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:
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