Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu Educating students in public policy and human rights, supporting faculty research, and fostering creative dialogue. Mon, 09 Dec 2013 20:30:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.1 Copyright © Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College 2013 media@roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu (Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute) media@roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu (Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute) 1440 http://roosevelthouseinstitute.org/devdev/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/rh.gif Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/devdev 144 144 Educating students in public policy and human rights, supporting faculty research, and fostering creative dialogue. Public, Policy, Human, Rights, Education, Hunter, College, Non-Profit, Government, Research Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute media@roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu no no P-cubed News: From the Director’s Desk – Moving Beyond New York’s Controversial Stop-and-Frisk Policy http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-moving-beyond-new-yorks-controversial-stop-frisk-policy/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-moving-beyond-new-yorks-controversial-stop-frisk-policy/#comments Thu, 05 Dec 2013 21:04:07 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7637 As Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure comes to an end, the troubling stop-and-frisk policy of the New York Police Department will be remembered as one of his administration’s most controversial legacies. A...  

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As Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure comes to an end, the troubling stop-and-frisk policy of the New York Police Department will be remembered as one of his administration’s most controversial legacies. A few months ago, Judge Shira Scheindlin, in a historic ruling, stated that the NYPD’s policy violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches as well as the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law for all American citizens. In her opinion, she found that the evidence on the nature of stops pointed to a pattern of “racial profiling” carried out by the NYPD and approved at the highest levels.

Judge Scheindlin cited studies conducted by Dr. Jeffrey Fagan of Columbia University on the nature of stops by the police, race, neighborhood, and type of crime from 2004 to 2012 in New York. More than 4.4 million stops were recorded during this time with the most frequent stops recorded in Brooklyn (Kings County). Stops were typically the highest in the first quarter of each year, more than half of the persons stopped were black (51.9 percent) and about one in three (32 percent) were Hispanic. Whites (9.13 percent) and Other race/ethnicity (6 percent) were stopped far less.

Other demographic patterns that emerged from Dr. Fagan’s study: nearly 3 stops in four were among persons aged 16-34; males accounted for more than 9 in 10 stops. Black and Hispanic suspects were stopped over 50 percent more often on the suspicion of violent offenses and were twice as often suspected of carrying weapons and trespassing. Whites were about four times more likely to be stopped for Quality of Life offenses. Stop-and-frisk tactics by the police occurred most frequently in neighborhoods with high black and Hispanic residents and where crime rates were high. Fagan’s study suggests that the disparate treatment by the police could be a result of “over-policing” in the most racially segregated neighborhoods with high minority populations or “underpolicing” in neighborhoods with low minority concentrations.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s new report analyzed 2.4 million stops and 150,000 arrests between 2009 and 2013 and found that only 1.5 percent of all stops led to a conviction for a crime of violence and 0.1 percent of all stops led to a conviction for possession of a weapon. Almost one-quarter of arrests were dismissed or resulted in a non-criminal charge. According to the report, “Racial disparities are evident not only in the identities of those arrested but also in disposition and sentencing.” The report shows one-half of all stop-and-frisk arrests are black, almost one-third are Hispanics, and one-in-ten are white.

In addition to the unconstitutional nature of the policy, another key question that has emerged in the debates is whether the NYPD’s specific practice of stop-and-frisk has been effective in deterring crime or lowering the crime rate as opposed to larger and more general strategies of community policing and gun control policies that have been in effect since the early 1990s. There have been some recent studies exploring the link between stop-and-frisk policies and crime rate.  One such study, an unpublished paper by Dennis Smith of NYU and Robert Purtell of SUNY Albany — summarized here —  found that stops had an effect on some crimes (burglaries and robberies) but not on others (rape, assault).

However, there are serious methodological problems with this study; it does not control for a critical factor like the socioeconomic status of the residents studied. Another study by Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri, Saint Louis controlled for socioeconomic factors and reported that there was no evidence supporting the link between stop-and-frisk policies and a decrease in crime rate.

Finally, a third study by David Weisburd at Hebrew University analyzed the location of where stop-and-frisk policies mostly occur to determine whether this is part of a general “hot spots” policing strategy. The study does not necessarily say anything about the impact of this particular kind of policing in neighborhood “hot spots, and the authors conclude their study arguing that relying on this kind of policing will have “unintended negative consequences”, given the policy’s disproportionate attention on young men from minority communities.

Recent findings from the Vera Institute, a non-partisan research organization, confirm this negative community impact. In a survey of 500 people aged 18-24 in highly patrolled communities in New York, 88 percent said residents in their neighborhood don’t trust the police while 59 percent reported that they would not go to the police even if they were the victim of a violent crime. NYPD’s own statistics show that 95 percent of shooting victims are black or Hispanic who also represent 87 percent of all murder victims.

Policing and controlling crime are high on mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s agenda. It is entirely possible to have a combined strategy of aggressive gun control laws and an effective police presence in neighborhoods across the city, as well as a public debate on how communities living in New York’s crime “hot spots” can take back their streets by working cooperatively with law enforcement. One can only hope that the corrosive strategy during Mayor Bloomberg’s administration of targeting young black and Hispanic men living in poor neighborhoods in this city in an effort to reduce crime is now a thing of the past.

Share your views on how Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio should address crime in New York by joining us tonight at Roosevelt House for a timely discussion on Stop and Frisk in New York City: What’s Next? You can also catch the discussion on LiveStream. Follow me on Twitter: @DrSVenkateswar,  and engage with the Public Policy Program on social media, Like P-Cubed at Roosevelt House on Facebook and follow @PcubedatRH on Twitter.

Best wishes,

Shyama

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Can the International Community Get its Act Together to Fight Climate Change? http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?forum-post=directors-desk-can-international-community-get-act-together-fight-climate-change http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?forum-post=directors-desk-can-international-community-get-act-together-fight-climate-change#comments Wed, 27 Nov 2013 20:20:31 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?post_type=forum-post&p=7579 An international climate change conference of the United Nations Framework Convention is currently underway in Warsaw, Poland.  With the recent devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines as the backdrop, negotiations are tense on...  

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An international climate change conference of the United Nations Framework Convention is currently underway in Warsaw, Poland.  With the recent devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines as the backdrop, negotiations are tense on critical issues like cutting carbon emissions, devising compensation from the worst polluting countries to countries affected by environmental disasters, and generating a commitment to a Green Climate Fund by all nations. The current impasse is over a new catchphrase, “loss and damage,” translating to a global agreement on which nations are liable, and who needs to foot the bill for what some refer to as grave “climate injustice.”

The G77 + China, a group consisting of 133 countries walked out of the conference yesterday in protest as developed nations refused to enter negotiations on the “loss and damage” that vulnerable countries will continue to face from extreme storms, desertification, salinization and erosion, and other indicators of climate change. The United States and other wealthy countries are opposed to creating new mechanisms for compensating affected countries given the reality of their own financial constraints and the domestic political challenges they would face to support such a venture.  Todd Stern, the United States Special Envoy on Climate Change, at a meeting last month at Chatham House, an independent policy institute in London, was quoted as saying: “The fiscal reality of the United States and other developed countries is not going to allow it [compensation]. This is not just a matter of the recent financial crisis. It is structural, based on the huge obligations we face from aging populations and other pressing needs for infrastructure, education, health care and the like.”

Advocates from the developing world want the industrialized countries to honor a 2009 commitment made in Copenhagen to provide up to $100 billion in aid by 2020 for environmental disasters. They argue that developed countries have a moral responsibility to shoulder the financial burden, given their enormous carbon footprint in the world.  But, emerging economies like China and India also contribute heavily to carbon emissions in the world, which blur the lines between culprits and victims, and make the issue of compensation difficult to negotiate.

The urgency felt at Warsaw is not just about recent weather-related disasters. A few weeks ago, a leaked draft of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that that in the coming decades climate change will affect food security by reducing crop production by 2% each decade and driving up food prices even as the world population is expected to grow from 7.2 billion today to 9.6 billion in 2050. The report also finds that it is not too late for countries to agree to cuts in carbon emissions to help mitigate the risks of climate change.

Expectations are low at the Warsaw Conference to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol with a new climate change agreement to be signed in 2015. The issues of funding and assigning blame for the world’s environmental disasters are at the heart of the impasse. The situation at the Warsaw conference begs an urgent need for strong leadership that can cut through rhetoric and posturing and bring about a consensual vision for change. Climate change is real: environmental disasters like Hurricane Sandy in the United States, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines or Cyclone Phailin in India to steadily rising sea levels that threaten to submerge Small Island States to drought in Africa impact hundreds of millions of people across the globe, who bear the brunt of the devastation in their communities and livelihoods. There is too much at stake here for the world’s climate change leaders to walk away from the Warsaw conference without coming to any agreement on reducing risks, helping poorer and more vulnerable nations, and sharing technological advances to combat climate change. The time to act is now.

Share your reactions to the proceedings at the Warsaw conference, what role should the United States play in finding solutions to the current divisions that exist on climate change, how can we bridge the divide between rich and poor countries on the emissions issue, and finally, how do we finance compensation payments to countries that have faced an environmental disaster.

Follow me on Twitter: @DrSVenkateswar,  and engage with the Public Policy Program on social media, Like P-Cubed and Roosevelt House on Facebook and follow @PcubedatRH on Twitter.

Best wishes for the Thanksgiving holiday,

Shyama

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P-cubed News: From the Director’s Desk – The Paradox of Food Policy http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-paradox-food-policy/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-paradox-food-policy/#comments Tue, 26 Nov 2013 22:15:11 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7527 Millions of Americans will sit down with friends and families this week at a Thanksgiving table laden with more food than anyone could possibly eat. While we bask in the...  

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Millions of Americans will sit down with friends and families this week at a Thanksgiving table laden with more food than anyone could possibly eat. While we bask in the warmth of our company, keep in mind that we have millions of families who simply don’t have access to enough food on a daily basis to maintain healthy lives. A recent report from the US Department of Agriculture found that in 2012, 14.5% percent (17.6 million households) were ‘food insecure,’ meaning that these families lacked adequate resources to ensure a predictable supply of nutritious food in their homes. Meanwhile, Washington continues to provide subsidies of about $14.9 billion to American farmers to grow corn and soyabeans in large commercial farms which typically produce more food than we, as a nation, can consume. This is the paradox of America’s food policy.

Congress has been trying to pass an extension of the farm bill which, like many other federal policies, remains mired in partisan politics. House Republicans would like to continue the subsidies, but have proposed cutting food stamps benefits by an additional $40 billion over the next 10 years on top of $5 billion in cuts that already went into effect in early November. The benefits of programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as the food stamps program is called, are well-documented. The food stamp program serves more than 47 million people and is one the country’s most important anti-hunger programs. This report shows that in 2011, food stamps kept 4.7 million Americans, including 2.1 million children, out of poverty, and lifted more children — 1.5 million — above the poverty line than any other program.

Studies have also found that food stamps not only help to address the urgent need of hunger, but also help to generate economic activity that can help strengthen an economy that still feels the impact of the ‘Great Recession.” Food stamps benefits help increase the family’s take-home pay by approximately 20 to 50 percent. Economist Mark Zandi at Moody’s Analytics showed in a report that every dollar spent in SNAP benefits generates $1.71 in economic activity that goes towards the salaries of check-out clerks in grocery stores, truckers carrying food across the country, and even back to the farmer growing food for American consumption.

Beyond making cuts to domestic food stamps program, debates around the farm bill also include the international food-aid program. The United States is the world’s largest food aid donor and has a budget of $1.4 billion to supply food to humanitarian crises around the world. Americans may feel good that their country is quick to send food overseas, but it is bad economic policy. American food aid sent in bulk has over the years contributed to depressing world crop prices and hurting farmers in the developing world who cannot compete with the low-prices of American farm products – made possible by government subsidies.

A more sensible food-aid policy for the United States would be to source and buy food closer to disaster areas rather than shipping it all the way from the United States. It would be cheaper, quicker, and would also help to support local farmers overseas and stimulate local markets outside the U.S. At present, the U.S. is limited to only 20% of its total food aid – $300 million a year – that can be dedicated to local purchases. President Obama has supported increasing the limit to 45% which would enable the U.S. to buy food locally abroad for distributing aid. However, powerful lobby groups supporting interests in America’s farm states or having ties with the shipping industry oppose any changes to the current structure of overseas food aid.

Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize- winning economist, calls this convoluted logic of America’s food policy and the inequalities it breeds classic ‘rent-seeking’ behavior. Entrenched interests have helped to skew public policy on food whose impacts are felt here and globally. The American public knows better than to continue to silently help to perpetuate these endless cycles of short-sighted policy-making on such a critical issue like food.

This week when you sit down at your Thanksgiving meal, remember where our nation’s food comes from and where it goes, the lives that are touched, and, most importantly, who is being left out, and why.

Follow me on Twitter: @DrSVenkateswar,  and engage with the Public Policy Program on social media, Like P-Cubed and Roosevelt House on Facebook and follow @PcubedatRH on Twitter.

Wishing you all a peaceful holiday.

Shyama

* For more information about food policy, please visit the programs section of our website, where you can find archived videos from recent public programs such as The Right to Food, Global and Local and Confronting a Superstorm of Challenges: A New American Grand Strategy.

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P-cubed News: From the Director’s Desk – Can the International Community Get its Act Together to Fight Climate Change? http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-november-22nd-2013-2/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-november-22nd-2013-2/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2013 00:28:56 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7427 An international climate change conference of the United Nations Framework Convention is currently underway in Warsaw, Poland.  With the recent devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines as the backdrop, negotiations are tense on...  

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An international climate change conference of the United Nations Framework Convention is currently underway in Warsaw, Poland.  With the recent devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines as the backdrop, negotiations are tense on critical issues like cutting carbon emissions, devising compensation from the worst polluting countries to countries affected by environmental disasters, and generating a commitment to a Green Climate Fund by all nations. The current impasse is over a new catchphrase, “loss and damage,” translating to a global agreement on which nations are liable, and who needs to foot the bill for what some refer to as grave “climate injustice.”

The G77 + China, a group consisting of 133 countries walked out of the conference yesterday in protest as developed nations refused to enter negotiations on the “loss and damage” that vulnerable countries will continue to face from extreme storms, desertification, salinization and erosion, and other indicators of climate change. The United States and other wealthy countries are opposed to creating new mechanisms for compensating affected countries given the reality of their own financial constraints and the domestic political challenges they would face to support such a venture.  Todd Stern, the United States Special Envoy on Climate Change, at a meeting last month at Chatham House, an independent policy institute in London, was quoted as saying: “The fiscal reality of the United States and other developed countries is not going to allow it [compensation]. This is not just a matter of the recent financial crisis. It is structural, based on the huge obligations we face from aging populations and other pressing needs for infrastructure, education, health care and the like.”

Advocates from the developing world want the industrialized countries to honor a 2009 commitment made in Copenhagen to provide up to $100 billion in aid by 2020 for environmental disasters. They argue that developed countries have a moral responsibility to shoulder the financial burden, given their enormous carbon footprint in the world.  But, emerging economies like China and India also contribute heavily to carbon emissions in the world, which blur the lines between culprits and victims, and make the issue of compensation difficult to negotiate.

The urgency felt at Warsaw is not just about recent weather-related disasters. A few weeks ago, a leaked draft of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that that in the coming decades climate change will affect food security by reducing crop production by 2% each decade and driving up food prices even as the world population is expected to grow from 7.2 billion today to 9.6 billion in 2050. The report also finds that it is not too late for countries to agree to cuts in carbon emissions to help mitigate the risks of climate change.

Expectations are low at the Warsaw Conference to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol with a new climate change agreement to be signed in 2015. The issues of funding and assigning blame for the world’s environmental disasters are at the heart of the impasse. The situation at the Warsaw conference begs an urgent need for strong leadership that can cut through rhetoric and posturing and bring about a consensual vision for change. Climate change is real: environmental disasters like Hurricane Sandy in the United States, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines or Cyclone Phailin in India to steadily rising sea levels that threaten to submerge Small Island States to drought in Africa impact hundreds of millions of people across the globe, who bear the brunt of the devastation in their communities and livelihoods. There is too much at stake here for the world’s climate change leaders to walk away from the Warsaw conference without coming to any agreement on reducing risks, helping poorer and more vulnerable nations, and sharing technological advances to combat climate change. The time to act is now.

Share your reactions to the proceedings at the Warsaw conference, what role should the United States play in finding solutions to the current divisions that exist on climate change, how can we bridge the divide between rich and poor countries on the emissions issue, and finally, how do we finance compensation payments to countries that have faced an environmental disaster.

Follow me on Twitter: @DrSVenkateswar,  and engage with the Public Policy Program on social media, Like P-Cubed and Roosevelt House on Facebook and follow @PcubedatRH on Twitter.

Best wishes for the Thanksgiving holiday,

Shyama

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Typhoon Haiyan: What You Can Do To Help http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/philippines-typhoon-hiyan-can-help/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/philippines-typhoon-hiyan-can-help/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 22:32:41 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7383 Earlier this month, Typhoon Haiyan barreled through the South Pacific. While many countries were affected, including Vietnam, China, and Taiwan, the Philippines received the worst of the destruction in what...  

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Earlier this month, Typhoon Haiyan barreled through the South Pacific. While many countries were affected, including Vietnam, China, and Taiwan, the Philippines received the worst of the destruction in what was recorded as one of the largest storms on record.

Weeks later, authorities are still scrambling to assess the damage. Current estimates range from 2,500 to 10,000 deaths, with over 11 million people having been affected and 673,000 displaced. Many experts believe these numbers will continue to rise, with devastated infrastructure adding an extra hurdle to getting survivors the resources they need.

While the Philippines are thousands of miles from New York City, there are many ways you can add to relief efforts, both locally and on a global level. Please also educate yourself on the latest research on the connection between climate change and stronger weather, and on what policies the U.S. can take to mitigate the damage.

Take Action Now

 

Direct donations to international relief organizations:

International Rescue Committee
Save the Children
American Red Cross
Doctors without Borders
World Vision
Catholic Charities

 

Local fundraising efforts:

Fundraising Brunch at Purple Yam NYC (Nov. 17 & Nov. 24)
Filipino American Museum Fundraiser at Galapagos Art Space (Nov. 21)
Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment fundraiser at Lounge 247 (Nov. 21)
Fundraising concert at Payag Restaurant (Nov. 23)
Fundraising concert at Toshi’s Penthouse (Dec. 7)

 

Latest news:
BBC News: Asia
CNN: Asia
New York Times
Al Jazeera: Asia-Pacific

 

On-the-ground social media reporting:
Anderson Cooper (@AndersonCooper)
Andrew Stevens (@AndrewCNN)
Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey)
Tim Willcox (@BBCTimWillcox)
Yahoo! Philippines (@YahooPH)
Philippine Red Cross (@philredcross)

 

Resources for further reading:
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report
The Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan
U.S. Global Change Research Program
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Climate Impacts on Agriculture and Food Supply
NYTimes: The Inequality of Climate Change
United Nations Environment Program

 

(Photo credit: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

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P-cubed News: From the Director’s Desk – How Can We Tackle the Problem of Mounting Student Loan Debt? http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-november-14th-2013/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-november-14th-2013/#comments Thu, 14 Nov 2013 21:58:53 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7380 Affording a college education in the United States today is an issue of great concern for millions of families across the country. Costs at public four-year colleges have increased by...  

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Affording a college education in the United States today is an issue of great concern for millions of families across the country. Costs at public four-year colleges have increased by over 250% over the past three decades with average tuition at a public university at $15,000 and $31,000 at a private institution. Students carry an average debt between $25,000 to over $35,000 when they graduate without necessarily having a guaranteed livable wage job in their immediate prospects. Job placement for students graduating from college has been particularly grim during the last 5 years of the economic downturn. In September 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment rates for 20-24 years olds was 12.9% compared to 7.2% of the entire workforce.

A recent study that looked at the economic well-being of three cohort groups of graduates – 1993, 2000, and 2008 – found that students in the latter group had the most debt compared to the others. One interesting finding from this study was that although the amount of debt had increased in the 2008 group, average borrowing from federal sources had declined. This might suggest that students are borrowing money for college-related expenses from private sources that might have more predatory lending practices. In addition, although, total debt had increased for the 2008 cohort group, the average earnings of these graduates were $5000 less than the group who graduated eight years earlier in 2000 demonstrating a profile of large numbers of students with diminished earnings and increased debt burdens.

President Obama, recently, unveiled an ambitious, new agenda to address college costs and make college affordable for more families. He has proposed a new ratings system so that students can have the information they need when selecting among colleges that provide the best value. Other elements of his plan include challenging states to fund public colleges based on performance, challenging colleges to offer students a greater ranger of affordable, high-quality options than they have today, allowing borrowers to cap their payments at 10% of their monthly income, and other measures to help students with existing debt to manage their financial situation.

Affordability of a college education is a national crisis in America today, especially when we consider that our economy and our current labor market requires knowledge-based skills and creative thinking that are best acquired in academic institutions of higher learning. Students will go to college and remain in college only if they can afford to do so and feel secure that their debt burden can be managed once they graduate. Increasing the maximum of grants and awards are an option, innovations in federal financing are another possibility. But a central issue that has to be addressed is how to limit the ever-increasing cost of tuition. Colleges and universities bear the full responsibility to resolve that critical piece so that college education can be seen as a worthwhile investment for students of all income levels in the country.

Share your thoughts on how to make college more affordable. What impact will President Obama’s proposal on creating a rating system of colleges and their performance have on student choices for higher education? What are the implications of rising college costs for diversity on campuses?

Follow me on Twitter: @DrSVenkateswar,  and engage with the Public Policy Program on social media, Like P-Cubed and Roosevelt House on Facebook and follow @PcubedatRH on Twitter.

All best wishes,

Shyama

 

 

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CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: The Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize 2014 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/call-nominations-joan-h-tisch-community-health-prize-2013-2014/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/call-nominations-joan-h-tisch-community-health-prize-2013-2014/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 18:25:28 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7347 Application Deadline: January 24, 2014 Hunter College is seeking nominations for the fourth annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. This award was created to recognize one individual and one...  

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Application Deadline: January 24, 2014

Hunter College is seeking nominations for the fourth annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. This award was created to recognize one individual and one nonprofit organization in the New York metropolitan area for outstanding accomplishment in the field of urban public health. The nominee’s work should be focused on improving urban public health in areas such as: reducing health disparities; obesity/diabetes/nutrition; chronic disease prevention and management; environmental health; HIV/AIDS; health problems associated with poverty; healthy aging; mental health; substance abuse and addiction; public health policy and advocacy; and access, financing, and quality of care.

Made possible with support from her family-Steve Tisch, Laurie M. Tisch, and Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch-the award is named to honor New York City resident Joan H. Tisch and her humanitarian activism in health care and social services. Each recipient receives a $10,000 award.   When presented to an individual, $5,000 is payable to the initiative the person is being honored for or to the organization he/she is affiliated with, and $5,000 is for personal development.

Melony Samuels, Founder and Executive Director of Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, the inaugural  2010-2011 individual recipient, notes:

“Receiving the Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize is an an invaluable honor; it’s an investment in the community and our organization and the returns are much greater than its monetary value. The Prize has raised the profile of our organization, providing long-term benefits and support from donors and other interested parties.”

Eligibility criteria and nomination requirements are outlined in the two PDF files below (Nomination Guidelines and Nomination Form). We invite you to submit nominations by January 24, 2014.  Renominations will be accepted; for information on the renomination process, please refer to the FAQs on our website.

A committee comprised of Hunter College faculty, health experts, and policy specialists will select the two prize recipients, and an award presentation will be held in Spring 2014. For further information about The Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize, please email us at tischprize@hunter.cuny.edu or visit the Joan H. Tisch Legacy Project pages on our website.

Link to Nomination Guidelines (PDF)

Link to Nomination Form (PDF)

Link to FAQs (Webpage)

Apply Online

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Faculty Associates William Solecki and Peter Marcotullio Contribute to New Book on Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/faculty-associates-william-solecki-peter-marcotullio-contribute-new-book-urbanization-biodiversity-ecosystem-services/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/faculty-associates-william-solecki-peter-marcotullio-contribute-new-book-urbanization-biodiversity-ecosystem-services/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 19:20:36 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7340 A new book on urbanization, biodiversity and ecosystem services was published this fall, 2013, by Springer. This is the first comprehensive cross scale examination of the complex relationships between these...  

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A new book on urbanization, biodiversity and ecosystem services was published this fall, 2013, by Springer. This is the first comprehensive cross scale examination of the complex relationships between these processes. The volume was commissioned by the United Nations Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD) and includes experts from around the world. Roosevelt House Faculty Associates William Solecki (Geography) and Peter J. Marcotullio (Geography) were involved in the organization, production and writing of chapters.

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P-cubed News: From the Director’s Desk – How Can Bill de Blasio Meaningfully Address Inequality? http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-november-8th-2013/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-november-8th-2013/#comments Thu, 07 Nov 2013 19:33:29 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7337 New York City voted for a new Mayor this week bringing to an end the Bloomberg era that has come to be associated with the unfortunate stop-and-frisk tactics used by...  

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New York City voted for a new Mayor this week bringing to an end the Bloomberg era that has come to be associated with the unfortunate stop-and-frisk tactics used by the police that targeted young men of color in particular, the increasing lack of affordable housing for middle-class and low-income families as neighborhoods across the city rapidly gentrified, and widening income gaps. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s victory was described in a New York Times article as a “forceful rejection of the hard-nosed, business-minded style of governance that reigned at City Hall for the past two decades…” Mr. de Blasio’s campaign phrase, “the tale of two cities,” that captured the disparities in opportunities and discrimination of large numbers of New Yorkers, seemed to have had resonance with voters. Mr. de Blasio won a landslide victory with 74 percent of the vote citywide.

The new mayor has many urgent issues to consider. The problem of income inequality looms large. The latest Census numbers, released a few weeks ago, show that poverty remains a critical issue and the gap between the rich and the poor in this city continues to widen. The mean income of the top 5 percent was $436,931 — about 49 times as much as those with the lowest income. The current poverty rate of 21.2 percent means that 1.7 million New Yorkers fall below the official poverty threshold. Of children 17 and younger, 31 percent live in poverty while 32 percent of households headed by single women live below the poverty line. Poverty rates for African-American and Latino New Yorkers remain stubbornly higher than for whites. Some food stamps benefits that had been expanded during the recession recently expired affecting nearly 2 million New Yorkers and worsening their already precarious lives of.

Nowhere does income inequality manifest more profoundly than in housing affordability in the city. Hunter College’s Professor Ida Susser’s recently updated work, Norman Street: Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood, shows how the current administration in New York has focused on the economic elite by subsidizing luxury condominium projects; over the past decade, tax subsidies for new high rise apartments have been approximately $1 billion a year. New York City has had a housing shortage for many decades: in the 1960s vacancy rate never rose above 3 percent; in 2011, vacancy rates for $1000 per month apartments were about 1 percent. Housing insecurity among middle and working-class families continues to grow as 10,000 rent-regulated apartments are lost in our city each year.  According to estimates by the Coalition for the Homeless, there are about 52,351 people living in municipal shelters, and as the cold weather approaches, those numbers will grow.

Another area for deep divisions is in education achievement in the city’s public schools. In the NYS 2013 tests, two-thirds of city students failed. About 30 percent of New York City students met state math standards while 26 percent passed the reading exams. Schools with the most English-language learners dropped scores by approximately 70 percent in both reading and math. Black and Latino students had a 56 percent decrease in reading scores and more than a 60 percent decrease in math scores. District 7 in the South Bronx, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the entire city with a heavily Hispanic and African American population, had the biggest drop in scores citywide, with a 64 percent decrease in reading scores, and a 75 percent drop in math scores from 2012.

Mr. de Blasio has his work cut out in front of him. Creating livable wage jobs, negotiating union contracts, keeping our streets safe, and making higher education affordable are just a few more agenda items that will need urgent attention by the new mayor. Our collective hope is to see real, tangible policies for change from City Hall that will help to make this one city for all its residents.

Tell us what you think should be Bill de Blasio’s agenda for the first 100 days of his leadership as Mayor of New York City. Where should his priorities lie? Who are the people most likely to be affected by his policies? Share your thoughts and join the debate.

Follow me on Twitter: @DrSVenkateswar,  and engage with the Public Policy Program on social media, Like P-Cubed at Roosevelt House on Facebook and follow @PcubedatRH on Twitter.

Be well.

Shyama

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P-cubed News: From the Director’s Desk – The Time for Serious Discussions on Immigration Reform is Now http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-october-31st-2013/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-october-31st-2013/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2013 22:23:22 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7314 The federal budget dispute, which has dominated U.S. national news, has overshadowed other matters of national urgency for many months now. For instance, comprehensive immigration reform, one of President Obama’s...  

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The federal budget dispute, which has dominated U.S. national news, has overshadowed other matters of national urgency for many months now. For instance, comprehensive immigration reform, one of President Obama’s top second-term priorities, has not been able to gain the necessary traction in Washington as partisan divisions over health care took center stage. However, in the last several days, immigration advocates have found unlikely allies in a coalition of business executives, prominent conservatives and evangelical leaders, who all want House Republicans to put immigration legislation on the floor before the end of this year.

Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of Senators known as the “Gang of Eight,” introduced a Senate Immigration Bill, “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” or S. 744. The group, which included Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), and Marco Rubio (R-FL), supported a bill that provides a broad proposal for immigration reform. Key issues that are included in the bill: border security; immigrant visas for the 11 million currently undocumented immigrants, including young people brought to the U.S. as children; nonimmigrant visas for skilled workers and less skilled workers; a more robust internal verification system, and jobs for low-income youth.

The bill was introduced in the Senate on April 16th, 2013, and passed on June 27, 2013. It now depends on the House Republicans to act on this important piece of legislation, but like many other issues immigration reform is also trapped in the partisan gridlock of Washington.

A new report released by the Bipartisan Policy Center entitled, Immigration Reform: Implications for Growth, Budget and Housing, shows that immigration reform would benefit the U.S. economy.  The report, which looked at issues like tax revenues, economic growth, and the impact of public spending, shows that over the long-run, immigration reform would help to increase the number of workers by over 4%, and generate new housing construction of $68 billion per year. In addition, the presence of new and younger workers and a bigger economy would help to reduce deficits by over $1 trillion over the next 20 years. In a letter accompanying the release of the report, the co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center wrote, “Immigration reform would be a powerful instrument for economic revitalization…Fixing our broken immigration system will benefit the economy. It …demonstrates that how Congress crafts reform matters to the overall economic performance.”

The unusual coalition that has come together in the last few days to lobby the House to take up the matter of immigration reform for discussion includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the National Immigration Forum; FWD.us, a Silicon Valley PAC; and the Partnership for a New American Economy, led by Mayor Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch and Bill Marriott, Jr. Business leaders are concerned that without comprehensive immigration reform that can help to bring talent and innovators to the country, the U.S. will lose its competitive edge in the global economy.

The Republicans, however, are divided over the Senate proposals. The sticking point is the fate of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Some conservative members like Representative Ted Yoho from Florida and Representative Steve King from Iowa fear that the support of any immigration bill would be used as a “Trojan Horse” and lead to a policy of amnesty for the illegal immigrants already in the country.

The time for serious discussions on immigration reform is now. At a minimum, Republican lawmakers need to demonstrate in good faith a willingness to discuss the wide range of proposals in the Senate bill. Both House Democrats and Republicans have to rise above the bitter partisanship that is now associated with politics in Washington in order to move forward on this critical issue.

Tell us where immigration reform is headed? What are the most critical issues that the House needs to consider? How does the immigration bill impact you? Share your thoughts and join the debate.

Follow me on Twitter: @DrSVenkateswar,  and engage with the Public Policy Program on social media, Like P-Cubed and Roosevelt House on Facebook and follow @PcubedatRH on Twitter.

Stay well.
Shyama

 

 

 

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Faculty Associate Howard Chernick (Economics) Receives MacArthur Award for Study of Housing Market Effects on America’s Central Cities http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/faculty-associate-howard-chernick-economics-receives-macarthur-award-study-housing-market-effects-americas-central-cities/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/faculty-associate-howard-chernick-economics-receives-macarthur-award-study-housing-market-effects-americas-central-cities/#comments Wed, 30 Oct 2013 14:42:18 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7288 Roosevelt House Faculty Associate and Hunter College Professor Howard Chernick (Economics) was part of a team from the Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison awarded a $450,000 MacArthur Grant...  

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Roosevelt House Faculty Associate and Hunter College Professor Howard Chernick (Economics) was part of a team from the Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison awarded a $450,000 MacArthur Grant to study the effect of the housing bubble/crisis on city finances.   The IRP team proposal was chosen from over 300 initial submissions, with just 6 grants awarded – part of a $2.8 million grant program for research to explore the ways housing may affect social, health, and economic outcomes of children, families, and communities.  Chernick is working with Andrew Reschovsky (La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Sandra Newman (John Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies).

Read more at: http://www.macfound.org/press/press-releases/macarthur-awards-28-million-support-research-how-housing-matters/#IRP

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P-cubed News: From the Director’s Desk – Policy Proposals to Close the Achievement Gap http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/pcubed-directors-desk-october-24th-2013/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/pcubed-directors-desk-october-24th-2013/#comments Thu, 24 Oct 2013 21:22:31 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7263 Persistent achievement gaps in academic performance based on race and income levels continue to trouble policy makers. Despite federal legislation like President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001,...  

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Persistent achievement gaps in academic performance based on race and income levels continue to trouble policy makers. Despite federal legislation like President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, initiatives like President Obama’s Race to the Top Program, and billions of dollars of government funding in education reform, test scores in math and reading find African-American and Hispanic students still lagging behind their white and Asian peers. The achievement gap, if left unsolved, has severe implications for the 21st century American workforce and the growing income polarization within the United States.

Studies conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics showed that African-American and Hispanic students had a gap of more than 20 points on math and reading assessments at  4thand 8th grades. African-American and Hispanic students were less likely to take rigorous courses in high school, had lower graduation rates and were more likely to drop out.

What explains these differences? Is race and class really such a strong predictor of students’ educational attainment? Some studies have pointed to entrenched, intergenerational poverty as the reason behind the achievement gap.  Low-income children and those who are members of minority groups are often concentrated in low-achieving schools, and have access to fewer resources than middle-class or wealthy children. A 2011 study conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that children living in poverty and are reading below grade level by 3rd grade are three times as likely to drop out of high school compared to middle-class students.

An important study conducted almost two decades ago, known as the “30 million word-gap study,” found that by age 4, children in low-income families had poorer language skills compared to their counterparts in more affluent families. A follow-up study at Stanford University found that the vocabulary gap begins as early as 18 months putting already disadvantaged kids farther behind when they enter school.

Good teachers matter, but poor and minority children tend to have less access to experienced teachers. In fact, the United States ranks 42nd of 46 industrialized countries in providing equitable distribution of teachers to different kinds of students.

What are the important issues to consider in order to close the ever-widening achievement gap? More investment in quality early-childhood education programs is certainly a good thing. Teacher training programs, providing poor children with strong teachers, strategies to create smaller schools are all policies in the right direction. The other issue to consider is whether ELA and Math skills are all what our children need. How do we ensure that all American children, irrespective of their race and income level, learn 21st century skills that emphasize critical thinking, problem solving, grit and perseverance, and other areas of socio-emotional learning?

President Johnson’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, a key component of his War on Poverty, emphasized equal access to education, high standards of accountability and equal opportunities for every child. The Act’s Title I allocations provided funding to schools and school districts with a high percentage of students from low-income families.

Creating equality in educational achievement is an important goal toward more racial and income equality, and it’s a battle that can be won. More research and data is needed on new ways to close the achievement gap. Bipartisan support to bring more resources to teachers and students alike is the first step.

Tell us where education policy reform needs to be directed. What are the most critical resources our schools need? How do we make our nation’s schools work for our poorest neighbors? Share your thoughts and join the debate.

Follow me on Twitter: @DrSVenkateswar,  and engage with the Public Policy Program on social media, Like P-Cubed and Roosevelt House on Facebook and follow @PcubedatRH on Twitter.

All good wishes,
Shyama

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FDR Four Freedoms Park featured in “Treasures of New York” documentary on PBS http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/fdr-four-freedoms-park-featured-treasures-new-york-documentary-pbs/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/fdr-four-freedoms-park-featured-treasures-new-york-documentary-pbs/#comments Wed, 23 Oct 2013 16:12:49 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7251 Roosevelt Circle members Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park opened one year ago, on October 17, and to celebrate, the documentary television series on WLIW, Treasures of New York, will air a...  

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Roosevelt Circle members Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park opened one year ago, on October 17, and to celebrate, the documentary television series on WLIW, Treasures of New York, will air a special program on the Park’s history. The film is hosted by author, historian, and Park friend Douglas Brinkley.

The show will air several times over the next couple of weeks.

SHOWTIMES on WLIW21:

October 27 at 6:00pm
October 29 at 1:30am

SHOWTIMES on THIRTEEN:

October 31 at 10:30pm
November 4 at 5am
November 7 at 5am
November 17 at 2pm

Watch a trailer, below:

 

Treasures of New York: Four Freedoms Park is a production of WLIW21, in association with WNET, the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York’s public television stations and operator of NJTV.

 

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P-Cubed News: From the Director’s Desk- How Women Helped End the Government Shutdown http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-october-18th/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/p-cubed-news-directors-desk-october-18th/#comments Thu, 17 Oct 2013 19:25:53 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7120 Americans, and probably the rest of the world, will breathe a little easier now that that the federal shutdown has been lifted and the debt ceiling has been raised. Late...  

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Americans, and probably the rest of the world, will breathe a little easier now that that the federal shutdown has been lifted and the debt ceiling has been raised. Late on Wednesday night, just hours before the country would have gone into default, the Republicans agreed to fund the federal government until January 15th, 2014 and raise the debt ceiling until February 15th, 2014. Economists have yet to put a full value on the costs of the closure, but estimates are already in the billions, which will no doubt have an impact on unemployment numbers, growth, corporate earnings, and other measures.

Partisan gridlock in Washington has been in full view over the last two weeks as Democrats refused to concede to any contractions to Obamacare in exchange for Republican support for raising the debt ceiling. As talks floundered and stop-gap bills failed, female lawmakers across the aisle emerged as a bipartisan group eager to get beyond the political impasse and reach a compromise quickly. Of the 13 senators on a bipartisan committee to reach a solution, about half were women.

Although these bipartisan women have been credited as the force that ended the 2013 federal shutdown, their numbers remain small in the current Congress. The 113th United States Congress is currently 18% women – 78 women in the House, and 20 women in the Senate. While this might be regarded as a watershed moment in terms of women and leadership in political office, there is still a long way to go to achieve gender parity at the highest levels of political office in our country.

At a recent public program at Roosevelt House, Women Legislators & Public Policy: Setting a Bipartisan Agenda, four New York State Assembly women, Republicans and Democrats, discussed leadership opportunities, their commitment to issues relating to families and communities, and the strategies that they use to build coalitions and support across the political divide (read a recap of the event here). Their work together on smaller bills, informal networking, and maintaining friendly relations helps them work collaboratively on larger and more contentious issues. A central message from the Assemblywomen was that women’s political leadership was urgently required at all levels, not just to reach gender parity at the highest levels, but also in order to bring greater bipartisan negotiating skills to the table.

Without a robust pipeline of qualified women ready to take up political office, equity levels in leadership is hard to imagine in the near future. As several speakers reiterated at the Roosevelt House event, women need support, training and encouragement to run for office. The Washington Post summed up our collective thoughts on the shutdown by posing a succinct question: Would more women in Congress have prevented the shutdown? Perhaps our politics might still have a chance to look different.

Join the discussion on the fallout of the federal government shutdown. What did we learn? How do we avert this kind of political brinkmanship again?

Follow me on Twitter: @DrSVenkateswar and engage with the Public Policy Program on social media: Like P-Cubed at Roosevelt House on Facebook and follow @PcubedatRH on twitter.

All good wishes,

Shyama

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Empowered Women Empower Women http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/empowered-women-empower-women/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/empowered-women-empower-women/#comments Thu, 17 Oct 2013 19:21:23 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7112 Jennifer Raab, President of Hunter College, warmly welcomed preceptors, pupils, legislators, and leaders to Roosevelt House on the evening of Tuesday, October 15th, 2013. Her opening remarks established the thematic purpose...  

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Jennifer Raab, President of Hunter College, warmly welcomed preceptors, pupils, legislators, and leaders to Roosevelt House on the evening of Tuesday, October 15th, 2013. Her opening remarks established the thematic purpose of the occasion “Women Legislators and Public Policy: Setting a Bipartisan Agenda” underscoring the critical role of women in civic engagement, empowerment, and leadership. 

Shelley Mayer, representative for the 90th New York State Assembly District, reaffirmed President Raab by encouraging young women to become active in their communities, to join men in the political process, and to overcome rejection.  Her message is backed by her experience as a political organizer, passion for serving the public, and willingness to “put the small aside and focus on the big” issues to cultivate collegiality amount her peers.

Camaraderie and partnership is equally important to Jane Lewis Corwin, Republican representative for the 144th New York State Assembly District, who reaches out to her Democratic colleagues and breaches the “there and them” of divisive party lines to get bills passed. She does so for her constituents and in respect of the concerns that are prevalent among the communities she serves, among them those that affect families such as bullying and mental health.

Janet L. Duprey, representative for the 115th New York State Assembly District, agreed saying that ”women place families at the forefront.” Therefore, at the heart of her work is ensuring that every person has the opportunity to fulfill their potential. She has endeavored throughout her 38 years of public service to do just that and to carry out her role with integrity, dismissing the skeptics that have looked down upon her and her role as a female elected official.

As a recently elected representative, Gabriela Rosa of the 72nd New York State Assembly District feels honored to work with such empowered women. She reflected on her journey to and in the United Stated from her homeland in the Dominica Republic; her struggles motivate her advocacy on issues such as special education and youth domestic violence. Her perseverance is reflected in her own statement,  ”Women know how to push and how to deliver; when women are committed, we can do it!”

Stanley S. Litow, IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, President of IBM’s Foundation, and Member of the External Advisory Board of Roosevelt House joined President Raab and guests and presented the panel moderator, David Firestone, an editor on the editorial board of The New York Times. Mr. Firestone engaged the assembly members and attendees in focused dialogue. Afterwards, Hunter College students were able to interact and interview the evenings’ panelists.

 
By Benedict Joson

ben josonBenedict Joson is a senior studying political science, public policy, and human rights at Hunter College. Continue the conversation with him on Twitter @BenedictJoson.

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Event Recap: Contemporary Issues In Education Policy with Ben Shuldiner http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/event-recap-contemporary-issues-education-policy-ben-shuldiner/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/event-recap-contemporary-issues-education-policy-ben-shuldiner/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 15:33:13 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7092 Roosevelt House’s Brownbag seminar series gives Hunter students and faculty the unique opportunity to participate in intimate seminars with experts in various fields related to public policy. On Wednesday, October...  

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photo 5Roosevelt House’s Brownbag seminar series gives Hunter students and faculty the unique opportunity to participate in intimate seminars with experts in various fields related to public policy. On Wednesday, October 9th, Hunter’s own Distinguished Lecturer of Education Leadership, Ben Shuldiner, gave an illuminating presentation on education policy. Shuldiner described how two prominent, opposing schools of thought–one that attributes educational inequality to issues of class, race, and poverty and another that posits educational policy as the main driver of educational outcomes–both influence attempts to boost student achievement in America today, from programs like Head Start and school lunches that attempt to ameliorate the influence of poverty to the recent surge of the charter schools that experiment with the rules and format of education. Encouraging students to give their own ideas and analysis, Shuldiner also presided over a lively and thoughtful discussion about the role of federal, state, and local governments in public education. Attendees brought a wide range of experiences to the table, from majors in public policy to former school safety officers. Shuldiner, a Manhattan native with a Harvard pedigree and teaching experience ranging from posh English boarding schools to rough city high schools, made a name for himself running the High School for Public Service in Brooklyn.

By Rachel Jensen

Rachel Jensen is an undergraduate student at Hunter College studying film.

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P-Cubed News: From the Director’s Desk — How the Government Shutdown is Threatening Our Food Supply http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/directors-desk-october-11th/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/directors-desk-october-11th/#comments Thu, 10 Oct 2013 19:06:21 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7072 The federal government shutdown is now in its second week with no end in sight. The impact of the shutdown continues to be felt across the country with hundreds of...  

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The federal government shutdown is now in its second week with no end in sight. The impact of the shutdown continues to be felt across the country with hundreds of thousands of federal employees on furlough and major federal agencies working at severely reduced capacity. But, the crisis in Washington is closer to home than one imagines as routine monitoring of our country’s food supply and ensuring food safety is also in jeopardy.

News reports over the last couple of days have shown that there is an outbreak of Salmonella that has sickened at least 278 people across 18 states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. In the best of times an outbreak like this requires a rapid response: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) personnel on the ground doing inspections and working to identify the source of the problem; scientists at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) identifying the strain of bacteria causing the illness as well as monitoring and analyzing the information from states on the extent and nature of illness; communications staff at the CDC, FDA and the Department of Agriculture working with major media outlets to put out a massive consumer alert across the country. The closure of the federal government has put this entire chain of operations on indefinite hiatus. The websites for all three of these major federal agencies report a closure of services.

Consider this: The shutdown has caused the Food and Drug Administration to place 60 percent of its investigators on furlough while the Center for Disease Control has furloughed 68 percent of its staff. What this means is that the FDA cannot conduct routine domestic or international inspections of food facilities, monitor compliance or enforcement or conduct lab research, all of which are vital to public health policies and safety of our food supplies. For instance, about 20 percent of all the food that Americans eat is imported which includes 85 percent of all seafood. With the shutdown, the FDA can inspect less than 2 percent of all imported food into the country. The CDC, which runs the national food-borne detection services, has been unable to conduct any cross-state consultations or conduct the necessary epidemiological research that would help to find and control the salmonella bacterial infection from spreading especially to vulnerable groups like children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. At the Department of Agriculture, a hot line that consumers can call into to check on food safety issues is closed.

Salmonella can be a fatal disease. CDC reports that every year 48 million Americans get sick from contaminated food, although not all these are Salmonella-related. Public health departments reported that between 2009 and 2010, there were 1,527 foodborne disease outbreaks, resulting in 29,444 cases of illness, 1,184 hospitalizations, and 23 deaths. Almost half the people hospitalized were detected to have Salmonella. Beef, dairy, fish and poultry are the most common foods to be linked to recent Salmonella-related illnesses.

Ensuring food safety is an essential service that the federal government provides. It too, like the other important work that the government performs, is a part of the collateral damage as a result of partisan gridlock in Washington.

To learn more about the impact of the current political and economic crisis, please come to an upcoming student and faculty teach-in, “The Government Shutdown: Where do we go from here“ at Roosevelt House on October 17th. Share your thoughts on what President Obama should do.

Follow me on Twitter: @DrSVenkateswar and engage with the Public Policy Program on social media: Like P-Cubed at Roosevelt House on Facebook and follow @PcubedatRH on twitter.

Be well.

Best wishes,

Shyama

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P-Cubed news:From the Director’s Desk — What’s the Story Behind the Government Shutdown? http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/directors-desk-october-4th/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/directors-desk-october-4th/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 15:30:22 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7041 This week all eyes are on Washington and the federal government shutdown–the first in almost two decades–as a result of the failure of lawmakers to break the long-standing impasse in...  

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This week all eyes are on Washington and the federal government shutdown–the first in almost two decades–as a result of the failure of lawmakers to break the long-standing impasse in budget negotiations. The closure of the government has sent over 800,000 federal workers on furlough and more than a million other workers are expected to have to work without compensation. The impact of this political stalemate is being felt across the country: national parks are closed, including the Statue of Liberty, and federal agencies like Commerce, Labor, and the Treasury, among others have had to significantly reduce operations for the period of the shutdown. 

The federal closing is a complicated story. Here’s a quick look at what this is about. The prospect of a closure has loomed for several months. A core group of House Republican leaders have held firm that their support for financing the government is tied to the administration agreeing to a one-year delay in the mandate that requires individuals to buy health insurance under the new Affordable Care Act. The House’s proposal also calls for denying subsidies through generous tax credits to all members of Congress, Capitol Hill staff, political appointees of the President, White House staff, the President and Vice President, who would all be obliged to pay the entire cost of health care out of pocket.

The Democratic majority Senate has steadfastly refused to tie-in budget negotiations or even the six-week stopgap spending bill with contractions in the Obamacare plan. And, hence, the protracted gridlock.

More worrisome than the shutdown is the approaching October 17th fiscal cliff deadline when the government will reach its debt ceiling. Unless Congress acts and raises the limit on federal government borrowing, the U.S. is at risk of an unprecedented default in making payments. Without action on the debt ceiling, the Treasury will be left with only $30 billion in cash, which is expected to be used up in mere days. To give you a sense of how critical the current situation is, the Bipartisan Policy Center, in a recent report that analyzed U.S. debt, shows that the government is looking at several big bills in the coming weeks: the Treasury is facing a $12 billion Social Security payment on Oct. 23, a $6 billion interest payment on the public debt on Oct. 31, and on November 1st itself a payment of $18 billion on Medicare, $25 billion on Social Security, $12 billion on military pay and veterans benefits and $3 billion on the Supplemental Security Income program.

The implications of a debt-ceiling default are enormous. Financial analysts have warned that the economy and financial markets–globally–will feel the impact of the crisis in Washington. If no agreement is reached by the October 17th deadline, the government will be forced to make short-term decisions like prioritizing payments, issuing i.o.u.’s, selling off gold and other assets, none of which are sustainable options. Another strategy that is being discussed would be for President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment by executive fiat that would allow the federal government to keep borrowing and avoid a default on payments.

Getting out of this mess requires leadership from all sides, good faith efforts to break the current political gridlock that has gripped the nation’s capital, and a commitment to put the people of this country above the bitter divisions of partisan politics, ideology, and brinkmanship that we have seen in recent days.

Tell us where you stand on the current debates in our political arena. What is the nature of the leadership that we need in Congress to bring us out of this current crisis? What can we expect in the coming days?

Follow me on Twitter: @DrSVenkateswar and engage with the Public Policy Program on social media: Like P-Cubed at Roosevelt House on Facebook and follow @PcubedatRH on twitter.

Be well.

Best wishes,
Shyama

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WSJ Quotes Faculty Associate Nancy Foner on Election Results & Changing Demographics in NYC http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/wall-street-journal-quotes-hunter-sociology-professor-nancy-foner-election-results-changing-demographics-new-york-city/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/wall-street-journal-quotes-hunter-sociology-professor-nancy-foner-election-results-changing-demographics-new-york-city/#comments Tue, 01 Oct 2013 15:33:32 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=7030 via: Wall Street Journal Quotes Hunter Sociology Professor Nancy Foner on Election Results and Changing Demographics of New York City “The demographics of the city are changing,” said Nancy Foner, a...  

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via: Wall Street Journal Quotes Hunter Sociology Professor Nancy Foner on Election Results and Changing Demographics of New York City

“The demographics of the city are changing,” said Nancy Foner, a professor of sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center. “It’s not just that the city is heavily immigrant and more immigrants have naturalized and are starting to vote. Also, their second-generation children have grown up and are starting to vote.”

Signs of that change were visible around the city Tuesday, including at P.S. 20 in Flushing, Queens, where Frances Clay has worked the polls for 20 years. There were as many Hindi and Chinese interpreters sitting around at midmorning as there were voters.

 

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Engaging Muslim Youth in the Global “Youth-quake:” Farah Pandith’s Visit to Roosevelt House http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/engaging-muslim-youth-global-youth-quake-farah-pandiths-visit-roosevelt-house/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/engaging-muslim-youth-global-youth-quake-farah-pandiths-visit-roosevelt-house/#comments Fri, 27 Sep 2013 20:05:53 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=6985 On Thursday, September 26, Farah Pandith, US State Department Special Representative to Muslim Communities, came to Roosevelt House to discuss her work engaging Muslim youth around the world. Her position was created...  

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Shyama Venkateswar and Farah Pandith

Photo credit: Eddy Bogus

On Thursday, September 26, Farah Pandith, US State Department Special Representative to Muslim Communities, came to Roosevelt House to discuss her work engaging Muslim youth around the world. Her position was created by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009 as part of the Obama Administration’s desire to start working with the Muslim world on terms of mutual interest and mutual respect. Her mandate is to engage with Muslim youth around the world at the grassroots, rather than the government, level, and in this capacity she has travelled to over 80 countries, helping to launch several youth-focused campaigns.

“It is because I talk to your generation that I do this job,” explained Special Representative Pandith. “I have faith in you.” She described what she calls a “youth-quake,” a global phenomenon in which our generation is shaking up traditional ideas and expectations, no longer waiting for others to give us permission to act. With a quarter of the world practicing Islam, and 62% of this population currently under the age of 30, this is an opportunity that cannot be missed. However, she explained that everywhere she goes, she sees Muslim youth undergoing an identity crisis and struggling to define what it means to be Muslim in 2013. The loudest voice in this debate, she warned, is too often that of extremist groups, and therefore she stressed the need for us to help provide youths with multiple narratives or role models that they can relate to. To this end, she suggested that everyone take a look at the work of Naif Al-Mutawa, who recently received a shout out from President Obama for his creation of the comic The 99.

Special Representative Pandith also described the challenge of convincing governments to engage their own youth, especially in countries with traditions of a hierarchy of elders in which the young are expected to always speak last. She explained that the US State Department has been trying to shift this mentality by asking other governments to bring youth representatives to their meetings, or by working directly with the youth population in their communities. Special Representative Pandith briefly discussed her work in two such grassroots initiatives—Hours Against Hate, and Generation Change—urging all students to get involved. Special Representative Pandith is eager to continue this conversation with students, and can be found on Facebook: Farah Pandith, Special Representative to Muslim Communities, and on Twitter at @Farah_Pandith.

By Audrey Stienon

audreysAudrey Stienon is a senior studying political science and economics at Hunter. She is also in the process of completing her Capstone for the Public Policy Program at Roosevelt House.

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P-Cubed News: From the Director’s Desk — Will We Meet the Millennium Development Goals? http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/directors-desk-september-27th/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/directors-desk-september-27th/#comments Thu, 26 Sep 2013 19:09:28 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=6981 If it’s late September in New York, and you’re caught in traffic gridlock nightmare, there’s probably only one good reason. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is on, and world...  

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If it’s late September in New York, and you’re caught in traffic gridlock nightmare, there’s probably only one good reason. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is on, and world leaders have flown in to talk about the most pressing issues of the day. This year, the focus has been on Syria, chemical weapons, and whether or not President Obama, and his counterpart in Iran, President Rouhani, would “bump” into each other in the hallway to shake hands. However, behind the frenetic energy that surrounds the annual UNGA for the short period of time at this time of the year, there are stark reminders that continued leadership and financial commitments are needed to meet the 8 Millennium Development Goals that have less than 1000 days left until their target date in 2015.

The MDGs set clear targets in 2000 to reduce extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and the empowerment of women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other communicable diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop global partnerships.

The results so far are mixed. The Millennium Development Goals 2013 Report shows that area that has seen the most improvement is health, especially in efforts to combat malaria and TB. Between 2000 and 20101, malaria-related deaths fell by more than 25% globally, and 51 million tuberculosis patients were successfully treated between 1995 and 2011. Although 34 million people were living with HIV in 2011, new infections are declining. There are about 700 million fewer people living in extreme poverty – less than $1.25 a day – since 1990, and over 2 billion people gained access to clean water during this same period.

But, many challenges remain. Hunger is one of the main issues. One in eight people in the world today remain chronically undernourished. Carbon emissions today are more than 45% higher than the level in 1990. Maternal deaths, although falling, still needs urgent attention as do other issues like primary education for children and women’s leadership.

Addressing these entrenched issues requires political will and strong partnerships between governments, civil society, and corporations, and other stakeholders. The 2015 deadline for the MDGs will soon expire. But even after that date, critical work lies ahead for United Nations in order to build prosperity, greater equality, and peace globally.

Tell us what you think are some of the most important global issues facing us today and what role the United Nations can play? What role do students and other youth play in advancing a global agenda for greater social justice? What work do you do in your own communities that might align with some of the Millennium Development Goals?

Share your ideas on good policy solutions. Follow me on Twitter: @DrSVenkateswar and engage with the Public Policy Program on social media: Like P-Cubed at Roosevelt House on Facebook and follow @PcubedatRH on twitter.

Stay well!

With my best wishes,
Shyama

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Professor Viteritti (Urban Affairs) quoted in WSJ and the NYT on Education Policy and the NYC Mayoral Race http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/professor-viteritti-urban-affairs-quoted-wall-street-journal-new-york-times-education-policy-nyc-mayoral-race/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/professor-viteritti-urban-affairs-quoted-wall-street-journal-new-york-times-education-policy-nyc-mayoral-race/#comments Tue, 24 Sep 2013 18:29:33 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=6976 Professor Viteritti has been quoted in a number of interviews on the New York City mayoral race, including, The Wall Street Journal (September 7, 2013) and The New York Times (August 9, 2013).

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Professor Viteritti has been quoted in a number of interviews on the New York City mayoral race, including, The Wall Street Journal (September 7, 2013) and The New York Times (August 9, 2013).

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Professor Viteritti (Urban Affairs): “The Federal Role in School Reform: Obama’s ‘Race to the Top’” Translated into Chinese http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/professor-joseph-p-viterittis-urban-affairs-article-federal-role-school-reform-obamas-race-top-translated-chinese/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/professor-joseph-p-viterittis-urban-affairs-article-federal-role-school-reform-obamas-race-top-translated-chinese/#comments Tue, 24 Sep 2013 18:24:41 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=6972 Faculty Associate and Hunter Professor Joseph P. Viteritti’s (Urban Affairs) article “The Federal Role in School Reform: Obama’s ‘Race to the Top,’” Notre Dame Law Review (2012), pp. 2087-2021, has been translated into...  

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Faculty Associate and Hunter Professor Joseph P. Viteritti’s (Urban Affairs) article “The Federal Role in School Reform: Obama’s ‘Race to the Top,’” Notre Dame Law Review (2012), pp. 2087-2021, has been translated into Chinese. It is included in a new book of readings edited by Fan Guori, Dean of East China Normal University in Shanghai. The same article is excerpted in a new law textbook, Derek Black, Education Law (Aspen Publishers, 2013).

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Faculty Associate Howard Chernick Contributes to New Data Set on Public Finances http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/faculty-associate-howard-chernick-contributes-new-data-set-public-finances/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/faculty-associate-howard-chernick-contributes-new-data-set-public-finances/#comments Tue, 24 Sep 2013 18:20:43 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=6970 Roosevelt House Faculty Associate Howard Chernick, working with colleagues from the Univ. of Wisconsin and the Lincoln Land Institute in Cambridge, MA, contributed to a new data set on public finances that...  

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Roosevelt House Faculty Associate Howard Chernick, working with colleagues from the Univ. of Wisconsin and the Lincoln Land Institute in Cambridge, MA, contributed to a new data set on public finances that stemmed from work he was involved in over the last four years.  This data base creates a unified picture of spending and revenues of 109 big cities in the U.S., that takes account of the different fiscal responsibilities of various cities.  Chernick drew on the FISC data set for his recent article on Detroit’s bankruptcy.

A press release about the publication is reposted, below:

Amid Fiscal Strain, New Database Allows Custom Comparisons of City Finances

September 12, 2013

For immediate release
Contact: Anthony Flint 617-503-2116

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (September 12, 2013) – As Detroit faces bankruptcy and many other cities across the U.S. address an ongoing crisis in municipal finance, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy has created a new interactive database that for the first time allows meaningful comparisons of city finances – from spending on schools, police, and public works to revenues from the property tax and other sources.

The Fiscally Standardized Cities (FiSC) database allows users to compare local government finances for 112 large U.S. central cities across more than 120 categories of revenues, expenditures, debt, and assets. Based on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, the FiSC database provides 34 years of data (1977-2010), with additional years to be added as the data become available.

Until now, it has been virtually impossible to make meaningful fiscal comparisons among the nation’s central cities because of major differences in how cities deliver public services, with some city governments providing a full array of public services while others share the responsibility with a variety of overlying independent governments.

The unique methodology of the Fiscally Standardized Cities (FiSC) database accounts for these differences in local government structure by adding together revenues and expenditures for each city municipal government and an appropriate share for overlying governments, including counties, independent school districts, and special districts. Thus FiSCs provides a full picture of revenues raised from city residents and businesses and spending on their behalf, whether done by the city government or a separate overlying government.

The FiSC database allows for apples-to-apples comparisons of local government finances at the city level, whereas comparing the finances of city governments alone is like comparing apples and oranges and thus is completely misleading. Two examples illustrate the importance of the FiSC estimates:

  • Using city government data, Baltimore spends three times more per capita than Columbus, Ohio. The FiSC estimates, however, show that per capita spending in the two cities is nearly identical. This contrast exists because in Baltimore nearly all public services are provided by the city government, while in Columbus many public services are provided by the overlying county government and independent school districts.
  • City government data suggest that the most important source of tax revenue in Tucson is the sales tax. In Buffalo, almost all of the city government’s tax revenue comes from the property tax. The FiSC estimates for these two cities tell a very different story. Because the county government in Tucson relies mainly on property taxes, Tucson residents actually pay more in property taxes than residents of Buffalo, where the county government relies on sales taxes.
  • The recent bankruptcy of Detroit and several California cities highlight the importance of studying the fiscal conditions of America’s central cities. The FiSC database makes it easy to gather information about public finances in our largest cities. For example, with a few clicks one can discover that:
    • Spending per capita in Detroit fell 28 percent from its 2003 peak to 2010 after accounting for inflation, more than any other central city (FiSC) over that period.
    • Between 2007 and 2010, inflation-adjusted per capita federal and state aid to Miami and other Florida cities fell by about 25 percent. During the same period, aid to Houston and Dallas increased by over 20 percent.
    • Property taxes per capita in 2010 were higher than in Atlanta ($2,618) than in any other Southern city. They were lowest in Montgomery ($395).

 The FiSC database provides a unique resource for all those interested in exploring government finance in our largest cities. It has been designed for policymakers, journalists, researchers, and others interested in comparing city finances. It is easy to construct custom tables using a series of drop-down menus, which can be displayed on the website or downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet. The datasets include data for each city and each of its component governments—cities, counties, school districts, and special districts.

The methodology used to construct FiSCs was developed by Howard Chernick (Hunter College, City University of New York), Adam H. Langley (Lincoln Institute) and Andrew Reschovsky (University of Wisconsin-Madison and Lincoln Institute). Adam H. Langley was responsible for the development of the web-based FiSC database.

The latest addition to the Resources & Tools section of the Lincoln Institute website reflects an ongoing commitment to provide data free of charge for analysis and research. The Fiscally Standardized Cities database joins other databases in this section of the website including Significant Features of the Property Tax, Land and Property Values in the U.S., University and Real Estate Development, and the Atlas of Urban Expansion.

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is a leading resource for key issues concerning the use, regulation, and taxation of land. Providing high-quality education and research, the Institute strives to improve public dialogue and decisions about land policy.

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P-Cubed: From the Director’s Desk — The 2013 U.S. Census: The Story Behind the Numbers http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/directors-desk-september-20th/ http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/directors-desk-september-20th/#comments Thu, 19 Sep 2013 21:07:11 +0000 http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/?p=6935 Each September, members of the policy and advocacy communities anxiously wait for the U.S. Census Bureau to release data on poverty, incomes, and health insurance from the previous year. This...  

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Each September, members of the policy and advocacy communities anxiously wait for the U.S. Census Bureau to release data on poverty, incomes, and health insurance from the previous year. This year was no different. The new numbers released this week show not much has changed from the previous year:  average income currently at $51,017, did not rise, and poverty, currently at about 15%, did not fall. Those Americans without health insurance dropped to 15.4% in 2012 from 15.7% the previous year. For all the talk of an improving economy, decreasing rates of unemployment, and a return to profit on Wall Street, this comes as disappointing news.

The impact of the economy bottoming out in 2008 is still being felt by millions of Americans. Whatever income gains have occurred since the official end of the recession has only been felt by the most highly educated and wealthy Americans. The top 5% of income earners—households making more than $191,000 a year—earned as much in 2012 as they did before the recession started. For most others, income levels are significantly lower now than the period before the recession.

The Census data does not take into account government transfer programs like housing subsidies, food stamps, Medicaid, tax credits, etc. In a thoughtful opinion piece, Sheldon Danziger, the new president at Russell Sage Foundation, a social science research center down the street from Hunter, argues that Census numbers are misleading. If welfare programs were taken into account, poverty numbers would probably be lower, closer to 11%. Food stamps programs lift 4 million people above the established poverty line while earned-income tax credits have been found to reduce poverty levels by about 5.5 million people. Unemployment insurance, which was expanded in response to the recession, kept 1.7 million people out of poverty last year. Social security benefits used by senior Americans are counted as income in Census reports. Without Social Security, poverty rates would be worse —44% for seniors instead of the current rate of less than 9%.

There’s a clear conclusion to draw from these latest Census numbers. Safety net programs work. They go a long way to help the most vulnerable of Americans—children and senior citizens. Yet, food stamps programs are caught in Washington gridlock. Some benefits expire in November that would affect nearly 2 million New Yorkers; there is a proposal to cut $40 billion more over the next 10 years.  Poverty rates might look dramatically different a year from now.

Tell us your thoughts on creating pathways out of poverty. What are some sensible policy solutions to create livable wage jobs, and help America’s poorest families see an improvement in the quality of their lives?

Wishing you a peaceful week.

Shyama

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