Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the executive director of Restore Justice USA, a Houston-based criminal justice reform project. He also regularly writes on issues regarding the economic management of major cities.

NYC’s Public Safety Priority #1: Crack Down On Airbnb Hosts

April 11, 2018

The city is using precious public safety resources to conduct sting operations on suspected Airbnb hosts.

Grandma’s Jewelry: A Public Menace

February 10, 2018

Arlington, TX, can’t handle you holding garage sales any more than three times a year.

Chicago Council Considers Banning Cashless Stores

December 22, 2017

Chicago may ban cashless retail establishments, ignoring the benefits of this recent innovation.

What Good Is A Police Body Camera If No One Can View It?

November 24, 2017

A police department in Greensboro, North Carolina fights to keep its footage private.

Chicago Public School Money Will Need To Come From Somewhere

November 18, 2017

Short-term borrowing is forcing CPS to pay mountains of interest.

What Is Going On Inside The LAPD’s Youth Program?

November 10, 2017

LAPD Cadets, the department’s flagship youth training initiative, is intended…

Is Taking Property Justified For An Emergency?

October 28, 2017

The seizing of private property during an emergency should be of concern to property rights activists.

Chicago Residents Finally Allowed To Comment At Council Meetings

October 21, 2017

Until recently, Chicago, the nation’s third largest city at 2.7 million residents, was one of the last government entities in the country that didn’t permit time for residents to voice concerns to officials in a public session.

Baltimore Officer Illegally Plants Drugs, Gets “Suspended”

September 28, 2017

By now most people have seen the video of the crooked Baltimore cop, Officer Richard Pinheiro, planting drugs at the scene of an arrest. If you haven’t, I’ll save you the frustrating details and provide an overview…

How Is The NYPD Using Stingray? Don’t Dare Ask

September 20, 2017

Imagine living in a city where the local police department can refuse information requests from the entity that governs its surveillance policies. Honestly, you don’t have to imagine: that’s actually what happens in most cities…

In Newark, Rent Control To Go Up For Vote

September 15, 2017

In a battle between tenants and landlords in New Jersey’s most populous city, landlords scored a minor, and possibly temporary, victory…

Make Housing Affordable…By Adding Fees

September 11, 2017

Like many cities nationwide, Los Angeles suffers from the basic arithmetical problem of having many people move in, but a very limited supply of housing for them. To “fix” that problem, the city’s government is doing what government does best — placing the burden on others.

Notes From Houston: Rising From The Flood

August 30, 2017

Houston — In one weekend, Houston faced one of the worst storms in its history. What started off as remnants of a tropical wave morphed into a category 4 hurricane. Hurricane Harvey hit the Corpus Christi area head on, but battered Houston with its outer bands the entire time….

Lose An Election? Seek Unemployment Benefits

August 25, 2017

Politicians who take advantage of taxpayer dollars are a dime a dozen, but the extent that some of them embrace this mentality can be amazing. Former San Antonio mayor Ivy Taylor was ousted after one full term in office and a high-stakes campaign that ended in a June runoff. Instead of falling into obscurity gracefully, Taylor, a self-identified independent, decided to apply for unemployment benefits….

The Dog-Walking Criminals Of New York City

August 20, 2017

As if the New York City government doesn’t have enough on its hands, like tinkering with food truck regulations, reducing its crushing public employee pension debt, and making housing affordable, the city decided to crack down on its most pressing problem: unlicensed dog sitters….

Loving Architecture, Hating Growth

August 12, 2017

As cities grow, and buildings get taller, innovative architectural styles begin to pop up. New York City, with its wide array of skyscrapers spanning multiple design eras, is certainly no exception. But some residents, who otherwise love these qualities about New York, want to prohibit developers from continuing to push the city aesthetically forward, and are lobbying for rezoning of areas to cap the height of new construction. For example, in April, Sutton Place residents pushed a proposal, and gained the support of the community board, to limit heights at 260 feet. The Municipal Art Society, which has long been a proud opponent of the “accidental skyline” near Central Park that attracts visitors from worldwide, supports these limits as well. The irony is that these groups who embrace the unique qualities, architectural distinctions and downright quirkiness of New York now want uniformity and growth regulations. This, of course, will impact future New Yorkers who won’t get to see what the city could become, rather than those currently enjoying the beauty of the Big Apple.

Seize The Peas

August 6, 2017

As if low-income Chicagoans don’t have enough to worry about…

No Dancing In Groups Please

July 29, 2017

Absurd government regulations should no longer be surprising, but every…