how the warming world will reshape the United States.

  2. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

  3. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  4. Perspective

    Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

    In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

  5. photo: a Tower Records Japan Inc. store in Tokyo, Japan.
    Life

    The Bankrupt American Brands Still Thriving in Japan

    Cultural cachet, licensing deals, and density explain why Toys ‘R’ Us, Tower Records, Barneys, and other faded U.S. retailers remain big across the Pacific.

×