106 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2016
    1. The city of Detroit faces a catch-22: It must modernize to attract residents, but in order to modernize, it needs residents as a tax and community base.

      That is the premise of Bill Adler’s article for Grist, which takes Detroit’s conundrum a step further in recognizing an important trend for growth: Going green.

      Adler compares Detroit to other cities across the country, including Portland, Oregon, in analyzing how Detroit can grow and attract more residents, in particular Millennials — the new young urban professional.

      Detroit’s weather, crime rate, lack of adequate emergency services, high tax rates, and lack of transportation — among other things —conspire to keep the city unattractive. So how to change that?

      Greening is important, Adler writes. Part of that is urban density, now recognized as an environmental good for reducing carbon emissions. Detroit has a density of about 5,100 people per square mile, closer to suburban-style cities like San Jose than it is to other industrial-era cities, like Chicago (12,000) or Washington, D.C. (10,000). Its current density is slightly higher than Portland, Oregon, which has been recognized for its urban planning and its attractiveness to Millennials and entrepreneurs.

      Detroit has existing infrastructure to support greater density, and can do more — expanding public transportation, investing in urban neighborhoods like Midtown and Corktown, expanding renewal efforts to other potentially up-and-coming areas, and turning itself into an incubator or business hub for certain business segments, such as biotechnology — could help the city become attractive to new residents.

      Residents also need jobs, and Detroit does have them, with 232,000 existing jobs and just 169,000 employed Detroit residents. The problem there is that many of Detroit’s high income workers commute into the city from suburbs, while Detroit’s urban poor commute out for minimum-wage positions. Further, the city’s transportation structure is car-centric due to its early years, and it is behind the times in implementing public transit.

      Detroit does have one thing in stock that could be very attractive to home buyers: Architecture. The city has Tudors and Italianate and Romanesque Revival mansions in stock and for sale. However, the surplus of beautiful homes is actually another detriment, right now, as homes are bulldozed lest they become a magnet for crime or fire hazards.

      All hope is not lost, Adler writes, noting that other cities (he calls them Legacy cities) facing similar problems have managed to bounce back, or are in the process of doing so, among them Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis, and Brooklyn.

      But first, Detroit needs to figure out how to bring in people who want to live in the urban core, and provide them with the services necessary to stay.

  2. Dec 2015
    1. Preventing Homelessness: An Examination of the Transition Resource Action Center This article is focused on determining the success of a transitional residential program in supporting adolescents who age out of the foster care system. The researchers found that the TRAC residential program reduced the likelihood that an adolescent would become homeless, and there was an increase in acquiring temporary housing. The researchers focused on factors contributing to homelessness that were societal and not individual in nature, such as lack of affordable housing and financial stability. Even in discussing personal characteristics of the adolescents the researchers focused on things beyond the individual's control such as physical/mental health problems, depression, and suicide attempts by peers. The participants included in this study were all involved in the TRAC housing assistance program, a majority of which had a history of housing instability and social assistance. The researchers compiled information about the respondents at two time periods, at year 1 and then at year 2. The researchers interviewed each of the participants (n=24) to test them with the Self Sufficiency Matrix which is meant to determine the current stability of the person along with discussing their current habits and describe possible future trends or areas that need to be addressed.

      Analysis: The researchers attempted to be unbiased in their position towards adolescents by their definition of homelessness, though there was a clear focus on moving adolescents into housing instead of other approaches. Though this study does offer insight into a program being successful, we do not fully understand why the program is successful. The researchers cite that education was an important quality to the sufficiency, though this is based on their literature review and not based on the participants in the current study. The authors did note that future research needed to be done on the TRAC program along with youth homelessness because their research stated there may be a possible overarching solution, but that other researchers need to figure out why certain things worked and why others lacked.

    2. Gonzalez Canche`, M.S. (2014). Is the community college a less expensive path toward a bachelor’s degree? Public 2- and 4-year colleges’ impact on loan debt. The Journal of Higher Education, 85 (5), pg. 723-759.

      Gonzalez Canche` (2014) analyzed differences of loan amounts that students from two year public colleges compared to students attending four year public institutions in order to see if there is a difference between loan borrowing behavior among the two groups. The author used the Kernel matching procedure and the Ordinary Least Squares method to compare the two groups to determine if there is a significant difference (pg. 740). According to the previous studies cited in the article, students who attended for-profit institutions had the highest default rate with student loans, but previous studies did not account for student characteristics who may choose a for-profit versus non-profit institution (pg. 728).

      After Gonzalez Canche(2014) studied the different types of institutions students attend and matched students on various characteristics, is was determined that student who attended more affluent colleges and universities had lower amounts of debt upon graduation as well as a decreased likelihood of defaulting on loans that were taken out (pg. 727). For example, if a student attend a private, non-profit college with a higher level of socioeconomic statuses among students, than the students will be less likely to obtain student loan debt or default on their loans compared to students at less selective four-year universities or community colleges. Gonzalez Canche believes this is due to the students’ at more selective colleges having “more support to attend college from both of their parents, relatives, high school teachers and counselors” (pg. 740). In fact, it was noted that “community college students systematically had fewer sources of support than their counterparts in the four-year sector”, which could lead to community college students having higher loan amounts and are “at a greater risk of dropping out before earning their degree” (pg. 748).

      Gonzalez Canche(2014) points out that policymakers tend to encourage low-income students to attend community college prior to four-year universities, but according to the findings, this may not be the best option for low income students who also have “high probabilities of succeeding academically and professionally” (pg. 749). Even though community college students tended to have less support when pursuing their degree, the study found that students who began at the community college had similar amounts of loan debt upon graduation compared to their counterparts who started at the four-year public college (pg. 750). Gonzalez Canche recommends that policymakers, and others who work with students, should not necessarily tout the two year community college as a less expensive option and that it may, in fact, be better for some low and middle-income students to begin directly at the university (pg. 752).

      After these findings from Gonzalez Canche`, policymakers, teachers and counselors in high schools, and admissions staff at community colleges and universities should be aware of the additional debt that may be accrued while students attend community college, as a result of likely taking additional time to complete their degree, and additional student loan debt, compared to if the student would have started directly at the university. It cannot be ignored that Washington state has one of the highest amounts of state need-based grants for low-income students, so the university may be a more realistic and financially responsible decision for low-income students who qualify for need-based aid programs.

    3. Kelchen, R. and Goldrick-Rab, S. (2015). Accelerating college knowledge: A fiscal analysis of a targeted early commitment pell grant program. The Journal of Higher Education, 86 (2), pg. 200-231.

      Kelchen and Goldrick-Rab (2015) completed a cost-benefit evaluation of a Pell Grant program that would target students as early as eighth grade in order to guarantee low-income students that they would have financial support throughout their college education to subsidize, if not cover all of, their college education. The risk of implementing an expanded Pell Grant program in order to guarantee college tuition funds to low-income students in eighth grade is that some students may not remain low-income and then the program would over-award the Pell Grant to students who were no longer eligible (pg. 210). However, in the study the researchers found that 81 percent of low-income students remained eligible for low-income programs in tenth grade, but only 69% of students remained eligible between eighth and twelfth grade (pg 209). The authors attribute this decline to a reduced amount of students seeking out low-income programs (such as free/reduced lunch in high school) as a result of stigma and increased lunch options, low income students dropping out of high school, as well as some families having an increase in their family income (pg. 209).

      Even though over-awarding may occur because students do not necessarily remain eligible for low-income programs, the authors cost-benefit analysis still found that the costs of over-awarding financial aid are less than the expected “benefits… [of] at least $2.1 billion per cohort, suggesting that the program should be cost-effective under the majority of assumptions” (pg. 223). Much of the prior research shows that students self-select out of college before eighth grade because they do not believe they have the financial resources to pay for a college education, which is the argument for promising the Pell Grant to students across the nation if they meet certain income eligibility requirements in eighth grade (pg. 213).

      The state of Washington has implemented the College Bound Scholarship program, which promises eighth grade students who meet income eligibility requirements that their entire tuition will be paid for at any public state university or community college within the same state. According to the Washington Student Achievement Council’s website, this program has increased the college-going rates of low-income students compared to low-income students who do not sign up for the program. The authors recognized that Washington state was one of three states that started an early commitment program for low-income students, but the authors did not report on the results. The federal government should take notice of the impact of similar state programs throughout the nation to determine if the cost-benefit of implementing a federal program would be worth it. From the recent study by Kelchen and Goldrick-Rab as well as the results from Washington state, the answer seems to support the implementation of a federal early commitment Pell Grant program.

  3. Nov 2015
    1. LEWONTIN, M. (2014). Loan-Forgiveness Program May Alter Scale of Student Debt. Chronicle Of Higher Education, 61(12), A12

      This article discusses the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access act which promises to forgive student loan debt for graduates who work in public-sector jobs for 10 years. With student loan debt continuously reaching an all-time high and a lack of interest in public sector careers by recent graduates, the act was designed to address both issues simultaneously. According to the article, this idea of loan forgiveness has been around since the 1950’s starting with loan forgiveness for teachers and expanding to a wide range of public sector jobs.

      According to the article, the overall impact of these programs is good due to the fact that it “encourages people to pursue these low-paying but valuable careers.” However, the article points out that such programs may be problematic as they could be leaving the burden of paying off the forgiven debt on the taxpayer. The first cohort of individuals eligible for loan-forgiveness under the 2007 act will in 2017 and will not have any cap on how much money can be forgiven, according to Lewontin.

      The main three main concerns addressed in the article are: 1) should there be a cap on forgiveness 2) who should be eligible, 3) what is the purpose of loan forgiveness. The article discusses some of the concerns of offering programs without caps and cites the work of the New America Foundation as the organization that first raised concerns about the issue. The overall sentiment of the article was that some type of cap restriction is necessary. The article also discusses the concern around the definition of a public servant and how it has expanded over the years opening up opportunity for many more individuals to take advantage of the programs. Lastly, the article discusses the debate around who student loan forgiveness programs should be for. Some argue that the majority of people these programs are helping are those who already have college degrees but who chose to take out more loans for advanced degrees. A Ph.D. student who was interview for the article says "People are out there claiming that graduate students are out there overspending and over borrowing, but I don't know any of these people… I don't know anybody who graduates and says, 'It's only 10 or 20 years until my loans are forgiven.’”

    2. Hillman, N., Tandberg, D., & Gross, J. (2014). Market-Based Higher Education: Does Colorado's Voucher Model Improve Higher Education Access and Efficiency?. Research In Higher Education, 55(6), 601-625. doi:10.1007/s11162-013-9326-3

      This article is about the state of Colorado’s voucher-based funding model for higher education which was put into play in 2004. The model funds students instead of institutions which is believed to drive institutions to provide better customer service and to retain students longer giving them a better chance to complete a degree or certificate program. Those opposed to the program say that this model may “reduce educational quality or even compete with other educational goals” (Hillman, 602).

      The main research question examined in a study which is outlined by this article is “to what extent has the introduction of market based reforms impacted college access and cost-efficiency in Colorado?” (Hillman, 602). In order to pull this off, the state needed to change the tax model and state funding model. Higher education has historically been looked at as the “balance wheel” of the state budget, according to the article so this needed to be addressed from the get-go.

      The college opportunity fund (COF) was developed in order to fund students instead of institutions, and it did so by giving them vouchers. According to the article, the proposal received great reviews and support. Within the 5 years that the study on this voucher model took place, there was an 8.2% increase in students and a 12.8% increase in total completions at the 4-year level. Additionally, there was a significant increase in students of color who attended and a 35.7% increase in completions for students who attended a 2-year community college.

      The article concludes by stating that many states have been in the process of looking for more effective funding models for higher education. The model in Colorado showed significantly higher impact at the 2-year level than the 4-year level. In fact, COF increased cost efficiency and completions at the 2-year level but had little impact at the 4 year level

    3. McKinney, L., Mukherjee, M., Wade, J., Shefman, P., & Breed, R. (2015). Community College Students’ Assessments of the Costs and Benefits of Borrowing to Finance Higher Education. Community College Review, 43(4), 329-354. doi:10.1177/0091552115594669

      This article outlines a qualitative study in which community college students were asked to help shed light on what factors are considered during the decision making process of taking out a personal loan to finance one’s college education. The article goes over the study, the findings and some policy suggestions.

      According to the article, “the average community college tuition remains approximately one third the cost of average tuition at a public 4-year institution” (McKinney et. al.) The article also notes that tuition is less than half of the actual cost to attend due to living expenses and even though close to 66% of all community college students receive a Pell Grant through financial aid, some students are still finding it necessary to borrow money by taking out loans in order to pay for everything that comes along with the college experience.

      The article talks about the cost-benefit analysis students tend to use when making the decision to borrow money and how many students borrow money because they have mentality that the amount borrowed will pay off over time. However, some research “found that students tend to underestimate the total costs of borrowing and overestimate the amount they will earn upon entering the workforce” (Mckinney et. al.). Also, populations who are more likely to attend community college such as first generation students and students of color, are less likely to know about financial programs and money management.

      The study found that there were several themes when it came to community college students and their decision to finance their education through loans. The most evident finding, according to the article was that students did not have enough information or guidance. Most students admitted to knowing “nothing” about loans prior to taking out a loan. Another major finding was that students were borrowing as a result of “need” and not “want.” Students expressed through their interviews that the Pell grant alone was simply not enough to cover all of the expenses. On a positive note, students had an optimistic outlook on borrowing because they saw the value of the importance of their education.

      Some of the policy suggestions were to look at a school’s ability to prevent over-borrowing and implement safe guards for “at risk” populations who are the most likely to default on loans. This article goes in depth with large issue which is at the forefront of U.S. policy and brings up some good areas that may need some more exploring.

    4. Alexander, F.K., Harnisch, T., Hurley, D., and Moran, R. (2010). Maintenance of effort: An evolving federal-state policy approach to ensuring college affordability. Journal of Education Finance, 36 (1), pp. 76-87.

      Alexander, Harnisch, Hurley and Moran (2010) examine positive and negative impacts of the federal government implementing Maintenance of Effort (MOE) funding, in which the federal government matches funds to state governments who maintain higher education funding at or above previous levels of funding. “The congressmen [who supported the MOE in 2007] argued that such incentives would help ensure that federal monies were used to supplement state resources for public higher education – not supplant them” (pg. 77). This type of legislation was especially important during the recession because many state governments were looking to cut spending, but advocates argued that a decrease in higher education funding has negative impacts on the economic vitality of the state and nation (pg. 78).

      MOE programs have been used across other governmental sectors to encourage state governments to maintain funding levels for programs, such as Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and Temporary Assistance to Need Families (TANF). The authors point out that “student grant aid programs now exist in all but one state… [and] that many of these programs today disproportionately aid private-sector and high-priced institutions because they tend to aware more aid to students attending more costly institutions” (pg. 78). In the 1970’s, lobbyists from private institutions supported MOE programs “as a means to create state funding streams to all institutions”, which is one example of how an interest group can impact governmental funding (pg. 78).

      The authors recognize positive impacts of MOE funding for higher education as a way for the federal government to assist with its goal of “increasing educational attainment rates among the nation’s citizens”, yet at the same time, have the bulk of funding and responsibility fall to the states (pg. 81). Another positive impact is that states are discouraged from decreasing funding for higher education, which helps students by paying lower tuition rates and will also likely decrease the student loan debt (pg. 81).

      There are also groups such as the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures who have argued against MOE funding (pg. 82). Some of the drawbacks include that the federal government is overstepping boundaries and the responsibility of higher education funding should fall to each state (pg. 84). Other arguments noted by the authors include that funding based on MOE standards creates inequities between states and a major problem with MOE funding is it discourages capital, research and development projects because, as an unintended consequence, these types of projects are not eligible for matching MOE funds (pg. 84).

      The authors point out certain states funding from 2006 compared to 2010 and Washington is listed as a state that increased its budget for higher education by nearly six million dollars in this timeframe (+0.45%) (pg. 86). The authors seem to advocate for a “shared responsibility between the federal and state governments to enhance college affordability” and recognize that MOE “provisions can serve as an effective policy tool in ensuring states’ commitment to funding higher education” (pg. 86).

      • N. Brusseau
    5. Michael Williams 5 September 2015

      "Breaking the cycle: a family-focused approach to criminal sentencing in Illinois"

      Lauren Feig

      Lauren Feig (2015) begins her analysis with a statistical overview of the ramifications of mandatory minimum sentencing on the families of incarcerated persons. Feig appropriately terms these ramifications “collateral damage” (pg. 13). According to Feig, more than half of the United States inmate population have children, a figure she reports has increased by 79% between 1991 and 2007. Feig reveals that most of the approximately 90,000 of these are children of nonviolent offenders serving an average of 80 months in facilities over 100 miles away from their families. (pg. 13)

      Feig points out that since these children are missing the economic and emotional centers of their lives, they are more likely to experience physical, mental and behavioral problems and, according to recent research, much more likely to offend themselves. Moreover, Besemer et al explain that “parental criminal involvement as “perhaps the strongest predictor of later offending among youth” (as cited in Feig, 2015, pg. 14).

      Feig goes on to report that parental incarceration varies as a complex interplay between individual and contextual factors at the relational, community, and societal levels, but contends that identifying “malleable factors associated with child outcomes and implementing interventions to impede risk trajectories” can address consequences of parental incarceration (pg. 14). For example, Feig cites efforts by New Mexico and California to minimize trauma, such as child-sensitive arrest protocols and counseling at the scene of arrest. However, Feig maintains that criminal justice policies which are accountable to children at every stage of the incarceration process are necessary to minimize damage (pg. 14).

      With respect to mandatory minimum sentences, Feig highlights the fact that these sentencing policies explicitly forbid judges to consider the interests of children and families in sentencing decisions. Feig goes on to report that, in the face of the collateral costs of severed family-ties, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) National Institute of Corrections (NIC) has established an interagency group which guides local and state governments mitigating the impacts of these sentencing laws (pg. 16).

      The Family-Focused approach to sentencing, according to Feig, facilitates matches the severity of sentencing to the severity of crime and extends beyond the criminal justice systems to other social services and educational systems (pg. 16). Feig points out that, to date, new interventions have reduced recidivism and increased family preservation outcomes. Feig explains that these interventions are strengths-based and data driven, and that emphasis on family factors such as needs and risks are considered in sentencing decisions (pg. 17). Programs such as electronic home monitoring and intensive supervision have proven effective. Feig explains that despite documented successes, resistance to family approaches to sentencing remain. Opponents argue that offenders should not receive special treatment just because they are parents.

      Feig closes with recommendations for sentencing reform in Illinois, citing that, despite great strides made by elected officials, expansions are needed. Feig recommends that pre-sentencing investigations include family impact statements, sentencing options should be expanded, and terms of confinement and location of imprisonment should be based on what is best for the children (19).

      Feig’s analysis of the success of a family based approach to sentencing is significant in that it highlights the counter-narrative propelled by opponents of sensible criminal justice reform. The cost/benefit ratio of the current, archaic policies are ignored in favor of the “tough on crime” narrative, to the detriment of individuals, families, and society at large..

      Source: http://ssa.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/uploads/AdvocatesForum_2015_Final.pdf

    6. Tiboris, M. (2014). What’s wrong with undermatching? Journal of Philosophy of Education, 48 (4), pp. 646-664.

      Tiboris (2014) recognizes that the idea of ‘undermatching’ is a new topic being studied and needs additional research. However, from the studies that have been conducted it has been determined that “undermatched” students are those who choose to attend a post-secondary school that is less selective than those for which they are academically qualified, or are perhaps qualified to go to college but choose not to apply” (pg. 646). Studies have found that approximately forty percent of students “enroll in a college below the selectivity level they could have attended” (as cited in Tiboris, pg. 647). The concern with undermatching is that students who attend more prestigious institutions tend to have better career outcomes and higher pay compared to students who attend less prestigious colleges (pg. 647).

      This occurs across all students, but students from lower socioeconomic statuses or first-generation college students tend to be ‘undermatched’ at a higher rate (pg. 646). This is a problem because institutions may be reinforcing achievement gaps between certain populations and have a huge impact on students’ success later in life (pg. 649). In order to combat this trend, Tiboris argues that low-income students should be targeted to receive more information and funding opportunities to attend selective universities (pg. 649). However, this solution only assists students who actually want to attend a more selective institution because the student would then have a better understanding of their options and can more likely make the choice for themselves. But what if a student actually desired to attend the less selective college?

      Tiboris poses the question: is undermatching a problem? Tiboris believes that undermatching is not a problem as long as the student has made the decision about which college to attend autonomously, but more research is necessary (pg. 648). Tiboris recognizes that it may be difficult to determine if a student is making an autonomous choice, but believes that “critical reflection” is an essential component of making the decision (pg. 654). It must be noted that Tiboris seems unsure if critical reflection can, in fact, lead an individual to their true preference because they may be heavily influenced by “historical conditioning”, with regards to expectations for their population (pg. 657).

      Tiboris points out that students may autonomously choose a less selective institution for reasons such as “wanting to stay closer to home, a desire to maintain certain cultural or religious practices, [or] personal distaste for city life” (pg. 651). There may be a number of reasons a student chooses a less selective college over their ‘matched’ institution. In fact, while working in the Admissions Office at WSU Vancouver, I have worked with a number of students who are academically prepared for WSU Vancouver, but the way the courses are offered are inconvenient and so the student has decided to attend the local community college instead.

      Tiboris states that “…policies intended to reduce undermatching will be morally problematic if they fail to respect the diverse values and preferences of different groups…” (pg. 649). Instead, Tiboris’ recommends that “we make stronger efforts to help students recognize and work with the reality that their preferences are often artifacts of their upbringing and culture” and college take specific (pg. 658).

      N. Brusseau

    7. Houle, J.N. (2013). Disparities in debt: Parents socioeconomic resources and young adult student loan debt. Sociology of Education, 87 (1), pp. 53-69.


      Houle (2013) conducts a study to see if there are correlations between the amount of loans a student commits to while a college student and the student’s socioeconomic status. This study uses secondary data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997 as well as the Bureau of Labor Statistics from nearly 9,000 college students. It is important to note that the sample was representative compared to national college student data in regards to race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and accumulated student loan debt. However, the sample had “more advantaged backgrounds [compared to] the general population”, which Houle believes is attributed to the entire sample having college experience (pg. 58). The sample was then asked to respond to a survey about their total student loan debt, but did not differentiate between governmental and private student loans.

      Once the data was collected, Houle used the ordinary least squares regression model and Craggit model to analyze the data. Houle determined that approximately forty percent of respondents had some form of student loan debt with the average amount of $22,940, which were both similar to national averages (pg. 58). Some interesting findings include that students who completed their college degree tended to have significantly higher debt amounts compared to students who did not finish their college degree, students who attended private institutions tended to have higher amounts of student loan debt compared to students who attended public colleges, and African Americans were also noted as having significantly higher amounts of student loan debt compared to white students.

      I believe one of the most interesting findings is consistent with previous research as the “middle-income squeeze perspective”, where the middle-income students are the most likely to have the highest amounts of student loan debt compared to high-income and low-income students (pg. 58). Houle points out the progress that a program at UC-Berkeley may have for middle-income families in which the “Middle Class Access Plan” limits the cost of tuition for middle-income families at 15% of the family’s income (pg. 63).

      Even though these findings will hopefully encourage institutions to examine their own student population, this national study provides an example of possible methods that can be used. Administrators, political actors and college leadership should examine their own financial aid and scholarship policies to ensure the merit scholarships and grants are not only primarily being awarded to high-income and low-income students, while leaving the middle-income students to take on the most student debt. Houle recognizes that the study does not answer, or even ask, the question of “Will their debt (investment) pay off? Or, will their debt lead them to lag behind their more advantages counterparts?” (pg. 66). These types of questions need to continually be asked to validate whether or not the amounts of loans students are committing to will actually pay off.

      N. Brusseau

    8. Everett, J. B. (2015). Public Community Colleges: Creating Access and Opportunities for First- Generation College Students. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 81(3), 52-58.

      As the title suggests, this article is about creating access to higher education for first generation college students by utilizing local, community colleges. According to the article community college have been key to granting access to certain subsets of the student population who would otherwise opt out of attending college all together. These groups include, ethnic minorities, low-income students, first generation students, underprepared individual or any combination of these. There is a sense of convenience and “fit” about a community college accompanied by a more affordable cost that makes it a good choice for many first generation students but as the article states, “if these students are not retained or do not transfer, then neither the students nor the institutions have been successful” (Everett, 52).

      A first generation college student, according to the article, is anyone whose parent(s) have not attended a post-secondary institution. The reasoning behind this is because students who have parents that have gone to college also have the “social capital” which accompanies their parent’s experiences. This includes the knowledge and experience to guide their student through the application process and prepare them for the cultural norms of a college atmosphere. All of this contributes to the level of access a student has to college.

      The article defines “access” as “the conditions and factors that facilitate and encourage or prohibit and discourage a person from attending college” (Everett, 53). Different types of access include: financial access, geographic access, programmatic access, academic access, and cultural, social, physical access. All of these factors play a role into whether or not a student will attend college however, students in vulnerable populations who overcome these accessibility issues and enroll may still face challenges after the admissions or enrollment process. My main takeaway from the article is that open access community college are intended to give access to students who have not historically had access and they have been successful in doing so. However, colleges have struggled in retaining these students which is where society should start to focus. “Helping first-generation students obtain their educational goals is economically beneficial for both the individual and for society” (Everett, 55). Colleges need to start focusing efforts on continuously removing barriers to access and providing the services students need to be successful upon enrollment

    1. Detroit may be America’s largest broke city; it may have experienced tremendous population and job loss — but against the odds, there are still people who want to move to this former industrial hub.

      This long feature story and series of personality profiles in the Detroit Free Press identifies five specific types of people moving into Motor City: Urban explorers, property seekers, native sons and daughters, entrepreneurs, and empty nesters.

      This article profiled individuals who fit all of those categories in trying to create a picture of what Detroit is now, post-bankruptcy filing, and the kinds of people dedicated to bringing it back.

      One pair of entrepreneurs moved to Detroit to open a restaurant, planning to capitalize on Detroit’s local food and urban agriculture movements. Deveri Gifford said: "The DIY attitude is what we really loved about the city. The fact that the city is broke really contributes to that DIY attitude because there's this perspective of 'No one else is going to do this, so if I see a problem I'm just going to fix it.' "

      Another couple is moving home to Detroit, where they both went to high school. Although they’ve lived elsewhere, they wanted to return home and be part of the rebuilding effort in their city. One works for Teach for America, and the other is in manufacturing.

      Retiree Maria Urquidi saw an opportunity to be part of the change in the city, and help it come back. She liked the idea of “coming up with brand new solutions” to fix problems. Detroit was also a much more affordable option for Urquidi, who worked in New York state. She was also attracted to the city’s architecture, and multitude of available, beautiful homes.

      Lesley Daley, a Londoner, was also attracted to the city’s architecture, and its history. Daley called the city “a secret” and said that she has not experienced many of the negatives perceived by outsiders, such as packs of stray dogs.

      Other people had varying reasons for moving to Detroit — from civic duty to a sense of opportunity and a desire to be closer to the urban core. They have experienced negatives — one couple had their car stolen, crime is a problem, and social services are lacking. But this group overwhelmingly says their experiences have been positive, and feel it is a good moment to influence change.

      One young mother, who boomeranged back to the city after college, said she sees opportunity for her child.

      "… He sees a lot of things he shouldn't be exposed to, especially at such a young age. But what I'm going to instill in him is that you have the power to change this. Are you going to be the one to complain about this, or are you going to be the one to change this?" she said.

      Edit: Although this is a personality profile/feature piece and not a hard policy topic, it is important to our group's work in that by identifying the people who are moving to the city, we can isolate some potential policy areas to emphasize as recommendations for Detroit. For example, the restaurant-owning couple values urban and local agriculture. The city can then implement policies to foster that culture, and with those policies in place potentially attract more people. By recognizing the values and priorities of potential residents, the city can shape its policy to be more attractive.

    1. Chin, Gabriel J., (2013). Race and the Disappointing Right to Counsel. The Yale Law Journal. Vol. 122(8). P. 2236(24).

      “Race and the Disappointing Right to Counsel” by Gabriel J. Chin addresses the insufficient outcome of the Gideon v. Wainwright decision. This asserted that no American can be denied the right to counsel based on class. Essentially, that if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. However, this case also said that the representation you are given must be adequate. According to Chin, Gideon had two purposes: “First, it intended to protect the innocent from conviction. This goal, while imperfectly achieved at best, was explicit…The Court’s second goal was to protect African American subject to the Jim Crow system of criminal justice” (Chin, 2013, 2236). Furthermore, Chin goes on to point out that the prison population has become far more racially disproportionate since the Gideon decision. “To the extent that Gideon improved the quality of counsel available to the poor, defense lawyers may be able to obtain favorable exercises of discretion in investigation, prosecution, and sentencing for indigent white defendants that they cannot for clients of color” (Chin, 2013, 2236).

      The Supreme Court has been hearing cases based on racial discrimination in the justice system long before Gideon. The author notes two relevant cases: Walton v. State and Griffin v. State, in which the Supreme Court deemed that the two defendants could not be held accountable for what they were convicted of because they did not understand the laws they violated. This of course set an interesting precedent in our justice system because it asserted that African American defendants couldn’t understand the law- which is not true. It did, however, set precedent for future cases where African American defendants may be treated unfairly based on their race. A more notable case, Brown v. Board of Education was another mentioned by Chin that points out the fact that we need to “craft a criminal justice ‘system in which racial discrimination would be eliminated root and branch” (Chin, 2013, 2239).

      Another crucial thing to consider are vagrancy laws. Essentially, they were put into place to further racial oppression by making it illegal for people to loiter or wander. Not only do these laws make little sense, but they made local municipalities money. The author states on page 2245, “For many of these offenses, no bias on the part of judges or juries or inadequacy of counsel was necessary to convict, because any person charges could reasonably be found guilty of, say, being near a building or property without a satisfactory excuse. In many parts of the South, convicting African Americans on vague charges was a profit center for both local governments and local businesses” (Chin, 2013, 2245). Obviously, vagrancy in itself was an attempt to oppress minority populations further.

      Plea bargaining is also mentioned by Chin as a consequence of Gideon. Gideon was a case based on the premise that all people have the right to counsel for trial. Plea bargaining completely negates that right, and people are encouraged to stay away from trial because they could be punished more severely. Furthermore, the point of plea bargaining was to help eliminate racial discrimination in sentencing. Yet the prison population has become overwhelmingly disproportionate since the implementation of this practice. According to Chin, “…The federal prison system, like that of the states, has substantial racial disproportionality- Native Americans are approximately 0.9 percent of the population, but 1.8% of federal prison inmates; people of Latino or Hispanic ethnicity are 16.3% of the population, but 34.9% of prisoners; and African Americans account for 37.2% of prisoners, even though they are only 12.6% of the general population. Good counsel alone has not remedied this problem” (Chin, 2013, 2252). Chin does an excellent job pointing out the issue of racial discrimination that is still rampant in our justice system.

    1. This week, I am summarizing a chapter titled “Twisted Sisters, Ladettes, and the New Penology: The Social Construction of ‘Violent Girls’” by Anne Worrall, part of the book Girls’ Violence. In this chapter, Worrall explains the recent gender neutrality that has been forming around incarceration. She explains that the image of the young female inmate has shifted from one of a “troublesome young woman” to that of a “nasty little madam” (p. 41). The author calls to the attention of the reader that criminal acts have long been perceived as the doings of poor, black male individuals. However, in the last few years, perceptions of the gender gap have begun to close.

      Some of the reasoning behind this new construction is in fact due to an increase in female incarceration. In the 1950’s, the ration of men to women offenders was 11:1. In the late 1990’s, the gap decreased to 4:1. While women are still only committing a fraction of the amount of crimes men are committing, Worrall explains that they are now far more exposed to gangs in the UK and the USA (p. 42). Some suggest the rise may be a consequence of post-feminism, which in some cases reject the identification of binaries in gender. This strain of ideology may have caused police officers to begin turning away from the “soft policing” of women (p. 43). Worrall argues this has lead to the “criminalization” of women, in turn. Worrall further explains this transferal of understanding, “They [‘troubled’ young women] have been socially constructed within a range of legal, welfare, and political discourses as, on the one hand, deeply maladjusted misfits and, on the other (and more recently), dangerous folk devils, symbolic of postmodern adolescent femininity”(p. 44).

      Some argue further that women have taken to the streets and crime after the second-wave of feminism gave them false hope and failed to present them with careers with equal pay. Still others argue that the second and third waves of feminism have encouraged women to be intolerant of violence at home, and they have thus begun fighting back (p. 46).

      Worrall herself seems to argue how destructive the new social construction of “girl violence” is, for numerous reasons. One such reason is it obscures the intersection of gender with race, failing to realize or rather admit the socioeconomic and racial factors, but merely adhering to the idea that “black girls” are “cute but deadly” (p. 48). Further, this construction seems to argue that the liberation of women has caused more harm than good, creating violent and aggressive individuals out of the previously submissive women (p. 49). Lastly, and perhaps most outrageous, the construction of “violent girls” promotes an ideology of the vicious cycle of “perverse mothering”, that violent young women will beget more violent and disobedient women, and the pattern will become harder and harder to break. In concluding, all of these constructions are stemming for the prime construction of “violent girls” and adhere only to that ideology, and blatantly ignores outside factors and variables, such as the increasingly more aggressive policing of young women, which is a vicious cycle in its own right.

    1. G.Nelson

      In their article, “Cartographies of Race and Class: Mapping the Class-Monopoly Rents of American Subprime Mortgage Capital,” Elvin Wyly, Markus Moos, Daniel Hammel, and Emanuel Kabahizi illustrate that in order to understand the subprime housing crisis of twenty-ought, one needs to understand the structural inequalities of class-monopoly rent. The understanding of class-monopoly rent has not gone away, but has shifted from a local landlord to an international landlord that regulates the renter upon the predatory practices of subprime lending. Variable rates, expensive fees, and asymmetrical information controls the tenants, like that of the 1960s land-installment contracts.

      The group quickly illustrates the process of creating and packaging subprime loans. A bank or mortgage company to a borrower draws up a mortgage; that loan is quickly sold off to a Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE); in return, the bank or mortgage company receives cash to make more loans. The original loan is, then, pooled into Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) and Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) –which are backed by Wall Street Investment Banks—and are sold around the world to various public and private institutions. The group highlights that at the time of rising home prices, the risk of a default is limited and the financial impact on the bond (MBSs and CDOs) is relatively mute. The bank could force a new mortgage, and the equity that was in the home would go to generate more income for the bank or, essentially, drop the homeowner and force them to become a renter.

      In 1995, the Subprime markets accounted for $65 billion, but by 2006, the markets mushroomed to $625 billion. In 2007 a rush of delinquencies, defaults, and foreclosures, along with decreasing home values, created a credit crunch in the economy and chipped away at the confidence of the investors of MBSs and CDOs. This left the U.S. government vulnerable in which the Federal Reserve took dramatic action to buy up MBSs and of unknown values and government bonds to free up banks’ balance sheets.

      Instead of taking blame within the financial markets, industry-defenders blamed the imperfect markets, the consumers for taking out more than they could manage, and the attempt by institutions to help more individuals then the markets could handle. The group illustrates, however, that institutionalized racial inequality because of credit-worthiness and lending practices are to blame for the systemic credit crunch of the twenty-ought.

      Risk-based pricing --a theory that determines that an individuals ability to borrow and at what rate—has been the basis philosophy of financial markets of the last twenty years. However, the group illustrates how the philosophy has come under attack recently, and provides anything but the rosey picture that it once promised. The theory only deters moneylenders from lending to minorities and low-income individuals by providing a justification of denial to entry.

      A social problem of the lack of access to homeownerships for the “underserved” (minorities and low-income individuals) gradually brought about State and Federal regulations and programs to assist homeownership for the underserved. Within the 1960s, for minorities to build up credit worthiness and equity for a bank to justify a mortgage --even if the minority already had the sufficient income to justify a mortgage—the minority would utilize a land-installment contract. This path towards homeownership often carried higher premiums. Within the 1980s, a series of laws made specific types of loans and lenders exempt from regulatory practices (337). Through the 1990s, federal and state regulators maintained the effort of providing traditional mortgages to the underserved, but at the turn of the century, small lending firms, which were backed by Wall Street, began to provide loans that were not restricted by state and federal regulations. Asymmetrical information, lack of knowledge by the consumers, led many to believe that this is the only way for them to own a home. These small lending firms were bought up by national banks and accounted them as subsidiaries, which allowed the bank to carry the exempt status in its subsidiary firm and continue the predatory practices, but now at this time, in a much grander scale. The loan restriction of the 1960s –which stems from racism-- has only transformed itself back to loan restrictions of today because of the predatory lending that is justified by the risk-based pricing theory.

      I am illustrating the foresaid points of the article in my annotation to emphasize the foundation of racial-lending practices that span decades within the U.S. financial system. This will be imperative to tie into the financial credit crisis of 2008, and how municipalities suffered from this sort of practice.<br> G.Nelson

    1.       President Obama has made College access and affordability for all Americans a goal of his Presidency. In the 2012 State of the Union address the President outlined several measures that he believed would make College more available to Americans. The first step was to begin to change the structural system of Federal Aid to Colleges. The administration proposed that colleges who managed to maintain a lower tuition would receive more federal aid while those colleges who fail to keep net-tuition down would have their federal aid cut. Obama claims that the program will incentivize colleges to keep tuition low and that prior systems of federal aid did nothing to encourage this. The new system would reward colleges on the criteria of low tuition, quality education, and serving low income and Pell Grant students. Obama also promised to start a Race to The Top incentive program that would reward states that would systematically change their higher education to improve completion and affordability. Further the administration offered to reward both colleges and non-profit organizations who create break through strategies in revolutionizing education and spreading and funding techniques that have proven effective. The President than called for a College Score Card that would allow families to compare college costs, estimated future earnings, and graduation rates of each college so that they can make an informed choice as two what college may be the best choice for them. Finally the administration offered increased funding to Pell Grants and maintained its commitment to keeping student loans low. The administration also toted the Pay as You Earn Program which caps yearly student loan payments at 10% of monthly income to stop student loans from pushing graduates into poverty.      

      White House (January 27, 2012). FACT SHEET: President Obama’s Blueprint for Keeping College Affordability and Within Reach for All Americans. The White House. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/27/fact-sheet-president-obama-s-blueprint-keeping-college-affordable-and-wi.

    1. Homelessness in Europe and the United States: A Comparison of Prevalence and Public Opinion I am incredibly glad that this article came up because this article is a comparative study about peoples attitudes, knowledge and opinions concerning homelessness. The authors had telephone interviews with a random sample of adults in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the UK, and the United States. The study does attempt to differentiate between the different locations, I will focus mainly on the results concerning the United States (because our group's topic is related to status in the United States). Definition of Homelessness in the US: "literal" homeless, who reside in shelters, abandoned buildings, or other public spaces, and those who are homeless but live off of family and friends. Because the interviews were done over the phone its believed that these are accurate descriptions of the public opinion on homeless. Results: Lifetime prevalence of literal homelessness in the United States, meaning the highest levels of homelessness found in the United States and the UK. The adults from the United States might have been less likely to note they were homeless or sympathize with homeless due to the questions relating to homelessness asked if there was a time when they were homeless, instead of other countries being asked if they had ever fallen on hard times. This may have created some differences in attitudes because this was the first question and it could lead to a certain frame of mind. In other countries it was noted that income inequality was a factor in determining homelessness, while in the United States capitalism or high rates of inequality were not listed as a major factor. Apparently there were wide disparities in descriptions and feelings towards homelessness between those who have been homeless and those that have not been homeless, therefore previously homeless were not included in the results. There were lower levels of public support for homeless individuals in the United States, Italy, and the UK. In the United States homelessness was categorized by having a high rate of criminals or perceived criminal intent. In the United States personal failings were an important cause of homelessness. Homeless in the United States are also more likely to be described as drunks or alcoholics. the seriousness of homelessness as a problem was consistent between all of the countries.Estimates of the homeless in the United States (from respondents) placed homeless to be more likely to have children, less likely to be male, and more likely to have regular contact with relatives. Homeless families are actually statistically on the rise, based on recent point in time statistics. (This could be skewed because families are more likely to seek out services).

    1. Parental Incarceration, child homelessness, and the invisible consequences of mass imprisonment

      Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study, the author “investigates average and race-specific effects of paternal and maternal incarceration on the risk of child homeless (p.74).” Authors of this study use the “analytic sample,” of children who had “at least one parent complete both the 30- and 60 month interview (p.79).” Although number of observations was large (N=3,774) it only represented about 75% of the children identified in the sample. Missing data is a noteworthy limitation. The main argument author makes is that the effects of paternal and maternal incarceration have different effects on children. Families with incarcerated fathers tend to lose family finances. Due to this consequence, families lose access to institutional and informal supports. Mothers left to take care of families often suffer from depression (due to losing their partner) and their ability to take care their child(ren) suffers. Maternal incarceration, author theorizes, results in foster care or other forms of housing, but it reduces chance of child homelessness. Therefore, increase in paternal imprisonment increases child homelessness, while female imprisonment increases foster care placements (p.75). The results in the study “support the hypothesis that paternal but not maternal incarceration increases the risk of child homelessness, and show that nearly all these effects are concentrated among African American children (p.75).” According to National Center on Family Homelessness 2009, “two percent of children are now homeless annually, with rates higher in cities (p.76).” According to the research, “shifts in social policies, deindustrialization, increases in single parenthood, and the housing squeeze played a role in increasing the risk of homelessness for black children (p.76).” This article attempts to shed light on the parental incarceration and child homelessness but more research needs to be developed. Its three limitations are (1) little discussion of potential mechanisms, (2) “data used preclude controls for confounders such as prior homelessness, eviction and incarceration, (3) it doesn’t test for disparate effects by race nor takes account for whether paternal and maternal incarceration increase the risk of child homelessness. Authors offer that further research should focus on “disproportionately detrimental effects of paternal incarceration on black children (p.92).”<br> The study concludes that “results from logistic regression and propensity score models consistently indicate that recent paternal incarceration increases the risk of child homelessness; maternal incarceration, on the other hand, was never associated with a significant change in risk (p.92).” The results provide three implications in regards to the effects of mass imprisonment on social inequality; 1) paternal and maternal incarceration lead to parallel paths of marginalization; this study is the first to show paternal incarceration increases risk of child homelessness. Second, these small effects have large implications; when combined with “increases and disparity in the risk of paternal imprisonment, they imply the prison boom accounted for 65% increase in black-white inequality of child homelessness (p.92).” Finally, as children of prison boom come of age, an expectation of increasing black-white gaps in civil preparedness and political participation. Children homelessness is once again in the light, because as mentioned previously, Social Construction Framework suggests that children are low on political power and higher on deserving scale. As innocent, or unable to fend for themselves it is easy to request social attention to their needs, especially when they are exposed to homelessness without any reason of their own but because they’re born to parents who are incarcerated. The challenge lies with incarcerated parents however, since social construction and power typology chart shows criminals on low power, underserving part of the scale which in effect reflects poorly on their children. By creating a reputation for incarcerated parents; limit their employment once they’re out, access to public assistance, heavy fines to pay back, the children are exposed to a limited amount of help and therefore more exposed to homelessness.

    1. Michael Williams POLS 514 Professor Long 17 November 2015

      "Obama administration signals support to reduce prison time for nonviolent offenders"

      By Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

      In her article for U.S. News, Jalonick discusses the Obama administration’s decision to express support for bipartisan Senate legislation that would reduce prison sentences for some nonviolent offenders. Jalonick points out that sentencing reform is a rare issue that attracts agreement from both sides of the political isle (Jalonick, 2015).

      Jalonick reports that the bill is aimed to make sentencing fairer, citing that the federal prison population has exploded since 1980. According to Jalonick, this explosion is due largely to mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines.

      Jalonick quotes Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates, who states: “Because our laws cast too broad a net, we have a hard time distinguishing between the cartel leader who needs to be in prison for a long time, and the mope who doesn’t” (pg. 1).

      The bill, according to Jalonick, would give judges more discretion in recommending sentences which are less than federal mandatory minimums in some cases, and would eliminate mandatory life sentences for three-time, nonviolent drug-offenders.

      Jalonick also reveals that, although support for sentencing reform comes from both sides of the isle, both sides have also had to compromise, and that the bill even has the support of former Attorney General Michael Mukasey (pg. 1).

      Some key features of the legislation, according to Jalonick, are that it would require eligible inmates to undergo regular assessments to determine the likelihood to recidivate, and those who are deemed low-risk could spend the last of potentially reduced sentences in supervised, community-based programs (pg. 1).

      Jalonick goes on to note that in 1980, the federal prison population was less than 25,000, and today is more than 200,000, prompting agreement from both conservative and civil liberties groups that the current system is broken. Jalonick also notes that, although most members of the Judiciary panel appear to support the bill, Republican Senator from Alabama, Jeff Sessions said mandatory minimums have worked and that scaling them back could reverse progress in reducing crime (pg. 2).

      Jalonick’s article is a snapshot of the current political climate surrounding the issue of mandatory minimum sentencing. The article is relevant in that it provides a context by which the history of mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines can be understood. Additionally, the article reveals the slow progress with which hard-line proponents of these sentencing policies have responded to the concentrated efforts of legislators, law enforcement, academics, opposition and other stakeholders in the failed war on drugs.


    1. “Can Detroit Rebuild Its Middle Class?” from the National Journal, Tim Alberta (2014) http://www.nationaljournal.com/next-economy/america-360/can-detroit-rebuild-its-middle-class?mref=scroll

      In this fascinating article by Tim Alberta (2014) from the National Journal, there is a focus on rebuilding the middle class of Detroit with the image of diversity and self-sustainability. The underlying ideology is that a strong middle class is the key to a thriving city. There are currently 2 Detroit’s: one that portrays a downtown revival with new condos, business, and breweries, and the other that resembles a “zombieland,” completely lacking inhabitants (Alberta, 2014). Alberta (2014) says that the city’s biggest problem is a lack of residents. People are needed to build the middle class and restore the economy. Even though there is a boom of new businesses, it has not been enough to draw people to live in the depressed and abandoned neighborhoods. Reasons that young and educated workers do not want to live in Detroit is because crime is off the charts, the public school system is one of the worst in the nation, and the city’s public services are significantly lacking (Alberta, 2014).

      The rebuilding attempts that are taking place are multi-faceted. City and state officials are trying to rebuild the middle class by luring educated, professional immigrants to the area. Non-profits are working to retain the graduates of Michigan’s universities. Additionally, non-profits are providing job-training and connecting employees with in-demand industries. Business organizations and coalitions are diversifying and trying to destigmatize Detroit as a manufacturing only city. Rebranding the city is considered an especially important step (Alberta, 2014). Doing this will reinforce the importance of education that was once not unnecessary to get a manufacturing job in the city. Millions in investment dollars are going into technology and the energy industry to attract a young and diversely educated workforce. “To build a long-term economic base, Detroit, like a low budget baseball team, must develop and retain homegrown talent” (Alberta, 2014). Once the middle-class is stronger, more money will be available for governmental services like schools and public works, and the city will fully start to heal.

    1. Breunig, C., Koski, C., & Mortensen, P. B. (2009). Stability and punctuations in public spending: A comparative study of budget functions. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 20:703-722.

      This article published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory by Breunig, Koski, and Morentsen presents a longitudinal study of stability and punctuations of public spending in the United States and Denmark. Breunig et al apply Baumgarnter and Jones’ disproportionate information processing model as a theoretical basis for this research. (The disproportionate information processing model was presented in 2005 by Baumgartner and Jones as a more general model of their punctuated equilibrium model/theory). In addition to the two countries being compared in this quantitative study, the spending patterns across different subcategories of public budgets in the areas of health, education, transportation, military, etc. are analyzed (Brenig et al, 2009). Their findings align with what Baumgartner and Jones predicted would occur universally with spending punctuations; “political decision makers either ignore or overact to information signals from their surroundings. This results in a distinct pattern of both stability and punctuated change in policy outputs often measured in terms of public spending indices” (Brenig et al, 2009, p. 704). A pattern of kurtosis was reflected across multiple subcategories of public budgets in both countries. Kurtosis is represented in a diagram as long periods of flat, incremental change with sharp punctuations that spike rapidly and then quickly return to equilibrium (Brenig et al, 2009).

      The usefulness of this study in looking at the situation in Detroit, Michigan and its fiscal crisis is that it helps explain the unprecedented fiscal punctuation that occurred in 2013. Because the policy makers did not make the small, incremental changes to respond to the changing demographics and economic environment that affected the city’s budget subcategories, the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history occurred. Who knows if the crisis could have been averted? However, punctuated equilibrium theory does help us understand why. The data presented in this article by Breunig et al (2009) reminds me of a pressure cooker; if the incremental changes do not occur- to let off steam, then there will be an explosion. This article also made me realize that a good way to study public policy is through budgetary punctuations; these punctuations are either the result of an overreaction or poor planning on the part of policy makers.

    1. Harris, A., Evans, H., & Beckett, K. (2010). Drawing Blood from Stones: Monetary Sanctions, Punishment, and Inequality in the Contemporary United States. American Journal of Sociology 115, 1753-1799.

      In “Drawing Blood from Stones: Monetary Sanctions, Punishment, and Inequality in the Contemporary United States,” by Harris, Evans, and Beckett, the issue of legal financial obligations (LFO’s) and their effects on impoverished communities is discussed in detail. The authors begin the article by stating that the US incarceration rate is 6-12 times higher than those in comparable western European countries (Harris, Evans & Beckett, 2010, 1753). The authors also point out that “Between 1980 and 2007, the total number of people under criminal justice supervision- which includes the incarceration and those on probation and parole- jumped from roughly 2 million to over 7 million” (Harris, Evans & Beckett, 2010, 1754). These statistics are important to note, because the amount of LFO’s imposed on defendants who commit crimes, and those who are simply accused of crimes are increasing nationwide.

      The method the authors used in their research was to analyze data from the Survey of Inmates in the State and Federal Correctional Facilities and from the Bureau of Justice Statistics data on sentencing. They also drew interviews with 50 Washington State residents living with felony convictions to determine how legal debt affects those who have it (Harris, Evans & Beckett, 210, 1766).

      The majority of criminal punishment is concentrated in impoverished urban areas, and nearly 60% of young black men who have not graduated from high school have at some point been behind prison bars (Harris, Evans & Beckett, 2010, 1754). LFO’s are concentrated on poor areas with high populations of minority citizens. The authors state on page 1755,

      “…The U.S. penal system is implicated in the accumulation of disadvantage and the reproduction of inequality for a number of reasons: the growing number of (mainly poor) people whose lives it touches, the impact of criminal conviction on employment and earnings…mass incarcerations’ destabilizing effects on families in urban communities, and the widespread imposition of ‘collateral’ or ‘invisible’ sanctions that transform punishment from a temporally limited experience to a long-term status” (Harris, Evans & Beckett, 2010, 1755).

      LFO’s not only include general court fees, but fines and restitution orders. Not only is the national average according to the author’s research exceed $7,000 per offender, but all fines are subject to interest, surcharges, and collection fees (Harris, Evans & Beckett, 2010, 1759).

      Furthermore, we have even gone so far as to impose fees on those utilizing indigent defense. Meaning, those who need a public defender because they cannot afford a private attorney, must pay a user fee regardless of the Gideon v. Wainwright decision (Harris, Evans & Beckett, 2010, 1758). That was decided in Oregon- a liberal state. Additionally, in Washington, Superior Court judges can now impose up to 17 fees on felony defendants when they are sentenced. In New York, they can impose 19 different fees (Harris, Evans & Beckett, 2010, 1758).

      This is all important to the issue of impoverished communities because LFO’s are affecting the innocent sometimes more than those incarcerated or sentenced. This is because most defendants have children, for whom they have been mandated to pay child support for. When they cannot pay because of legal fees, their children and overall family health and structure suffer and deteriorate (Harris, Evans & Beckett, 2010, 1760). This only perpetuates the cycle of poverty and family disenfranchisement that is common in poor urban areas. LFO’s are in essence, helping to keep poor areas poor.

    1. G.Nelson

      In her article, “Government Budgets as the Hunger Games: The Brutal Competition for State and Local Government Resources Given Municipal Securities Debt, Pension and OBEP Obligations, and Taxpayer Needs,” Professor Christine Chung provides an eye opening and thorough analysis of Detroit’s economic woes. She summarizes the latest statistical findings, which illustrates the severe loss in residents, property blight, crime rates, the maximum statutory limit of taxation reached, citizen flight, and the loss of jobs. Moreover, she illustrates the budgetary debt constraints that have ballooned to more than $18 billion, which helped prompt Detroit to file for bankruptcy; the debt to revenue ratio will only increase over the next few years; bondholders are expected to lose a substantial amount of their investment from the bankruptcy. Chung illustrates that the City’s collapse preceded by an incremental decrease in jobs. From 1970 to 2012 the number of jobs declined from 735,104 to 346,545 (Chung 666).

      She illustrates that Detroit is not an exceptional case, but there are numerous municipalities that are struggling to pay debt and other obligations, e.g. pensions. Currently, out of the participating states and localities, only $2.35 trillion has been set aside to pay pensions, health care, and OPEB promised to public sector employees; however, the actual estimated cost is around $3.5 trillion: more than $1 trillion in unfunded obligations (Chung 669).

      Because of Detroit’s financial instruments used to manage their budgetary obligations, they took a high stake wager on interest rates, and when the rates declined, “Detroit lost catastrophically on the swaps bet” (Chung 670). Some municipalities have used derivatives to win, but others, e.g. Orange County, California and Jefferson County, Alabama, have lost or struggled with the financial instruments.

      Chung posits that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act does not go far enough to protect stakeholders or prevent from imprudent financial-decisions-makers from erring in how they utilize risky financial instruments. She finalizes her article with the following regulatory recommendations, which should provide a clearer picture of a City’s budget, obligations and revenues: "(i) requiring compliance with uniform accounting standards, so that stakeholders can get a better sense of the state of state and local government budgets; (ii) creating a data collection resource and oversight body to help identify and manage risks associated with complex instruments, (iii) creating a data collection resources and oversight body to help identify and management risks associated with public employee compensation (particularly pensions and OPEB), and (iv) expanding the reach of the fiduciary standard to a broader range of stakeholders involved in local government financial decision-making, including public officials, underwriters, and derivatives counterparties.” (Chung 671)

      Honest politicians, clear and transparent accounting, and realistic demands on the City’s and State’s resources are needed, even at the cost of upsetting some constituents. A norm can be redeveloped that can help Cities create stability and longevity.


    1. This article looks at the effects of partisan politics on state higher education budgets. The study mentioned that in comparison to other areas higher education has received much higher cuts then other areas over the last several decades. It points out that both Republican and Democrats have a tendency to support community colleges but for different reasons. Republicans view it as a more cost effective solution while Democrats view it as better at redistributing wealth. The study hypothesized however that more Democratic state legislators would ultimately result in higher education budgets. It also hypothesized that Democrats would be more supportive of higher education in legislators which were less polarized. The reasoning is that in highly polarized legislators Democrats will focus on their traditional constituencies like healthcare and welfare, and Republicans will avoid supporting anything that could be viewed as redistribution politics. Its third hypothesis is that the Democrats strength in the legislator on state funding on higher education would be moderated by economic conditions. In poor economic conditions they predicted that higher education would take cuts rather than programs that are view more essential by both parties. The study tested their hypothesis by looking at data from the states and measuring higher education budget out of every 1000 dollars income collected by the state. The data looked to confirm these hypotheses. Democratic presence in the state legislature did positively impact higher education budget but that polarization and economic conditions could lower these effects. The data suggests that Higher Education spending is an odd issue because it is actually preferred by both parties but not particularly essential to either. Thus in a highly polarized legislator or economic crisis it will be dropped as both parties focus on protecting their key issues.     
      Dar, Luciana and Dong Wook Lee. July 1, 2014. Partisanship, Political Polarization, and State Higher Education Budget Outcomes. Journal of Higher Education Vol. 85 No. 4, 469-498.
    1. In the article “Drug Use, Prison, and the Social Construction of Femininity”, author Margaret S. Malloch explores the stereotypes and perceptions of women drug users as understood by women drug users in prison. Malloch explains that it has been socially constructed that “hard” drug use of illicit substances is a masculine activity, while abusing medication is far more feminine. Malloch conducted interviews with women drug users in prison (many serving time for drug offenses) in the U.K to uncover to what extent these women agree with the social construction, or were possibly consciously combating the perceptions (p. 349).

      Malloch explains that women and their bodies have been oppressed and controlled by “the patriarchy”. It is in this social construction and an awareness of the body as the “site” of the drug use, which suggests that women drug users are more masculine because they are taking control of their bodies in choosing when, how, and what they feel via substance abuse. Malloch writes, “While individuals may be born male or female, masculinity and femininity are achieved as the result of a process of disciplinary practices” (p. 350). Through centuries of consenting to our positions in life as men and women, we have reinforced what is considered normal and what is considered deviant. Women drug users in prison are thus doubly deviant, as they are criminals, and non-feminine drug users.

      Further, the author suggests that incarceration and punitive punishment experienced by these women is another form of “penetration” they experience because they failed to conform to the ideal feminine shape (p. 351). Even upon reentry, the constructed role of the woman is forced upon females. In an attempt to “normalize” women reentering society through rehabilitation programs, the image of the wife and mother is forced on them by the politically minded. Intervention takes place to reestablish these drug users as family women who just need some physical and moral discipline to get them back on the right side of things (p. 352).

      Through interviewing these women, Malloch found that many of them were using illegal drugs for the very reason physicians prescribe medication to women. These women were using “hard” drugs as a way to cope with anxiety, depression, or just to escape from the everyday hassle of life (p. 353). However, the illegal method of coping is much more stigmatized than the medical method, even if both can cause dependencies. Women are being “inappropriate” and “masculine” when they choose to handle their problems their own way (p. 354).

      Malloch is not glorifying women’s decision to use hard drugs. She notes, “The pressures and expectations of conformity to constructions of femininity are applicable to women identified as ‘deviant’ as they are to all women” (p. 356). Many of the women enjoyed how thin heroin made them. They expressed difficulty in staying sober not only because they were addicted but also because they gained weight when sober and felt less like attractive. Malloch explains this is part of the “tyranny of slenderness” in which women aspire to look more like the women in fashion magazines (p. 354).

      Malloch concludes by explaining the double edges sword of socially constructed “hard” drug use. In choosing to abuse substances, women are combating the constructions they are confined to. However, when trying to make the decision to quit, they are controlled more than ever by the constructs, as they fear how unattractive they will look and feel once no longer high. Malloch last sentence defines her thesis clearly, “While dominant images of drug use project a ‘masculine’ activity, they ignore the pervasiveness with which ideological constructions of gender affect women both inside and outside prison. The broader operation of penalties located around gender identities must be recognized in terms of their impact and effects on women” (p. 357).

    1. Brief Report: The Aging of the Homeless Population: Fourteen-Year Trends in San Francisco This article is a longitudinal study of the characteristics of homelessness over a 14 year period. The point of the study was to examine the age, housing, health status, health service utilization, and drug use of the homeless population. The start of the paper discusses the characteristics associated with homelessness which are substance- and alcohol-related problems, mental illness, poor health, decreased access to ambulatory care, high rates of acute care, and high mortality. The sample population were taken from single residency occupancy hotels, meal-service programs, and shelters. The researchers found there was a significant increase in median age, on average there was an increase in the average age by .66 years per calendar year. The median total time being homeless increased on average 2.7 months per calendar year.

      The takeaway from this study for our research project would be that homelessness is defined as persons who spend any night outdoors, in an emergency shelter, or in any other place not meant for habitation.

      The status of homelessness is varied but would include mostly African American (51.7%), few women (22.9%), and very few 65 years or older (1.2%). While drug and alcohol use were questioned there is no clear statistic on the percentage they included, though the trends would suggest that drug and alcohol use is on a downward trend, 40.3% in 1990-1994 down to 28.8% in wave 4 in 2003.

      Note: The author notes that during this time period there were many instances of mandatory drug sentencing for young offenders, this might have reduced the number of younger individuals who are homeless.

    1. Are economically poor information poor? Does the digital divide affect the homeless and access to information?

      To begin, digital divide refers to the gap between those who have access to information (“information haves”) and those who do not (information have nots). Digital divide causes great concerns regarding individual’s and family’s access to information. Much focus from the Government has been placed on providing internet to public school and libraries to limit the digital divide and provide access to digital information for all. According to the author, the literature on digital divide focuses on who has and who doesn’t have access to the Internet, as well as what libraries can do to lessen the divide. However, further research, such as addressing lack of Internet access at home, is needed to focus on digital divide specifically.<br> By gathering information through interviews and participant observation from six family shelters in Indianapolis, five in Seattle, and one family shelter in Greensboro the research focuses on how valuable and useful of an information seeking tool the Internet would be in everyday lives of homeless families This qualitative approach was “undertaken to gather data to answer research questions concerning everyday life information needs,” and “information poverty (p.242).” Twenty-five in depth interviews of homeless parents living in shelters were also conducted to answer the posed research questions. Majority of residents interviewed did not find internet as a major source of information. In fact, most reported that the most useful way to communicate was face to face and then get the information in writing. Overall the information gathered was from social service agencies and clergy, or friends and family. Even though majority of respondents lacked basic computer skills they did not think they were information poor. Most information about resources was shared informally between shelter residents, especially if person sharing did not need that resource for themselves. According to the article, because resources are limited and non-profits fear being overrun with those in need, they keep a lot of their information off the web. Even social service agents found some resource information from other staff members as opposed to online. The study explains six propositions introduced by Chatman’s (1996) research on information insiders and outsiders. Information insiders are those who have been homeless before and understand how to navigate the system, information outsiders are those who are first time homeless. Based on the research, six propositions were suggested as to why people fail to gather information. Proposition 1: Lack of resources rather than lack of information was the issue. Proposition 2: information poverty is partially associated with class distinction and outsiders withhold privileged access to information. Proposition 3: Self-protective behavior affects the information shared. Not everyone wants to share their personal info with resource staff or with other residents. Proposition 4: Secrecy and deception as part of self-protecting can affect information sharing especially with those providing resources. Deception was common when trying to gain access to resources for which informant may not be eligible.

      Proposition 5: At times, individuals are more likely to share personal information such as substance abuse or domestic with resource providers because the need for resource assistance outweighed the concern over possible negative consequences (p.246).

      Proposition 6: New knowledge will be selectively introduced into the information world of poor people. Shelter residents were more likely to say they are suffering from information overload than lack of information. The study explains that these findings are limited and not generalizable but can be transferable. Further research is needed to determine if shelters provide information access and if they do not, why not. The homeless lack sufficient economic resources such as stable housing but they do not feel that they lack information or access to information. In fact, most feel that they receive more information than necessary and are “tired of people thinking just because we’re poor we ain’t got nothing (p.247).” It will be interesting to see how digital divide and information access changes as new generations, such as children of parents interviewed emerge into more Internet dependent society. For now, the lack of access to digital information does not seem to negatively affect the everyday life of homeless parents. Surprisingly this paper was written in 2013 so a lot more emphasis on Internet would’ve been expected. As the information states, Government has already attempted to address the digital divide by providing Internet access as publicly as possible. The other issue is that some information is withheld from the web due to large need that agencies cannot fulfill. Social Construction Theory indicates that homeless are considered deserving part of the population so these services are provided to them, especially families seeking basic needs such as housing, employment and health resources. There are Government agencies in place that address these needs but not nearly at capacities at which the need exists. Clearly we see the complexity of Social Construction Theory; since homeless are low on power scale, and borderline between deserving and undeserving it’ difficult to provide for them but also as difficult not to provide for them.

    1. Michael Williams POLS 514 Professor Long 7 November 2015

      Chapter 2 of a 2011 U.S. Sentencing Commission report to Congress

      “History of Mandatory Minimum Penalties and Statutory Relief Mechanisms”

      The authors of this U.S. Sentencing Commission report begin by disclosing that it provides a detailed account of the development and evolution of mandatory minimum penalties. According to the authors, Congress has used mandatory minimum penalties since it enacted the first federal penal laws in the late 18th century, though they were reserved for serious offenses, such as murder and treason. Congress, according to the authors, created the first comprehensive series of federal offenses with the passage of the 1790 Crimes Act (7).

      The report notes that the colonies, following a trend in England, had increased the number of capital crimes throughout the 17th and 18th century, but reduced the number following the American Revolution, a move which was spurred by the Enlightenment ideals of utilitarianism and proportionality in punishment (8). Among the punishments debated by Congress was dissection, and among the crimes warranting death was producing counterfeit public sureties. The report reveals that Congress enacted the first mandatory minimum terms in response to strained relations with France. Following the XYZ Affair, Congress imposed terms no less than 6 months in prison for what would amount to espionage today (9). The report also states that a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison for any citizen bringing slaves into the United States was enacted by the 1807 Act (10).

      Replacing the 1790 Crimes Act was the 1825 Crimes Act, which imposed stiffer penalties for counterfeiting sureties and death penalties for crimes such as burning a dwelling on a military post and crimes on the high seas (11). The authors go on to note in section (C.) that Congress enacted mandatory minimum sentences during the Civil War which targeted individuals allied with the Confederacy, mandating death in 1862 for certain Confederate spies (13), as well as mandatory minimum penalties of six months for anyone encouraging desertion or sheltering a deserter (14).

      After the Civil War, Congress repealed the death penalty for counterfeiting, but Revised Statutes employed mandatory minimum penalties for crimes such as piracy, forgery, and slave trafficking (17). According to the report, the Revision Commission recommended the abolition of mandatory minimum penalties for many crimes, explaining that statutory sentences embraced the more enlightened practice of fitting the punishment to the criminal (18). Although the Revision Commission report resulted in the repeal of many mandatory minimum penalties, the Volstead Act of 1919 in accordance with prohibition (21).

      The report goes on to note that after 1951, Congress used mandatory minimums is three new, significant ways: they enacted more penalties, expanded their use to offenses not traditionally covered by such penalties, and the penalties (used today) are generally lengthier than those in earlier eras. However, by the 1960s, mandatory minimums became increasingly unpopular and nearly all mandatory minimums for controlled substances were repealed in exchange for more “realistic” and “flexible” penalties (22).

      The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 established the basic framework of mandatory minimum penalties currently applicable to federal drug trafficking offenses (23). The act produced the 100:1 cocaine/crack ratio, and the Omnibus Anti-Abuse Act increased the minimum penalty for crack and included conspiracies to commit substantive offenses (25).

      The report concludes with descriptions of mandatory minimum penalties for sex crimes and a brief overview of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. This report is useful for the explication of a comprehensive history of mandatory minimum sentencing, the path by which the U.S. government has both progressed and regressed with respect to sentencing policy, and the mediating factors and antecedents of sentencing policy along the U.S. judicial timeline.

    1. Binelli, M. (2013). “Chapter 11, Politics.” pp. 229-51. Detroit City is the Place to Be. New York, NY: Picador.

      Mark Binelli gives a good portrayal of the political upheaval that surrounded the bankruptcy of Detroit in Chapter 11 of his book, Detroit City is the Place to Be. At a time when a fiscal crisis was iinevitable, Detroit needed leadership that had experience, innovative ideas, and a vision for the failing city. Kwame Kilpatrick was elected the mayor of Detroit in 2002 and left in handcuffs in 2008, charged with 24 federal felony counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and racketeering (Binelli, 2013). The Democrat mayor was not only stealing money from the city, he was stealing the trust of the citizens remaining in the economically devastated region. After an interim major, Democrat Dave Bing was elected in 2009 as the city’s highest ranking official. Bing was a former Detroit Piston and an auto-parts supply company owner (Binelli, 2013). Although Bing was seen as the exact opposite of flamboyant and charismatic Kilpatrick, his lack of public administration skills did not serve Detroit well.

      Adding to the punctuation of bad leadership at the city level, Republican Rick Snyder became Michigan’s governor in 2011. In trying to attract new business to the state, Snyder embraced supply side economics by lowering corporate taxes by more than $1.5 billion dollars per year. He made up for the cuts by minimizing aid for higher education, reducing K-12 funding, and raising the tax rate for pensions. When cities around Michigan were at their breaking point, the state and federal government were reducing aid to local governments (Binelli, 2013).

      In 2011, Governor Synder adopted the Emergency Financial Manager Law as a state response to the economic condition of cities around Michigan. Detroit’s City Council and Mayor Bing remained in power but all budgets would have to be approved by a nine person oversight board (Binelli, 2013). The city was required to cut payroll and lay-off public workers (in a city with one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation), sell off city assets, and outsource departments (Binelli, 2013). Gary Brown, Detroit City Council pro-term, said of the consent agreement between the city and the state of Michigan, it is a “great deal… if you look at the fact that we don’t have anything to bargain with, we don’t have anything to negotiate with, we’re down to the ninth hour, we don’t have any cash and we don’t have any leverage”(Binelli, 2013, p.251).

      Obviously, the political climate around the Detroit Bankruptcy of 2013 was a contributing factor to this economic punctuation like none ever seen in the United States.

    1. The Article is a study found on Google Scholar. The point of the study was to look at the causes of homelessness from the lens of newly homeless individuals in the United States, England, and Australia. Their method was to conduct interviews with individuals that have become homeless during the last two years. The results showed that two-thirds of the subjects had never been homeless before, not chronically homeless. Many of the factors for why individuals were homeless were physical and mental health problems, alcohol abuse, and gambling problems. These problems were across the spectrum throughout each of the countries.<br> The characterization of homelessness is as an individual problem, the reason for their homelessness is a personal issue or something that they caused such as gambling and drug use. Health problems and disabilities were included to a small extent but not touched upon in great detail. The study did detail that in Boston (where the study was conducted) had a large portion of women. The percentage of Blacks that were homeless were much larger percentages in Boston than England or Australia, 47% in Boston while 89% in England were white British. While about 1/5th of respondents said they were ousted from their home, meaning it wasnt characterized as their fault.

      Link: http://psychsocgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/60/3/S152.long Title: The Causes of Homelessness in Later Life: Findings From a 3-Nation Study

    1. Cities are susceptible to a variety of shocks, including income. And when income shocks, and resulting population shocks, occur, where are those losses felt most significantly?

      That is the question that Guerrieri et al. try to answer in “Very Local House Price Dynamics: Within-City Variation in Urban Decline: The Case of Detroit.”

      The authors compare Detroit to other cities, most completely Chicago, in examining population decline by neighborhood affluence level according to the Guerrieri, Harley, and Hurst (GHH) model. In the GHH model, “individuals are endowed with either high or low income and all individuals have a preference for living around richer neighbors.”

      It is assumed that richer neighbors and neighborhoods have lower crime, greater access to entertainment and amenities, better schools, etc. The model’s predicts that a population increase will gravitate toward the poorer neighborhoods near the wealthier neighborhoods in order to take as much advantage as possible of the increased amenities (called “endogenous gentrification” in GHH).<br> Likewise, when a city loses population, GHH predicts the population declines should be greater in poor neighborhoods than rich, and that fringe neighborhoods, near the rich neighborhoods, will have the greatest losses of both population and income.

      To test this, the authors examined 207 census tracts in Detroit based on the 1980 Census, tracking through 2009. The data was obtained from the 1980 Neighborhood Change Database and the 2005-2008 American Community Survey.

      The results in Chicago largely held with the GHH model, but in Detroit, the model was not consistent. In Detroit, the formerly rich neighborhoods experienced the largest income decline, as poor residents migrated in and the wealthy left the city. Meanwhile, the populations contracted the most in the poorest neighborhoods. Neither of these results were consistent with the model or comparison cities. There was also a demonstrated effect on housing prices, with fairly consistent housing appreciation rates across the different neighborhoods, although the poorer neighborhoods had slightly smaller increases. This, too, was inconsistent with Chicago’s changes, where poor neighborhood home prices appreciated much more than in rich. This inconsistency was not explained by the data.

      Understanding who left Detroit, and where those losses were felt in terms of neighborhoods and income demographics, is important to our project as we examine the tremendous system-wide shocks that have rocked Detroit over the past few decades. This data examine those population and income losses at an extremely micro level, accounting for neighborhood and amenity shift, which is important as we look at the whole city and greater region in which it resides.

    1. Crystal S. Yang’s article entitled, "Free at Last? Judicial Discretion and Racial Disparities in Federal Sentencing," Yang analyzes the relationship between federal sentencing guidelines, judges, and minority defendants. In Yang’s research study, she was able to conclude that if a defendant was black, they were likely to receive sentences that were two months longer on average than their white counterparts. Yang conducted this research by linking judges to defendants before and after the United States v. Booker Supreme Court case, which struck down mandatory-guidelines sentencing in 2005 (Yang, 2015, 76).

      The "Booker" case created dramatic changes in the way defendants are sentences on the basis of race. According to Yang, “…Booker significantly increased racial disparities after controlling for extensive offender and crime characteristics. The black-white sentencing gap increased by two months in the post "Booker" period, a 4 percent increase in the average sentence length and a doubling of the baseline racial gap” (Yang, 2015, 77).

      The data collected for this paper was from the USSC, the Transitional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), and the Federal Judicial Center. One major crime Yang focuses on is that of drug trafficking and drug offenses in general. “Racial disparities increased significantly among defendants convicted of drug-trafficking offenses, controlling for primary type of drug… Given that almost 70 percent of drug offenders receive a mandatory minimum sentence, the increase in racial disparities in drug offenses after “Booker” may reflect differential application of mandatory minimum sentences” (Yang, 2015, 95).

      Overall, the article is an analysis of sentencing after the “Booker” case was struck down, and how its absence has had detrimental effects on African Americans being charged with crimes. Mandatory minimums and other federal sentencing guidelines were intended to decrease the amount of judicial discretion, and according to Yang, their absence has led to harsher sentences for minorities being charged specifically with drug offenses.

      Yang, Crystal S., “Free at Last? Judicial Discretion and Racial Disparities in Federal Sentencing. (2015). The Journal of Legal Studies. The University of Chicago Press, Vol. 44. No. 1.

    1. G.Nelson

      In their article, “Detroit’s Bankruptcy Settlement will not solve the city’s problems,” Gary Sands, Laura A. Reese, and Mark Skidmore depict core problems associated with the budgetary woes of Detroit, and list four possible scenarios that can happen to Detroit. The group provides a brief descriptive-statistical overview of the decline of Detroit. Since the 1950s, Detroit has lost more than 90% of the manufacturing jobs, and since 2000, employment in downtown has fallen 30%. Real estate has lost an average of 48% since the high in 2006. The number of residents has decreased by more than 60 percent since 1950s.

      The Group illustrates that the shrinking tax base, extremely underfunded pension liabilities, and shrinking public services, coupled with a racial divide and poor public leadership sets Detroit apart from other municipalities that are suffering similar financial stresses. Detroit is usually noted for being the “most racially segregated US metropolitan area” (Sands 2).

      Detroit has functioned as a “vendor regime,” where subsidies are issued to private businesses for urban renewal and redevelopment efforts. The private businesses are seen to benefit more than public interests, however, and this has led to “instances of mismanagement and public corruption.”

      The overall goal of the bankruptcy is to bring about a financial viability and recovery; however, the group believes that latter is unlikely, but the bankruptcy will focus on how bondholders, pensioners, and other liabilities will be paid out and by how much.

      The Group predicts four likely scenarios for Detroit: i) “Municipal operations could be reduced to the barest essentials, including only the services that could be supported by a realistic budget that ensures the City is able to maintain fiscal balance. ii) Many, even all, public sector functions of the residual Detroit could be taken over by other governmental entities, including newly-created local or regional authorities or by the county or state. iii) Detroit could be dissolved as a municipal corporation with the more viable areas incorporating as smaller municipalities (The State of Michigan has recently used this approach to dissolve two small, insolvent public school districts). In some instances, the more viable areas might be annexed by adjacent suburban municipalities. The balance of the Detroit territory would revert to Wayne county control. iv) The city becomes a de facto colony, with its resources exploited primarily for the benefit of others. This scenario has considerable currency among Detroiters, but it may be the least likely of the potential outcomes. In reality, for most suburbanites, Detroit offers little of value.” (Sands 3)

      The group posits that the city will definitely be different in the future, but the hope and dream of an imminent recovery is unlikely. Racism, mistrust, and antipathy will be issues that need to be overcome.


    1. “Organizational Implosion, a Case Study of Detroit, Michigan” by Staci Zavattaro

      Zavattaro, S. M. (2014). “Organizational Implosion A Case Study of Detroit, Michigan.” Administration & Society, 46(9), 1071–1091. http://doi.org/10.1177/0095399714554681

      In this article, Zavattaro (2014) looks at the case study of Detroit through the framework of organizational implosion. Zavattaro (2014) calls the Bankruptcy of Detroit an organizational implosion, which for purposes of this case study, means that the internal organization of the Detroit municipal government had an inward collapse. An implosion indicates that there were negative events outside the organization and adverse personnel actions within the organization, causing an “implosion” that will have lasting external effects on the organization and the citizens of Detroit (Zavattaro, 2014, p. 1076). In terms of Punctuated Equilibrium Theory, this implosion is the climax of the punctuated events that lead to the Bankruptcy of Detroit in 2013.

      Zavattaro (2014) gives a brief history of Detroit, stating that the city once had the highest median income and home ownership rate in the country. However, by the 2014 Census, the poverty rates of Detroit were some of the highest in the country at 20.4%, meaning over 20% of the population earn less than $10,000 per year (Zavattaro, 2014). From a purely methodological standpoint, I presume that the poverty rate is probably even higher because there is a large homeless population in Detroit that would be difficult to include in the Census. The reason the poverty rate is so important is because it directly affects tax receivables for the city government.

      Detroit’s implosion has been building over the last two decades because of the following reasons: an economy dependent on a single industry, deep-rooted racial tensions, and a history of governmental corruption (Zavattaro, 2014). City administrators and elected officials played a key role in Detroit’s implosion, or bankruptcy punctuation (Zavattaro, 2014, p. 1073). The former mayor, city manager, and assistant city manager have all been sentenced to prison for corruption reasons pertaining to the city’s management of financial resources (Zavattaro, 2014). Because the government of Detroit fostered a culture of unethical behavior and hired employees under this premise, the actions of individuals were able to affect the organization as a whole. Additionally, since the members of the city government were using “rhetoric inconsistent with reality”, they increased the chances of an imminent implosions by lacking transparency and covering up their corruption to the public (Zavattaro, 2014). This organizational incompetence only aggravated the environmental punctuations, such as citizen flight, declining property values, and high unemployment.

      Administrators of Detroit repeatedly ignored the rising economic crisis of the city, especially in regards to pensions and healthcare…even going so far as telling the public everything was good (Zavattaro, 2014). In 2006, Mayor Kilpatrick experienced a $300 million budget shortfall, yet refused to raise taxes. There was a healthcare cost increase of $78 million, up 46% in three years, and a pension payout due to police and firefighters of $177 million, up in the same three years from $120 million (Zavattaro, 2014). That is almost $200 million in additional payments at a time when the economy was declining, and the mayor refused to attempt to raise additional revenue. This could be seen as really the first policy punctuation that directly lead to the bankruptcy.

      In conclusion, looking forward for Detroit means rebuilding on so many levels, including citizen trust in their government. For a post-implosion Detroit, Zavattaro states that a new equilibrium will be found and the city government will rebuild. “Once implosion happens, rebuilding naturally takes place. Ideally, administrators should encourage meaningful citizen participation in this process and can envision new uses for old lands and buildings” (Zavattaro, 2014, p. 1087).

    1. In the article “Effects on Mandatory Minimums on Families and Society”, author Julie Stewart—creator of the advocacy group Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)—explains the draconian style of mandatory minimum sentencing and her observed and personal experience with congress. She begins with a personal anecdote, explaining that her brother served a five-year mandatory sentence for growing marijuana, against the judge’s wishes. Stewart comments on how her brother was one of the “lucky ones”. He had no wife and/or children at the time, while others serving the same sentence are forced to leave their families in the lurch (par. 1-5).

      Stewart then walks the reader through a history of mandatory minimum sentencing, starting back as far as 1790, when leading ships astray with a false light led to a ten-year mandatory sentence (par. 7). Even drug sentencing is not as new as many perceive, having a twenty-year stretch of existence starting in 1951 (par. 8). Stewart claims the reemergence of mandatory minimums for drug offenders in 1986 was the result of three factors. First, Len Bias, a famous basketball player overdosed and died after “main-lining” powder cocaine. Second, crack cocaine came on the scene, and the media’s coverage of it and “crack babies” caused a public scare. Finally, 1986 was an election year, and those running took advantage of the situation (par. 11-12).

      Stewart’s main contention is the removal of judiciary discretion. She argues that of everyone involved in the courts process, the judge is perhaps closest to the defendant. He or she knows the plea-bargain and is familiar with the case being set against the defendant. Stewart explains that mandatory minimums are most frequently applied to drug offenses, and questions why congressmen are creating sentencing laws for drugs alone (with the exception of gun offenses). She furthers her case against congress creating mandatory minimum sentences by explaining an exchange she had with one congressman when she spoke before congress in 1993:

      One of the members of the House Judiciary Committee said to me, "Well, these guys do not do the whole amount of time anyway; they get out on parole." Parole was abolished in 1986. This member of Congress was in Congress in 1986. He should have known that (par 36).

      Stewart ends with a call to the reader to be proactive if they find sentencing discrepancies unfair. After explaining the 100-1 ratio for powder to crack cocaine, she explains congress is in the midst of trying to enforce similar legislation for methamphetamine. While the title of the article is a bit misleading (as Stewart does not delve in to the negative impact experienced by family and society), it serves as a very thorough history of what she views as an extremely unfair sentencing procedure.

    1. Promoting Positive Parenting in the Context of Homelessness

      National reports indicate that number of families with children experiencing homelessness is rising across urban, rural and suburban area. These families, study suggests, are “disporportionatly more likely to have exierpence economic, health and social risk factors. These influences, and those impacted by being in homeless environment influence the parent-child relationship which affects the development of children in these situations. This article review the literature on determinants and contextual issues of parent in shelter, describes specific programs that are focused on positive parenting and provides recommendations for supporting positive parenting among families living without their own homes. The study argues that the parent child relations is affected by stressful events in parent’s life or overall family environment. The shelter environment and staff that intervenes in these parent’s parenting also impacts child parent relationship and parent’s confidence. Based on research parents in shelters and transitional housing state that they felt like they were parenting in public and this affected their parenting enormously. In return, children who lack child parent relationship are more likely to experience behavioral, developmental, educational challenges. Overall, parents (families) who enter shelters more than likely have already experience chronic neighborhood violence and domestic violence, among other stressors which impede their ability to focus on parenting. According to the article, parenting difficulties can intensify for parents in homelessness to the point of abuse and neglect, which in turn, exposes kids to foster care system. Programs such as Family Care Curriculum, Parenting Through Change and Psychological First Aid, are all parenting programs designed for families experiencing homelessness. Parenting Through Changes offers “14-week, 90 minute per session group format emphasizing active learning and role play to acquire positive parenting (p.405).” Family Care Curriculum is a “6 week program that meets one per week for 60 minutes and aims to change parenting beliefs and attitudes through the development of reflective capacities (p.406).” Psychological First Aid (PFA) is “a brief evidence-informed intervention that was original developed to offer psychological support and stabilization to individuals and families following natural disasters and trauma (p.406).” The PFA has been proved successful, use nationally and internationally and has been translated into several languages. All three of these programs focus on helping families cope with homelessness and help parents build positive parenting. The article calls for acknowledgement among service providers and shelters for addressing differences among families and their needs. That different approaches must take place and services utilizing which will nourish parent child relationships. Organizations need to collaborate more, especially because funding is a huge concern. Policies such as Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH 2011) needs to focus on families. Overall, we need to remove the “assumption that homelessness is simply a matter of housing,” and understand that “…many families experiencing homelessness are facing a complex array of risk factors that go beyond housing alone (p.409)” The article, just like the Social Construction Theory suggests that “children have fundamental right to thrive in health, safe families and communities… (p.410)” There is an emphasis on what is deserved and factors affecting child-parent relationships are geared more towards the external reasons than simply blaming the parent or child. It is important that the tone of article addresses limitations in research and progress, identifies what has been done and the fact that there is much more needed. In this situation families, especially children, are high on deserving scale and requiring services and focus on them, is not only easy but most appropriate.

    1. Michael Williams Professor Long 1 November 2015 "Mandatory Minimum Sentencing: A Failed Policy"

      By Robert Batey

      Batey’s article provides a general, retrospective overview of the failures of mandatory minimum sentencing policies, as well as a cursory glance at the efforts of interest group opposition to these policies.

      He begins by stating that these policies began a generation ago as a result of federal and state legislatures thinking they could “get tough on crime” (25). He also states that the major component of the overall failure of these policies was the removal of judicial discretion.

      Batey points out that the Rockefeller drug laws of 1973 had an idea of the drug pusher as a professional drug dealer who lived off the misery of the addicted. Batey cites the case of Angela Thompson, a seventeen-year-old recruited by her uncle to sell cocaine as just one example of the reality of who suffers from mandatory minimum sentencing policies—how they sweep minor criminals along with the “kingpins” they are designed to target. Batey points out that “kingpins” take advantage of prosecutorial discretion by informing on underlings, resulting in the wrong people going to jail for trafficking crimes.

      Among the unintended consequences, Batey notes, is the racial disparities resulting from the continued policies. Batey notes the inflammatory nature of the hundred-to-one disparity for crack-cocaine vs. powder cocaine sentencing guidelines, and the inaccuracies of perceptions concerning drug use by race. Batey explains that the resulting glut of prisoners has changed everything in the United States, including politics and race relations (26).

      Batey goes on to discuss opposition to mandatory minimum sentencing policy and reform groups such as Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM). FAMM began in 1991 and have since led a movement that resulted in the repeal of one of the harshest mandatory minimum sentencing provisions in the country. FAMM, according to Batey, has been successful at the federal level as well, noting they were instrumental in the passage of the “safety valve” legislation, which frees some nonviolent first-time federal drug offenders from otherwise applicable mandatory minimum sentences (27). Batey concludes by revealing that he has been involved with FAMM as a local coordinator since 1995 and closes with a call to action for those interested in becoming involved in the organization.

      Batey’s article is relevant to policy analysis in that it exemplifies interest group response to failed policy, as well as the path-dependence of criminal justice policymakers. Despite the empirical evidence of the failure of mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, FAMM has been active since 1995 with modest success.

  4. Oct 2015
    1. This article focuses on Partisan differences in education policy. The article goes over several literature reviews. It finds that the public believes higher education is important to success, believes it should be available to all but that students need to put high effort in college, have concerns about college cost and has little idea of what the actual costs are. The research suggests that both Parties are concerned with keeping education affordable, but have different plans to do so. Republican politicians focus on efficiency of money spent on college, making sure that federal investment in higher education are not being wasted. Democrat politicians on the other hand pay much more attention to providing opportunity to unprivileged demographics. The study measured to see if the constituents of the parties agreed with the leaders. It found that republicans and democrats in the public did not greatly differ in their views of college efficiency, but that African Americans viewed colleges as less efficient. On the question of opportunity there was significant difference between republicans and democrats in how much opportunity there was for disadvantaged people to get in to college. Democrats perceived much more obstacles to educations than republicans, who were more optimistic about the potential for low income individuals to attain higher education. However among both parties college educated people perceived college to be more obtainable than low income individuals. The study expresses concerns that education may become politicized due to the differences in the electorate. Should the issue become seen as special interest for one party as opposed to a general concern, it will be more susceptible to gridlock and less likely to be resolved. The article notes the power of the issue of educational attainment and cites Kingdon in the possibility that if it does not make it on to the public agenda it may be ignored or discarded.

      Doyle, William R. July- August, 2007. Public Opinion, Partisan Identification, and Higher Education Policy. The Journal of Higher Education Vol. 78 No. 4: 369-401.

    1. Shimica Gaskin’s article, “Women of Circumstance’ – The Effects of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing on Women Minimally Involves in Drug Crimes,” the rising issue of women minimally convicted on drug charges. An interesting type of drug conviction has begun to emerge: women whose partners’ traffic drugs being convicted alongside of them. More importantly, the disproportionate sentencing of these women. Federal conspiracy laws are cited as a leading cause of these unfair sentences being granted to bystanders. Simply the presence of a woman in the same house as here partner who is directly involved in drug crime can result in a conspiracy charge (Gaskin, 2004).

      According to Gaskin, “A figurative triangle links women of circumstance, the male drug dealers they are romantically involved with, and the drugs themselves. The complicated relationships that create this triangle also lead to the conviction of many desperate, unsuspecting or coerced women who often have no prior criminal history” (Gaskin, 2004).

      Gaskin goes on to point out that often times, the women involved with drug dealers play minimal roles in any drug trafficking activity, yet receive conspiracy charges nonetheless. It is also of critical importance to note the coercion that is often involved in these relationships. It is likely- according to Gaskin- that some women may be coerced into different activities by the drug-involved male partner. This is not taken into account when it is time for sentencing. Mandatory minimums also expel the opportunity for sentence reductions (Gaskin, 2004).

      Furthermore, the requirements for federal conspiracy sentences are unnecessarily harsh. According to Gaskin, “…Merely permitting drugs in the home, answering the door, or answering the telephone could establish that the wife or girlfriend was a knowing member of the conspiracy” (Gaskin, 2004). This doesn’t make sense considering the coercive nature of many relationships, as well as the fact that answering your front door makes you eligible for a conspiracy charge.

      In terms of mandatory minimums, prosecutorial discretion is not permitted in mandatory minimum sentencing, yet the frequency and intensity of conspiracy sentencing has increased among prosecutors. The purpose of mandatory minimums therefore has not necessarily been achieved due to conspiracy charges. Furthermore, mandatory minimums have made the punishments for women associated with drug traffickers harsher. According to Gaskin,

      “Mandatory minimums require the courts to determine the sentences by the quantity of drugs and the size of the conspiracy, rather than the offender's role in the conspiracy. If a young woman with no prior criminal history is arrested for delivering to an undercover officer forty-eight bags of cocaine base totaling 6.854 grams, the Sentencing Guidelines imprisonment range would be anywhere from fifty-one to sixty-three months, which can be reduced by the judge. n70 However, mandatory minimum sentencing would subject that young woman to a minimum term of five years because the weight of the drugs serves as the basis for computing the sentence” (Gaskin, 2004).

      Overall, this article was extremely insightful, because it shed light on an interesting aspect of mandatory minimums that is rarely discussed. It also talked in detail about conspiracy laws and their relation to women charged with drug related crimes.

      Gaskin, Shimica (2004). “Women of Circumstance: The Effects of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing on Women Minimally Involved in Drug Crime.” American Criminal Law Review. Vol.41(4), p.1533(21).

    1. URL: http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2069/ehost/detail/detail?sid=64b9b366-5780-4488-b86a-fdc904d6821c%40sessionmgr113&crlhashurl=login.aspx%253fdirect%253dtrue%2526scope%253dsite%2526db%253deft%2526AN%253d507801245%2526msid%253d604009586&hid=123&vid=0&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=507801245&db=eft

      Annotation: This piece takes a staunchly liberal, social constructivist's approach to homelessness. Amster focuses on drawing strong parallels between the homeless population in America and historically marginalized European populations. Amster's work relies heavily on a study that was conducted by he and his colleagues that aimed to locate contemporary manifestations of marginalization and exclusion both in a modern sense and historically. Data sets focused on how political regimes use spatial control and hawkish observation as a means of exerting social dominance. Amster's findings noted a recognizable demonization of homeless populations within the media and population in general and that these attitudes directly affect the quality of life for such judged individuals who are constant targets of criminalization, regulation, expulsion, or any measure of vitriol in between.

      Citation: Amster, Randall. "Patterns of Exclusion: Sanitizing Space, Criminalizing Homelessness." Social Justice 30, no. 1 (March 2003): 195-221. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed October 23, 2015).

    1. “Homelessness has continues to be a major social problem in the United States, especially among people with psychiatric and substance use disorders,” state authors of the study (p.412). During the 1990’s, public health and policy focused on providing emergency shelter to individuals, now the emphasis has turned towards providing more permanent, supportive housing as a means of solving homelessness. Most recently, attention has focused on highlighting “social reintegration and primary prevention of homelessness” before it occurs (p.412). The special concern about homelessness among military veterans is due in part because they’re “deserving of special protection because of their national service (p.412).” The study focuses on a national sample of Veterans that are homeless and non-homeless and are currently receiving mental health services through Veteran Affairs (VA). Authors used VA administrative data from fiscal year 2009 to conducted case-control study of all veterans who used VA mental health specialty services in 2009. Homeless veterans were designed as those who a) used specialized VA homeless program services and/or lacked housing during 2009. Control population included 1,011,368 veterans who utilized specialty mental health services during FY2009 but did not received VA homeless services. Demographic characteristics included gender, age, ethnicity, race, geographic location, and income. The study concluded that “substances use disorders (particularly illicit drugs use disorders) were the single strongest predictor of homelessness in this national sample of FY2009 VA mental health users (p.415).” The study suggested that VA homelessness prevention efforts should focus on treatment of veterans with substance use disorders as well as on their housing risk. In the past Veterans did not utilize substance treatment services but we see that has changed by 2009. The study proposes that “[a]ccess to effective substance use treatment may facilitate a reduction in homelessness among veterans and should remain a focus of prevention efforts in the future (p.416).” The results also suggest that service connected disability benefits reduce the risk of becoming homeless. This is why, the study recommends that offering social service programs, such as HUD VA Support Housing may provide most effective approach to homeless prevention because it ties the individual to Veteran Affairs and housing. I continue to tie Social Construction Theory to the homelessness and housing issues, I suggest the same in this case. In fact, the article itself states that, veterans are deserving of special protection because of their national service. We see this population, returning from the recent wars in the Middle East as deserving due to their service and their health conditions. According to the social construction and power typology chart, military is viewed as positive and deserving with higher power. This group deserves the benefits and respect due to their selfless contributions to safety and protection of our entire country. Providing benefits to such advantaged group generates political capital among policy makers and it’s almost a no brainer when it comes to making the decision to pass a policy or address the issue of homeless among this highly deserving population.

    1. Several problems plague the city of Detroit, including an exodus of its residents and business to other cities, regions, and states. This article, written before Detroit declared bankruptcy in 2013, proposes that one of the potential solutions to Detroit’s problems is for the city to merge with its suburbs and surrounding counties.

      Since 1950, 1.2 million people have moved out of Detroit’s city limits, leaving Detroit with a population of 684,799 people in 2013. Meanwhile, the surrounding counties of Oakland, Macomb and Wayne, as well as the city, combine for 3.9 million people.

      Salon writer Edward McCelland proposes that a merger could create a megacity, as seen in the cities of Miami, Indianapolis, and Toronto. The increased tax base would bring in more funding for the various government agencies, from road maintenance to public schools to police and fire departments, while suburbanites would benefit from the efficiency of a single local government and from increased stability in the region, which would make it more attractive to businesses and outsiders looking to move in.

      Detroit is the poorest city in the United States, with a median household income of $27,862 in 2013, half the national average. Although the city has lost 1.2 million people, it is still the same physical size, with the same number of roads and miles of sewer. Residents are few and far between, but the city’s high crime rate indicates that crime still must be solved, necessitating a police force (police and fire services are 60 percent of the city’s budget, McCelland writes). Property tax revenues decreased 20 percent from 2008-2013, even as the city has among the highest tax rates in Michigan.

      Much of the flight out of Detroit has been white people, looking to escape Detroit’s urban problems and racial disparity, leaving the core destitute and heavily populated by black people and other racial and ethnic minorities.

      Among the challenges of combining the surrounding suburbs and the city are racial tensions, remnants of the 1967 race riots. The tension and resentments, which go both ways, would need to be surmounted before the city could evolve to include its surrounding neighborhoods.

      The article ends on a hopeful note, recognizing that the ‘new generation’ seems to exhibit fewer racial biases and be more open to integrating the region. However, there is still a long way to go before the city forgets its scars.

    1. Peter H. Rossi, 84, SOcialogist Who Studied Homelessness, Dies

      So in my article from 2006 from the New York Times I did not get the article I expected. Our group goal was to study the views towards homelessness and I dont think the article highlights that. This article details the life of Peter H. Rossi and focuses on his books on homelessness. The way he characterized homelessness was a shift from the older white male denizens to a "younger, larger group that included many more women, children and minorities". His research suggested a smaller homeless population than official studies might have suggested, 300,000 to 500,000 instead of two to three million. His work was used in policy making on both sides of the aisle to either highlight the failure of certain programs or to strengthen those same programs.

      Analysis: So in this article I found a mostly positive view of homelessness, meaning their was a characterization of homeless individuals as women and children which have a positive social construction. The article did not have a definition of homelessness. I think the intent of the article was to highlight the death of a man who was very involved in homelessness research and the examination of social programs directed at homeless individuals.

    1. “Three-strikes law causing pricey glut of lifers without parole”, an article by Leah Sottile, describes the expensive and at times unfair nature of the three-strikes law implemented first by Washington State in 1993. The law puts criminals behind bars for life with no possibility of parole when convicted of a third serious felony. The only way out of prison is via a governor’s pardon. Also known as the persistent-offenders law, the three-strikes law was created with two main concepts in mind: get career criminals off the streets permanently, and prevent would-be offenders with the deterrent of punitive sentencing.

      The author of the article describes how often times, non-violent drug addicts who commit robberies to support their habit can get stung by persistent-offender laws. At the time the article was written in 2013, the author wrote, “A…study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that nearly 4,000 prisoners in the U.S. will serve life in prison for nonviolent offenses” (par. 8). Additionally, “Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Washington’s prisoners who are serving life without parole were sentenced under three strikes, according to the state’s Department of Corrections” (par. 9). The author then explains the false correlation between dropping crime rates and mandatory minimums. The drop in crime is actually related to many other factors surrounding policies of gun regulation and policing. The author then goes over the expenses related to keeping prisoners behind bars, stating that it costs Washington State more than $32,000 a year for one prisoner. Couple this with a growing geriatric population with ailments and without Medicare, and prices rise far higher (par. 13-19).

      In concluding, proposed changes to rehabilitation in Washington State are not going particularly swimmingly. Several solutions have been proposed over the years, such as making parole a possibility for three-strikes inmates. Adam Kline, a Washington State senator, further calls for the removal of second-degree assault and second-degree robbery from the books as a “serious felony” warranting strikes. However, the author quotes Kline as saying, “If the only attitude is that these [incarcerated individuals] are evil people and you slam the door and throw away the key, there’s no social support…Rehabilitation isn’t bumper-sticker stuff” (par. 23).

    1. Michael Williams

      Professor Long

      POLS 514

      Johnson, Carrie, “No. 2 at justice warns growing prison budget detracts from public safety” NPR. www.npr.org

      In her 2015 article, Carrie Johnson profiles Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and reports on the growing public safety threat growing prison budgets pose to the United States. Johnson begins by citing racial disparities and huge costs as the main reasons government officials are calling for a new approach to sentencing.

      Johnson quotes Yates, who says she has been “at [prosecution] for 27 years . . . I believe that it’s really imperative that [officials] do everything we can to keep our communities safe, but to do that in a way that is just and fair.”

      Johnson reports that Yates, who was recently confirmed Deputy Attorney General by the Senate, is using her platform to warn about the public safety threat imposed by the expanding prison budget, for which $7 billion a year has gone to incarcerate 200,000 inmates. Yates reveals that a 40 percent reduction in grant money for cops on the street has been an unintended consequence of rising incarceration costs, and, according to Justice Department estimates, the situation will only get worse over the next decade.

      According to Johnson, Yates wants members of Congress to “dial back” long mandatory prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. She reports that pushes at reform have become bipartisan, and that a left-right coalition from the ACLU to Koch Industries is “advocating for a smarter approach at the federal level.”

      Johnson reports that Formal Attorney General Eric Holder agrees with the Obama administration’s claims that the violent crime and number of people going to prison has reduced.

      This article is significant in that it reports very recent efforts and gains made toward reducing the harmful consequences of mandatory minimums. Additionally, this article reveals the significant damage to the economy mandatory minimum sentences have caused, as well as the potential for devastating consequences if no reforms are made to the current system. This new prevalence of the term “low level drug offender” in the mainstream media is also significant in that it evidences a shift in the “tough on crime” narrative, and suggests a new social construction in the criminal justice and economic arena.

    1. G.Nelson

      I am utilizing this weeks article review to assist us and expand upon Meagan Jordan’s article, “Punctuations and Agendas: A New Look at Local Government Budget Expenditure.” Also, I’d like to link her analysis of intergovernmental aid and developmental expenditures together, and illustrate how a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) grant can have an influence on the local budget, via political and economic influence upon the decision-makers and, thus, the agenda.

      A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is a grant from the Federal government to assist in the funding of certain projects with stipulated mandates, and the state, then, awards a part of the grant to a local municipality or government to aid in economic growth and, or a revitalization project. This can have an impact of local budgets.

      The City of Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit, provides a “Guide To Compliance with Section 3 Requirements: Employment Opportunities For Low Income Residents of Royal Oak.” The purpose of this guide is to provide the Federal mandated requirements and information associated with HUD-funded project, specifically CNBGs, to the civilian contractor. Within Section 3, employment preference is mandated to first seek and hire low-income residents or businesses within the Metropolitan Detroit area. This mandate will cover any contractor that receives more than $100,000 from the City of Royal Oak.

      To identify the individual or business to be preferred under this mandate, Section 3 list the following factors: The individual is a recipient of public housing or a housing choice voucher, and lives in the Metropolitan Detroit area with an income less than 80% of the area median income (AMI); the business is 51% owned by a Section 3 individual, 30% of the employees are Section 3 individuals, and 25% of subcontractors under the contract are Section 3 businesses.

      Strict penalties are enforced upon the individual or business if found non-compliant and neglects to remedy the non-compliant issue. The individual or business may have their contract cancelled, face legal and equitable remedies for a contract default, and be suspended from future HUD contracts.

      I will investigate further into how CDBGs dictate and change the local budget and politics of Detroit, specifically, after the 2013 bankruptcy.


    1. This article looks at early commitment programs, designed to put low income kids on the college track sooner. It explained how many low income students are unaware of financial opportunities before their last year of high school. Many low income students have long since devoted their energy to non-academic activities and have not focused on preparing for college, due to the belief that they could not afford it. Their study aimed to look at the effectiveness of applying a commitment program to the Pell Grant system, promising low income students a certain amount of paid college for educational performance in school and educating student’s early on educational opportunities. They measure the persistence of poverty in students through the free and reduced lunch program, so to counter the possible criticism that students who were poor in 8th could likely leave poverty by college age. Their study indicated the persistence of poverty for most students throughout K-12 education, especially students with uneducated or minority parents. Finally the report measured the cost and benefits of the program. It full mentioned that this was based primarily on educated estimates as some of the variables such as college completion rates and actual economic benefits of those who do graduate cannot currently be known. The overall calculations suggested that the program would be net benefit and the growth in the educated work would offset the costs of the program. It further mentions that several benefits and costs were not calculated like the improved health and low incarceration rates of college graduates or the costs of additional supplemental student loans. Overall the study suggested that the program would over look very few students and could do a great deal of good in dispelling lower class pessimism about college and related apathy about high school education. This could help bridge the knowledge gap between the poor and higher incomes, at least in college access.

      Kelchen, Robert and Sara Goldrick-Rab (March 1, 2015). Accelerating College Knowledge: A Fiscal Analysis of a Targeted Early Commitment Pell Grant Program. The Journal of Higher Education Vol.86 No.2, 199-231.

    1. Seneca, J.J. and Taussig, M.K. (1987). Educational quality, access, and tuition policy at state universities. The Journal of Higher Education, 58 (1), pp. 25-37.

      Seneca and Taussig (1987) investigate the impact tuition policies can have a two missions that many state universities seem to focus on – access for underserved populations and providing a high quality education. By analyzing data from thirty state universities, the authors hypothesized that as tuition policies force students to pay more for their college education (tuition increases), then the quality of education also increases. On the other hand, the authors also hypothesized that as a result of higher tuition rates, then access to that specific state university decreases for low-income families.

      As a current member of the Strategic Planning Committee at a state university, I can attest that the state university I have experience with is striving to increase access for underserved populations while at the same time, increasing the quality and distinctiveness of education. However, as a result of their study, Seneca and Taussig would likely argue that these two missions are difficult to fulfill simultaneously, especially without increasing the resources provided by financial aid.
      In the study, Seneca and Taussig (1987) analyzed data from thirty state universities to measure the level of access the university was providing – in other words, is the university’s student population proportionate and reflective of the state’s population. For example, Seneca and Taussig’s measure of access looked at the family income of a student relative to incomes in the state (pg. 30). They also measured the level of quality of education, which the researchers determined the SAT or ACT score would be the operationalized value of the concept of a high level of education. 
      Seneca and Taussig (1987) found that as tuition increased at state universities, then there was a negative effect on access, whereas when financial aid increased then a positive effect on access was determined. It was also found that as access increased, then the level of quality decreased (pg. 33).  The authors recognized specific limitations to their study, including access limited in terms of income levels rather than ethnicity, race and gender (pg. 35). I also believe the level of quality is not necessarily measured by a student’s incoming standardized test score and future studies should look at other ways to operationalize the quality of education.
      This study should serve as a discussion point for state universities who are determining priorities and tuition and financial aid policies, especially with regards to missions of access and quality education. This study could be replicated within the state of Washington to see if the higher education institutions in this state also show the same results as Seneca and Taussig determined.
    1. 'Without a Net': Mobile Home

      This article is a book review of an essay written by Michelle Kennedy about her life as a waitress raising three children while being homeless. The article details how she came to push beyond the stereotypes of being poor or homeless by being a middle-class housewife (deserving), who was also a mother (protected class), and her hard middle-class work ethic. Her refusal to be classified as poor is seen as a view into the stigmatization of the homeless and poor in 2005. Also the articles focus on individual work ethic and productivity reflects an atmosphere of people are poor or homeless because they dont work hard or are not doing enough really comes through. I think the intent of the article is to give focus to the individualistic view of America in that the choices an individual makes is what produces what they have in the present. The article does not point directly to a negative view of homelessness, by stating homeless individuals or poor individuals are those who just dont work hard enough, but indirectly by saying this person is not poor because they work incredibly hard and have a bad situation. Its a very indirect negative view of homelessness based on my groups defined view of negative and positive definitions of homelessness.

    1. Annotation: A decidedly qualitative piece, Frischmuth discusses his own experiences with homelessness through the lens of an academic in retrospect. Much of this piece is focused on delineating the assumed “deprivation and humility” that seems so closely associated with a western societal view of homeless populations. This piece, like a great deal of housing policy research, relies on social construction theory as a foundation for discussion. Frischmuth’s ethnographic approach to the issue of homelessness and real time legislation is meant to contextualize homelessness as a portion of a greater personal narrative rather than an isolated experience or reaction. For me, this piece broke a period of quantitative gridlock. I’ve been reading statistical piece after statistical piece, frankly I was beginning to hate societal response on such a fundamental level that I was questioning its existence. Frischmuth characterized these issues and gave them a human voice beyond the statistical fluctuation of a few hundred thousand humans. Not that I previously lacked a human viewpoint, simply that I was bogged down in the inhuman treatment of this segment of society. I’ve done several public history pieces but this really placed the emphasis on qualitative application. I’m currently under the impression that statistical analysis works better when poised between qualitative efforts.

      Citation: Frischmuth, Stephen Giles. 2014. "Keep your sunny side: a street-level look at homelessness." Culture, Medicine And Psychiatry 38, no. 2: 312-323. MEDLINE, EBSCOhost (accessed October 8, 2015).

    2. URL: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=43.185B&full=true

      Annotation: This piece, although not a theoretical or academic approach, is vital to anyone constructing an understanding of housing policy in the American Northwest in general and Washington State in particular. This text is the original housing legislation passed by the Washington State Legislature in 1993. Theoretically, the legislation relies heavily on social construction as well as, in my quasi-ignorant opinion, laying a relatively solid foundation for incremental policy at a later date. In addition to homelessness, the law focuses on the construction of housing advisory boards charged with ensuring fair and equal pricing and access to homes. Textually, the piece relates the notion of homelessness and an inherent set of societal “problems” associated with a lack of shelter. This sort of “problematic” association seems to have dominated a great deal of housing legislation; rather than analyzing and addressing the struggles facing homeless people, much of the legislation seems aimed at benefiting society rather than those who are struggling. Interestingly, notes have been added regarding legislative progress since the original passage of this piece in 1993, several concerns have been addressed and numerous sub committees have been convened. Sorry if this wasn’t academic enough, I found it very necessary to analyze the text of our state’s legislation before addressing housing policy any further.

      Citation: Washington Housing Policy Act. Ch. 43.185B RCW

    3. URL: https://www.ncsha.org/system/files/Washington_SC.pdf

      Annotation: This piece functions as an overview, or timeline, of legislation enacted in Washington state addressing housing policy in low-income communities and families in need of assistance throughout the state. Distributed annually since 2007, this legislative overview is meant to provide citizens, representatives, city planners, regional coordinators, and other interested parties with a snapshot of the legislative history of housing policy within our state. Each piece of legislation is accompanied by a brief annotation (roughly sixty in all) that details the significance, successes, and failures of each specific law or action. Theoretically, this fits into the research discussion I have been having about which angular direction to take this research. Its pretty apparent that homelessness is the crux of housing policy – a societal fear of becoming homeless (and thereby legislatively scrutinized), dominates most serious discussions of housing and legislation throughout the state.

      Citation: Washington State Housing Finance Commission/Washington State Multi-Year Legislative Information Campaign. “Bringing Washington Home,” A Status Report on Housing Affordability in Washington State. 2014.

    4. URL: http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2062/stable/684950?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=homlessness&searchText=washington&searchText=state&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dhomlessness%2Bwashington%2Bstate%26amp%3Bacc%3Don%26amp%3Bwc%3Don%26amp%3Bfc%3Doff%26amp%3Bgroup%3Dnone&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

      Annotation: Without falling to the cries of the social constructionists, this piece analyzes the psychology behind common attitudes toward homelessness and street people. Research detailed by Conley works to examine the discrimination often faced by homeless populations who seek rental accommodations after having found employment or grant opportunities. The researchers used a case study model to interview 42 homeless people throughout New York State, thus providing an accurate view of their sample while compromising generalizability. For the purposes of my research, generalizability was not of great importance; my reasoning in seeking this piece stems from my belief that the attitudes constructed in population centers – primarily on the East Coast – have a far greater chance of impacting and altering legislative attitudes towards populations or policy.

      Citation: Conley, Dalton Clark (1996). “Getting It Together: Social and Institutional Obstacles to Getting off the Streets.” Sociological Forum, Vol. 11 No. 1, 25-40.

    5. I think this might actually work. This is a test, I'm attempting to fish my posts from the soup of untagged contributions.

  5. ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2062 ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2062
    1. In this article from the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Meagan Jordan (2003) applies Punctuated Equilibrium Theory (PET) to local government budgeting and agenda setting through a quantitative study of large city expenditures over a 27 year span. Jordan argues that PET is an applicable policy to agenda setting at the local level because changes in the agenda and budget have a more direct effect on citizens than changes at the state and national level. Equilibrium is where local administrators want to stay because it makes the most sense politically (Jordan, 2003, p. 345). However, changes in the agenda equilibrium signify changes in the agenda priority.

      Jordan hypothesized that punctuations and equilibrium at the local level followed a leptokurtic distribution; this basically means there are mostly periods of sustained equilibrium followed by sharp punctuations of change which return quickly back to equilibrium (2003, p. 347). This explanation for a leptokurtic distribution when using PET for policy analysis at the local level is because the most important political goal for local administrators is to maintain a stable tax base. Stability is found at equilibrium. Jordan (2003) compares the city to a market model of competition. Because of the close proximity of cities to one another, people can easily move if they are not feeling well served by their local government. If people move, especially the middle-class, this greatly affects the stability of the tax base.

      Another factor that affects the expenditures of local governments are policy decisions that come from higher levels of government (Jordan, 2003). An influx of investment in local programs through grants and other sources from the state and federal level cause punctuations. Cities with the highest dependency on these intergovernmental funds have more punctuated fluctuations (Jordan, 2003, p. 350).

      Jordan (2003) separated expenditures into two policy typologies: allocational and non-allocational. Allocational expenditures are those that the city are required to have in the budget every year; they include police, fire, and sanitation. Changes in allocational expenditures rarely occur, therefore, allocational expenditures contribute to equilibrium. Non-allocational expenditures are capital expenses and maintenance costs that arise for maintaining parks, highways, and public buildings (Jordan, 2003, p. 354). This typology of expenditures can have the greatest effect on large punctuations, as well as they are the most contested items on the agenda.

      Overall, Jordan found that expanding PET to local government expenditures was a good fit that strengthens the theory. Jordan (2003) also found that in predicting what non-allocational items are coming to the agenda process can help local administrators prepare for punctuations with contingency planning. Local budgets are most prone to changes in the agenda, and therefore PET is a very useful theory at the local level (Jordan, 2003, p. 358).

    1. In John Crank’s book "Imagining Justice," there is a section entitled "Ethnicity, Crime, and the Criminal Justice System," which explores the issue of injustices throughout the criminal justice system that emerge on the basis of race. Crank starts off the section by immediately stating the contemporary issues surrounding this topic. On criminality and immigration, he states “When criminality among immigrants are examined, no clear pattern of behavior emerges. Criminal behavior, when identified, appears to be contextualized by the process of immigration and resettlement” (Crank, 2003, 261). Crank goes on to suggest that the reasons for someone’s immigration can play a role in determining whether or not people will commit crimes.

      Crank goes on to explain that generalizations are made about immigrant populations and how they have adapted to American culture. Crank attributes the emergence and desistence of crime to three factors: the age structure, the loss of traditional authority, and the degree of social cohesion (Crank, 2003, 262). The age structure refers to the fact that there are a high proportion of immigrant youth to each immigrant adult which can mean that high rates of youth may be predisposed to crime during their socialization. The loss of traditional authority refers to a parent’s inability to maintain control within the adaptation process- which is difficult because it is a challenge to traditional norms for them. And third, the degree of social cohesion, refers to the availability of community resources within immigrant communities that allow youth and immigrant adults to ease into their communities while being able to practice traditional norms (Crank, 2003, 262). All of these factors play an important role in adaptability for immigrant populations according to Crank.

      Without proper modes of adaptation, Crank argues, criminal activity emerges. One interesting fact found in this section in relation to sentencing, is when Crank states, “Seemingly neutral case processing practices, especially concerning pretrial confinement decisions and sentence reductions for guilty pleas, operate to the systematic disadvantage of members of minority groups” (Crank, 2003, 265). Crank lists these disadvantages as, “pretrial confinement is typically aimed at those least likely to appear for trial. Those least likely to appear are those who lead unsettled lives, lack permanent residents and stable jobs. This falls disproportionately on disadvantaged minority groups” (Crank, 2003, 265). Lastly and most relevantly, “minority members are less likely to receive favorable sentence reductions for guilty pleas. Tonry suggests that this may stem from the distrust minorities have a country’s justice system and a belief that they are treated unfairly… This means that defendants who plead guilty earlier in justice proceedings receive shorter sentences” (Crank, 2003, 265).

      Crank goes on to discuss the false assumptions surrounding immigrants in the US. For example, there is the misconception that all Latin Americans are Mexican. This is of course not true, and there is a very diverse groups of Latino/a immigrants in the US. Crank states, “Mexicans make up 61.2 percent of the Latino population in the United States. However, only about 33 percent of Mexicans are foreign born- most are resident United States citizens” (Crank, 2003, 266). Crank goes on to discuss the political ideologies surrounding assimilation and immigration. There is an ongoing attempt to learn how to adjust and assimilate in a new society. I think this- the difficulty of adaptation- is the main point of this section, and this is Crank’s argument for why and how the justice system affects immigrants. This was an interesting section, although I am not sure it adequately discusses how unfairly immigrants are treated by our criminal justice system- particularly in terms of sentencing measures.

      Crank, John P. “Imagining Justice” (2003). Pages 261-276. Anderson Publishing Co. Cincinatti, OH. Print.

    2. “The Rise and Fall of the Indeterminate Sentencing Ideal” from "But They All Come Back: Facing the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry" by Jeremy Travis. Pages 7-20, 2005.

      Chapter 1 of "But They All Come Back" by Jeremy Travis discusses indeterminate and determinate sentencing in great detail. It discusses its origin, its purpose, and its effect on the criminal justice system. Discretion being the main element of indeterminate sentencing- its role and legitimacy is often questioned. When judges determine a sentence for a person who has been convicted of a crime, they are supposed to take several things into account under this lens. “…the crime’s severity, the extent of any prior criminal convictions, the offender’s family circumstances, and his or her prospects for rehabilitation” (Travis, 2005, 15). Parole boards and parole officers are also supposed to take such factors into consideration when determining what the offender requires and needs after incarceration or custody.

      The author goes on to discuss the purpose of the criminal sanction. Travis argues that the main point of a sanction is in fact rehabilitation rather than the commonly presumed punishment. However, Travis goes on to say that under indeterminate sentencing, rehabilitation is difficult to achieve because indeterminate sentencing requires that judges decide how an offender will be rehabilitated as well as parole boards and officers.

      Furthermore, Travis discusses the criticism of indeterminate sentencing. These include racial discrimination, too much reliance on judicial discretion and much more. Specifically, “The practice of assigning significant sentencing responsibilities to the judicial branch was criticized as an inappropriate exercise of unchecked, unguided, and unreviewable power” (Travis, 2005, 17). Alternatively, “…the goal of rehabilitation was roundly characterized as tantamount to coddling criminals” (Travis, 2005, 17). The author goes on to cite the “Nothing Works!” report as a reason for the collapse of the rehabilitative ideal when relating to prisons.

      Travis ends the chapter by stating there has been no new framework proposed, and “A number of states have enacted laws imposing mandatory minimum sentences, thereby depriving judges of the community supervision option and generally increasing the size of the prison population” (Travis, 2005, 20). This chapter have an interesting background on indeterminate sentencing, as well as granted insight into the rise of mandatory minimum sentences.

      “But They All Come Back: Facing the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry” by Jeremy Travis. 2005. The Urban Institute Press. Washington D.C. 1st Edition. Pages 7-20. Print.

    3. "Too Severe?: A Defense of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (and a Critique of Federal Mandatory Minimums)" by Paul G. Cassell

      In the article "Too Severe?: A Defense of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (and a Critique of Federal Mandatory Minimums)," author Paul Cassell attempts to shed light on whether or not an argument of undue severity can be made against mandatory minimums. According to Cassell, this is an argument that has not been made, although I would beg to differ. However, Cassell claims the guidelines associated with federal sentencing guidelines are not too severe because they fit social norms as prescribes by the public, as well as provide deterrence benefits and have “strong potential for being cost-effective crime control measures” (Cassell, 2004, 1018).

      Cassell begins his argument by addressing a speech given by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, which prompted a nationwide discussion about the severity and the need for a reduction in mandatory minimums across the board. The author does note before going into methods and literature, this his approach will not fully delve into the issue of all discretionary sentencing measures. He posits that it is “fair to say that some calls for more “discretion” are, in truth, calls for lower sentences” (Cassell, 2004, 1019).

      Crime control and just deserts have been known to be the purpose of punishment and adjudication in the criminal justice field. Cassell aims to assess these elements of sentencing as a way to measure punishment severity. The author goes on to present a table that shows the federal sentencing guidelines for crimes seen more frequently in court versus what the public feels the penalty should be. Most of them were fairly consistent. However, the public generally has a “tough on crime” approach to all things criminal justice, which implies that the federal government maintains the same way of thinking since their answers were almost identical.

      An interesting part of this article however, is when Cassell states how many cases end up with a lesser sentence due to pleading down. “According to a recent General Accounting Office Study of downward departures, 36% of all federal sentenced involved a downward departure, including 44% of all drug sentences. While most of these departures are apparently for “substantial assistance” to government prosecutors or for the “fast tracking” of immigration offenses… the great bulk of federal cases (more than 95%) are resolved by a plea arrangement…” (Cassell, 2004, 1029). Here, the Cassell is positing that discretionary sentencing is making it so those on trial do not have to accept full responsibility- which is determined by the federal government sentencing guidelines.

      This article was good in that it presented a point of view that is not seen very often in criminal justice: that mandatory minimums and discretionary sentencing are soft on sentencing. Cassell presented a lot of interesting data, and I think the argument is interesting.

      Stanford Law Review Vol. 56, No. 5, 2004 Stanford Law Review Symposium: Punishment and Its Purposes (Apr., 2004), pp. 1017-1048

      URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40040172

    1. G.Nelson

      In Matt Egan’s article, “Dr. Doom: This ‘Time Bomb’ Will Trigger Next Financial Collapse,” illustrates how the man, Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the 2008-09 financial crisis is predicting the next financial crisis. The next financial crisis will be a “liquidity time bomb.” After the 2008-09 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve created liquidity in the markets by buying up illiquid assets through quantitative easing. Quantitative easing is a policy were the Federal Reserve buys up troubled assets through the creation of dollars, i.e. debt creation. An illiquid asset is something, like a bond, that is not easily tradable, especially in a time of crisis.

      Egan illustrates that in 2010 and 2013 the financial markets were shocked by illiquidity. Even with the mentioning of the Federal Reserve’s intent to someday cut back or cease their Quantitative Easing program, the markets reeled and temporarily crashed.

      Paradoxically, the Federal Reserve’s policy of providing liquidity in illiquid market situations has only exasperated the liquidity problem by magnifying the situation from the dollars created to buy up illiquid financial instruments.

      Egan illustrates three reasons for illiquid markets: Herding behavior, bonds are not stocks, and banks are missing in action.

      Roubini is depicted as stating, “ironically,” the federal reserves policy of money creation, has created financial bubbles, and has ballooned asset prices in valuation higher than where they should be. As more investors rush into illiquid investments, such as bonds, the likelihood of a crash becomes more palpable, and the carnage that will come from such a collapse, will reverberate throughout the world. This is where the article ends, and I illustrate the bigger impacts and depths of the liquidity crisis

      The liquidity crisis illustrates a small underlying problem associated with the 2008-09 financial crisis: the Federal Reserves policy of bubble creation and destruction since the 1930s. A Keynesian philosophy of economics originated in the 1930s, and is finally illustrating the cogitative fallacy associated with growth via a debt-based fiat-monetary system. This has big implication for the availability and strength of the US Dollar in the near future, and impacts everyone and everything around the world from mom and pop in the US, municipal bonds, corporate financial systems, to the factory workers in China. I am focusing on the broader macro picture, so you two can illuminate the direct impact of the financial problems that arise therein.


    1. This Informational Packet prepared by the Executive Branch outlines the current objectives and plans for increasing educational achievement for low income students. It first outlines the moral and economic incentives to do so. College attainment gaps between high and low income has been growing over the last several decades, and this limits the ability of poor youths to obtain a better life. College attainment is also important for the economy as a whole the job market requires a greater degree of education then ever before. The paper highlights some of the current programs that the Obama administration has implemented such as increase in Pell Grants and a new pay as you earn program that doesn’t demand that students pay any more than 10% of their monthly income to student debt. Then it goes over outlining four goals for the US in terms of low income educational achievement. The first goal is to connect low income students to available colleges, and work to help them complete the college they start. It points out the critical problem of under matching, where low income students are least likely to enter school that match their ability, often going to schools that perform under that students ability. The second goal is to greater academically prepare low income students better for college while in public school. The paper suggested that technology and more personalized approach could greatly aid low income students many of whom are not adequately prepared for college. The third is to decrease inequalities in advising and test preparation. The school counselor is an important figure in connecting low income high school students to opportunities and knowledge they may otherwise not know. The final goal is to have brake though in remedial course work. Students who start in remedial classes rarely go on to complete college and the paper suggests that by bettering primary and secondary education and shifting more students out of remedial education in college this problem can be solved. The whole article focuses on each of these goals to a greater depth and would be an excellent reference point for our paper. Particularly interesting is the use of high school counselors as a factor in college attainment, as it is something that policy makers could easily alter and is less nebulous than improving K-12 education as a whole. Many other programs contained within are also worth studying.

      The Executive Office of the President (2014). Increasing College Opportunity for Low Income Students: Promising Models and a Call to Action. Retrieved on 10/17/15. Retrieved from chrome-extension://bjfhmglciegochdpefhhlphglcehbmek/content/web/viewer.html?file=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.whitehouse.gov%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fdocs%2Fwhite_house_report_on_increasing_college_opportunity_for_low-income_students.pdf

    1. Although Detroit has faced decades of decay, this piece in The Economists posits that the city need not continue to decline if it can manage to create economic diversity, in the patterns of other cities like New York, Boston, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

      The authors write that a newly diversified economy could help Detroit rebound and become stronger in the wake of its collapse.

      The article has a short summation of Detroit’s rise and fall, beginning with the growth of the auto industry and accompanying housing boom and population explosion.

      According to the article, since the 1940s, the decreased cost of moving goods fell 90% in the 20th century, which meant that firms no longer needed to group together in order to access deep markets, and could leave for places with cheaper land and labor. That trend saw the auto companies themselves moving out of town. Families have hopped on the trend, too, leaving the city for suburbs and new communities. Detroit’s downtown became a shell with too many factories and homes for the depleted population to sustain, thus precluding new construction and attracting new people, who are poorer and less educated than those who left town. That left the local tax base eroded, which led the government to cut public services and raise taxes, and eventually necessitating borrowing to stay afloat. Bad government, too, played a role — which brings us to Detroit circa 2013.

      But the authors are not entirely pessimistic. They cite cities like Boston, New York and London, all formerly industrial cities that faced difficult economic situations from 1950-1980 but have managed to bounce back, with a combination of a diverse economic base, a pool of skilled workers, adaptation to technology, and educational opportunities.

      New York saw its textile industry vanish in the 20th century, but was able to capitalize on the expertise that remained to become a fashion hub, and adapt to new fields, like media and finance, to grow.

      Pittsburgh and Boston, meanwhile, benefitted from technology and life-sciences, while Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon left something greater in Pittsburgh than Henry Ford left in Detroit: Universities.

      It will take effort and a massive undertaking to steer Detroit in a new direction, and the authors may not be entirely convinced that such a thing is even merited (early on, they question the need for cities at all). But they are optimistic that Detroit has the potential to change its course.

      Our group has refined our theme and will focus on Detroit as a case study in economic policy. We will examine the reasons for the fall of Detroit and how that fits into one (or more) political policy theory, and how the city can rejuvenate itself predictively within that theory and based on current research. Our approach will include both macro and microeconomics and economic policy in the examination of that theory and this city.

    1. Frempong, George, Xin Ma, and Joseph Mensah. "Access to Postsecondary Education: Can Schools Compensate for Socioeconomic Disadvantage?" Higher Education 63.1 (2012): 19-32. ProQuest. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.

      In this article, the authors discuss postsecondary educational attainment and factors that may affect it such as socioeconomic status (SES) and family background. The authors cite multiple studies that took place in both the U.S and Canada dating back to the 1960’ regarding factors that affect access and attainment of a college education. The purpose of the article is to analyze access to a university education for students coming from low SES families. The authors do this by providing a literature review, outlining their measures, and presenting their results.

      The authors claim that it is an undisputable fact that SES affects access to postsecondary education. One survey that is cited in the article shows “only 30% of youth in the bottom 25% of the income distribution attend university, compared to 50.2% in the top 25%” (Pg. 20). They also talk about the lack of social capital in low SES families due to the fact that youth “are often brought up in a home environment where parents, friends, siblings and peers are less interested in schooling, university education, and its associated benefits” (pg. 21). Additionally, one Canadian study delved deeper than financial constraint and looked at secondary factors that are common amongst the economically disadvantaged. These factors include personal perception of what youth can accomplish, sub-par scores on standardized tests and reading level.

      The authors conducted a study by looking at multiple surveys such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Youth in Transition Survey (YITS). They had a dependent variable of “students’ access to postsecondary education” and an independent variable of “family characteristics.” The study found that SES may be a predictor of college access with students coming from a high SES family being more likely to attend a 4-year school. They also found that schools with a higher average SES also had higher rates of students attending college. Lastly, they drew a conclusion that students have typically decided whether or not they will be attending college at an early age. Students who are driven and complete high school are able to find the resources to attend college.

    1. In “Other Measure of Cost Effectiveness”, chapter four of the book Mandatory Drug Minimums by J.P Caulkins et al., the authors consider the cost-effectiveness of treatment programs for drug offenders in contrast to mandatory minimum legislation. Researchers with the RAND think tank, the authors explored three different areas, which could reduce the spending of taxpayers’ dollars. The first area discussed was the ability to reduce other drug use. The authors explain that because tough drug enforcement rose, so did the street price of cocaine. This drove cocaine users to branch out and try other drugs. Because treatment programs do not usually target a specific drug but instead handle any drug use, it is more cost effective to have an offender go through treatment. The treatment programs are potentially targeting a reduction of use in multiple drugs as opposed to incarcerating an individual for just cocaine possession/distribution.

      The second and strongest argument the authors make for treatment programs is its ability to lower crime rates. The authors consider multiple forms of drug related crime, but focus primarily on two types. Psychopharmacological crimes happen when an offender commits a crime while abusing a chemical substance. Then, more commonly, economic-compulsive crime occurs when drug offenders cannot afford to support their habit, and turn to crime in response. Serious crimes are also considered, which umbrella over the former two crimes in many ways. Serious crimes (as defined by California State) are murders, rapes, burglaries, robberies, and aggravated assaults (p. 67). The authors explain that treatment programs have the potential (based on their calculations) to reduce serious crime at ten to fifteen times the rate than either conventional sentencing or mandatory sentencing.

      Finally, the authors delve into calculations surrounding social cost. They explain their thinking by separating social cost into two main concepts: “Drug related crime and health effects associated with drug use” (p. 69). They claim that reducing social cost is linearly related to these two factors. Treatment programs are three times more effective at reducing cocaine use than incarceration in any form (conventional or mandatory) (p. 71). Additionally, the authors remind the reader that treatment programs decrease serious crimes by a ratio of up to 17 times. Together, the authors argue that these factors prove that treatment programs are seven and a half times more effective at lowering social costs to taxpayers than sentencing and incarceration of any kind.

      CITATION:Caulkins, J. P., Rydell, C. P., Schwabe, W., & Chiesa, J. (1997). "Other measure of cost effectiveness".Mandatory minimum drug sentences. Rand Corporation.

    1. Michael Williams POLS 514 Professor Long 21 October 2015

      "Drugs and Drug Policy" by Clayton Mosher and Scott M. Akins

      Chapter 11 (Mandatory Minimum Sentences Section)

      Drugs and Drug Policy, by Clayton Mosher and Scott M. Akins examines the Drug War in its entirety, from the overtly extreme beginnings, to the more subtle, systemic consequences of the present. Throughout the book, Mosher and Akins dissect everything from the Crack “epidemic” to performance enhancing drugs. With each chapter, Mosher and Akins reveal the mismeasurement, misinformation, and misguided policies that have contributed to—and perpetuate—America’s War on Drugs.

      In Chapter 11, Mosher and Akins put mandatory minimum sentencing under the microscope. They begin with an anecdote that, according to many, is an all too common scenario in the criminal justice system. The anecdote compares the consequences faced by a young African American convicted of the sale of two-tenths of a gram of crack cocaine to those of a Caucasian robber who takes property by force. The African American’s mandatory sentencing range is 45-51 months, compared to the Caucasian’s 12-14 months (453).

      Mosher and Akins go on to explain that mandatory minimum sentences have been a part of criminal laws since 1790, but have had the greatest impact on society in only the last three decades. They reveal that in the 1970s, the mandatory minimum laws were repealed, but, prompted by the crack cocaine “epidemic,” mandatory minimums were enacted in many states in 1980, and at the federal level in 1986 with the passing of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act. (454)

      Congress, according to Mosher and Akins, largely ignored the fact that crack and powder cocaine are essentially the same substance and failed to offer any rationale for the selection of the 100:1 sentencing ratio in amounts of powder vs. crack. (454)

      The authors explain that African Americans were far more likely to be arrested and prosecuted under federal crack cocaine statutes than whites and cite a 1992 study by the U.S. Sentencing Commission which found that in 16 states, not a single white person had been prosecuted under federal crack laws. They report that the Sentencing Commission also found that it was only after nine years since the crack/powder distinction was enacted that a white person had been formally charged with crack possession. Mosher and Akins go on to reveal that the Sentencing Commission officially recommended the 100:1 sentencing ratio be reduced to 1:1 in 1997, but the recommendation was rejected Congress and President Clinton. (455)

      An increasing number of judges subsequently became upset at having to invoke mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and, as Mosher and Akins note, one Superior Court judge in California stated:

      “[O]ur system has arrested, imprisoned, and eliminated from the [drug] market the stupid, unorganized, and less violent drug traffickers and smugglers, thus leaving behind the phenomenally lucrative market open to offenders who are smarter, better organized, and more violent.” (458)

      This, Mosher and Akin note, is among the many other blowbacks and unintended consequences of mandatory minimum sentencing.

    1. Ellen Bassuk writes this article with intention to bring more focus on homelessness among families, specifically children, and discusses the consequences and side effects homeless children face. The article states that a lot of previous studies investigated impact of homelessness by comparing homeless children with those of their low income counterparts, however this does not create responsive solutions. Through research we are aware that homeless children are faced with greater challenges than those with housing. Overall, children in homelessness experience health and well-being insufficiency; their parent(s) (usually single mothers) are unable to care for them, the trauma of homelessness disables them to be caretaker the child needs and creates limitations in child’s development. Mobility, which is inevitable among homeless who are constantly seeking place to live, affects children’s performance in school, social interactions and psyche. Article states that, “poverty and traumatic stress can results in poor mental health, behavioral problems, developmental milestones, emotional dysregulation, attachment disorders, anxiety and depression.”

      According to the data collected by 12,550 Local Education Agencies, approximately 1.5 million children experience homelessness in American each year, yet, most federal policy has focused on chronically homeless individuals and introduced the Housing First model to address homelessness among individuals.

      The Interagency Council on Homelessness issued “Opening Doors – the first ever comprehensive strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness in America” in 2009. By the interagency collaboration the “key focus and goal is to prevent and end homeless for families, youth and children within 10 years.” More focus is faced on rapid rehousing to assist individuals rather than continue support of shelters. Article explains that programs and policies need to provide services for the whole family – including children. BSAFE, for example, is a program developed to identify family member’s needs and provide referrals to community support and services.

      In order for the Campaign to End Child Homelessness to be successful however, mobilization of political will at the national, state and local levels will be required along with the implementation of effective interventions. So far the campaign has been gaining momentum; collation of providers, consumers, advocates, and policy makers is forming to identify needs and solutions for ending family homelessness.

      “The failure to house one child for even one night in our nation represents an unacceptable societal failing,” concludes the article, than adds; “[A]ll that is required is the public will to end this national tragedy.”

      The article acknowledges the shortcomings in addressing family homelessness and explains certain federal policies that have attempted to address these concerns. The conclusion of the article places a heavy responsibility on public will to solve and eradicate homelessness which indicates that The Social Construction Theory is challenged. As article states, over a decade has been dedicated to Housing First model, which provides housing for chronically homeless, yet homeless families have been excluded from this model. Per Social Construction Theory, homeless children especially, were considered the most deserving, this article is attempting to bring that notion back. It acknowledges that there was a shift in social construction and it’s affecting homeless children and families greatly.

    1. Dyce, Cherrel Miller, Cheryll Albold, and Deborah Long. "Moving from College Aspiration to Attainment: Learning from One College Access Program." The High School Journal 96.2 (2013): 152-65. ProQuest. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.

      By 2018 a large majority (around 62%) of jobs in the United States will require some type of post high school education and over half of those jobs will require a four-year degree. If those numbers are accurate there will be a shortage of over 15 million qualified individuals in the workforce. The subset of the population that is most at risk of not being able to compete for these jobs is individuals who come from a disadvantaged background or who have a cycle of disadvantage in their family. These are students of color, first generation college students, and low-income students who lack the financial and social capital to enroll and complete at a post high school institution. The education gap between underserved students and other students continues to grow and much of that is attributed to a lack of resources along with many other life challenges.

      The essay by Cherrel Miller Dyce titled “Moving from College Aspiration to Attainment: Learning from One College Access Program” discusses a small study focusing on low-income, first-generation students and families regarding their aspirations and realities as it pertains to achieving a college education after high school. The study surveyed 75 students and 76 parents regarding their confidence about different aspects of the college entry process such as necessary courses and ability to find financial resources.

      The study found that students’ and family’s confidence of a college education is fairly high, however that does not correlate with actual college entry rates. This means that students are not reaching the goals they aspire to when it comes to their education. The article calls for “long-term support for students and families throughout the high school.” To do so, the author is proposing more college access programs in the K-12 system that are targeted towards first-generation, low-income, minority students. These programs should “celebrate, recognize, and nurture the aspirational capital found in the social networks of potential students.”

    2. Alexander, M. (2012). The color of Justice. The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness (97-139). The New Press.

      This summary will cover a section out of a chapter of Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow. The chapter is titled, “The Color of Justice” and discusses how discretion—of officers and prosecutors in particular—coupled with implicit racial bias, has in part led to the mass incarceration of black and brown individuals. This chapter has themes related to Social Construction Theory and the Punctuated Equilibrium Framework, as it explains how the media reinforced public perceptions of the “black, gun-toting drug dealer” which lead to harmful policies such as the 100-1 legislation. Alexander explains a 1995 study in which participants were asked to invasion a drug user. 90% admitted to envisioning a black person (p. 106).

      The section in the chapter most pertinent to our group’s discussion of mandatory minimums is titled “Cracked Up—Discriminatory Sentencing in the War on Drugs”, which deals with some issues surrounding the 100-1 rule. The 100-1 legislation enforces judges to sentence an offender’s possessing or distributing 1 gram of crack cocaine in the same exact way he would sentence an offender possessing or distributing 100 grams of powder cocaine. This clearly targets black drug offenders, because crack cocaine is far less expensive than powder cocaine. The legislative defense for the obviously disparate rule is due to some drug abuse “experts” claiming crack is more harmful to society than powder cocaine.

      The section takes a qualitative turn in expressing the horrific nature of this law in a case study. The section tells the story of eighteen year old Edward Clary, who as a first time offender with a previously clean record, agreed to transport 50 grams of crack cocaine to Saint Lois. He was pulled aside in the St. Louis airport by security for “looking like” a drug courier. This racial bias is made legal by what Alexander considers the Supreme Court’s protection of police discrimination. Because of the decision made in United States v. Brigoni-Ponce, an officer is allowed to take into consideration an individuals “appearance” when deciding if there is reasonable suspicion (p. 131). When Clary was being sentenced, the judge felt he had no choice but to sentence Clary to the minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years (p. 112).

      Clary challenged the constitutionality of the 100-1 ratio, and Judge Clyde Cahill of the Federal District in Missouri made the bold decision to sentence Clary as though he had 50 grams of powder cocaine because Cahill also believed the 100-1 legislation was unconstitutional. Instead of serving ten years, Clary served four. Unfortunately, the prosecution decided they were not willing to give up the ghost and appealed the case to the Eighth Circuit court of Appeals. There, Judge Cahill’s opinion was reversed. Clary was forced to return to prison and serve the remaining six years. This decision was made all the more heartbreaking because by this point in time, Clary had married and had children (p. 113-114). Through the use of this very sad cautionary tale, Alexander displays for her readers how African American individuals are disproportionately punished for the mistakes they make.

    3. Witman, K., Chase, M., Bensimon, E.M., Hanson, D., & Longanecker, D. (2015). Moving the attainment agenda from policy to action. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 47 (4), 6-15.

      In Whitman, Chase, Bensimon, Hanson and Longanecker’s (2015) article, the authors propose a model for how higher education institutions can put policy decisions into practice in order to increase access to college for underrepresented populations. The authors stress the importance of equity being at the forefront of policy implementation and involving faculty and other institutional staff in the process of policymaking “to produce dramatically greater and more sustainable change by merging these two domains of practice” (policy and practice) (pg. 8).

      Using Colorado’s Equity in Excellence program as a model and similar to Lasswell’s (1956) Stages Model, Witman et al. outline the “Policy and Practice Alignment Model”, which will be referred to as the PPA Model in this posting. The first stage of the PPA Model involves the creation of state equity policy goals based on disaggregated data by race/ethnicity to “identify equity gaps in student progress toward degree attainment” (pg. 9). These policy goals will then lead to the following phases (pg. 9):

      1. Laying the groundwork
      2. Defining the problem
      3. Assessing interventions
      4. Implementing solutions
      5. Evaluating results

      Once policy determines the achievement gaps to focus on, Whitman et al. recommend the “creation of a campus evidence-team” and a “campus-specific data portfolio” to implement policy at a specific campus (pg. 10). After this process had been conducted at a college in Colorado, it led to the math department making changes such as “providing professional development [for faculty] focused on how to be more inclusive in their syllabi, be more alert to power dynamics that prevent students from seeking help, understand what types of languages may engender stereotype threat, and learn how to help students who may lack experience interacting with faculty…and many are already showing positive results” (pg. 13). Other changes noted in the article include hiring of more diverse faculty, analyzing achievement gaps at the level of specific courses, and analyzing faculty practices that “may be failing to produce success, particularly for the marginalized students of color” (pg. 14).

      The Whitman et al. article can be compared to policy decisions and implementation in the state of Washington. For example, the Washington Student Achievement Council’s Report: Educational Attainment for All: Diversity and Equity in Washington State Higher Education (2013) (which can be found online at http://www.wsac.wa.gov/sites/default/files/DiversityReport.FINAL.Revised.07-2013_0.pdf), specifically brings attention to race/ethnicity disparities of college enrollment within the state, particularly among African American, Latino, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Native American students who graduated from a high school within the state of Washington.

      Policy makers and practitioners, within the state of Washington and other states, may use the Policy and Practice Alignment Model presented by Whitman et al. in order to guide their local decision-making process to advance equity issues across the nation.

      • N Brusseau (10-5-15)
    4. Burke, J. B., & Johnstone, M. (2004). Access to Higher Education: The Hope for Democratic Schooling in America. Higher Education In Europe, 29(1), 0-31

      The Article “Access to Higher Education: The Hope for Democratic Schooling” by J. Bruch Burke and Michelle Johnston take on some of the issues the United States faces with its ideals of hope and democracy for all, and the reality of a shrinking middle class and an increasingly unrealistic perception of the American dream.

      The article starts by comparing the world’s perception of the U.S to the drastically different views that American’s have for themselves. Mostly, it is difficult to grasp the concept of a country who is so filled with patriotism and faith in the democratic system yet has so many shortcomings, particularly when looking at the gap in quality of life amongst its upper class and lower class citizens. The article then moves into the specific topic of access to higher education. Acquiring a higher education has long been viewed as the beacon of hope for individuals who strive for a better future, a beacon that under threat according to Burke and Johnston.

      The authors pose the questions: “What would define a quality undergraduate education for marginalized students?” (pg. 22) They go on to describe that a quality education for one group should look the same as a quality of education for another group. I believe the article is making the point that education should not settle based on the population it serves. The article calls this concept, “democratic schooling” which essentially acknowledges socioeconomically, cultural and other differences students have and uses those differences to empower all students, not just the ones that are deemed creative, talented or gifted. It goes on to explain the unfair and unequitable nature of the school system by describing key distinctions between affluent students and marginalized students. Distinctions which include access to technology, up-to-date text books, opportunities to travel, and enriching activities.

      The authors look to public school teachers in K-12 to prepare students for democratic schooling post high school but state that most K-12 teachers are unprepared in doing so due to the cyclical shortcomings of the hiring process of public school teachers. “The majority of teachers have been unprepared to lead their students into the arena of democratic learning environments, and much less to actually engage in democratic discourse” (pg. 31). In the concluding paragraphs, the article talks about the importance of a broad, liberal arts based education as a key component to democratic discourse. It states that many teachers entering the workforce are not informed about basics in literature, mathematics and science. A broader education instead of focusing on concentration area may be a solution or alternative to teaching credentials.

    5. G.Nelson

      Rugy, Veronique de. "The Municipal Debt Bubble." Reason 42.8 (2011): 20-21. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.

      In Veronique Rugy’s article, “The Municipal Debt Bubble,” she posits that the municipal bond markets are heading for a “housing-like crisis,” and with federal-incentive policies and private investors looking for a safe heaven from current market turmoil, the municipal bond market will be turning into an unsustainable financial-bubble, like that of the 2006 housing bubble.

      Since the 2008 financial crisis, she states, the demand for a safe haven has pushed investors into the municipal bond markets. Municipal bond markets are relatively safe and attractive in a time of financial uncertainty: “[T]he default rate for municipal bonds has average .o1 percent annually” (Rugy). This was the perceived notion on U.S. housing mortgages before the housing crisis of 2006. Rugy illustrates that if a state or local government wants to increase spending, they must issue bonds. Bonds have been utilized to fund projects ranging from stadiums, schools, bridges, to museums. Since 2009, however, they have increased by 800% and have recently been utilized to cover “basic operational expenses” (Rugy).

      In 2009, the federal government created “The Build America Bonds program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” (Rugy). Rugy illustrates that this program was utilized to subsidize local and state infrastructure programs. Through this act, the federal government directly paid part of the interest on the municipal bond, and with private investors seeking a safe heaven from corporate bonds, and tax incentives of investing in muni-bonds, the supply of municipal bonds where quickly bought up by private investors. Private investors, along with state and local officials, believe that if the banks were “too big to fail” then surely the municipal bonds would be “too big to fail.” Rugy illustrates that this assumption has lead to risky municipal bonds being issued to localities that are near bankruptcy, like Detroit and Los Angeles. This sort of risky loans operation is what fueled the housing crisis of 2006.

      Like the 2006 housing crisis, investors have started to hedge, protect themselves, from a muni-bond crisis. Investors can purchase Credit Derivative Swaps (CDS) as an insurance against failing bonds. The price of CDS can be indicative of the underlying assumptions that investors have toward bonds, and recently, the prices have been increasing, just like what happened before and during the 2008 financial crisis on corporate bonds.

      Rugy believes that there will be a muni-bond crisis in the near future. Since her article, Detroit has been in an annual bankruptcy process that has written off muni-bonds, costing taxpayers billions. Similarly, Puerto Rico has had muni-bond problems, which is tied in with US muni-bonds. If enough muni-bonds fail, a domino-like effect will overwhelm not just the U.S. economy, the global economy, as well, like that of the 2008 crisis. This time, however, the Fed is more limited in resources and jurisdiction to limit the financial fallout.


    1. I chose this article by William Sites in the Urban Affairs Review from 1997 because it give a theoretical explanation of Regime Theory as it relates to local governments, economic growth, and politics. In looking at economic policy from a macro to micro analysis, specifically on how the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 affected local economic policies, it is important to understand the dynamics of policy change at the local level. Regime Theory is a well-known and well-used theory in urban studies to research public policy through the lens of local government.

      Urban Regime Theory seeks to explain how local policy is shaped by the regime or political group in power (Sites, 1997). Development policies, which are put in place at the local level, have a huge influence on economic growth. In this article, Sites (1997) uses Regime Theory to look at the connection between urban development policy and politics at the local level in regards to the evolution of cities. The three regimes that build or maintain political partnerships at the local level are pro-growth, progressive, and caretaker (Sites, 1997, p. 537). The two main regimes are pro-growth, which uses market-oriented policies for urban growth, and progressive, which focuses on community-orientated development for economic progression. Caretaker, the third regime, avoids policies influencing development and focuses on fiscal stability and maintaining basic public services (Sites, 1997). In comparing these to the major political parties at the state and national level, pro-growth would be Republican, progressive would be Democrat, and caretaker would be most like Libertarian.

      In this journal article, Sites (1997) uses New York City as a case study to show how 3 different successive mayors had three different regimes, and how they uniquely affected economic and housing policies. The mayors are Edward Koch, pro-growth, from 1978-1989, David Dinkins, progressive, from 1990-1993, and Rudy Giuliani, caretaker, from 1993-1998 (Sites, 1997). Even though this appears to be a great case for Regime Theory based on the chronology of regimes, Sites describes how the theory does not explain all the policies that were put in place, counter to the desires of the regime in power. Sites (1997) argues “local development and housing programs have been strongly oriented toward market interests irrespective of political administration” (p. 538).

      Even though Regime Theory does not account for all policy causality in the case of New York, Sites claims that it is still a very useful analytic theory. Public officials lack direct control of the economy and therefore have to align coalitions of support to influence urban development in the way the administrators feel is the best outcome for their city. This political alignment and specific regime of pro-growth, progressive, and caretaker are the foundation of studying local policy through a Regime Theory framework.

    1. First things first: 'Housing first,' a redical new approach to ending chronic homelessness, is gaining around in Boston

      This article came about in the early years of the Housing First program, which is meant to give housing to homeless individuals (specifically focused on chronically homeless and the hard to house homeless) regardless of their past or current problems such as addiction, disability, etc. The program began near the end of the Bush administration and was a direction by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to begin devoting a third of their funds towards the idea of housing homeless individuals in permanent housing. The article moreso points to a man named Philip Mangano who was appointed to head the homelessness efforts for the Bush administration. The article portrays him as the person who began the discussion and movement towards housing first. The article does a great job of bringing in information from multiple studies and discussing the way cost-benefit analysis was used to further advance the cause of housing first because it showed that the housing first program actually reduced the total costs of homeless individuals because of their reduced dependence on emergency services.

      My goal in looking at this article was to examine it using the social constructionist theory, specifically focusing on who is defined as "needy" or "deserving" and if that matches what we find in the social construction and power typology in the Sabatier and Weible book on page 111. My secondary goal that I found part way through the article was who is the "hero", who is the "victim", and who is the "villain".

      In going through the article it does bring together homeless individuals but it also takes those who are considered to be more deserving of public funds such as children mothers, families, and mentally handicapped. The only negative they seemed to include was drug addicts, which are not listed on the figure in Sabatier and Weible but I infer that they would be considered underserving. So because of this we can see the narrative moving away from these people just being "homeless" in their social construction but they are also mothers, children, and other deserving statuses.

      I didnt expect to see a classification of who is the hero, villain, or victim. Looking towards the end of the article it discusses how the current system (villian) is preventing those who are chronically homeless (victims) from getting help because of their status or current lifestyle choices. Their lifestyle choices are self perpetuating in that they need to seek services to help with that but the services can only offer so much if they cant get housing, but to get housing they need to not have issues such as alcoholism, drug use, etc. So now HUD or state governments (heroes) need to step in and provide housing first programs to give those who who are hardest to reach services.

      The article is going to be used to understand the starting construction of homeless individuals and homeless issues in the start of the housing first program. Coming articles though need to be focused pre-2007 to understand the typology of homeless individuals before the housing first program to see if there has been a shift, or even if homelessness was discussed. It might also be useful to have statistics on homeless point in time studies to see if a spike in homelessness produced these conversations of change or if it was a push by advocates of homelessness programs to change the discussion of the issue.

    1. "The inadequacy of fiscal constraints as a substitute for proportionality review."

      Elizabeth Napier Dewar

      By Michael Williams

      In her article for the Yale Law Journal, Dewar presents a legislation comment which critiques Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s claim that the cost of incarceration, rather than proportional reviews, act as viable check on the length of prison terms (Dewar pg. 1177). Dewar goes on to analyze what she terms as a “typical response to rising prison costs” (pg.1178): the Act Concerning Prison Overcrowding, which was passed in Connecticut in 2004. According to Dewar, the Act trims small amounts of time for a large number of people without altering the statutory penalty for any particular crime (pg. 1178).

      Dewar notes that the Framers of the constitution, according to Scalia, did not include the guarantee against disproportionate sentences in Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment, but points out that some State Constitutions do (pg. 1178). Scalia’s interpretation of the Eighth Amendment posits that since it makes sense to scrutinize the government more closely when the State stands to benefit, than it makes sense to give no scrutiny to the length of prison sentences, since the State loses money (pg. 1179). This point is significant in that it highlights the way in which Federalism affects the perpetuation of states’ mandatory minimum sentencing policies.

      Dewar explains that while states have passed legislation (largely due to budget constraints), most, like Connecticut, have only cut at the level of probation and administration, with only a few states repealing mandatory minimum sentencing laws (pg. 1180). Dewar highlights that Connecticut’s Act Concerning Prison Overcrowding was styled as a budgetary measure, and excludes any “consideration of the sentences for individual crimes” (ph. 1181). Dewar points out that, although the Act also calls for a reduction in incarceration, the provision only focuses on those incarcerated for probation and parole violation, rather than any change to sentencing guidelines. This, according to Dewar, is counter-intuitive to any long term cost saving measure (pg. 1183).

      An all-out reduction of criminal sentences, according to Dewar, carries a high political cost, which deters legislators from reducing prison sentences in general. Accordingly, she points out that the Connecticut’s Act was justified by severe budget constraints (pg. 1183).

      Dewar’s analysis of Connecticut’s Act Concerning Prison Overcrowding is important in that it exemplifies the way in which the social construction of the "dangerous criminal" is so deeply rooted that even reasonable, efficient cost-cutting policies are not enough to justify repealing mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, and that State legislatures' need to appear “tough on crime” overpowers the financial interests of their state.


      The Inadequacy of Fiscal Constraints as a Substitute for Proportionality Review Elizabeth Napier Dewar The Yale Law Journal Vol. 114, No. 5 (Mar., 2005) , pp. 1177-1184 Published by: The Yale Law Journal Company, Inc. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4135704

    1. Women entrepreneurs are coming out strong in recession recovery, according to this piece, which is based on the 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express OPEN.

      Women entrepreneurs account for 30% of all enterprise in the United States, according to the report, which was released in May 2015. That is a 9% increase from 21% of all businesses in 2007. Women-owned firms have also surpassed their pre-recession levels of revenue and employment growth. The report estimates that there are more than 9.4 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., generating nearly $1.5 trillion in revenue and employing more than 7.9 million people.

      The industries with the highest concentrations of women-owned firms are health care and social assistance, educational services, and administrative support and waste management, as well as ‘other’ services, which was not defined.

      In addition to looking at data since 2007, the study also examined women-owned businesses since 1997. Since 1997, women-owned business have increased by 74%, grown revenues by 79%, and added an additional 847,000 jobs to the economy. Minority women are also responsible for a significant portion of small business and jobs. In 1997, 17% of women-owned firms were also owned by minority women, while in 2015 minority women own 33% of all women-owned firms.

      The study also noted the states and cities with the fastest and slowest growth in the number of women-owned firms between 1997 and 2015. Georgia has the fastest growth in women-owner firms, while Alaska has the slowest growth.

      Portland, Ore., was in second place as a city with the highest combined economic clout for women-owned firms.

      The study’s methodology was based on U.S. Census Data, specifically from the business census, and the Survey of Business Owners, which is conducted every five years, in years ending in 2 or 7 (1997, 2002, 2007). It also incorporated changes to national and state GDP.

      This report had a lot of data, but was light on suggestions for what to do with and how to interpret the data. Although fascinating, I would have liked qualitative perspective to balance the information and provide more concrete examples of what kinds of businesses women helm and what can be done to help them gain more ground.

      Our policy area will examine the changes in economic policy since the Great Recession. The increase in women-owned business and the economic clout of those business is important when examining policy, especially when it comes to small-business lending, family leave policies, healthcare and other issues many women are affected by, perhaps disproportionately to men. Women may have different economic and entrepreneurial needs than men, which should be taken into account when crafting policy to aid them.

    1. G.Nelson

      Blanchard, Dave. “Manufacturers’ Big Squeeze Puts Pressure on Supplierss.” Industry Week/IW 262.5 (2013): 40-41. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Oct. 2015

      In light of the recession, Dave Blanchard explains in his article, “Manufacturers’ Big Squeeze Puts Pressure on Suppliers,” manufacturers are looking for ways to shore up cash flow. Large companies are looking to expand their payment arrangements to their suppliers for services and, or products rendered from 45 to 70 days. For the small to mid-sized suppliers of larger companies, this can greatly affect the smaller company’s cash flow and profits. Smaller companies may go to commercial lending companies, banks, and request a “factoring” service. Factoring is when a bank or lending institution looks at the accounts receivable and lends the company 70% to 90% of the value therein. The bank or lending institution will, then, usually charge 1.5% to 5.5% of the “total face value of the invoice.”

      Blanchard illustrates how one company in the plastic industry utilized this banking technique of factoring to expand the growth of the company domestically and internationally. I find some issues with this technique of factoring, though. If any company is relying on credit markets and tools to grow or finance the company, the company is instantly losing 1.5% to 5.5% of potential profit to banking fees. Since the big companies are rearranging their finances due to the recession, is a small to mid-sized company trying to grow when the headwinds of a recession is attempting to push them back? A couple of questions that are not directly being answered in this article: since the big companies are expanding their payment arrangements to shore up cash flow, will this drive the big company to expand business? Will this expansion help the suppliers? Or is the factoring by small and mid-sized just a domino effect of the debt crisis of 2008-09?

      Even though this article is short, the article illustrates the creativity that is within the financial markets, but also illustrates the potential risks of easy debt through creative financial mechanisms. Part of the issue that caused the 2008-09 crisis was debt, specifically derivatives. Even though factoring is --assuming-- to be limited to 45 to 70 days, commercial or investment banks my be able to bundle an amalgamation of factorings by multiple companies to sell to investors of debt, and if one company, or more, defaults on the factoring because a larger company defaults on their payment to suppliers, the underlying value of the amalgamated-bundle of factorings would default and result in a domino effect; thus, a 2008-09 crisis would once again rise up to smack the GDP down.

      Does the Dodd-Frank Act account for this? My next article will be Dodd-Frank specific.


    1. Similar to what we see in Clark County WA, Boston, Massachusetts is faced with a housing problem where low income housing is scarce and rents are skyrocketing. A case control study of 49 homeless, female headed families and 81 house female-headed families in Boston attempted to reveal “Why Does Family Homelessness Occur?” Sample was collected from local shelters in Boston where homeless families stayed between April and July 1985. Housed families sample was collected via 1980 census. Both homeless and housed families had a choice of participating and were given monetary compensation for their time. Data was collected by personal interview of the mothers and children by a psychiatrist or psychologist. The comparison of homeless and housed mothers revealed important similarities and differences. In both groups, mothers were poor, currently single, had little work experience and relied on public assistance. Additionally both groups reported experiencing a major family disruption during childhood. Many of their children had serious developmental and emotional problems and showed poor performance in school. Additionally, children in homeless families were more likely to be abused or neglected. The homeless mothers had weaker support systems, which more likely consisted of men. They were also much frequently abused as children, and had been more frequently battered as adults. A greater proportion of homeless women had substance abuse or psychiatric problems than housed women did. The study states that family’s support network plays an important role and determines whether a family will need shelter or be able to find housing with friends or family. The fact that homeless mothers had experienced greater family violence as children could also explain, in part, their difficult to form and maintain supportive relationships as adults. Most importantly, this study notes that homeless mothers were less likely to have grown up on welfare than the housed mothers.<br> Although there are limitations that must be noted, the study makes valuable points as well. Data for housed women was collected during daylight, which could have limited the sample to non-working mothers only. The interview setting was different for homeless and housed mothers, and the psychiatrists conducting the interviews had knowledge of which individuals belong to which group. Again, I use the Social Construction and Typology Power as a discussion point for the study above. Homeless mothers more frequently experience abuse and family violence, their children have experienced neglect and show poor performance in school, and although Social Construction Theory suggests that they are “dependents” and deserving in terms of sympathy and pity, they still account for one third of the estimated homeless population of 2.5 million people nationwide. They are also the fastest growing subgroup according to the study. If it was the case that this specific group: homeless mothers with children, were in fact deserving, than we should be seeing a decrease in their numbers.

    1. This article examines why college graduation rates are exceptionally lower than college entrance rates in low income households. While college dropout occurs in all income levels it is much higher in low income families. The paper studies whether “attrition”, the term they use to describe the process of leaving college uncompleted, is due to college cost or other factors. They looked in particular at a school in Kentucky where tuition and living expenses are almost entirely subsidized, controlling for the cost of college as a variable. The whole college could be considered relatively low income as its wealthiest attendants appeared to be from the lower middle class. Despite the lack of college cost only half of students graduate and most that leave did not indicate that they are going to transfer. Analysis of the groups shows that the higher income groups were the most likely to stay in college and the lowest the most likely to leave. The researchers also found that wealthier students had on average higher grades than poorer students. Their data suggested that this was due to better preparation in K-12, although they stated that it is possible that lower income tried less do to being uncertain if they were going to leave or not. The article proposed the possibility of “negative shocks” that a dramatic fall in income would lead to drop out. Yet its data ultimately showed no evidence of this effect. The article did not directly state any specific reason why low income students dropped out more even when college but suggested several. These included better primary and secondary education, more encouraging parents, and less need to immediately support their family. It ends with a call for more research into how aid non-cost difficulties related difficulties, so to most effectively use education budgets. Stinebrickner, Ralph and Todd R. Stinebrickner (2003). Understanding Educational Outcomes of Students from Low-Income Families: Evidence from a Liberal Arts College with a Full Tuition Subsidy Program. The Journal of Human Resources Vol. 38 No.3, 591-617.

    1. This article is a British study from the early 2000’s looking at difficulties in access to higher education among disadvantaged youths. As it is in Brittan some of the information may not apply in an American context but it should certainly help at least a general understanding of the various factors that can disadvantage some youth from pursuing education. The survey looked at 16 schools in four areas of Scotland, all schools having lower than average rates of students who entered higher education. Some of this was due to finances which caused more students to put school off in order to save up money, or not go so that they would not accrue debt. Even students that did go were more likely to not pursue their passion or best subject for fear that it may lead to unemployment and inability to pay the debt, opting instead for more practical degrees that they have no interest in. Cultural factors also played with disadvantaged students decisions. Many students either chose not to pursue higher education or chose to apply to less prestigious schools as a result of fear of being looked down upon by wealthier classmates. Others felt that their hometowns discouraged them from furthering their education. Many felt both and said being in higher education and from a disadvantaged background made them outsiders in all worlds and isolated.<br> Location was also a factor; some students simply lived very far from colleges and could not receive education without moving. Another was the ‘Highers’ a Scottish test that affected whether or not a student could gain entry to higher education. Students from a higher social class were far more likely to get an acceptable score at the ‘Highers’. The study found that many of the disadvantaged students simply dropped out as well, so getting into higher education didn’t guarantee that they would receive anything for it. The overall study suggests that the main reason why disadvantaged students have lower representation in schools in not in selection bias by the school but due to lower rates of application. The students that did go often went due to inability to find a job and focused only on financial security, unlikely to enter postgraduate education or a discipline of interest. The study concludes that financial assistance could increase disadvantaged participants and thus also decrease cultural barriers by greater familiarizing disadvantaged areas with education.

      Forsyth, Alasdair and Andy Furlong (2003). Access to Higher Education and Disadvantaged Young People. British Educational Research Journal Vol. 29 No. 2, 205-225.

    1. This study deals with the relationship between distance from university and rates of attendance, particularly in lower income families. Like my last article this article is not American. However as a Canadian study the population lives in a large country with many rural cities similar to their Southern neighbors. The study stated that moving is a factor that can have financial and emotional cost on students who have to leave their hometowns for universities. Previous studies found that students who were farer than 80 Km from Universities were 42% less likely to attend than those who lived in commuting distance. It also found that lower income students were even less likely to attend far away university than higher income students. This study focuses on colleges which have a far more rural presence than universities and are thus more available to lower income students who are less willing or able to move for education. The study looked at the behavior of three types of students, those in commuting distance of a university and college, just a college, or neither. The study showed when a college and university were both in the same area students attendance at each was roughly the same, although lower income students were more likely to opt for the college. Yet in more rural areas with only a college most students choose to stay rather than move to a university, regardless of income. If there was no college or university in the area, rates of post secondary education overall were lower, although students who did move were slightly more likely to go to university. It should be noted that the vast majority of the sample had at least a college nearby. Low income students were most likely to attend post secondary education if only a college were nearby. All income levels however were affected by commuting distance even the high income bracket. The article also addresses how this research can aid policy makers in how to best aid access for students. It suggested that focusing aid on rural colleges and student aid to its students may be more effective increasing access than focusing on the larger more urban universities. Expanding the capacities of rural colleges is the likely the best way to make post secondary education available for low income students. The study supports that access to education is more than just paying for college itself, it is also being able to get there.

      Frenette, Marc (2004). Access to College and University: Does Distance to School Matter? Canadian Public Policy/ Analyse de Politiques Vol. 30, No. 4, 427-443.

    1. This article looks at and evaluates proposals to increase access to education based upon the best available research as well as the estimations of the authors. The authors ranked objectives relating to higher education in their current status, as well as ranking it in terms of needed improvement rate. The six objectives rated were developing educated workforce, increase college affordability, increase number of high performing high performing high schools, increase K-12 learning, increase college learning, and help at risk students. They then prioritized the objectives by which objectives they believed to be the most underdeveloped. Interestingly the author’s conclusion was that increasing funding for student aid was actually the least pressing issue. The most important were helping at risk youth succeed in college and improving K-12 education. The authors stated that more financial aid would not be effective until at risk students could not only go to college but also be effective there. After evaluating objectives the authors evaluated a series of broad solution and what their relationships were with the 6 objectives earlier mentioned. The categories of reform were improving Pell, improve financial aid, intervene early, and improve institutions. Once again, the financial outcomes seemed to be much less influential than the options focusing on improving quality of education and ability of low income students. This was partly due to the fact that since financial solutions corresponded with the financial objectives which were given the lowest priority weight. The final chart looked at actual policies that could be implemented in the educational system in the categories of K-12 Student policies, Postsecondary Student Policies, Postsecondary Financial Aid Policies, K-12 Institution Policies, and Post-Secondary Polices. The highest rated solution in terms weight given by the authors formula were providing academic coaching for the at-risk in elementary, academic coaching for at risk in high school and train high school teachers how to monitor and analyze student learning. The article emphasizes at the end that higher education cannot be seen as separate from K-12 in terms of policy. Many students lack to skills to succeed in college and getting a low income student into college only for them to drop out cannot be considered a success.

      Stapen, Jacob O, and W. Lee Hansen (1999). Improving Higher Education Access and Persistence: New Directions from a "Systems" Perspective. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis Vol.21 No. 4, 417-426.

    1. Niu, S.X. (2014). Leaving home state for college: Differences by race/ethnicity and parental education. Research in Higher Education. 56 (4) pg. 325-359.

      Attending college out-of-state is usually more expensive because of transportation and housing costs, but Niu (2014) makes the normative claim that “leaving home states for college provides additional benefits compared with attending college in home states” (pg. 347). This is mainly due to the finding that students who are attending out-of-state institutions are likely attending “a private, a 4-year, and a selective institution” (pg. 347), but Niu seems to believe that inequitable out-of-state college attendance should be noticed.

      Niu cites other researchers who found that high-income students were more likely to apply to many schools as well as more selective schools. Previous research found that a student’s “likelihood of leaving home for college was found to be positively affected by the father’s education and the parental income” (pg. 327).

      Niu conducted a study to examine where graduating seniors from 2010 actually attended, rather than focusing on college choices of students that were not confirmed with actual attendance in previous research. The study used secondary data from the SAT exam and then tracked where the students actually attended using data from the National Student Clearinghouse (pg. 329). In order to rank the selectivity of specific colleges, Niu used the Barron’s college selectivity index.

      Based on the college(s) a specific student chose to have their SAT scores sent to (in-state vs. out-of-state), Niu looked at whether a student was more or less likely to request out-of-state colleges in comparison to the student’s race/ethnicity and parental education.

      After descriptive and multivariate analyses were completed, Niu determined that White students had the highest rate of sending test scores to out-of-state colleges, while Hispanic students had the least likelihood of sending scores out-of-state (pg. 332). The increased likelihood of a student sending their test scores out-of-state was also correlated with higher levels of parental education. When this pattern was compared to where students actually attended, the correlation remained that White students with parents of high education levels were the most likely to attend out-of-state college, compared to Black, Hispanic and Asian students. This study notes that Black and Hispanic students who attended out-of-state colleges were likely attending colleges with ‘need-based’ financial aid practices, which provided additional need to students with low income.

      These factors are in support of Brody’s two articles posted in the “PolEdu” tag, which analyzes a student’s ability to relocate to attend college as well as have access to transportation in order to attend. Public policy makers should be aware of possible barriers to students and seek ways to assist the public with overcoming these additional barriers.

      -N Brusseau (9-28-15)

    1. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED555523.pdf

      Anderson, L. (2015). Addressing postsecondary access for undocumented students. ECS Educational Trends, February, 2015, 1-6.

      Schneider, A.L., Ingram, H. and Deleon, P. (2011). Democratic policy design: Social construction of target populations. In Sabatier, P.A. and Weible, C.M. (Eds.), Theories of the Policy Process (105-149). Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

      Anderson’s (2015) provides an overview of recent policy decisions with regards to undocumented students’ access to U.S. higher education institutions. Anderson notes President Obama’s creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), which provides the authorization to work for undocumented individuals, but does not provide a path to citizenship. One requirement to qualify for the DACA program is they have moved to the U.S. before age 16 and also maintained continuous residency (pg. 2). Anderson cites an estimate of 11.2 million undocumented people living in the U.S in 2012 (pg. 1). Federal and state governments are faced with policy questions for this group, including questions about access to higher education.

      Anderson notes many policy changes since 2001, but currently eighteen states made changes to policies to allow for undocumented students to pay in-state tuition, provided the individual meets specific requirements. Examples of state requirements include high school attendance or graduation from the state, or provide a signed statement that the individual will obtain legal status as soon as possible (pg. 2). Five of those 18 states allow undocumented students access to state financial aid programs (pg. 3).

      Anderson provides policy examples from different states to serve as a springboard for continuing discussions. The first state to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition was Texas in 2001, but there are requirements the student needs to meet (such as living in Texas for three years before high school graduation and not previously enrolled in college before 2001, among others). Anderson cites that more than 16,000 college students in Texas enrolled in college in 2011 under this policy (pg. 2). Illinois adopted a similar policy in 2003 and nearly 16,000 students enrolled in public institutions.

      Washington implemented policy changes to allow for undocumented students to be considered in-state residents in 2003 and in 2014 also made state financial aid available. In 2013, Washington reported over 1,000 undocumented students enrolled in college (pg. 4).

      Rhode Island and Colorado were also highlighted as changing policies to increase access to college for undocumented students. Anderson points out that states likely approach policy changes in different ways, but there are similarities to extend the right to higher education to include undocumented students (pg. 5).

      In conclusion, Anderson lists questions that legislators should consider when making policy changes with regards to undocumented individuals. The concluding questions encourage legislators to analyze potential policy changes impact for the state, consider if undocumented students would be held to the same requirements as U.S. citizens and also recognizing the number of undocumented students within their state. (pg. 6).

      Through these more recent changes in policy at the federal and state levels, the social construction of “illegal immigrant” may be shifting to a more positive framework. Schneider, Ingram and Deleon (2011) believe that “social constructions of target groups can change, and public policy design… [can be a] force for change” (pg. 123). Undocumented students access to higher education seems to be increasing through policy changes that are likely changing society’s social construction of undocumented individuals.

      • N Brusseau (9-20-15)
    2. Homelessness is not a crime

      Summary of article: The article describes the narrative of a few individuals who are homeless such as Katherine who fled emotional and physical abuse, who received a citation for prohibited camping which led her to a cycle of chronic homelessness. Then discussing the marine who after returning from war was unable to live with people and confined spaces and was then cited for trespassing; which led to him going to jail for a few days and having a criminal record. Lastly about Roger who is disabled and homeless but has difficulty finding shelter because he is unable to receive the care he needs, so he ended up in a few homeless camps; roger later received a $1,000 citation for illegal camping. The article specifically goes into detail about the city of Eugene (which the paper is located in) and their use of homeless criminalization policies of prohibited camping, no trespassing in parks, etc. Finishing with a discussion on the changing federal regulations about funding, specifically from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Continuum of Care Program, which gives federal funds to cities seeking to eliminate or diminish homeless populations in their city limits, has now created conditions on this funding in that localities will need to end specific policies that are directly responsible for criminalization of homeless individuals. The article ends witha list of ways the city council can change the direction on criminalizing homeless individuals.

      My take: (I am blunt in my review and in no way wish to offend someone) I think this is an interesting article to analyze in looking at the narrative put forth. We have a woman who escaped her abusive husband, a veteran who needs medical care, and an elderly person on social security. These are segments of our population that can be viewed as needy or deserving of benefits, which makes the narrative of helping the homeless become an issue of providing for the most needy populations. This moves the conversation about from drug users who wound up on the streets to a very personal issue of it could be someone who fought for our country, it could be a woman who escaped a bad situation and is trying to make life better, or a man who because of his limited income was unable to pay for the services he needed. This creates the narrative surrounding the issue which makes the issue become more about helping those who deserve our help.

      It is important to note the article does not mention mental health services, drug use, or other life choices that could have gotten someone on the streets. This is important because those are negative sides of homelessness which the article sought to avoid. Instead using terms such as military veteran, people with disabilities women, and poverty. The issue is not that people made bad choices but that people were put into bad situations and need our help. When we look at people's reaction to this article we find some support reviews and some negative reviews. The negative reviews do seem to bring up that these people are deserving but that the homeless population is not made up of these needy populations and therefore the issue becomes helping the needy ones and criminalizing those who have issues not deemed "worthy".

    3. Michael Williams Dr. Long

      “Tough on crime or tough luck for the incarcerated? Exploring the adverse psychological impacts of mandatory minimum sentences and pushing for action”

      Robert C. NeSmith

      NeSmith (2015) begins his article with a brief overview of the history, political intent, implications and subsequent complications of mandatory minimum sentencing, but his note largely focuses on the psychological consequences these sentencing policies have on prisoners, their families, and their communities. NeSmith also highlights recent attempts at sentencing reform policy and emphasizes recommendations for further, sensible criminal justice reform with respect to mandatory minimum sentencing.

      NeSmith explains that the US has spent more than $1 trillion on the War on Drugs. He reveals that mandatory minimums, a large consequence of the War on Drugs, found their roots in the Nixon administration when, contrary to his initial embrace of ‘greater investment in rehab and public health,’ launched a campaign to eradicate illicit drug use. This campaign, NeSmith explains, was in response to public fears of wide spread drug use resulting from events like Woodstock and the war in Vietnam (pg. 255).

      These policies were increased and expanded when Reagan took office and launched his own campaign to get “tough on crime,” resulting in the creation of the US Sentencing Commission. These policies removed judicial discretion and implemented standardized sentencing guidelines, which became applicable to low-level drug offenders and violent offenders across the board.

      The psychological, social, economic and familial consequences of these policies, as NeSmith reports, have been enormous. As a result of mandatory minimum sentencing, prisoners develop patterns of thinking and behavior that make successful reentry extremely challenging. He explains that the constant environment of fear and danger, along with a significant decrease in self-autonomy, affects the prisoner’s ability to direct themselves upon release, which can result in high recidivism and a reliance on institutional direction. Moreover, prisoners are denied political involvement, employment opportunities, pell grants, and civil and military opportunities, which also has adverse affects on both their families and their communities. Prisoners are subsequently unable to provide for their children (who are often traumatized due to their parents' incarceration), both emotionally and economically.

      NeSmith goes on to report recent strides toward viable criminal justice reform, citing US Attorney General Eric Holder’s championship of “smart on crime” approach. NeSmith discusses recent pending legislation such as the Smarter Sentencing Act, which aims at modernizing drug sentencing, and the Recidivism Reduction and Public Safety Act, which expands prison jobs, academic classes, and drug treatment programs.

      Ultimately, NeSmith focuses on the need to implement rehabilitative, as opposed to retributive, criminal justice policy. NeSmith’s commentary underscores the severe, negative impact that mandatory minimum sentencing policy outputs have had on municipal, state, and federal policy inputs: the more incarcerated individuals, the more unnecessary adverse public health, economic, and social consequences. NeSmith also highlights, however, a positive shift in the national mood toward “tough on crime” policies, but astutely contends that the US has a long way to go to enact real, effective change.

      Source: http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2076/scripts/wsuall.pl?url=http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2063/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cja&AN=108771986&site=ehost-live

    1.  “ ‘Women of Circumstance’—The effects of mandatory minimum sentencing on women minimally involved in drug crimes” by Shamika Gaskins continues in the same vain as all of the other articles we have summarized thus far. Gaskins is perturbed by minimum sentences, claiming they have done an exponentially larger amount of harm than good. It has not been cost-benefit effective, and perhaps Gaskins’s strongest argument, it has left a trail of victims in its wake.

      Gaskins begins by giving a profile of the women who become minimally involved in drug crimes. Gaskins writes, “These women are the wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, and nieces, who become involved in crime because of their financial dependence on, fear of, or romantic attachment to a male drug trafficker” (p. 1). In a sense, these women are victim to their circumstance, who were “persuaded, forced or tricked into carrying drugs” so far as Gaskins is concerned. Gaskins, like Mario V. Cano and Cassia Spohn in the article I reviewed last week, argues that non-violent, marginally involved drug offenders are being disproportionally punished by draconian sentencing minimums. Gaskins powerfully recounts the tale of Kemba Smith to bring an emotive strain to her argument. Kemba was a young college student who never used drugs herself, but assisted in drug crimes for fear of a violent man who eventually killed his best friend for informing on him. This story was brought to the attention in 2000, when President Clinton pardoned her (and several other “women of circumstance”) after six years of incarceration (p. 2)

      Gaskins claims “the triangle of women, drugs, and male dealers” like the one explained above is an all too common thread made all the worse by conspiracy laws, essentially punishing them for their poor choice of a partner. Conspiracy laws make prosecutors’ jobs easier by lessening the burden of proof to verifying only that a plan was cooked up. In this case, circumstantial evidence is enough for a conviction. Gaskins explains this is all the more harmful for women, because a woman’s personal relationship with the drug offender alone may be enough to suggest she was knowingly involved in a conspiracy. “As a result, merely permitting drugs in the home, answering the door, or answering the telephone could establish that the wife or girlfriend was a knowing member of the conspiracy,” Gaskins writes (p. 3).

      Gaskins explains further irony as she recounts substantial assistance departures. Explained in my article review from last week, while this offers judges the ability to depart from mandatory sentencing if the offender is willing to inform on others, it requires that the offender have additional information, which many of these women may not. Further, substantial assistance is offered more frequently to high-level offenders than to low-level offenders.

      In concluding, Gaskins’ tone is clearly disparaging mandatory minimums, especially when it comes to women minimally involved in drug crimes because these sentencing laws hold women responsible as if they were the principal conspirator when clearly they were in many instances manipulated into participation, sometimes not even knowingly. Who are the real victims here? Gaskins calls attention to the children of these women. She explains that 59% of women in federal prison have children under the age of 18 (p. 10). I will save the atrocities experienced by these children for another article review.

      LINK: http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2052/hottopics/lnacademic/?verb=sr&csi=168966&sr=TITLE(%22Women+of+circumstance%22--the+effects+of+mandatory+minimum+sentencing+on+women+minimally+involved+in+drug+crimes)%2BAND%2BDATE%2BIS%2B2004

    1. The recession that officially ended in June 2009 continues to impact how small businesses acquire financing and support, but some companies are stepping in to fill that void.

      Banks previously held many small business loans, but increasingly those same businesses are turning toward their community and crowdsourcing, including community Sourced Capital (CSC), a Seattle company that aims to raise funds from community members who want to support businesses by providing money for interest-free loan. Projects typically range from $5,000-$50,000, which are the hardest to get bank funding for due to the amount of due diligence required. People who want to support the business can buy squares through the CSC website for $50 each, a zero-interest loan to the business. If the campaign is successfully funded, the business owners start paying back “Squareholders” soon afterward, and have up to three years to repay the full amount.

      Lending was a role that used to be fulfilled by banks, in particular community banks for small businesses. In many areas, community banks have been swallowed up by larger banks, ending the relationship-driven lending model as small businesses have to compete with far-away banks who have many priorities and may not consider a small pasta shop in Seattle to be among them.

      CSC’s Square Model was founded by four classmates getting MBAs at Pinchot University, a Seattle institute that emphasized social justice and sustainability. CSC joins the rapidly growing crowdfunding market, which globally raised $16.2 billion in 2014, according to Massolution, a crowdfunding and crowdsourcing research firm.

      So far, CSC has loaned about $838,000 to 50 local businesses, most of them in the Seattle area — although its new partnership with the state Department of Commerce, Fund Local, aims to address the lack of access to capital for small businesses, particularly in rural and underserved areas. CSC and the Department of Commerce hope to support at least one company from each of Washington’s 39 counties.

      Even if it doesn’t hit all 39, success in just half could be an economic boon for the state, said Maury Forman, the senior manager with the Department of Commerce who’s overseeing the program. If 20 counties participate and the average loan is $25,000, that’s half a million dollars in the state’s local economy, he said.

      Alternative sources to bank funding for small business is important for our policy area (economic policy) in that we will examine the changing economy since the recession and financial crisis — much of it due to loan actions — and the small business economy is a vital part of that equation.

      — Amelia Veneziano, 10/5/2015

    1. Title: "Do housing bubbles generate fiscal bubbles? Evidence from California cities" Author(s): Razvan Vlaicu and Alexander Whalley Source: Public Choice, Vol. 149, No. 1/2, Public Choice in a Local Government Setting (October 2011), pp. 89-108 Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41483725

      “Do housing bubbles generate fiscal bubbles? Evidence from California cities” appeared in Public Choice in 2011 and was written by Vlaicu and Whalley. These authors sought analysis of how the housing market is connected to the local city budget. Vlaicu and Whalley hypothesized that government officials pay close attention to the housing market because property tax and sales tax are two major revenue streams for local government (2011). This article looks at city level data from California between 1993-2007 to analyze the effect of house prices on city government policy.

      Property taxes are levied on the assessed property value rather than the fair market value of the property. Because of the constraints of assessing property values, there is usually a 2 year lag for assessed values to reflect market conditions (Vlaicu and Whalley, 2011). Additionally, some states, such as Florida and California, have legislative measures that restrict a city’s ability to change property taxes by increasing assessed values. Because of Proposition 13 in California, there is a hard cap that limits property value increases to only 2% a year (Vlaicu and Whalley, 2011). California did see an increase in property tax revenues, even with Proposition 13, because of the increase in home sales. As properties sold in California, the assessed amount was based on the new sales amount; property tax revenue increased because of the increase in property transactions. Between 1996 and 2006, the median housing price tripled in value (Valicu and Whalley, 2011).

      However, their research shows that the connection between the housing bubble climax in 2008 and the budgetary stability of cities in California were not overly interconnected. Unlike the federal government, cities must operate on a balanced budget. The results from the multiple statistical test performed by Vlaicu and Whalley show that when governments have an increase in property tax collection, they cut back on other tax receivables. There cannot be a huge windfall of money in a balanced budget without increased spending that may not be sustainable. Additionally, because the housing market is closely correlated with other economic factors (i.e. employment rates, education level, etc), an indicator of city budgetary policy is more connected to the overall economy. Sales tax is a larger portion of a city’s budget and much more susceptible to a volatile economy. All of this data implies that the housing bust of 2008 itself had little impact on city spending in California. The overall economic recession has more of an effect on local and state tax revenue than housing market changes (Valicu and Whalley, 2011).

    1. Housing First program, a nationwide effort to address chronic homelessness encourages the notion that providing housing to individuals, without putting limitations on them, will further enable their transition from homelessness and will decrease the use and cost of public services such as hospitals, shelters and jails. This study specifically focuses on chronically homeless individuals with severe alcohol problems and the effects of Housing First on their lifestyle. One large concerns of chronically homeless, is the high public system costs because chronically homeless use local crisis services at high levels. When considering alcoholism, substances abuse and mental illness these costs increase. According to the website, a study of “Quasi-experimental design comparing 95 housed participants (with drinking permitted) with 39 wait-list control participants enrolled between November 2005 and March 2007 in Seattle, Washington.” Participants with the highest total cost in 2004 were selected from a rank ordered list of chronically homeless with alcohol related hospital emergency stays to move into Eastlake, a Housing First apartment building in Seattle, the additional individuals were waitlisted as control group. According to the study, Participants received $5 for attending the study introduction and $20 for each interview. Participants were interviewed at baseline and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after enrollment. In addition, researchers collected data from variety of public agencies such as Department of Health and Human Services, Harborview Medical Center (HMC), King County Correctional Facility, Public Health–Seattle & King County, and Downtown Emergency Service Center. The results indicated that those who stayed at Eastlake showed decreases in cost over time. Prior to acceptance their cost was $4066 per person, per month. After six months of living in housing, it decreased to $1492 per person, and finally down to $958 after 12 months in a Housing First program. Although limitations in study are present, the study was able to conclude that the overall cost does in public burden goes down and that “[h]ousing First is associated with improvements in the life circumstances and drinking behaviors of this chronically homeless population while reducing their use of expensive health and criminal justice services.”

      On a comparison level, this study encompasses very small portion of homeless population and housing issues. These specific individuals are not able to retain temporary or permanent housing unless they are going through a Housing First model, because both temporary and permanent housing requires abstinence from substances. We learn in the Social Construction Theory that homeless are least deserving and are considered deviants. The society views them as a burden, yet in order to cope with being homeless they resort to substance abuse or have severe mental illness problems and their behavior is constantly criminalized preventing them from ever finding permanent housing. In a sense this is a psychological approach to serving chronically homeless; by providing them a home, a place to stay, they will be able to put energy towards bettering their lives by meeting with case managers and going through treatment.

  6. Sep 2015
    1. HILL, C. (2014). A Billion-Dollar Problem in Widening College Access. Chronicle Of Higher Education, 61(11), A72.

      There are prestigious schools that recognize the need to accept academically prepared students who come from all walks of life. In response, many of these schools have specifically reserved spots for “talented low- and middle- class students” in effort to appeal to these individuals who would likely not apply otherwise.

      However, according to Catharine Hill who is author of A Billion-Dollar Problem in Widening College Access, the issue is not the student’s perception on their likelihood of getting accepted but rather the family’s ability to pay for the education.

      Bloomberg Philanthropies is the organization who has taken on this $10-million dollar project of increasing awareness and trying to get around 65,000 more low-income students to apply to one of the 265 top tier colleges. However as the title of the article suggests, this is not a $10-million dollar problem but rather a billion or multiple billion dollar problem.

      Hill states that a fair, average number for each student to attend one of these schools is around $40,000 per year. This means that the school would have to invest $160,000 in Financial Aid for a low-income student to attend for four years who will not have any family contribution. When you multiply that by the 65,000 applicant increase that Bloomberg Philanthropies wants to see, you get a daunting $10.4 Billion. Hill states that by focusing the initiative on just getting more applicants, you are not solving the real problem.

      Some of the suggestions Hill gives include getting buy-in from all of the college Presidents to make financial need a priority and creating policy around doing a better job incentivizing these schools to make financial need a priority. Historically government has attempted to play a role in increasing access for students but Hill argues that they have only improved the quality of education for students who already have access. She suggests that policies can be created to help alleviate colleges from making some of the difficult decisions around where to allocate their money.

    2. G.Nelson


      Kerkhoff, Matthew. "The Fed's Dilemma." The Fed's Dilemma. Financial Sense, 11 Sept. 2015. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

      In Matthew Kerkhoff’s article, “The Fed’s Dilemma,” he examines what the Federal Reserve will do, in regards to interest rates (leave put or raise rates), when they release their FOMC Statement at the end of September 2015. Kerkhoff utilize market indicators, such as the GDP quarterly reports, jobless claims and job growth, corporate profits, tax revenue collected, personal income levels, consumer spending, consumer sentiment and confidence, yield curves, to illustrate to the reader that the U.S. economy is in a relatively strong position, and this should be a positive indicator for the Fed to start to raise rates.

      Kerkhoff illustrates that the Fed has two components in which they primarily utilize as indicators to move rates or keep rates constant: “Maximum employment and price stability --defined as 2% inflation” (Kerkhoff). In regards to maximum employment, Kerkhoff utilizes the U-6 rate, “a broader measure of unemployment that includes discouraged and underemployed workers,” is relatively high (Kerkhoff). Moreover, wage growth, an individuals salary, is less than ideal, and is not showing significant growth. The Fed is, also, missing the second mandated component to raise rates: Inflation. Kerkoff depicts that domestic inflation is relatively stagnant, hasn’t moved much since 2012, and the deflationary pressures from around are working to keep domestic inflation down. Furthermore, the IMF and World Bank requested the Fed to withhold from raising rates, stating that it could have adverse affects to the many countries and markets that are currently struggling.

      If the Fed were to raise rates, Kerkhoff hits on a key point about the ramifications that could ensue. A higher rate means a stronger U.S. dollar, which means the products manufactured within the U.S. are more expensive to foreign consumers. This, in turn, would lower future growth, and also, create stronger deflationary pressures, but this time from within the U.S. Kerkhoff only brushes slightly on the issue of currency wars, however, by stating that other countries are working to devalue their own currencies in order to drive growth” (Kerkoff). This move by other countries to devalue their dollars acts as a catalyst for other nations, investors, individuals, and groups to flood into the U.S. dollar to protect themselves from devaluation, thus, causing more deflationary pressure upon the U.S. economy.

      At the end of September, Kerkoff sees that the Fed could go either way in how they deal with interest rates --leave put or raise rates. In the past, Kerkoff illustrates, the Fed has worked to raise rates to control a growing economy, but this time they are simply trying to maintain a “’normative’ interest rate policy” (Kerkoff). It is unusual to have rates near zero when the economy looks so “robust.” Kerkoff believes it’s best for the Fed to raise rates because of the strength of the U.S. economy, and the mandated components do not involve global growth.


    3. In the article “Circumventing the Penalty for Offenders Facing Mandatory Minimums: Revisiting the Dynamics of ‘Sympathetic’ and ‘Salvageable’ Offenders” by Mario V. Cano and Cassia Spohn, the authors are making an argument that while mandatory minimums and sentencing guidelines were created to alleviate discrepancies in judges’ discretion, the legislation merely created a hurdle to be jumped. Mandatory sentences could be reduced based on elements that are quite classist. If the offender is in school, has any education, is a parent of dependent children, is employed, or was only minimally involved, they could be looking at a departure in the severe mandatory sentencing. This is made possible through the insidious loophole of substantial assistance departure—a defendants’ sentence can be reduced if they offer information that leads to the conviction of another individual. The irony here is that the amount of the reduction is at the discretion of the judge. The authors explain that whether or not an offender was to receive the option of substantial assistance departure was based mostly on their deservingness as an individual. If they were deemed “salvageable” or “sympathetic” defendants, they were more likely to have the opportunity to be of assistance (p. 4). The deservingness of a defendant was based on the qualities listed above such as education and parenthood. The author argues such considerations are a form of sentencing disparities themselves. The same elements that could affect initial sentencing are instead considered when choosing which defendants will be offered assistance departure: their race, ethnicity, their gender…and so on.

      The author further decries mandatory minimums because on average, since their enforcement, sentences have been much longer. The intent of mandatory minimum guidelines was not to increase average sentencing but to curtail disparity in judges’ discretion. However, as has been stated above, judges found a way to impose their discretion regardless. By taking away judge’s discretion, the true consequence was a rise in imprisonment of non-violent, low-level drug offenders. As their sentences lengthened, the proportion of drug offenders in prison rose to half of a pool of 90,000 in 1993 (p. 7).

      After spending some considerable time framing what a “sympathetic defendant” looks like (which was discussed above as the more deserving individuals), the authors moved on to discuss a study they created to test several hypothesis on the matter (p.11-12). In summary, the authors hypothesized that sympathetic defendants would be offered assistance departure more often, and that their reduction would be greater than that of an “unsympathetic” assistant’s. They studied three separate courts around the United States and the decisions made by those courts.

      The authors’ hypothesis was partly confirmed. Prosecutors requested assistance departure more frequently for women, for U.S citizens, and educated individuals who had either graduated or attended some college. However, the author did concede, “On the other hand, and inconsistent with our expectations, the offender’s race, ethnicity, employment status, and marital status, and role in the offense did not predict the likelihood of a substantial assistance departure” (p. 15). In considering reductions, females and employed individuals received larger reductions in their sentence. Also surprisingly, defendants facing larger sentences received larger reductions (p. 16).

      In concluding, the authors are not necessarily arguing against judge’s discretion--they’re merely pointing out that the policies and solutions put in place to curb judges’ discretion are messy and ineffectual. At the federal level, the only variable a judge can consider when sentencing a drug offender is the amount of the controlled substance (and until recently, the quality of the drug—crack or powder). Their past offenses, their employment, and their status as a parent cannot be taken into consideration…that is, until a prosecutor invokes substantial assistance departure. In such instances, a long line of variables can come in to play, reinstating a judge’s discretion entirely.

      LINK: http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2651/content/39/3/308.full.pdf+html

    4. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 guarantees certain rights to people with disabilities and establishes a baseline of what organizations need to do in order to provide equitable access to people with disabilities. Colleges and Universities are just one of the social institutions in America that are required to comply with ADA regulations. In the field of higher education, these regulations are the bare minimum of what colleges and universities need to do for their students. However, a group of doctoral study students at Syracuse University take it one step further with the creation of Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee (BCCC).

      In an article by Carrie Rood and Michelle Damiani, titled “Increasing Access and making Practice More Inclusive through Disability Awareness Training” the authors describe some of the efforts and best practices of BCCC.

      The group was founded in 2001 and strives to bring issues of access and disability to the forefront of the college. It takes a holistic approach to doing this by “encouraging the university to establish and support attitudes, settings, and practices that go ‘beyond compliance’ with the law in order to create an inclusive environment of participatory equality within the scholarly community.”

      One of the core concepts highlighted in the article is the idea that Graduate Teaching Assistants who will have of first hand contact with students must have proper training to successfully work with student with disabilities. Since the organization was formed by a group of doctoral studies students, they had all gone through teaching assistant (TA) training and identified a need for more training in this area.

      The group created a training module and launched it in August 2012 They hosted two sessions during regularly scheduled TA training which happens on an annual basis. Overall they had a good responses from participants and were able to use the feedback to improve the module.

      The main takeaway from this article is that higher education should give more attention to one of its most vulnerable populations to ensure equitable access and a quality college experience for students with disabilities.

      Citation: Increasing Access and Making Practice More Inclusive through Disability Awareness Training. By: ROOD, CARRIE E., DAMIANI, MICHELLE L., Academe, 01902946, Sep/Oct2015, Vol. 101, Issue 5

      Link: http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2156/ehost/detail/detail?sid=4208df97-9ff2-427d-b5ec-b8343b563b45%40sessionmgr4004&vid=13&hid=4204&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=109490246&db=eft

    5. The growing number of homeless people has prompted new outlets to write more articles on the ways in which society can help house or service those who are homeless. The article cited below talks about the rise of homeless individuals in Portland and the inability to enforce a camping ban. The camping ban that Portland uses, among many other cities, makes it illegal to establish or maintain a temporary place to live. The Portland Police enforce the camping ban but only when there are complaints about garbage and human waste, which means those who clean up after themselves can continue to illegally camp.

      The use of tent villages has been an oddity for Seattle and parts of Portland. These are basically just small communities of tents in a given area. As the article points out. some of these tent cities have grown to become a public eyesore and have rife cases of disease and health concerns. The city of Portland operates two versions of these tent cities, Dignity Village and the RIght 2 Dream Too rest area. The Right 2 Dream Too recently was given the ability to purchase land in the city of Portland by the Portland City Council, which means they have the right to buy land to create a tent city.

      My groups topic area is broadly housing policy, but looking closely at Homeless housing policy. Looking at the camping bans that have been put in place is one way to look at housing policy directed at homeless individuals, though the city of Portland has gone farther in offering specific areas for homeless individuals to "make camp" in that they don't have to wait for non-profit or emergency housing.

      Link: http://www.oregonlive.com/homeless/2015/06/post_1.html

    6. Article: Opening Pandora’s Box: How Does Defendant Race Influence Plea Bargaining? by Besiki Luka Kutateladze, Nancy R. Andiloro & Brian D. Johnson

      "Opening Pandora’s Box: How Does Defendant Race Influence Plea Bargaining?" Is an article that was published in Justice Quarterly in May 2015, which examines a possible cause of minority overrepresentation in prisons. Specifically, how the discretionary nature of plea bargains leads to mass incarceration of minority populations- particularly African Americans. The authors go on to define plea bargaining as a defendant agreeing to plea guilty for the benefit of the prosecutor in return for a lesser sentence (Kutateladze, Andiloro & Johnson, 2014). The article goes on to mention a few troubling facts about plea bargaining that are not commonly known. For example, plea bargaining is not legally binding. According to the authors, this can lead to a degree of inconsistency and bias in sentencing on the part of the prosecutor because they are only expected to follow a set of loosely defined guidelines when proposing a plea bargain. The individual bias of the prosecutor is able to play a significant role in determining the sentence for each defendant because there is no streamlined standard for every crime when it comes to discretionary sentencing.

      Implicit Bias is also an important element in plea bargaining, because it is the main factor in discretion of the prosecutor or court official making sentencing decisions. As Banaji and Greenwald (2013) put it, “Implicit bias involves cognitive decision-making processes in which ascriptive offender characteristics affect court actor judgments, often in automatic and unintentional ways “ (Kutateladze, Andiloro & Johnson, 2014). It is natural for all people to have certain biases due to societal cues and subtle messages intended to make people think certain ways. Everyone has bias whether or not they want to admit it. The point of the authors here is exactly that: prosecutors are just as susceptible to these biases as anyone else. That is why plea bargaining and other determinate sentencing methods should not be based on the discretion of court officials.

      Even more troubling are caseloads of prosecutors and public defenders. With ever-increasing arrests and criminal caseloads, prosecutors are less likely to be adequately thorough in determining sentences for those they are prosecuting. As stated by the authors, “Given their often heavy caseloads, court actors may rely on mental shortcuts, or schemas… Such schemas often involve defendant traits, such as race and ethnicity, which subsequently shape future interactions and decision-making outcomes” (Kutateladze, Andiloro & Johnson, 2014). Because the primary purpose of plea bargaining is expediency, it is likely that there will be shortcomings on the part of the prosecutors. This however, entirely negates the purpose of the trial in the criminal process. In fact, defendants are now essentially afraid of trials because they feel they will get an unfair or harsher sentence.

      The data from this research was gathered through working closely with the New York County District Attorney’s Office to collect and analyze date in the prosecution of drug cases (Kutateladze, Andiloro & Johnson, 2014). The research findings were that minority offenders who were being charged with drug offenses- many for marijuana- received harsher sentences than their white counterparts. It is also important to note that three quarters of prosecutors studied were white. Furthermore, “the odds of custodial pleas increased slightly when prosecutors had heavier caseloads… In addition, defendants living in poorer areas were significantly more likely to receive custodial sentence offers” (Kutateladze, Andiloro & Johnson, 2014). The idea of assembly-line justice has made it difficult to grant fair and stream-lined sentences to defendants- particularly minority defendants. They are receiving more custodial sentence offers and are entering prison at higher rates than white defendants for similar crimes.

      Kutateladze, B. L., Andiloro, N. R., & Johnson, B. D. (2014). Opening Pandora’s Box: How Does Defendant Race Influence Plea Bargaining?. Justice Quarterly, (ahead-of-print), 1-29.


  7. ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:4181 ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:4181
    1. "Remains of the Progressive City? First Source Hiring in Portland and Chicago" by Greg Schrock. Urban Affairs Revew, 2015, Vol 51(5)649-675

      This journal article looks at a progressive policy, First Source Hiring, in terms of urban development as an alternative to the growth-oriented model. The progressive model focuses on a more equitable development for all rather than just urban expansion and upward mobility for a few. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, First Source Hiring was an urban progressive policy that required private sector contractors or those receiving economic development subsidies to work with publically sponsored employment and job training programs to hire the unemployed residents of that city first. The goal was to directly benefit community need and local unemployment rates (Schrock, 2015, p. 649-650). The program was used by many cities but was phased out by a changing economic and political culture in the 1990’s (Schrock, 2015, p. 650). This article looks to explain the First Source Hiring experience for current community planners with whom a resurgence in progressive policies is occurring (Schrock, 2015, p. 651).

      First Source Hiring was first implemented by Portland, OR in 1978. The policy emerged from a combination of local and federal initiatives. Under President Carter’s Targeted Job Demonstration Program in 1979, 10 cities around the country participated, including Portland. A key component of this federal program was for communities to implement targeted opportunity strategies that included incentives or mandates to influence how government contractors hired their labor force (Schrock, 2015, p. 652-654). Opponents of the program, which included some unions, claimed the hiring policies infringed on their members’ ability to make a living. The 1990’s brought a changing political atmosphere; cities saw an onslaught of growth oriented, entrepreneurial mayors that replaced the progressive mayors of the 1980’s. Racial quotas and affirmative action were also being attacked during the 1990’s; First Source Hiring was added to these policies as discriminatory (Schrock, 2015, p. 655).

      Schrock uses archival sources and interviews to support his premise that institutionalization is the key factor in whether a policy can be resilient to changing circumstances and has the ability to influence future actions (2015, p. 655). Policies must imbed practices and goals that are adopted by stakeholders both inside and outside of government. The degree to which a policy can be institutionalized depends on the level of adversity and the supporter’s amount of resources. Chicago had a large number of NGOs with the resources necessary to carry on the progressive ideals, even though the Chicago First Hiring policy was officially ended in 1991. Because the policy had been institutionalized, aspects of the Chicago First policy are carried on to this day in other economic and development policies. First Source Hiring is still legally a policy in Portland, OR; however, due to the fact that it bounced from agency to agency, there has been no enforcement of the policy since the early 1990’s (Schrock, 2015, p. 662). Therefore, the key is not IF a policy gets adopted, but HOW it is adopted, that can predict its effectiveness and viability over time (Schrock, 2015, p. 670).

    1. In the article "Prosecutorial Discretion and the Imposition of Mandatory Minimum Sentences" by Jeffrey Ulmer, Megan Kurlychek, and John Kramer, the prosecutorial discretion in the courtroom and its effects on sentencing outcomes is discussed. This article emerged out of the "Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency" in 2007. The article begins by discussing the popular and abrupt trend of distrust in judges which caused the emergence of mandatory minimums. This then led to the ultimate trust in prosecutors (Ulmer, Kurlychek and Kramer, 2007, 427). Overall, this article is a summary and analysis of what it means for a prosecutor to not only act as a judge, but to apply mandatory minimum sentencing eligibility to different kinds of offenders.

      The findings of the article were not entirely surprising. Based on the author’s multivariate analysis, prosecutors granted more mandatory minimums far less often to those who “negotiated guilty pleas in the full sample and drug subsample and substantially less often to those with non-negotiated guilty pleas in the three-strikes subsample” (Ulmer, Kurlychek and Kramer, 2007, 448). Furthermore, the findings suggest that prosecutors may use the “threat of applying longer mandatory sentence as a key piece of leverage to obtain guilty pleas… and thus more certain convictions (Ulmer, Kurlychek and Kramer, 2007, 448). It is also interesting to note that those who enter into a non-negotiated plea are far less likely to receive mandatory imposition (Ulmer, Kurlychek and Kramer, 2007, 448). According to the authors, this is due to the fact that it may look remorseful and can look like the start of rehabilitation if the offender automatically accepts a “guilty” plea because it shows they are taking responsibility.

      In terms of the offender’s race playing a role in the type of sentencing they received, there was little data found that suggested being Black increased the chances of receiving a mandatory minimum. However, Hispanic people were more likely to receive mandatory minimums. Males are also more likely than women to receive mandatory minimums because they are seen as less blameworthy and dangerous (Ulmer, Kurlychek and Kramer, 2007, 451).

      The article ends with a general discussion about how mandatory minimums are not necessarily mandatory at all considering how prosecutors pick and choose who receives them. When other factors than the actual offense are considered, like race and gender, it becomes increasingly clear that prosecutors are given substantial unilateral authority in determining sentences for people who have in some cases committed the same crimes. Overall, I feel the theme of this article was that the need for expediency and quick justice is getting in the way of judicial discretion and fairer outcomes.

      Ulmer, J. T., M. C. Kurlychek, and J. H. Kramer. 2007. "Prosecutorial Discretion and the Imposition of Mandatory Minimum Sentences." Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 44.4: 427-58. Web.


    1. Tiny Housing Community Metro Polis Magazine

      The linked article is about the Quixote Village in Olympia, Washington. This is a community of 30 tiny, 144 sq-foot homes, around a common building with a kitchen, shower, laundry facility, and staff offices. The idea for this village emerged from a group of homeless individuals that were part of a tent community moving from church parking lot to church parking lot in 2007. A non-profit called Panza was formed and secured land from Thurston County that is on the edge of Olympia and Tumwater. The village was funded by multiple organizations and sources such as the Washington state Housing Trust Fund, HUD Community Development Block Grants, the City of Olympia, Thurston County, and private contributions. The interesting part is the village is self governed by the residents of Quixote village. While there is an onsite landlord, there is still a committee that addresses community concerns and advises the landlord.

      There are a few very key takeaways from this article. First that there were multiple funders for this project, meaning that there are different jurisdictions that are willing to create a solution but also that it might be necessary for this type of project. Another take away is that the concept of self-governing homeless camps is possible. There is a self-governing homeless camp in Portland Oregon (Dignity Village), but there have been a few articles in the news about the political power struggles of the organization in Dignity Village. While this article doesnt discuss the functionality of the self-governing model I think it is interesting to note that it exists.

    1. “The Economic Impact of Stray Cats and Dogs at Tourist Destinations on the Tourism Industry,” written by Diana Webster with support from Cats and Dogs International (CANDi), draws a connection between animal policy and tourism, particularly for American and Canadian tourists. It asserts that countries with more humane and efficient animal control laws will have more robust and successful tourism industries.

      Webster writes that tourist destinations have a lot to lose if animals appearing to be homeless, ill, or dangerous are highly visible at tourism destinations. Based on a survey CANDi conducted of more than 1,200 U.S. and Canadian tourists, about 41% of tourists were less likely to return to destinations where they had seen stray animals, and about a third said they would report the experience to hotel or resort management, the tourism booking company, their friends and family, and on social media.

      Of those 1,200 respondents, 63% of U.S. travelers and 61% of Canadian travelers has encountered stray cats and dogs on their most recent trips outside of the U.S. and Canada. For many of them, the experience was mostly emotional, although concerns about issues like public health, zoonotic disease (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people, like rabies), personal security, and biodiversity are also important when considering feral animal populations.

      Webster claims that the impact of stray animals on tourism could be in the millions of dollars for countries like Mexico and other destinations for North American tourists who are accustomed to pets as family, and not seeing them starving and ill.

      Webster writes that some international tourist organizations engage in mass killings of stray animals before tourist season in order to hide the problem, but it is not a viable solution; the best solution, she writes, is sterilization through spays and neuters.

      To that end, she encourages companies who profit off tourism in these areas to partner with government and animal control efforts. Many of the countries are developing nations, and do not have the resources or the institutional capabilities to handle this complex problem alone. Webster cites several examples, including hotels working with veterinary organizations for spay-neuter clinics, “cat cafes” to give stray cats safe places with food and water, and airlines helping to transport vets and support staff to these areas for spaying, neutering, and medical care.

      Creating and sustaining economic development is complex. Tourism is an important part of that cocktail, though certainly not the only part; however, tourism only works if people enjoy the experience, and heartache over ill or starving animals doesn’t lead to fun experiences.

      It is important to consider a multitude of factors influencing tourism, from cost and experiences to personal security, before implementing it as a primary economic development engine. Although I felt that some empirical data was lacking, this article shines a light on an area many probably don’t think about: The impact of animal policy on tourism and economic development.

      — Amelia Veneziano

    1. Following up on previously posted annotation regarding camping ordinances in Vancouver, WA I learned that the Council will allow overnight camping in public places. As mentioned previously, all laws in regards to park closures, public behavior will still apply and can cause arrests. Vancouver city's legal council pushed for the ordinance in response to the recent case in Boise, ID and in response to Department of Justice opinion. In order to avoid legal repercussions, and because going against Department of Justice would not bring victory, the city approved the ordinance. There is a huge problem with homeless in the Clark County, the lack of shelter and influx of homeless is a problem that this ordinance is nowhere near to fix. According to Andy Silver, of 823 different people that calling seeking emergency shelter, 722 (88%) were told no because of lack of space. Silver states that "this is a step in the right direction," but not "the end of the road." Criminalizing homelessness does not prevent or solve the homeless issues. It further disables people from finding a home. As Katherine Garrett, director of Share House explained, "in th eyes of the landlords, people who have three camping violations on their record might as well have a felony." The Vancouver Police Department will not be doing "sweeps" of homeless camps but would continue to respond to neighbors complaints regarding illegal activity. Police Chief James McElvain said that the police won't "immediately cite" someone and that "their priority starts with crimes against persons and then crimes against property." There is a lot of hype around homelessness and issues revolving housing of people in Clark County. This camping ordinance is a very minor step that will ease some issues but will not come close to eliminating the serious lack of shelter and permanent housing. It's good to see progress so close to home, but social construction theory teaches us that homeless are considered deviants and deviants don't deserve nearly as much as resources. Perhaps, small improvements such as these can change the minds of communities and create homes for many.

    1. G.Nelson

      Swagel, Phillip. "Legal, Political, and Institutional Constraints on the Financial Crisis Policy Response †." Journal of Economic Perspectives 29.2 (2015): 107-22. Web.

      Phillip Swagel, former Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the US Department of Treasury, discusses in his essay, “Legal, Political, and Institutional Constraints on the Financial Crisis Policy Response,” that the US policymakers response to the 2007 and 2008 financial crisis was shaped by the limited legal authority and tools available to the US Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve at that time, and how new tools and authority –access to public money and greater jurisdiction-- were made available because of the financial crisis’ “’unusual and exigent’” stresses upon the broader US economy (Swagel 107). The new tools and authority of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve were not imminent, but required the crisis to unfold more seriously, so that the policymakers could realize the economic emergency as more of a pressing issue and pass legislation that would grant the Fed and Treasury Department more tools.

      The Treasury Department and the Federal reserve had the following tools at the ready, pre 2007 and 2008 crisis: Discount window was available for banks in need, discount in the federal funds interest rate, FDIC backing, and encouragement for investors not to fire sale their assets and to avoid foreclosure on properties. However, a majority of tools were not available for the investment or insurance institutions that held a substantial amount of subprime loans and derivatives. Swagel illustrates that the Federal Reserve’s and Treasury Department’s tools were not just underwhelming in their initial attempt at remedying the crisis, but they, also, initially underestimated the seriousness and complexity of the crisis, as did the policymakers.

      At the collapse of Bear Stearns, the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve realized that more investment firms would soon collapse if new tools and authorities were not granted. Swagel illustrates that the Fed turned to its only ace in the hole: “emergency authority…[to] lend to ‘any individual, partnership, or corporation’” if a loss is not expected (Swagel 110-1). Even with the Fed’s ability to loan a limited amount of assistance, this legal authority did not give the Fed or Treasury Department direct access to public money, however. After Bear Stearns’ negotiated bailout with the Fed, it took nearly 6 more months, October 2008, to enact the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act that created the Troubled Asset Relief Program [(TARP)]” (Swagel 111). Beforehand, the Treasury Department understood that even attempting to approach congress without a real-time economic crisis of illiquid assets and credit market seizures, congress would “loath” the idea of providing public funds to investment banks for bailouts.

      Under the same tools of restraint and provisions that granted the Fed the option to bailout Bear Stearns, Swagel illustrates that it was the decision of the Fed not to bail out Lehman Brothers that led to an even tighter constraint on market liquidity and seizures within the credit market. With limited options from the Fed and Treasury Department, the unforeseen consequences of letting Lehman Brothers collapse exasperated the crisis further and put a constraint on debt markets, which affected normal government operations of securing debt. Two days after refusing to bailout Lehman Brothers, however, the Fed provided loan assistance to AIG, American International Group, an insurance company, because the Fed believed AIG to be more financially sound and important to the US economy. The deal between AIG and the Fed was not clean or clear, however, and the two are currently in litigation, today, from the deal struck in 2008. The same week of the AIG and Fed deal, TARP was proposed --which passed a few weeks later in October 2008-- and two more banks failed, WAMU and Wachovia (Swagel 117). With TARP, the Treasury Department would be able to provide financial support to the markets of $700 billion. Swagel illustrates that if the Fed and Treasury Department had the tools earlier and the foresight, the crisis could have been more contained, but the policymakers would not have been able to justify the $700 billion cost of TARP without such a monumental crisis.

      Swagel contends that if another financial crisis happens relatively soon, the Fed and Treasury Department will be limited in how they can intervene because of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill and the expenditure of an already lowered interest rate by the Fed. Politicians stumped on the promise of not bailing out businesses that were “too big to fail,” so the likelihood of congress approving another direct infusion of funds, such as TARP, would be improbable, but with the Dodd-Frank act, governments may be able to seize businesses directly to control operations and direct the losses onto the bond holders and investors, which will limit the loss to the taxpayer because of new FDIC provisions. Swagel states that by studying what happened from the 2007 and 2008 collapse, a more effective response may be garnered in a future crisis.


    1. The article titled “Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences—Can They be Any Less Draconian?” by Thomas M. Cooley contains a simplistic and straightforward thesis. The argument put forth by the author is that mandatory minimums for those convicted of possessions, manufacturing, distributing, or conspiring to distribute controlled narcotics; or a combination of these convictions was initially created to dissolve the number of drug lords on the street. However, the consequence of mandatory minimums resulted in discretion being transferred from judges to prosecutors who then abused the sentencing polices, imprisoning small time drug mules and addicts…potentially for life.

      The reasoning behind why such enforcement would work was two-fold: it would have a deterring mechanism putting, “potential felons on notice that their criminal activity would lead to harsh penalties” (p. 2); as well as removing discretion from judges who were viewed as being too lenient or “soft” on criminals, and whose rulings showed too much disparity from case to case. Cooley uses Michigan state as somewhat of a case study on the faulty and “draconian” use of mandatory minimums while also giving historical references on how mandatory minimums came to light.

      Cooley is clearly a fan of judiciary discretion, arguing that until recently, most drug offenders where given indeterminate sentences by judges, where their release was conditioned by their rehabilitations. This summary does not discuss the merits of such sentencing tactics, but it is evident that it is a policy preferred by Cooley. He then moves on to the recent past, explaining that in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the public became more concerned with seemingly rising crime statistics. In response, legislation was drafted, “to target those classes of offenses which were thought to pose the greatest threat to society” (p. 3).

      At this point in the article, Cooley gives a break down of Michigan’s Controlled Substance Statutes. Beginning in 1909, Michigan took incremental steps forward to evoke severe drug sentencing policies. There was some flip-flopping along the way, but legislature landed on a mandatory sentence of twenty years in 1989 for manufacturing or distributing 650 grams of controlled substances (which is admittedly down from the life sentence without parole Michigan enforced the year before).

      Cooley then goes on to argue that part of the issue with mandatory sentencing was the transfer of discretion from judges to prosecutors. He argues prosecutors are notorious abusers of such policies, leveraging mandatory sentences against those being tried by piling on possible conviction after conviction. For example, instead of just trying an individual for distribution of a controlled substance, a prosecutor could additionally prosecute the same individual for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, in effect doubling the defendant’s potential minimum sentence and making a plea bargain look a lot more appealing.

      The author offers two solutions to these issues. First, in response to prosecutorial abuse, Cooley calls for an abuse of discretion standard to be put in place, which he claims, “would allow for more judicial control over the sentencing of those convicted…At the same time, this would protect small-time dealers and addicts from over-zealous prosecutors” (p. 7). Cooley’s second argument is that tax payer’s money would be put to much better use if drug treatment was the go to method of rehabilitation. He sites the RAND Drug Policy Research Center in his mathematical summation that treatment is more effectual for both pocket books as well as recidivism rates. The ultimate argument here is that most drug crimes are spurred on by the need to actually use drugs. So if we help put a stop to the latter, the former will dissipate as well. While this article is rather dated (published in 1999), it serves as an excellent foundation not only for the arguments against mandatory minimums for drug related crimes, but also as a base for the solutions to the flawed policies.


      *I linked the WSU Vancouver Library search, figured it would be easier that way.

    1. Adam S. Weinberg, a professor of sociology at Colgate University, partnered with Peter Cann, executive director of the Madison County (New York) Industrial Development Agency, on a project called “Hamlets of Madison County.” The project aimed to reinvigorate the rural hamlets of central New York, with populations of roughly 500-1,800.

      Weinburg’s real-world work led to a theory of sustainable rural economic development, which he outlines in “Sustainable Economic,” Development,” published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences in 2000.

      Weinburg identifies “high road” firms as a critical component to rural economic success. High-road firms employ “the best workers and latest technology to yield products with a high value” (Harrison 1997; Thurow 1996, Kanter 1995). The work is carried out in smaller facilities, making components for larger products across geographic regions, which then supports a global network of production.

      Essentially, companies in rural areas would make small items to contribute to larger projects — such as electric conduit for engineering work. They would do so without greatly increasing their environmental or social footprint in the community, but rather hiring local and regional talent and expanding upon current industry in high-paying jobs. The leaders of these companies also have existing ties to the community, which would keep them from relocating to a different area once established.

      In attracting, or encouraging, high-road growth, there are three critical elements: Human capital (educated or highly trainable employees); physical infrastructure (communication and transportation, like high-speed data transmissions and access to airports); and adequate financing (including grants, bank financing and seed start money).

      A community also needs to have an “Entrepreneurial Social Infrastructure,” or ESI, defined by Flora, Sharp and Flora as “a bundle of factors contributing to a locality’s ability to respond to challenges in a rapidly changing context.” That might mean industry and education teaming up to identify the most important areas to focus on for job growth. It certainly means differing factions joining together for the good of the community.

      Weinburg says that local mobilization won’t happen without “social chance” — an idea expanded upon by the British sociologist Sibeon. Social chance is an event like two people meeting at the right place and right time, or a focusing event like a disaster. Social chance can be encouraged through local mobilization, or the opportunity to organize and synthesize competing ideas.

      But even with these elements in place, a community first needs incentive, which can be either monetary (jobs, better schools, improved infrastructure) or less tangible — hope, he writes, is a good incentive.

      Small communities are often resistant to change, Weinburg writes. They have seem economic growth efforts come and go, and suffered with consequences, such as effects from natural resource extraction, industrial waste and prisons. Small communities are also committed to their lifestyle and quality of life, so an influx of new employees and development is unappealing. There are also often competing and loud factions preventing different developments, out of fear of change or to promote their own projects.

      High-road development solves at least some of that, Weinburg writes — it allows a town to stay small and capitalize on what already exists, thus contributing to their own economy and the global market.

      As for Madison County, it’s a work in progress. The county has hired a consultant to assist with writing grants, but much of her time gets wrapped up in local politics. The businesses it has have grown, but only one is flirting with larger growth through contracting.

      “A start has been made,” Weinburg writes. “… Sufficient organization and resources are available to suggest that production for the global market is not out of the question. One day, it might be possible to point to this county in central New York as an example of how a rural area can restructure itself to become an active agent of globalization.”

      The fate of rural economic development is important to our policy report, as we will focus, at least in part, on the influence of economic development engines and organizations like the Small Business Association, which support entrepreneurialism and growth.

    1. This is an article from June 11, 2015 edition of the Economist about the future of cities located in the Midwest of the United States that are suffering from post-industrial economic decline. The three cities that are analyzed are Gary, Indiana, South Bend, Indiana, and Galena, Illinois. All three of these cities have historical roots consisting of economic policy centered on industrial employment. However, as U.S. manufacturers have gone out of business or outsourced production to foreign countries, cities all over the nation, but particularly in the Midwest, have seen never before rates of vacant buildings, unemployment, high school drop-out rates, and crime. For survival, industrial cities must reinvent themselves by focusing on economic diversification anchored on fundamentals: geographical location to attract tourism and new business and to fiscally focus on institutions like universities and hospitals. Additionally, dependence on a single employer for a city has proven to be too risky as an economic plan; multiple businesses and new industries must be present in an increasingly volatile, non-heavy manufacturing market.

      Galena, Illinois is an example of a post-industrial city that has reinvented itself as a National historic site that attracts more than one million visitors per year. Galena met its post-industrial decline much earlier than many other Midwestern cities; by the end of the 19th century, it had gone from a busy metropolis competing in size with Chicago, to a ghost town. However, due to some clever economic planning during the 1960’s, city planners invested in historical preservation and put Galena back on the map as a tourist destination.

      South Bend, Indiana is another example of post-industrial survival. The Studebaker headquarters were located in South Bend until the company officially went out of business in 1963; it became a “company town without a company”(Economist, 2015). Fortunately, South Bend had 2 important economical anchors that have kept the city afloat: Notre Dame University and Memorial Hospital of South Bend. Although South Bend has seen huge increases in unemployment and poverty since the 1960s, these 2 key institutions have kept the city viable. Currently, the mayor is trying to lure technology companies to South Bend with tax incentives, inexpensive power, and the geographical location of a cool climate (ideal for manufacturing technological components).

      By comparison, Gary, Indiana has not fared as well as Galena or South Bend; Gary is a smaller version of Detroit, Michigan. Gary has some 5,000 abandoned buildings (about ¼ of all buildings); this is an eyesore and attracts criminals. After a change in Indiana’s property tax rules one year ago, Gary lost more than half its annual budget; this meant the city faced shutting down half of the services it could offer. The current mayor of Gary, Ms. Freeman-Wilson pleaded with the White House for Gary to be a recipient of the “Strong Cities, Strong Communities” initiative, which gave Federal funds to the 7 most distressed cities in the nation. Presently, Gary has received $6 million in state funds for building demolition, and the mayor has applied for a $21 million federal transportation grant. Gary will focus its economic policy to invest in becoming a transportation hub, being located right on Lake Michigan and just 24 miles away from Chicago (America’s third largest city).