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The Roosevelt Institution
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The 25 Ideas Series

Volume 2 • Issue 2 • July 2008
Copyright 2008

Executive Director Policy Director

Nate Loewentheil Caitlin Howarth

Chair of the Editorial Board

Kirti Datla

Managing Editor
Ellen Davis

National Editorial Board

David Carlson
Gracye Cheng
Jonathan Gould
Lauren Henry
Ata Hindi
Frank Lin
Elise Liu
Fay Pappas

Challege Coordinators
Daniel Townsend, Community Development
Matthew Segal, Election Reform
Timothy Krueger, Criminal Justice

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The opinions expressed within the 25 Ideas Series are exclusively those of the individual authors and do not
represent the views of the editorial board, the Roosevelt Institution, or any of the organization’s chapters, centers,
advisors, or affiliates.
25 ideas


Community Development

Volume 2 • Issue 2 • July 2008

Table of Contents

A Net Benefit Regulation For Public Housing Redevelopment 10

Danny Townsend, Yale University

Community-Run Rooftop Gardens 12

Lindsey Gael, Cornell University

Improving Educational Equity 14

Jacqueline Roche, Katie Roy, and Michelle Tafur, University of Hartford

Improving Teacher Retention 16

Abby McCartney, Sam Brill, and the Center on Education, Yale University

The AG and College Eligibility: San Diego Education Reforms 18

Sharanjit Singh, University of California, San Diego

Preventing GLBT-Motivated Hate Crimes Via Education 20
Daniel Odom, George Mason University

Tuition Rebates: A Solution to Iowa’s Brain Drain 22
Andrew Q. Morse, University of Northern Iowa

Wind Turbines on School Sites 24

J. Cory Connolly, Michigan State University

Market-Based Forest Conservation 26

Joanna Kristina Kyriazis, Cornell University

A Course on “Upcycling” 28
John Patrick, Tulane University

Fast Public Transportation and Safe Bike Rides 30

Angela Wong, Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College

Adjustable-Rate System Water Conservation 32

Roosevelt Institution Center on Environmental and Energy Policy, UNC at Chapel Hill
Guaranteeing Water to Secure Development 34
Riley Wyman, The Colorado College

Promoting Resident Ownership in Community Development Corporation Projects 36

Catherine Zinnel, CUNY Hunter College

Post-Census Community Planning 38
David Carlson and Amy Steinhoff, The Colorado College

A Comprehensive Homeowners Plan 40

Virginia Calkins, Ann Chou, Bobby Fischbeck , Lauren Hunter, Jessica Lei, Danny Townsend, Yale University

Regulating Subprime Mortgage Lending 42
Tori Phillips, University of California at Davis

Economic Revival and Charity Hospital, NOLA 44

Matthew LaBruyere and Kayla Lato, Louisiana State University

Revitalizing Suburbs by Reusing Dead Malls 46
John Good, Yale University

Reducing Medical Mistrust Among Native American Populations 48

Kira Newman, Hannah Lupien, et al, Yale University

Federally Qualified Health Centers 50

Jarrad Aguirre, Yale University

Solving San Diego’s Budget Deficit Problem: Hotel Taxes and the Tourism Industry 52
Sharanjit Singh, University of California, San Diego

Cemetery Preservation in New Jersey 54

Kate Maley, Rutgers University

Improving Flexible Tax Structures To Promote Low-Income Business 56

By Peter Wallach, University of Virginia

Eliminating the 100% Marginal Tax Rate for Non-Custodial Parents 58

James Coan, Princeton University
25 ideas
Summer 2008

The 25 Ideas project is a direct extension of the Roosevelt Institution’s mission to

connect students’ ideas to policymakers. Each component has been designed
with the lawmaker in mind: from the two-page, condensed formatting, to the
inclusion of concise sets of key facts and talking points. Both easy to read and
easy to understand, these ideas have been distilled into small bursts of creativity
and thoughtfulness. Though they have been condensed here for the busy reader’s
convenience, several of these Ideas are also available in extended form through or in our upcoming issue of the Roosevelt Review.

While we hope that you will enjoy reading these Ideas, they are not meant to
stay on your coffee table. Some ideas have ramifications for those who work at
the federal policy level; others, at the state or municipal level. Still others focus
primarily on what universities can do. So no matter what level of government you
focus on - or even if you are still a student - there is an Idea in these pages that
you should consider acting on.

• • •

Founded in 2004, the Roosevelt Institution is a national network of campus-based,

nonpartisan student think tanks whose mission is to build a more progressive
society. We seek to develop active, progressive citizens and leaders on college
campuses through the research and writing of public policy and commentary,
disseminating the products of that work to policymakers and elected officials
on the local, state and national level. Through nearly 8,000 members at over
75 campus chapters across the United States, the Institution strives to connect
students to the policymaking process through print and online publications,
direct student-to-lawmaker connections, and annual conferences. We believe
that students learn best through action and can contribute meaningfully to
society while still part of an academic environment. As our members enter
their professional careers, they bring with them the progressive values they’ve
developed, the skills they’ve learned, and the relationships they’ve built with one
another. The Roosevelt Institution has been featured in such publications as The
New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Der Spiegel.

In 2008, the Roosevelt Institution merged with the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt
Institute. The Institute is dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of
its namesakes, and through the merger, gained access to a new generation of
scholars and activists. Together, the new Roosevelt Institute will work to bring
the values of Franklin and Eleanor to bear on future policies and leaders alike.
Letter from the Editors

When the student leaders of the Roosevelt Institution met in the summer of 2006 to
draw up the first set of policy challenges, they hoped to empower their peers to tap
into the resources of their institutions and their own vast potential to advocate for fresh
progressive answers to seemingly-intractable problems. The first edition of the 25 Ideas
represented the best of those solutions.

Now in its second year, the publication before you is evidence that what those few
students in Hyde Park envisioned has become a reality. Of the hundreds of students
who answered the call for submissions in the 2007-2008 school year, these twenty-five
were chosen. They represent the unique experiences of student authors in their own
communities, as well as collaborative brainstorming and contentious debate with their
peers in Roosevelt policy centers across the country.

Indeed, they exemplify the Roosevelt Institution’s commitment to policy solutions at

all levels of government. Though their scope is occasionally global—as in the subsidiza-
tion of Community Development Corporations (CDCs)—it is more often local—as in
the reform for water policies in Colorado Springs. Community development is first and
foremost an issue of development—zoning, construction, growth, and infrastructure—
and the authors of this edition of the 25 Ideas addressed those issues with remarkably
tailored solutions for their own communities. Andrew Morse urged student loan forgive-
ness in Iowa, while Matthew LaBruyere and Kayla Lato suggested the reestablishment
of Charity Hospital to spur regrowth in New Orleans. Other pieces focus on the narrow
question of development itself, and their fresh insights, on everything from net benefit
regulations to mitigate gentrification to the construction of rooftop gardens in urban
areas, illustrate the need to balance growth against sustainable practice and community

A central tenet of progressivism tests the strength of a community by measuring the

welfare of its most defenseless citizens: the poor, the disenfranchised, the very old,
and the very young. With that theme as its anchor, numerous pieces tackled topics as
diverse as healthcare, higher education, and environmental sustainability. From Kira
Newman’s analysis of medical mistrust among Native Americans to Daniel Odom’s
indictment of hate crimes against GLBT students, some of the best answers to the
community development challenge could not be narrowly defined as construction or
economic growth at all.

What each of these 25 ideas reflect is, instead, a progressive sensibility toward the
problems of community development: equity, inclusion, history, sustainability, and
growth. Part of that sensibility is an awareness that issues are far too complex, and their
solutions far too specific, to be addressed by the broad stroke of theory. Trial and error,
case study and prototype: these are the weapons of the progressive policymaker, and
these are the tools of the student researchers and advocates featured in the 25 Ideas.
The Roosevelt Institution recognizes and thanks the following people for their
outstanding dedication to the success of this organization:

Chris Breiseth
David Woolner
Richard E. French, Jr.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Ambassador William vanden Heuvel
Joe Louis Barrow, Jr.
Alison Overseth
Dr. Robert Curvin
Dan Appleman
Neil Proto
David Merchant
Sarah Brown
Marian Breeze
Mattie Hutton
Ted Fertik
Mark Newberg

National Advisory Board

Senator Richard Lugar
Representative Rosa DeLauro
Representative Zoe Lofgren
Representative Tom Allen
Robert Borosage
Richard Celeste
Jon Cowan
Jim Dean
Stephen Elliott
Al From
Katrina vanden Heuvel
Dee Dee Myers
Amy Overton
John Podesta
Robert Reich

Special thanks to Stephan Loewentheil for his early and continued support of the Roosevelt
Institution, and to Michael Stegman and the MacArthur Foundation for making this series possible.

Thank you.
Special thanks to
The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
Her dedication to social justice
Her service as
Honorary Chair of this Challenge
A Net Benefit Regulation
For Public Housing Redevelopment
Danny Townsend, Yale University

Create a minimum replacement level for public housing units as they go

through redevelopment, avoiding a substantial decrease in the availabil-
ity of livable, affordable housing.

Redevelopment is a major issue for the U.S. public housing stock. As many cities
use HUD HOPE VI funding to renovate or demolish public housing infrastructure,
they replace former public housing units with mixed income developments. This
process increases socioeconomic diversity in a given neighborhood, but results
in sometimes severe reduc-
Key Facts
tions in available public hous-
• The US government has spent billions of ing. Fewer units are built than
dollars on housing renovations since the are torn down, and the ones
implementation of HOPE VI in 1992. that are created are no longer
• Despite these expenditures, available public affordable to previous tenants.
housing has decreased by tens of thousands In some years, less than half of
of units in many HOPE VI cities. those relocated by HOPE VI
• As problems continue in the housing market, grants are able to move back
public housing and affordable rental housing into new units.
programs face more strain and demand, de-
spite an already inadequate number of units.
A net benefit regulation could
prevent drastic losses in public
housing units by establishing
a required ratio of planned new units to demolished units. Flexibility could be
maintained for developers by allowing a sliding scale of replacement units, where
a unit at a given level of affordability counts as replacing more than or less than
one preexisting unit of public housing. This would allow for the creation of new
mixed income developments to replace old public housing, but would create an
enforceable minimum level of public housing retention.

Talking Points
The stock of public housing in
• The standard could be adjusted to a mu-
the U.S., largely built between nicipality’s needs by creating an affordability-
1930 and 1982, has been in based sliding scale, where one unit counts as
disrepair for decades. In re- more than or less than a previous unit based
sponse to this deteriorating on a tenant income designation.
housing stock, in 1992 Con- • A net benefit regulation would create a
gress funded the HOPE VI standard of accountability for redevelopment
redevelopment program to programs, which could decrease the litigation
provide grant money for de- that plagues current efforts across the country.
molition and redevelopment of public housing across the country. While billions
have been spent in this program, many critics point out that redevelopment has
focused in higher-income areas and favored mixed-income developments, re-
sulting in a shortage of units for the most needy segments of the population.
Despite the community-centered approach the program was supposed to entail,
frequent legal battles between residents and redevelopers illustrate the high
level of discontent many public housing recipients have with the development

A net-benefit regulation that sets a minimum replacement level for public hous-
ing redevelopments would prevent further unreasonable decreases in housing
stock, and create a legal standard for municipalities and developers to use as re-
course in the event of litigation. Mixed-income developments would be required
to have a certain number of public housing units for each previous unit, or would
have to create a proportionately larger number of affordable or market rate units
for each foregone unit of public housing.

This kind of regulation would be suitable at the local, state, or federal level. It
could be implemented in several different ways, such as through zoning regu-
lations or incentivizing adherence to the standard via public funds. The policy
would serve populations in any locality that has public housing, and especially
those planning redevelopment.

Next Steps
Depending on what body implements the regulation, an acceptable minimum
standard to define “net benefit” must be decided. What percentage of the origi-
nal units must be created in a redevelopment project? A scale should be formed
based on the affordability level of new units, with more affordable units weighted
more heavily and more expensive units counting less. Redevelopment proposals
could be assigned a score based on these figures, and a minimum score should
be established below which redevelopment will not be considered or funded.

———————————— Sources ————————————

Pitcoff, Winton. “New Hope for Public Housing?” Shelterforce 104 (1999). 1 Apr. 2008 <http://>

False HOPE. National Housing Law Project. 2002. 1 Apr. 2008 <

*A full list of sources is available upon request

Community-Run Rooftop Gardens
Lindsey Gael, Cornell University

Build and organize community maintained and managed gardens on the

rooftops of state-owned affordable housing units to provide the com-
munity unifying and useful space, a sense of empowerment, a source of
healthy foods, and decreased energy costs.

Communities living in the large public housing projects of New York City live
in concentrated poverty and face a battery of difficulties that go far beyond fi-
nancial constraints. Higher than average rates of nutritional disease, depression,
and feelings of isolation are just a few
of the stresses felt by these communi-
ties. These basic problems should be Key Facts
• In 2007, over 400,000 people
addressed so that residents have more
resided in New York City’s public
stability to seek employment, improve housing.
their communities, and live more ful- • Rates of physical and mental illness
filling lives. Community-run rooftop in this population are disproportion-
gardens are uniquely able to remedy ately high as a result of poor nutri-
many of these problems because they, tion and dense urban living.
unlike most programs currently running • Installing a roof garden costs ap-
in NYC’s federal housing communities, proximately $8-$25 per square foot
are interactive, community-run and re- with minimal follow up costs and
quire individuals to work together for yearly returns to the investment.
• Gardening and access to green
real, productive ends. These gardens
space are linked with significant
could offer intergenerational coop- decreases in obesity, high blood
eration, a safe space away from street pressure, asthma, and depression.
crime, community pride, and many
health benefits.

Community-run gardens
Talking Points have been successful in
• As New York City becomes more densely
many low-income neighbor-
populated green space is lost and poor com-
munities are hardest hit.
hoods across the country.
• Rooftop gardens provide healthy food and Ample evidence shows that
vegetation without requiring new land. community gardening is one
• Studies show that community gardening of the most effective models
significantly increases emotional and physical for community development,
wellbeing, mobilizes communities, and provides however, as New York City
safe space for children to learn and play. faces an increase in popula-
• Rooftop gardens improve air quality, decrease tion density and land costs,
storm water damage, and cut energy bills by the ability to have community
gardens will become increas-
ingly difficult. It follows that roof gardens can provide many of the same benefits
as on-the-ground gardens, while taking future trends into account. In Germany
and Switzerland intensive rooftop gardens that grow edible plants are wide-
spread and successful, but this system remains underdeveloped in the US.

This project requires an initial cost and thereafter partially pays for itself through
decreased building energy costs. The rooftop garden creates a natural insulator
which keeps the building cool in the summer and warm in the winter and thereby
reduces energy usage. The initial cost varies depending on whether the rooftop
garden is to be retrofitted onto an old building or built up with a new unit, and
ranges from $8-$25 per square foot, but incentive programs can further reduce
the cost. For two years after installation, volunteers or part-time employees would
teach the community about gardening and specific practices such as composting
that would allow the garden to sustain itself without outside funding.

Public housing authorities should finance and authorize the construction of
rooftop gardens because decreases in energy and social services costs and in-
creased resident satisfaction will benefit them. Agricultural universities and other
institutions may be interested in donating or conducting research at these sites,
and environmental groups may be interested in subsidizing the project. Effected
communities should lobby for this policy because of the autonomy and numer-
ous other benefits they stand to receive.

Next Steps
The New York City Housing Authority in partnership with other organizations
should implement this plan on a small-scale. First a cluster of 4-6 public housing
units in a particular neighborhood could be fit with rooftop gardens, and later the
project can expand. Key community leaders should be targeted to help govern
the garden and keep the community involved.

———————————— Sources ————————————

Green Roofs, “About Green Roofs,” Green New York City Housing Authority, “Fact Sheet,”
Roofs, New York City Housing Authority, http://
Mullahy, John, et al. (2007). “Health, Income, sheet.shtml.
and Inequality”. The Inequality Reader. West
view Press. Pgs. 511-524.

New York City Department of City Planning,

“Demographics Reports,” New York City De
partment of Planning,

Improving Educational Equity
Jacqueline Roche, Katie Roy, and Michelle Tafur, University of Hartford

Educational equity should be addressed through community, rather

than racial reform. Successful policy solutions may be implemented if
the community effected is more developed, providing a better educa-
tional environment.

The attention racial issues receive in discussion of educational equity prevents

people from recognizing the most prominent issue: socioeconomic differences
among people participants. We propose that more funding be provided directly
to the public schools and communities most in need, rather than putting more
funding into specialized programs. To achieve educational equity, policymakers
must attend to the issues of socioeconomic background and the community in
which these students reside, not just their race. Some programs have been es-
tablished to promote educational
equity, such as in Hartford, Con- Key Facts
necticut, where magnet schools and • Sheff v O’Neill is a Connecticut Su-
Project Choice, an urban-suburban preme Court case that resulted in a
landmark decision regarding civil rights
bussing program, have had some
and the right to education.
success. These programs have a • Programs established for settlement of
significant minority enrollment, but the Sheff v O’Neill case included inter-
the urban students that need these district magnet schools, Project Choice
specialized schools the most are not Program, and interdistrict grants.
necessarily present.

Targeted funding to schools with predominantly economically disadvantaged

students is the only long-term answer to the problem of educational inequity.
Funding would also be used for efforts to increase parent outreach which is
essential to improving public schools because increasing parent-teacher com-
munication can positively affect the student’s educational support system. This
will in turn allow parents access to information necessary to a child’s success in
school, bringing about a more sound understanding between parents, teachers,
students and their community.

Talking Points The 1996 Connecticut Supreme Court
• States should rely on socioeconomic verdict in the case of Sheff v. O’Neill
and community reform to resolve found that the “guarantee of education
the issues of educational equity. cannot be constitutionally adequate
• More funding should be provided if schools are racially and ethnically
directly to public schools, rather segregated.” This includes the current
than putting more funding into mag- de-facto segregation in Hartford. After
net schools.
this ruling, there was a legal settlement
in 2003 that set a goal for voluntarily desegregating Connecticut schools through
three programs. These programs included the development of interdistrict mag-
net schools, Project Choice Program, and interdistrict grants. These programs
were meant to desegregate 30% of minority students in Hartford public schools
by 2007. However, after the creation of 22 interdistrict magnet schools and the
enrollment of 1,000 students into Project Choice, the 30% goal was not met.
Since the state did not meet desegregation goals, the settlement was revised in
June 2007 to include additional funding and new goals.

In Hartford, efforts to bring equity to schools have failed, suggesting that the
programs implemented are inadequate. Magnet schools and Project Choice
have been popular programs, but are both deeply flawed. While magnet schools
provide an opportunity for students to receive a better education that includes
specialty programs, major problems remain. Magnet schools are not nearly as
integrated as they aim to be. Additionally, they often take the best students from
public schools; this results in an inferior learning environment for students who
are not accepted into a magnet school. The process of becoming enrolled in a
magnet school requires an application, allowing only select individuals with in-
formed parents to have this advanced educational experience.

The Project Choice program transfers urban minority students to predominately

white schools in wealthy suburbs. Enrollment in the program has increased, and
recently there has been greater participation in suburbs farther from Hartford.
While this may provide a better educational experience for participating stu-
dents, it does nothing for the students who remain in the troubled traditional
urban schools. The home community of the student, and his or her local schools
retain their status as de-facto segregated, impoverished, and neglected. The
community at large also remains in the status-quo. Instead of transporting stu-
dents to the suburbs, additional funding and resources must be given to Hartford
city public schools and the community in which they stand in order to improve

Next Steps
States should re-evaluate their public school systems and the ratio of minority
inner-city youth. More attention must be brought to the communities that under-
privileged children reside in. Because magnet schools and the Project Choice
program do not successfully resolve the issue of educational desegregation,
more effort should be put into a rejuvenation and development of community.
Rather than having to support costly transportation and better education out-
side of cities, communities should have the incentive to keep their children at
home, to wholly benefit the community they reside in.
———————————— Sources ————————————
*A full list of sources is available upon request.
Improving Teacher Retention
Abby McCartney, Sam Brill, and the Center on Education, Yale University

In order to slow the revolving door of new teachers, we recommend

a focus on teacher support, especially mentoring programs and site-
based training.

A lack of qualified and experienced teachers plagues our education system. Many
teachers do not remain in the profession long enough to beat the learning curve,
as 50% of teachers leave within 5 years in the US, 22% within the first 2 years. The
loss of these teachers financially devastates schools, forcing them to put more
and more resources into continuously recruiting, hiring and training new teach-
ers, only to see them leave within a few years. The cost of replacing teachers who
have either migrated to other schools or districts, or left the profession entirely, is
estimated at around $4.9 billion.
Key Facts While some experts attribute
• 50% of teachers leave within the first two the teacher problem in Amer-
years of their employment. ica to a lack of interest in the
• The cost of replacing them has been esti- profession, our research shows
mated at $4.9 billion. that the issue isn’t recruiting
• Mentoring and induction programs have new teachers; it is retaining the
reduced teacher defection from 40% to 1%. ones we already have. Educa-
tion experts compare investing
in teacher recruitment to filling
a bucket with a gaping hole in it. Our purpose is to do what we can to close that
hole and stem the exodus of teachers from at-need schools.

Questionnaires filled out by teachers who leave their jobs often list salary among
the top factors influencing their decision. However, studies demonstrate that
only large salary increases have a demonstrable effect on retention. Given that
public schools already face
such minimal funding, teacher Talking Points
support programs are a much • Teachers have been found to account for the
more cost-effective and realis- greatest difference in test scores of students.
tic way to encourage teachers • Struggling urban districts are where we need
to stay. our best teachers. Because of teacher migra-
tion and attrition, too many urban teaching
History jobs are staffed by teachers on “emergency
contracts,” which often means that they lack
The current retention crisis
the proper qualifications to teach.
has been a growing problem • Teacher induction and mentoring programs
for some time. Since the mid- are a relatively low-cost way to improve teach-
1980s student enrollment has ers’ performance, attitude about their jobs,
increased; this positive trend and plans to stay in the profession.
is darkened by the increase in teacher retirements, increasing the amount of
vacancies. These empty classrooms were filled by less experienced teachers,
“out of field teachers” (teachers who are forced to teach outside the grade and/
or subject in which they were trained), or substitutes. Despite the implications of
the retirement trend, the problem continues to worsen because of low retention
rates: retirement accounts for less than 1/3 of teacher attrition.

The problem of teacher retention is a monster with two heads: attrition, or leav-
ing the profession entirely, and migration, leaving a struggling school or district
for a more affluent and/or stable one; both are addressed by mentoring and
induction programs. We propose a formal structure to foster mentoring relation-
ships between “master” teachers and younger, more inexperienced teachers.
These mentors can help craft lesson plans, give advice, and serve as general sup-
port mechanisms for their junior colleagues. Induction and mentoring programs
are most successful if they contain certain characteristics: They must be well-
organized with instructive and expedient activities, a formal mentoring aspect,
reduced teaching requirements for new teachers, and a constructive assessment
mechanism . The Santa Cruz district in California has set up what is now consid-
ered the gold-standard for teacher retention and has seen dramatic increases in

Another valuable support program is known as “teacher induction,” in which

teachers receive rigorous training within their school or district before beginning
work so that they feel more prepared, and more confident, in their new profes-
sions. Induction programs are generally more comprehensive than mentoring
programs, complementing mentoring with seminars and workshops throughout
the first year or two of a teacher’s career. One study has shown that induction
alone has led to a dramatic increase in retention: the percentage of teachers
involved reported they planned on staying beyond 5 years increased from 25%
to 75% with induction. These two solutions together lowered the probability of
a new teacher leaving the school from 40% to 1%.

Next Steps
Because each school district faces slightly different challenges school districts,
with input from parents, teachers, and school boards, should create a formal plan
to address teacher retention, including setting up mentoring programs and cre-
ating a standard assessment procedure. Addionally, school districts should look
at current training standards and programs offered to new teachers, and make
improvements as needed.

———————————— Sources ————————————

*A full list of sources is available upon request.

The A-G and College Eligibility: San Diego Education Reforms
Sharanjit Singh, University of California, San Diego

The San Diego Unified School Board should universalize A-G require-
ments in its high schools, allowing all students the equal opportunity
to vie for admissions in the University of California (UC) and California
State University (CSU) systems. If local high school graduating require-
ments are aligned with the A-G, then there should be a significant in-
crease in college matriculation rates.

In San Diego, not enough courses are offered for all students to fulfill the A-G
course requirement needed to gain admission to California’s public university
systems. Moreover, wealthier school districts in San Diego County have higher
graduation rates and more
A-G courses available to their Key Facts
students. San Diego Unified • A-G courses consists of math, science, history,
School District can buoy their social science, English, foreign language, and
art courses certified by the UC and CSU
low student college matricula-
public schools .
tion rate by offering more UC
• Only 36% of high school graduates in the state
and CSU qualified courses of California actually completed the A-G cur-
classes in math, science, his- riculum in 2006 with a grade of C or better.
tory, social science, English, • San Diego has one of the lowest completion
foreign languages, and art. rates (39%) when it comes to students satisfy-
Low A-G completion rates ing the A-G .
equate to low college atten- • Discrepancies in A-G passage rates among
dance, fueled by lack of par- San Diego County school districts result from
ent and student awareness not enough courses being offered to students
(See Table 1).
about the importance of the
A-G sequence. By aligning
high school graduation requirements with the A-G sequence, students will be
forced to complete coursework required for college admission.

Talking Points San Diego Unified School Dis-
• High school curriculum should be standard- trict can use San Jose as a
ized so that completing the A-G curriculum is
model for instituting a stan-
a mandatory graduation requirement.
• By having A-G reforms implemented all dardized A-G sequence across
students will have the necessary coursework their high schools. In 1998, the
completed to apply to UC and CSU schools. San Jose Unified School Board
• San Jose has implemented similar reforms adopted a similar mandatory
and currently has a student to course oppor- A-G policy, requiring every stu-
tunity index of .95, meaning nearly enough dent to take the sequence be-
A-G courses are offered for all students to fore graduating. Consequently,
fulfill the requirement . San Jose currently has an A-G
opportunity index of .95, indicating that nearly every student has access to the
required courses. The percentage of high school graduates who have completed
the A-G requirements with a C or better has risen to 65% from 37% between
2001 and 2004 .

In comparison to other school districts in San Diego County, San Diego Unified
ranks fifth in A-G completion rates. In Table 1 an opportunity index of less than
1.00 indicates that not enough A-G classes are being offered. Furthermore, the
closer the opportunity index gets to 1.00, the greater the A-G passage rate.

The Education Trust-West. Are California High Schools Ready for the 21st Century? Appendix B. The Educa-
tion Trust-West, 2004.

Several interests groups in San Diego, including the ACLU, have formed an edu-
cation consortium to help address the problem of high drop out/push out rates
in K-12 institutions. Standardizing the A-G graduation requirement should be fur-
ther addressed by school officials like superintendents, the local school board,
and parents.

Next Steps
In order to demonstrate to the public and school board that aligning A-G cur-
riculum with graduation requirements can be effective in getting more students
into college, a test “pilot” freshmen class should be used. The entering freshmen
in the San Diego Unified School District should be given enough A-G courses
to take, and their graduation and college matriculation rates tracked. If more
students from the pilot class graduate and pursue a higher education, then the
school board should unanimously vote to adopt the policy for other entering

———————————— Sources ————————————

*A full list of sources is available upon request
Preventing GLBT-Motivated Hate Crimes
Via Education
Daniel Odom, George Mason University

By implementing a comprehensive educational policy focused on the

awareness of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) identities
within its school systems, the United States will expect to see a de-
crease in GLBT-motivated hate crimes within ten years.

Hate crimes against GLBT individuals are on the rise in the United States. A state-
ment issued by the Southern Pov-
erty Law Center in 2005 asserted, Key Facts
“Homosexuals are far more likely • In 2000 Gallup polls revealed that 54%
to suffer violent attacks than any of Americans found homosexuality “ac-
ceptable,” a sharp contrast from the 38%
other [minority] group.” According
of public support reported in 1992 .
to the 2006 report issued by the
• While nationally, South Carolina pos-
Federal Bureau of Investigation, sesses only 1% of all sexually motivated
of the 7,722 biased incidents filed hate crimes; internally, the state had a
within the U.S., 1,197 were motivated 92% increase in sexual orientation based
by sexual-orientation bias; this is a hate crimes between 2005 and 2006.
20% increase from 2005.

As of 2007, attempts to include GLBT Americans in the federally protected
mandates of hate crimes have failed. This failure has particularly dangerous con-
sequences for GLBT students. An increasing number of GLBT Americans are
“coming out” at younger ages, but educational institutions are not revamping their
policies to protect the emergence of GLBT students.

American high schools are reporting an increase in homophobic activities direct-
ed towards GLBT individuals.
Talking Points In 2003, the Gay and Lesbian
• 78% of respondents in a 2007 Gallup poll Student Educational Network
supported the expansion of federal hate (GLSEN) found that 17% of high
crime laws to include crimes committed on
school students were physi-
the basis of the victim’s gender identity and
sexual orientation. cally assaulted because of their
• According to the Gay, Lesbian, Straight sexual orientation and 11.5% due
Educational Network, schools with a to their gender expression. In
“comprehensive policy” dedicated to GLBT 2005, these statistics increased
protection have lower incidences of verbal, to 17.6% for sexual orientation
physical and sexual harassment among and 11.8% respectively.
student populations .
Physical violence against GLBT students has negative implications for school dis-
tricts. Schools without comprehensive policies for GLBT protection experience
lower test scores than schools with such policies, as students who suffer physical
harassment earn lower GPAs (2.6 versus 3.1 on a 4.0 scale) . By protecting GLBT
students, school districts such as Greenville will improve their academic rates,
thereby increasing their received federal funds.

Next Steps
By protecting GLBT students, school districts improve academically and finan-
cially. However, achievement of these goals is conditional upon the adoption of
the proposed multiplatform initiative, which will aim for implementation in Green-
ville, South Carolina.

Include GLBT Status in Non-Discrimination Policies

Presently,Greenville School District gives students the right to freely attend and
participate within the public school system regardless of “race, sex, color, disabil-
ity, religion, or national origin”. GLBT status is not specifically mentioned. GLBT
identity must be specifically included within these policies to protect the positive
educational, physical, emotional, and social development of GLBT students.

Educate School Officials about Needs of GLBT Students

Enforcement of policies is conditional upon the education of Greenville ad-
ministration of GLBT student needs. Implementing training seminars for faculty
members, modeled after programs developed by the National Coalition Building
Institute, ensures administrativeallies versed in GLBT student needs.

Fund GLBT-Student Groups

The 1984 Federal Equal Access Act states that all student groups may be recog-
nized by school boards on the basis that the districts receive federally allocated
funds and possess limited open forums . Greenville schools must allow for the
conglomeration of students within Gay Straight Alliances within their school dis-
tricts. This will ensure the positive development ofGLBT students and curb anti-
GLBT sentiments in heterosexual students.

Implementation of these initiatives within the Greenville School District would
serve as an important model for other districts considering GLBT integration.

———————————— Sources ————————————

*A full list of sources is available upon request

Tuition Rebates:
A Solution to Iowa’s Brain Drain
Andrew Q. Morse, University of Northern Iowa

Giving students a loan to cover tuition costs, contingent on hav-

ing them stay within the state after graduation to work will gradually
eradicate the projected 150,000 educated worker shortage in Iowa.

Iowa’s college graduates are fleeing the state at record numbers. The Generation
Iowa Commission found that the state loses 6,367 college-educated individu-
als per year to other states.
These graduates are leaving
Key Facts
in search of more opportuni-
• The state of Iowa faces a projected 150,000
ties and better wages—Iowan educated worker shortage by the year 2012.
workers are paid significantly • Students graduating from a Regents university
less than national averages, report the highest student loan debt in the
even when factoring in the country.
lower cost of living. And the • Since 2001, Iowa’s public universities have
situation is not ameliorated experienced soaring tuition increases of 98% at
when considering the cost the University of Northern Iowa and 72% at the
to attend a four-year public University of Iowa and Iowa State University.
university: with the total cost
of a year of college exceed-
ing 30 percent of the typical student’s gross family income, Iowans graduate with
an average of $23,198 in student loan debt, the highest in the nation. A forgivable
loan program would combat Iowa’s brain drain issue by providing students with
money to cover their education costs in exchange for working within the state
after graduation in the healthcare, education, or business fields.

Currently, there are no existing student loan forgiveness programs in the Unit-
ed States with the primary objective of retaining college-educated workers. In
Georgia, students who wish
to attend an institution of
Talking Points
higher education can do so
• Iowa’s students currently face the worst labor
market and highest tuition prices in the nation, through the HOPE grant if
leading to considerable brain drain. they maintain a B average in
• By establishing an incentive to remain within the high school, but they are not
state, Iowa’s leaders can ameliorate the rapidly required to work within the
deterioriating situation, saving Iowa’s student state after graduation from
capital, and rejuvenate its economy. their respective institutions.
• The $2.14 million investment should be entirely Students who enroll receive
covered by increased tax revenue. $3,000 per academic year
to pay for full-time enrollment costs. Since its inception in 1993, the HOPE grant
has helped over one million students attend one of Georgia’s colleges or univer-
A college degree is the single most important determinant of career success.
College-educated men and women earn 19 and 37 percent more income per
year than their counterparts without a degree. The human capital generated by
higher education will increase Iowa state tax revenue and improve its economy

Additionally, investing in the education of citizens will allow Iowa to grow in other
ways outside of the economy. Young people who earn college degrees become
less reliant on government programs such as welfare and are less likely to com-
mit crimes such as theft; students who graduate with less debt are less likely to
declare bankruptcy. Furthermore, recent graduates will have a stake in their com-
munity because they will feel an obligation to not only their government, but also
their fellow citizens for the investment each has made to their success. Citizens
who had previously been dependent on government programs will be able to
build independent lives for themselves.

Next Steps
Thus, Iowa should provide students with the option of a renewable $6,300 state-
funded loan to cover tuition costs that would be forgiven after five years of work
within specific underemployed fields. Such a program would help students grad-
uate debt-free and decrease Iowa’s worker shortage.

Granted, the initial cost of $214,000,000 for the program is steep, but the state
of Iowa nonetheless has an obligation to make the Regents universities—which
are funded through tax dollars—affordable for all its citizens. Moreover, by filling
the shortages for higher-paid workers, the program should increase tax revenue
enough to pay for itself within only a few years.

———————————— Sources ————————————

Georgia’s HOPE program. (2008). Retrieved Lyons, H.M. Fiscal Services Division. Legislative Ser
May 20, 2008 from Georgia State Govern- vices Agency. (2007), Iowa Factbook 2006. Web
ment: Web site: <http://www.gacollege411. site:
org/FinAid/ScholarshipsAndGrants/HOPE Iowa_Factbook_2006.pdf
Scholarship/default.asp> Student Debt and the class of 2005: Average debt
Hunt, J. & Carruthers, G. (2006). The National Cen by state, sector, and school. (2006). The project
ter for Public Policy and Higher Education. The on student debt, 1-6.
national report card on higher education, 1-32. The College Board. (2006). Education pays: Sec
Iowa Department of Revenue. (2005). Iowa De ond update. Trends in higher education Series,
partment of Revenue 2005 Iowa Individual In 1-11.
come Tax Annual Statistical Report. Web site: * A full list of sources is available upon request
Wind Turbines on School Sites
J. Cory Connolly, Michigan State University

In Michigan, the use of wind turbines can help reduce economic prob-
lems in school districts, allowing for increased funding for supplies,
curriculum, and faculty. Wind turbines can also provide an educational
supplement to any curriculum.

In Michigan the use of wind turbines can help reduce economic problems in
school districts, allowing for increased funding for supplies, curriculum, and fac-
ulty. Wind turbines can also provide an educational supplement to any curricu-

The state of Iowa is the nation’s leader in schools operating with supplemental
wind energy. Iowa has ten schools with wind turbines that provide economic
and educational support. Iowa ranks tenth nationally in average wind speed and
Michigan ranks a comparable four-
teenth. Wind resources in Michigan Key Facts
are generally located along the lake • Michigan has the 14th highest wind
shores, in the Thumb region, and in resources in the United States.
• Successful projects in other states have
the Keweenaw and Leelanau pen-
seen savings after payback ranging from
insulas. While wind is most preva-
lent in these areas it is by no means
exclusive to these regions.

The potential for wind turbine implementation must be examined throughout
the state on a case by case basis. For a school turbine project to succeed it
must have adequate wind speeds (15mph or higher) and obtain connection to the
electric grid at a reasonable price
Talking Points for the school. Once this is obtained
• The Michigan education system is no- a school must be able to have net
toriously underfunded, the use of wind metering. Net metering means that
turbines on school sites in selected the energy produced by the school’s
areas would help to ease financial bur- turbine goes toward powering the
dens on various school districts. school, and when the energy pro-
• Wind energy can be used as a tool to duced is in excess (i.e. at night when
promote education and protect the energy required is minimal) the en-
environment. ergy flow is sold to the electric com-
• Wind turbines have been successful
pany. The amount that a school can
in other regions of the country and in
tandem with the correct policies could obtain per kilowatt (kw) produced
be effective in Michigan. has a major influence on whether it
will pursue the installation of a wind
mill. These are the three major difficulties that a school faces: initial project cost,
grid connection at a set price, and a guarantee of net-metering. Without these
variables in place wind turbines on school sites lose the economic incentive.

There are a variety of avenues to fund wind turbine projects on school sites. The
means for projects across the country vary greatly from grants, donations, loans,
and governmental incentives. Some of the most intriguing funding initiatives in-
clude: revolving loan funds, locally based bonds, and the renewable energy pro-
duction incentive. All of these means of funding are essential to school site proj-
ects. Existing successful projects had a wide range of costs, from 48,000 dollars
to 1,800,000 dollars. Due to the difference of project costs there is also a major
discrepancy in the amount of time necessary to payback. The payback period for
existing projects in Iowa ranged from 4 years to 13 years. In Iowa a revolving loan
fund was used to help diffuse costs by providing no interest loans to schools and
local governments that were implementing alternative energy. Michigan had a
similar revolving loan fund until 2006. In addition to a loan fund schools can look
toward grants and other forms of state incentives. One avenue not examined in
former alternative energy projects is the use of local bond sales. A community
could sell a bond to pay for an alternative energy project.

Once the funding is secured it is only a matter of time before the project begins
to show major financial benefits for school districts. In Iowa the average annual
savings per school district after payback ranged from $3,496-$120,000. Some
schools also had revenue ranging from $5,602-$560,000. While Iowa may pos-
sess slightly higher wind speeds than Michigan, similar ranges of savings and
revenue are not unlikely if wind turbines are implemented in Michigan.

Next Steps
To increase development of wind turbines on school sites the state of Michigan
should reestablish the revolving loan fund to diffuse start up costs and encour-
age more alternative energy production. Additionally the state should evaluate
school sites for feasibility. Those schools that show feasibility should be guar-
anteed net-metering and a set price comparable to current energy costs per
kilowatt. Specific funding dynamics for the turbine itself can be determined on
a case by case basis. By diffusing start up costs, guaranteeing net-metering, and
guaranteeing a competitive price for wind energy produced by schools, the state
of Michigan can promote wind energy as a means of saving money, promoting the
environment, and as an educational tool.

———————————— Sources ————————————

*A full list of sources is available upon request

Market-Based Forest Conservation
Joanna Kristina Kyriazis, Cornell University

The creation of a market or a system of payments for the ecosystem

service of carbon sequestration in New York would provide economic
incentives for the preservation and restoration of private lands.

Although Federal Public Land Management Agencies currently own and man-
age a significant proportion of forested land in New York State, many acres of
forest still reside in private hands. Of-
ten these forests are left untouched Key Facts
as landowners hope to increase their • Forests provide the service of car-
property value before selling their bon sequestration free of charge.
land to developers. • Many U.S. forests are still privately
In order to encourage the conserva- • Payments for Ecosystem Services
tion of our forests we must acknowl- provides a solution to our emissions
problem and an economic incentive
edge the services they provide in eco-
to conserve our forests.
nomic terms. For instance, waterflow
control, wildlife habitat and diversity,
and carbon sequestration are “free” services that society enjoys and upon which
society depends. As energy regulations become increasingly strict, a greater fo-
cus is placed on national forests and their key role in carbon storage and offset-
ting industrial carbon emissions.

Payments for Environmental Services (PES) are being developed and implement-
ed in many countries, particularly developing nations that depend most on intact
natural resources. Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana,
and Mexico currently have projects
underway, although Costa Rica and
Talking Points
• Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El
Indonesia seem to be the most ad-
Salvador, Guyana, Costa Rica, Indo- vanced in this field. Australia, South
nesia and Mexico currently have PES Africa, the EU and even the U.S.
projects underway. have also implemented aspects of
• U.S. forests in the United States cur- the PES scheme.
rently sequester 10% of carbon dioxide
emissions from fossil fuels. Existing programs in New York State
focus on conservation easements,
the transfer of development rights,
and technical assistance to land owners who maintain their land in an environ-
mentally sound manner. The Department of Economic Development runs an En-
vironmental Investment Program, within which there is an Environmental Servic-
es Unit. Although this unit mainly focuses on pollution prevention and recycling,
carbon sequestration can be added to the recognized and rewarded ecosystem
services. The National Forest Foundation’s Carbon Capital Fund allocates do-
nated funds toward the restoration of national forests that have been damaged
by wildfires and other natural disturbances. Finally, the U.S. Forest Service is also
currently exploring opportunities in PES and market-based conservation.

The preventative measures in current energy legislation should be supplemented
by a mechanism to deal with existing carbon emissions. This system would pro-
vide an established mechanism for carbon sequestration and the offset of car-
bon emissions. Forests in the United States currently sequester 10% of carbon
dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. By ‘employing’ current landowners, costs on
training and external labor would be diminished and a personal investment in the
land would be fostered. Major technological and infrastructural “clean up” costs
would also be cut by maintaining natural systems that replace these services.

Land owners should be granted per acre environmental service payments for
preserved and restored forested land. These payments should be in the form of
tax deductions or annual payments from a designated organization.

Funding for payments would ideally come from the beneficiaries of these ser-
vices, namely car owners, city-dwellers, and industries, through a carbon tax or
similar imbursement system. Existing funds such as the aforementioned Carbon
Capital Fund could also act as a monetary sink, attracting donated funds from
beneficiaries and allocating this money to worthy landowners.

Next Steps
Payments for Environmental Services in carbon sequestration can be incorpo-
rated into the current New York Department of Economic Development Environ-
mental Services system. Local landowners should be informed and encouraged
to apply. Mapping out the most reasonable sources of funding is also vital to the
sustainability of this system. Federal agencies should help to encourage other
states to develop and implement similar PES programs.

———————————— Sources ————————————

G. Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa, Alexander Pfaff, Juan Andres Robalino, andJudson P. Boomhower
(2007). Costa Rica’s Payment for Environmental Services Program: Intention, Implementation,
and Impact. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00751.x Accessed March 3, 2008

Pagiola, Stefano. ¨Can programs of payments for environmental services help preserve wildlife?¨
Accessed March 4, 2008. <>.

A Course on “Upcycling”
John Patrick, Tulane University

Use recyclable materials to educate, design, and build sustainable


William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s concept of “upcycling” can help

fill the gap left by current prac-
tices. Upcycling is the practice of
Key Facts
converting waste materials into • The idea can affect college students and
products of greater value. Upcy- faculty, reusing and reducing consump-
cling differs from recycling in that it tion at schools, in addition to making
doesn’t transform waste back into products for future students.
the same products over and over, • In 2006, Tulane University recycled 137.9
but still gives society a solution to tons of material.
the traditional landfill. • Other colleges across the nation should
recognize that there are large monetary
Colleges, institutions intended to gains in upcycling.
train future leaders, look towards
converting their waste into meaningful items that can be utilized by students
and faculty on campus: desks, chairs, food trays, and, in some cases, buildings. As
more and more students begin to seek campuses that live lighter, demonstrate
ethical development, and bring innovation to one’s daily life, schools can begin
to develop strategies that engage this audience both inside and outside of the

McDonough and Braungart discovered their interest in upcycling in 1991 at a
celebration for EPEA. The two coauthored the design principles for the 2000
World’s Fair. Today, upcycling is being implemented on a wide scale. Creative
approaches to design, such as the interior design concept at Cooper-Hewitt Na-
tional Design Museum’s awards gala last summer and the conversion of recycled
polyester soda bottles into
Talking Points carpet. The Katrina Fur-
• Emphasis on recycling, in an effort to “green” col- niture Project is another
lege campuses in the United States, has helped examples of how “waste”
reduce operational costs, raise responsible citi- can be converted into
zens, and—some argue—increase the marketability products of greater im-
of schools. portance. Cooper-Hewitt
• However, recycling does not offer a compre- turned 6,000 pounds of
hensive and lasting solution to the needs of the paper strips into giant topi-
environment, particularly at a time when the state
aries and chandeliers. The
of the environment is one of the world’s most
Katrina Furniture Project
pressing issues.
was established to create neighborhood furniture-making workshops that facili-
tate the reuse of debris left by the storm and “help build the economic and social
capacity of affected neighborhoods in New Orleans.” Both of these meaningful
projects show the benefit to society, savings accounts, and the environment.

Tulane should recognize the gains to be had by using upcycled products in many
of its post-Katrina improvement projects. For example, the dormitory on the
drawing boards could contain recycled paper from the campus. At Tulane, stu-
dents can begin to develop actual solutions for urban issues globally but most
importantly, at home.

As part of this proposal, a class to be taught in the School of Architecture to

educate students on design and construction through reusing materials should
be incorporated into Tulane’s curriculum. The semester project will require that
students learn about materials and their potential reuses but also collaborate
with the Office of Environmental Affairs, the Campus Architect and Planning Of-
fice, and the School of Architecture to bring more sustainable design approaches
and systems to campus. As a research university, Tulane can seek new forms of
building and development based on the fundamental upcycling principles pre-
sented by McDonough and Braungart.

Next Steps
Upcycling is a project that will benefit students, Tulane University, and the envi-
ronment. Colleges should be informed of the benefits and encouraged to put
their recyclable goods to greater use on campus. From there, colleges may orga-
nize a way to break down materials in such a manner that facilitates creating new
ones more efficient. Lastly, they should develop relationships with manufacturers
to develop cost-efficient strategies to bring new life to recyclables and improve
their campuses.

———————————— Sources ————————————

Timothy Egan, “The Greening of America’s Cam Design for the Other 90%, Katrina Furniture
puses”, The New York Times, Jan 8, 2006, Project, sign/katrina-furniture-project
html?pagewanted=print Tulane Office of Enviornmental Affairs, “Tulane
Recycling, 2006”, http://www.tulane.
Penelope Green, “The Year of Eco Decorating”, edu/~eaffairs/PDFs/Tulane_Recycling_2006.
The New York Times, Nov. 29, 2007, http:// pdf

Fast Public Transportation and Safe Bike Rides
Angela Wong, Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College

To help meet New York City’s sustainability goals, congestion and traf-
fic pollutants should be reduced, with corresponding improvement to
public transportation as funded by vehicle taxes. This program should
be paired with an effort to make the city more bicycle-friendly.

New York City currently has the second–worst air quality among US cities. In
an effort to mitigate air pollution and prepare for the future, Mayor Michael
Bloomberg has proposed a plan to
tax vehicles that enter Manhattan. Key Facts
However, congestion and air quali- • Approximately 0.292 pounds of carbon
ty from vehicles must be addressed dioxide is emitted for each mile a person
more aggressively and reduced by is on a hybrid bus, while 0.877 is emitted
investing in alternative modes of for each mile a person drives in a car.
transportation and promoting bi- • Low-cost bicycle rentals and safe bike
cycle use. lanes will popularize this alternative
mode of transportation.
The Metropolitan Transportation
Authority (MTA) operates an extensive citywide subway and bus system. It is
comprised of almost the same number of train stations as all of the other sub-
way systems in the world combined. Despite its vastness, further investment is
required for maintenance, improvement and expansion, especially to sustain the
predicted increase in population. Reliable public transportation will help reduce
the vehicles on the street, thereby lessening the air pollution. Subways do not
release a large amount of carbon dioxide into the city because they run on elec-
tricity. Hybrid buses also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Bicycles can serve as a mode of alternative transportation in New York City. In

1980, six to eight feet wide bikes lanes were constructed, separated by a barrier
from the street on 5th, 6th, 7th Avenues and Broadway. However, the barriers
were torn down only a month af-
Talking Points ter they were laid because pedes-
• The United States is one of the leading trians and food vendors served
carbon dioxide emitters and 20 percent as obstacles for the few bicyclists
of carbon dioxide emissions in this coun- who used the lanes. Currently in
try come from transportation. New York City, there are only 111
• There will be a higher demand for trans- miles designated for cycling, out of
portation in New York City in coming the 6,200 miles of roads dedicat-
years because the population is expected
ed to automobiles. Most of these
to increase in New York City to 9.1 million
by 2030.
limited lanes are poorly planned
to coexist with vehicular traffic.
Although the MTA carries 7 million commuters every day, vehicles still congest
the streets. Should Bloomberg’s plan to tax vehicles be implemented, this rev-
enue should be allocated to expand and upgrade public transportation. Reduc-
tion of the number of cars on the streets of Manhattan due to taxes will expedite
buses, but more frequent service should be added. Below the ground, the sub-
way system can also be expanded. The subway system has been responsible for
exponential growth in the outer boroughs during the late 1800s, and extending
lines and providing more connections will help advance the city today.

Biking to work in New York City is feasible. Pedestrian and bicycle paths on
bridges have already been opened through the efforts of Transportation Alterna-
tives, an organization working to increase pollution-free transportation in New
York City. London and Paris launched successful bike rental programs in 2007.
To achieve a similar program, racks from which bikes can be rented should be
available throughout the city and wider bike lanes should be built. Barriers that
separate the automobile traffic from the bike lanes will ensure safety and access.
Furthermore, to promote this mode of transportation during the first two weeks
of the program, rental prices should be half off and free biking lessons should be

Next Steps
This project should be funded by the New York City government as part of
PlaNYC, an initiative to achieve sustainability by 2030. Fines should be given to
vendors and pedestrians who block bike lanes. Such fines and taxes on automo-
biles can be used by the city government to keep bike rental fees low through
subsidizing measures. With low bike rental fees and heavy taxes on automobiles,
biking will become more favorable relative to auto transport. This and the op-
tion of quick public transportation will reduce the number of private cars on the
roads and in this way reduce emission of carbon dioxide. This will improve the
quality of life of the city’s residents while providing the city with another draw to
attract visitors and bring more money into its economy.

———————————— Sources ————————————

Beardsley, Eleanor. “Paris’ Popular Bike Program

May Inspire Others.” 15 September 2007. Na tion/2005-10-01/Making-Wiser-Transporta
tional Public Radio. 28 February 2008. tion-Choices.aspx >
php?storyId=14429468> “Open NYC: Congestion.” New York City Gov
ernment. 28 February 2008. <http://home2.
Mother Earth News editors. “News from Moth
er: Making Wiser Transportation Choices.” openyc_congestion_heard.shtml>
October/November 2005. Mother Earth
News. 1 March 2008. <http://www.mothere *A full list of sources is available upon request
Adjustable-Rate System Water Conservation
Roosevelt Institution Center on Environmental and Energy Policy, UNC at Chapel Hill

An adjustable-rate system for residential water consumption would pro-

vide a fair, predictable and flexible way of encouraging people to reduce
their water usage, while helping to prevent critically low water levels,
lessening the impacts of future droughts.

Unlike the industrial and agricultural sectors, where water usage is controlled by
regulations and financial incentives, residential water use is unregulated, provid-
ing no strong economic incentive for conservation. Therefore, this policy specifi-
cally targets this sector by creating an economic incentive for people to use less
water in their homes, in addition to suggest-
ing convenient and feasible ways for reduc- Key Facts
ing water consumption. • A significant portion of the
continental U.S. was recently in
An adjustable-rate water usage system a drought.
would establish fees for water use based on • Residential water use (and
deviation from a predetermined amount of waste) is unregulated.
consumption. The baseline water allotment • An adjustable-rate water usage
for use in each home and the fees associated system would encourage sav-
with it could be determined by state and lo- ing water by charging heavier
users more money.
cal utility governing bodies. To be equitable,
the baseline would have to be adjusted to
reflect the number of people in a particular home. Households that consumed
more than their baseline amount would be charged water fees that progressively
increased in proportion to the amount of excess water consumed. Likewise,
those households which used less than the baseline amount would receive pro-
gressively greater reductions in their rates, proportionate to the amount of water
they ‘saved.’ The reductions in rates would function as ‘rewards,’ and would be
funded through the redistribution of the ‘penalty’ fees that were collected. In
this way, a given water company would not be accused of profiteering off of
fees, and the company would not suffer financially as people reduced their wa-
ter consumption. The various utility
Talking Points governing bodies could determine
• An adjustable-rate system reduces the the amounts of these rewards and
impact of drought. fees. The governing parties could
• Such systems save water by creating also take into account factors like
a profit-based conservation motive for need, household size, tax bracket,
residential users. and the local water supply.
• While simpler than specific regulations
against water usage, adjustable-rate History
water usage systems would require a
Last November, 37% of the continen-
way for people to monitor their usage.
tal United States was in moderate or
exceptional drought, with the driest conditions being experienced in the South-
east. Falls Lake, the primary water source for Raleigh, NC, had just over 100
days’ supply of water remaining. Although restrictions on water use are familiar
to many, droughts could someday reach such a level of severity that voluntary re-
strictions and conservation measures would no longer be enough to maintain an
adequate supply of water. By using simple conservation methods and economic
incentives, excessive water usages can be decreased and hundreds of thousands
of gallons of water can be saved.

By creating a monetary “carrot and stick” system, this policy simulates the profit
motive that businesses and agriculture face for conserving their resource usages.
Another advantage presented by this policy is its relative simplicity. It does not
require anyone to see if lawns are being watered at inappropriate times, nor
does is mandate that any specific conservation measures be taken. It simply
provides the incentive for people to choose ways to conserve that they deem
easiest. This relative unobtrusiveness makes regulation simpler.

Water conservation is also important in preventing interstate disputes over

water, such as the one settled last November between Alabama, Florida, and
Georgia. The situation was aggravated by drought conditions. Lowering water
demand through a conservation policy would lower the likelihood of such dis-
putes occurring by lessening the impacts of droughts. Finally, this policy could
be implemented even when there was not a drought. This would both keep wa-
ter levels in reservoirs relatively high and acclimate people to conserving water.
Continual implementation of this policy would also lower the chance of water
shortages due to a state’s expanding urban population. For instance, as more
people migrate into North Carolina, the state’s water resources will be used at
higher rates; to combat this problem, water should be conserved at all times to
lower usage rates.

Next Steps
In order to fairly implement the policy, residential users would need to be able to
monitor consumption rates. Users could be informed of their water consumption
through a variety of means; for example, they could receive weekly or bi-weekly
letters or emails, or use an online monitoring system. Water companies could
also promote the installation of individual water meters for each home. In addi-
tion, people would need to be informed of ways to conserve water - fixing leaks,
installing low-flow shower heads, running only full loads of laundry in the washing
machine, etc. This information could be available on a website and included with
each water bill.

———————————— Sources ————————————

*A full list of sources is available upon request
Guaranteeing Water to Secure Development
Riley Wyman, The Colorado College

Requiring developers to provide actual water resources instead of legal

guarantees before construction begins can reduce depletion of water
resources and hold developers accountable for their strain on natural

With current levels of natural, renewable water resources, Colorado Springs can
hardly support its current population, let alone its alarming growth rate. As finite
aquifers continue to deplete, as droughts continue to limit usable water, and as
conflict between counties and cities rages over existing and future water rights,
Colorado Springs must accept the need for caution in development and growth.
In conjunction with seeking out renew-
able, reliable water sources, western
Key Facts
cities like Colorado Springs should • A main aquifer in Colorado Springs has
insist that developers accept respon- dropped 25-30 feet, and could vanish
sibility for water resources. When de- entirely in our lifetime.
velopers apply for their city building • A recent water program proposal
permits, they should be required to would cost the community $1 billion.
present a feasible plan for access to On the other hand, the cost to devel-
a physically available, 100-year supply opers would be in the high millions.
before construction.

In establishing a 100-year supply, developers should be made to follow Arizona’s

successful Groundwater Management Act and demonstrate the following: that a
sufficient quantity of water is physically, legally, and continuously available for 100
years; the water source meets water quality standards; the proposed water use
meets conservation standards; and the applicant is financially capable of install-
ing necessary distribution and treatment facilities.

In most of the West, cities like Colorado Springs and Phoenix were built on des-
ert, semi-arid land with limited water supplies. Colorado Springs has only two
natural sources of water: nonrenew-
Talking Points able aquifers that could deplete in
• Water resources are depleting faster our lifetime, and a single stream lack-
than they can replenish. ing the capacity to sustain the state’s
• Wet water requirements, unlike simple second largest city. Colorado water
water rights, ensure that actual resourc- law separates water from the land and
es are available. allows for marketable water rights,
• Requiring that development pay for it-
so Colorado Springs was able to find
self promotes responsible development
and protects future resources. enough water in the mountains and on
the Western Slope. However, as resources dwindle and projects become finan-
cially unfeasible, the current system will become less and less sustainable.

Similar policies have been approved in California, Frederick, Maryland, and a

few communities along Colorado’s Front Range. Arizona, however, is the best
example of the success of an “assured water supply” program. This program is
credited for the advancement away from groundwater towards renewable water
resources. Directing growth according to the availability of water has shown re-
cent positive results in the areas where it has been implemented.
Hydrological studies demonstrate that a 100-year supply ensures resource stabil-
ity for both the short and the long term. Legal guarantees provide resources only
if there is enough precipitation and holders of senior water rights have already
satisfied their water needs, and therefore are often unpredictable and unreliable.
Requiring firms to meet conservation standards ensures that future water access
is sustainable, and financial capability promises responsibility and accountability
on the part of the developer.

By forcing developers to find water resources and internalize their costs by pur-
chasing the water themselves, communities will be built on stable resource pro-
files rather than on unreasonable expectations. Communities that are slowing in
growth will no longer be hindered by fear of inadequate water resources, and
unnecessary, unsustainable development will not expand. The classic economic
adage that “development should pay for itself” will finally be reflected in reality.

This proposal will not incur heavy costs for the city itself; however, the cost to
developers may be high, as they must purchase more water rights and seek out
transportation and storage methods. A recent development on Colorado’s front
range of about 154 homes bought $2.3 million in additional water for the district.
Though the cost may be prohibitive for some firms, it ensures that growth be
directed where it is sustainable and encourages developers to build responsibly
in locations with long-term viability. Notably, this proposal does not negate the
city’s obligation to provide water sources to its citizens; instead, it provides strict
guidelines for future development.
Next Steps
In order to prevent further exploitation of water resources, city and county policy
makers should enact a special mandate that goes into immediate effect. Develop-
ers whose projects are already underway should also be encouraged to comply.
Because developers may not know how to seek out wet water, city and county
governments should disseminate information about local resources. Partnership
between government and developers is critical to success, and a sustainability
task force can aid the developers in their search for suitable development sites.
———————————— Sources ————————————
*A full list of sources is available upon request
Promoting Resident Ownership in Community
Development Corporation Projects
Catherine Zinnel, CUNY Hunter College

Resident ownership in Community Development Corporation (CDC)

projects provides an opportunity for residents and families to grow their
financial assets as community assets appreciate, thereby fostering family
security while building community.

For over forty years, poverty

alleviation has moved on two Key Facts
separate policy tracks. The • From 1995 to 2004, the wealth share of the
least wealthy half of the population fell from 3.6
first has produced a set of
to 2.5 percent of total wealth.
people-based strategies that • In 2004, the wealth gap between white and
mitigate poverty through in- nonwhite families was twice the income gap.
come supports and services. • As of 2005, 4,600 CDCs have produced
The second has generated 1,252,000 housing units, developed 126 million
place-based strategies that square feet of commercial space, and created
attract investment and im- 774,000 jobs.
prove the physical condition
of impoverished communi-
ties in an effort to improve residents’ lives. However, the failure to link people-
based and placed-based strategies has resulted in gentrification, community de-
stabilization, and resident displacement.

Integrated efforts to address people and place must connect the building of
community assets to the growth of residents’ assets. This is particularly important
in light of the widening gap between rich and poor in terms of both income and
wealth. Without assets, poor residents and families can neither participate in
economic development nor resolve crises—such as rent increases or job loss—
without severe consequences.
Talking Points Resident ownership in CDC proj-
• Community builders cannot combat ects enables them to participate
poverty without confronting residents’ in and benefit from neighborhood
lack of financial assets.
development activities as stake-
• Resident ownership in CDC projects
holders and shareholders.
integrates efforts to improve people and
place: residents receive direct financial
returns from neighborhood development History
activities. Community development corpo-
• An equity stake gives residents a voice in rations (CDCs) are non-profit en-
the development process—as stockhold- tities established by local stake-
ers, not just stakeholders—in partnership holders whose goal is to revitalize
with the CDC and other investors. a low-income, low-wealth commu-
nity. CDCs are often associated with affordable housing development but also
engage in real estate and economic development. CDCs generally develop or
acquire commercial real estate projects–shopping centers and mini-malls in ur-
ban areas–to stimulate the neighborhood economy and provide needed retail

No CDC has fully carried out a sale of stock to residents. However, the standard
CDC model–in which profits accrue to the corporation and residents receive
benefits in the form of access to retail or community services–must be modified
to offer direct financial returns to residents who live in neighborhoods where
private sector interest is emerging.

CDCs and broader communities considering resident ownership must examine
its many dimensions. For instance, practitioners must decide whether stock will
be extended to families within a geographic area or an income level. Practitioners
must also define the relationship between short-term and long-term returns, col-
lective and individual ownership, and the type of legal structure that best meets
the community’s goals. Revision of federal securities law to better reflect the
goals of resident ownership can decrease the costs associated with SEC compli-

In most cases, resident investment will account for a relatively small portion of
a project’s total financing, with residents paying between $10 and $100 a share.
Tying public subsidies for private developers to partnerships with CDCs will pro-
mote the planning and implementation of CDC projects with resident owner-

Next Steps
To date, no CDC has fully carried out a sale of stock to residents. Therefore,
the CDCs who first successfully pursue resident ownership will significantly af-
fect strategies for future implementation and encourage replication across the
country. Thorough and effective documentation will be crucial to expediting this
———————————— Sources ————————————
Bernstein, Jared, “Minority Wealth Gap: Net Worth Kennickell, Arthur B., “Currents and Undercurrents:
Gap Twice that of Income,” Economic Policy Insti Changes in the Distribution of Wealth, 1984 –
tute, March 15, 2006. 2004,” Federal Reserve Board, January 30, 2006.

Kennedy, Maureen and Paul Leonard, “Dealing *A full list of sources is available upon request
with Neighborhood Change: A Primer on Gentri
fication and Policy Changes,” Discussion Paper
from PolicyLink and the Brookings Institution
Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, April
Post-Census Community Planning
David Carlson and Amy Steinhoff, The Colorado College

By mandating community re-evaluations every decade, zoning laws will

reflect a contemporary community vision that can easily reflect changes,
rather than represent archaic planning goals.

Progressive city planning in local governments across the nation, from large me-
tropolises to small towns, is increasingly
hindered by archaic zoning codes that Key Facts
encourage sprawl and divide commu- • Impact is broad, influencing all
nities. Although many cities have plans citizens who buy, sell, and live on
that make comprehensive recommen-
• Costs are minimal, with a volunteer
dations regarding all arenas of urban zoning code task force, and using
development, zoning, the legal arm of already-generated census data
planning, is not paid enough attention. • Socially benefits all citizens, as the
Election-conscious policy makers often local governments would necessar-
offer patchwork solutions to solve prob- ily be paying more attention to the
lems created by rapid growth, but fail social and economic transitions.
to ensure that the zoning laws meet the
contemporary community vision. In the
year after every national census, local governments should re-evaluate the extent
to which their zoning laws match the needs of the community. (Census results
are the most effective tool to analyze demographic changes, illuminating changes
in poverty levels, age and location of populations.) This evaluation should be led
by a non-partisan, appointed task force of community leaders representing the
various affected communities.

The task force could be composed of 15-20 members, depending on the size
of the city. Task Force members would be appointed by the elected city lead-
er: architects, environmentalists,
Talking Points developers, and representatives
• Updating zoning laws affects generations from the local governing body.
of building concepts and community This task force need only operate
structure. for about a month, during which
• Instead of calling for zoning renewal, man- time they will hold meetings and
dating a ten-year cycle based on compre- host public forums in a variety of
hensive census data would help ensure neighborhoods. These forums will
that zoning laws are constantly adapting equip task force members with
to fit the changing needs of the locality.
the knowledge to determine if
• Low cost of implementation due to the
zoning laws match contemporary
use of volunteer work for the task force
and the already-generated and widely- needs. After evaluation, the task
respected census data. force will publish a report that in-
cludes itemized recommendations to the local government about how to imple-
ment necessary change. This report could call for whole-scale revision or minor
amendments depending on the size and needs of the city.

U.S. zoning laws first appeared in major metropolitan areas in the beginning of the
20th century with the intention of regulating mass and density of buildings. Zon-
ing laws are the governmental method of regulating development, specifically by
mapping out areas with fixed development restrictions. Many cities then simply
amended or added to their original codes when updates were needed, creating
a piecemeal effect, as in Denver, Colorado which is now in the process of re-do-
ing their zoning code which, due to the fact that it was written in 1957 and subse-
quently convoluted by a multitude of corrective amendments, both encouraged
unwanted development and restricted progressive development. Although the
City Plan called for whole-scale zoning code revision in the 1989 publication, it
wasn’t until another plan called for the revision in 2002 that change was actually
implemented. By appointing a special task force to make qualified recommenda-
tions every ten years, this lapse in efficiency would be mitigated.

Scheduling regular community re-evaluations, particularly in non-election years,
would help ensure that community prosperity is not dominated by partisan poli-
tics. Moreover, since all levels of government perform post-census assessments
and cities are constantly re-considering their zoning laws, the year following every
census is the most appropriate opportunity for this planning process. The costs
associated with appointing a task force are minimal: the task force members are
volunteers and the cost of the meetings would be limited to supplies, refresh-
ments, and potentially a venue. However, the tremendous economic and societal
benefits that communities would realize with proper implementation of this plan
far outweigh the relatively minor costs of administering a planning process. Since
the benefits of such a plan would reach every sector of a community, political
and financial support from business bureaus and chambers of commerce should
be sought.

Next Steps
Cities should move to amend their governing document to include a provision
that mandates a task force be appointed every ten years following the publica-
tion of the national census. Local policy-makers should move to prepare their
cities and towns for a city planning period for 2011 (the year following the 2010
census). This preparation should include budgeting, appointing task force mem-
bers, and perhaps launching a publicity campaign to educate the public on the
upcoming process.
———————————— Sources ————————————
*A full list of sources is available upon request
A Comprehensive Homeowners Plan
Virginia Calkins, Ann Chou, Bobby Fischbeck , Lauren Hunter, Jessica Lei, Daniel
Townsend, Yale University

Solving the foreclosure crisis caused by the collapse of the mortgage

market will take more than financial reform. A program is necessary to
inform buyers, support responsible lending, and renegotiate bad mort-
gages before the foreclosure process is initiated.

A plan to increase communication and trust between homebuyers and lenders

would include several options. A comprehensive plan should include: a pre-pur-
chase homebuyer education plan; a system for evaluating banks and informing
consumers about which area lenders are most client-friendly in the mortgage
process; facilitated communication between lenders and borrowers who could
benefit from refinancing; and the incorporation of existing non-profit and city ef-
forts in any of the above areas.

History Key Facts

In recent years, increased • In Connecticut, there are about 71,000 active
purchasing and servicing of adjustable-rate mortgages. About 30 percent
loans by large institutions as of these reset “at much higher rates” between
well as increasing numbers of October 2007 and December 2009.
• The Center for Responsible Lending esti-
mortgage brokers and lending
mates that 19% of these mortgages will result
firms have resulting in a glut of
in foreclosure if no action is taken.
credit and new homeowners. • Homeowners and mortgage providers often
Many of these homeowners, have a mutual interest in preventing foreclo-
lured by access to credit, pur- sure. Communication and trust are often the
chased adjustable rate mort- key obstacles to refinancing.
gages. In the last year, these
mortgages have lead to a sky-
rocketing rate of delinquent payments and eventual foreclosures, sparking dire
effects on the economy and quality of life in many urban areas. In November
2007, Governor Rell’s Sub-Prime
Mortgage Task Force released a
Talking Points
• Educating homebuyers and increasing
final report with recommended
communication between lenders and state responses to the crisis. Their
homeowners is a preventative measure recommendations of encourag-
to both decrease future foreclosure rates ing cooperation, increasing refi-
and refinance existing loans in danger of nancing options, and expanding
foreclosing. counseling can be best achieved
• A communication program would aid con- through a unified homeownership
stituents in several sectors; banks, other program that involves banks, non-
lenders, and their clients all benefit from a profit housing counselors, and lo-
more informed mortgage process.
cal governments.
The process of buying and owning a home could benefit from a comprehensive
plan at several stages. Pre-mortgage education is necessary for potential home-
buyers to learn the costs and benefits of homeownership and make educated
decisions. For homeowners who already have mortgages, maintaining commu-
nication between lender and homeowner is essential to avoid preventable fore-
closures. We recommend that the City act as a liaison between lenders and
borrowers to facilitate open communication, and incorporate existing non-profits
in the community to create a streamlined, comprehensive education and com-
munication plan for homeowners. Also, the city could incentivize such a program
for lenders by creating an opt-in set of criteria (such as educational programs or
quality of previous customers’ experience) that it would use to evaluate lenders
and label them as “homebuyer friendly” to increase consumer confidence.

This plan benefits consumers by educating them in the homebuying process.
Lenders benefit from decreased numbers of foreclosures. The City benefits from
steady rates of homeownership and by avoiding increased foreclosures through

Next Steps
The next steps should be to develop a plan to streamline and consolidate the
existing resources in the non-profit, commercial, and governmental sectors. From
there, criteria could be established for labeling banks as “homebuyer friendly,”
and regulations or incentives for homeownership education would need to be
established once appropriate programs were in place.

———————————— Sources ————————————

Connecticut Sub-Prime Mortgage Task Force Final Report. Submitted by Howard F. Pitkin and - Gary E.
King, Co-chairs of the Sub-Prime Mortgage Task Force. 9 Nov. 2007.

Federal Reserve Board, & Office of Thrift Supervision. (2007). Costs of Refinancing. In Lending Tree:
Help Center.

Regulating Subprime Mortgage Lending
Tori Phillips, University of California at Davis

Regulations of subprime mortgage lending practices would better edu-

cate borrowers and hold lenders responsible for their actions, thereby
decreasing the default rates on subprime loans and lowering home fore-
closure rates.

The subprime market offers financing to individuals with the lowest credit scores.
Because these loans are riskier for the lender, they are offered with higher inter-
est rates and stricter rules on refinancing. Subprime mortgages offer the benefit
of presenting loans to those who could not otherwise attain one, thereby increas-
ing homeownership.
Key Facts
But high default and foreclo- • According to the Mortgage Bankers Associa-
sure rates since 2006 have tion, 14 percent of all loans are subprime.
led to the subprime mortgage • In 2004 homeownership reached a highpoint
crisis we are faced with today. of almost 70 percent, but from 2006 to 2007
This has led property values the number of new houses built was down
in some areas to plummet, more than 26 percent and existing house sales
further aggravating the situa- were down more than 12 percent.
tion. Many family homes have • In 2007 subprime loans made up 7 percent of
been foreclosed under these mortgages but 43 percent of defaulted loans.
• In 2005 a study conducted by Freddie Mac
circumstances, decreasing the
and Roper Public Affairs showed that 61 per-
possibility of homeownership. cent of delinquent borrowers did not know
that there are workout options.
Regulations must be set in or-
der to prevent this from taking
place again in the future. Lenders must be required to qualify buyers at the fully
amortized rate, rather than the teaser rate, prepayment penalties must be regu-
lated, and financial literacy education must be provided to all borrowers.

Typically, subprime loans are of-
Talking Points
• Poor subprime lending practices have fered as adjustable rate mortgag-
caused high home foreclosure rates, es- es (ARMs) where payments on
pecially in low-income areas, leaving many the loan start at one interest rate,
families without homes. and are increased within a certain
• When foreclosures are common in a given amount of time. Often, lenders
neighborhood, property values drop im- have only qualified borrowers at
mensely. the initial rate, so borrowers were
• This policy offers a solution to both the not able to make payments once
immediate and long-term problems associ- the higher interest rate kicked in.
ated with the subprime mortgage crisis.
Furthermore, these loans were
often quickly repackaged and sold because companies were willing to assume
impractically large risks in the quest for profit, and did not focus enough on seek-
ing genuinely qualified borrowers.

Many borrowers were not even made aware that rates would increase, and were
not able to refinance because of strict “prepayment penalties.” This created a
vicious cycle: foreclosures would cause local housing prices to fall. That decline
in property values would create skepticism within the real estate market, exacer-
bating the situation as it called into question a new set of mortgages.

Analysis and Next Steps

The intent of subprime mortgages is to give housing to those who could not
otherwise afford it, but the lack of restrictions has caused this system to backfire.
In the instances of qualifications based on the initial rates of ARMs, the loans
should never have been made, because lenders were fully aware that borrowers
were not qualified to pay the higher interest rates once they took effect. In order
to prevent a repetition of the current subprime mortgage crisis, many proactive
steps must be taken in the regulation of lending practices.

When qualifying borrowers for subprime loans, lenders should be required to do

so at the fully-amortized rate, rather than the initial teaser rate, preventing bor-
rowers from falling into the trap of unaffordable mortgage payments when rates
rise. Furthermore, prepayment penalties on subprime loans should be restricted
in order to offer those with better credit a way out of their mortgage agreement
through refinancing. Finally, all subprime lenders should be required to provide
financial literacy education (similar to Freddie Mac’s CreditSmart) to borrowers,
in order to fully inform them of their responsibilities. Full disclosure will pre-
vent misrepresentation by lenders and mitigate the assumption of unreasonable
debts by subprime borrowers.

———————————— Sources ————————————

Avila, Larry. “Subprime Mortgage Mess Dug Miller, Brian K. “Panel Dishes on Subprime Melt
Pretty Deep Into Economy.” Urban Land In down, Recession.” Urban Land Institute, (Oc
stitute, (February 5, 2008). 6 February 2008 tober 26, 2007). January 2008 <http://www.uli.
< org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&
cfm?Section=Home&CONTENTID=115880& CONTENTID=108572&TEMPLATE=/CM/
TEMPLATE=/ CM/ContentDisplay.cfm>. ContentDisplay.cfm>.

Elmendorf, Douglas W. “Notes on Policy Re *A full list of sources is available upon request
sponses to the Subprime Mortgage Unrav
eling.” Brookings, (September 2007). Decem
ber 2007 <

Economic Revival and Charity Hospital, NOLA
Matthew LaBruyere and Kayla Lato, Louisiana State University

The re-establishment of Charity Hospital within New Orleans will not

only improve healthcare within the city, but will also serve as an eco-
nomic catalyst for all surrounding areas.

Since the tragic landfall of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005, New Orleans
has continually struggled to revitalize its economy. In an attempt to do so, the
city has taken several steps to promote economic development; however, the
potential for greater growth remains. Healthcare provision, to date, leaves more
to be desired, as there is
a lack of healthcare being Key Facts
provided to the citizens of • As of July 2005, (Pre-Katrina) Louisiana State
University Health Sciences Center in New
New Orleans. Because of
Orleans had 607 medical residents and fellows.
Katrina, the New Orleans As of June 2006, LSU-HSC only had 144 medical
metropolitan area lost a residents and fellows.
major health care provider, • Before Katrina, Hospitals in the New Orleans
Charity Hospital. Although Metro Area employed 30,829. After Katrina, New
an interim hospital has pro- Orleans Metro Area hospitals employed only
vided assistance, a major 15,829.
potential lies in the revital- • The Metro area is in dire need of available beds.
izaton this hospital, which The total licensed hospital beds in Orleans
is an economic power- Parish total 3450, with 813 beds available for
patients. This percentage (23.6%) is the lowest in
house that provides medi-
the New Orleans Metro Area.
cal, and research services.
By expediting the process
of restoring Charity Hospital, the economy will gain immediate and long-term
values from the medical and research services that the hospital provides. Ad-
ditionally, the revitalization will buoy the economy by encouraging growth in the
healthcare, medical teaching
and research sectors.
Talking Points
• By considering the re-establishment of Char-
ity Hospital a high priority in New Orleans’
planning process, the economy benefits in the
Charity hospitals in Louisi-
short term and long term. ana date as far back as Janu-
• A state-of-the-art facility helps neighboring ary 21, 1736, when the City of
universities to receive more grant money and New Orleans opened the first
attracts biotechnology firms and pharmaceuti- Charity Hospital location. The
cal companies. LSU Interim Hospital in New
• The institutions and businesses that inhabit Orleans, which has temporar-
the medical complex bring in more profession- ily replaced Charity Hospital
als (with higher incomes) whose spending will after Katrina left it inoperable
help jumpstart higher end spending.
in August 2005, serves the healthcare needs of over seven parishes across the
state. Prior to Katrina, Charity Hospital fulfilled the teaching and research needs
of both LSU-HSC and Tulane University Medical Center.

There has been much talk of the future of the hospital; however, there has been
no great strides made in the process to replace the hospital, as there are several
initiatives and priorities that fall in front of this potentially $1.2 Billion project.
Unfortunately, due to lack of facilities, it is very difficult to recruit doctors to this
area. The loss of medical professionals is detrimental to the recovery of the city.
Current government recognizes the need for this hospital, and this issue is a
topic of interest for the 2008 legislative session; however, if action does not take
place soon, a solution will not occur for yet another year.

The biggest obstacle in building a large medical complex is the price tag. The
plan developed by LSU-HSC costs around $1.2 billion. Even though the costs for
such a complex are enormous, it does not outweigh the potential that can come
from having a state-of-the-art facility. In 2004, the hospital had an estimated
economic impact of almost $1 billion per year on city business. The partnership
between Tulane, Louisiana State University, and Veterans’ Affairs will not only al-
leviate the strain on state funds with the help of federal funds, but will also bring
in more money to increase the economic impact. As of now, LSU and Tulane re-
ceive about $62 million in National Institute of Health Grants. This is minimal, and
could be greatly expanded, especially when considering that complexes such as
the University of Alabama Medical Center at Birmingham, receive $169 million.

The hospital also provides opportunity to bring in high salaried professionals

to conduct research, teach, and care for citizens. The impact of higher salaried
professionals within the area will help with the restoration of Canal Street as
envisioned, as well as revive the Theatre District in downtown New Orleans. By
allowing the medical industry to flourish within downtown New Orleans, this plan
will increase investment in New Orleans, as well as decrease the pressure on the
tourism and port industries as sources of revenue for the city.

Next Steps
In order to expedite the process of rebuilding this hospital, the Louisiana law-
makers and Governor Bobby Jindal must make swift decisions on the details of
the hospital’s structure. After that happens, the state must approve the funding.
The sooner the state funds and rebuilds the hospital, the sooner the city of New
Orleans will reap the benefits of the hospital’s economic value.

———————————— Sources ————————————

*A full list of sources is available upon request

Revitalizing Suburbs by Reusing Dead Malls
John Good, Yale University

By taking advantage of underutilized and abandoned retail centers and

redeveloping these large parcels of land, older suburbs can increase
land values and re-invent themselves as vibrant neighborhoods in the

Nearly fifty years after the first malls were enclosed, shopping centers have pro-
liferated across the country; in 2005, there were 2,400 malls of 400,000+ square
feet. The fates of malls and shopping centers have diverged in the interim, with
many centers losing a large portion of their stores. Nearly 20% are dead (defined
as malls where annual sales per square foot have dropped to less than $150, one-
third the rate of sales at a successful
mall) or in danger of dying, according Key Facts
to a study by Pricewaterhouse Coo- • There were 2,403 shopping centers
pers. This represents an enormous of over 400,000 square feet in the
United States in 2005, according to
amount of underutilized land, mostly
the Census Bureau.
in inner-ring suburbs where every tax • According to a Pricewaterhouse
dollar matters. Often in some of the Coopers report, 7% of regional malls
most accessible locations in a com- were dead in 2001, with another 12% in
munity, these parcels could be rede- vulnerable status.
veloped in ways that would revitalize • In 10 case studies, municipalities had
an entire community. to come up with an average of only
10.7% of the total cost, with private
Current trends in real estate develop- developers paying the rest.
ment are moving away from tradition-
al malls, and changing demographics
are increasing the demand for denser, more urban environments. Inner ring sub-
urbs have an opportunity here to use these mall sites, combined with their more
established neighborhoods, proximity to the central city, and better mass transit
to take advantage of
Talking Points these trends. Redevel-
• Inner ring suburbs face enormous challenges, includ- oped malls can incor-
ing decreasing population, aging infrastructure, and a
porate many desires of
lack of new investment.
• Mall sites are large enough to be the site of significant
a community, including
projects that introduce urban life and increase density a new city hall, new
in these communities. parks, housing, and
• To communities without a center, these types of rede- offices, serving as the
velopments provide the opportunity to create a sense center for a suburb
of place. lacking one, and acting
• Most of all, redevelopment represents real tax dollars, as a catalyst for future
and with proper planning and marketing, the vast ma- development.
jority of the cost can be borne by private developers.
In their “Greyfields to Goldfields,” the Congress for the New Urbanism described
twelve case studies of communities redeveloping their old dead mall sites into
mixed-use town centers. Boca Raton, Florida, in the early 1990s, was the first to
try this strategy by replacing the aging Boca Mall with 200,000 square feet of
retail, over 100,000 square feet of office space, and 272 residential units. In ad-
dition, it now serves as a gathering space for the city, drawing 3,000 to 5,000
people to its amphitheater, so that “the people feel part of a community”. In
Englewood, Colorado, the massive 1.3 million square-foot Cinderella City Mall
was redeveloped into City Center Englewood, which was designed to be the
suburb’s downtown. Officials there coordinated with regional transit plans to re-
alize a true transit village.

Dead malls are scars on the landscape of many aging suburbs, but with thought-
ful planning and clear visions, these sites represent a great opportunity for rede-
velopment into vibrant communities. The figures show that while infrastructure
and streetscape improvements are necessary for successful mixed-use neigh-
borhoods, developers, on average, invest $8.36 for every $1 contributed by gov-
ernment. This shows great return on investment from a purely financial stand-
point. However, in addition to these obvious financial gains, many communities
are creating an identity and a true town center with these projects, an attraction
that can be leveraged to gain further investment. This is why local governments
should be advised to pursue mixed-use projects actively for their underutilized
retail centers.

Next Steps
Most importantly, local, metropolitan, and state governments must ensure that
the kind of mixed-use development described here is entirely legal within all
jurisdictions. In many cases, these city’s zoning codes will need to be significantly
rewritten. Single-use zoning schemes written for conventional suburbs need to
be reworked to allow more complex, dense, and urban uses of land.

Eventually, to ensure long-term success of town center projects, rapid transit (op-
timally rail) is necessary. Transit authorities should use these redevelopments as
a chance to develop new transit hubs, and these mixed-use centers will be made
stronger because of the increased traffic. In addition, regional planning organiza-
tions should look at these suburban centers as places where density can further
be increased to lessen the outward pressure of sprawl.

———————————— Sources ————————————

*A full list of sources is available upon request

Reducing Medical Mistrust
Among Native American Populations
Kira Newman, Hannah Lupien, et al, Yale University

By promoting cultural competency, community involvement, and one-

on-one outreach to patients, medical mistrust in urban Native American
populations can be reduced and rates of colorectal cancer screening
can be improved.

Medical mistrust among Native Key Facts

Americans hinders the success of • A lack of trust contributes to the
even the most well-planned health reluctance of many Native Americans
program. It reduces an individual’s to utilize medical services, including
preventive care.
willingness to seek out preventive
• Though cancer deaths in the general
care and undermines the trust es- population have decreased slightly
sential for an effective doctor-pa- over the last thirty years, among Native
tient relationship. Americans they have increased by 16.2%.

Native Americans have traditionally had higher disease burdens, shorter life
spans, and less healthy lives than other Americans. Whereas the cancer death
rates in the rest of the population have decreased slightly over the last thirty
years, Native American rates have increased by 16.2%. Additionally, most Indian
Health Services (IHS) resources are directed towards rural, reservation-bound
Native Americans, but urban Native Americans are largely left without access to
preventive healthcare coverage.

Mistrust includes multiple aspects. There is a sentiment by Native Americans that

providers are prejudiced against them. This may include a fear that providers do
not really have the patient’s best interests in mind, a feeling that providers do not
really care about a patient’s health, a concern that they are treated differently in a
clinic (i.e. providers take less time
Talking Points to listen to them as compared
• Reducing medical mistrust lowers one of to white patients), and concerns
the most significant barriers to preventive that providers think that their
care, such as colorectal screening. traditional medical practices and
• Colorectal cancer is often preventable beliefs are primitive and inane.
through regular screening and the re- There is also a lack of confidence
moval of precancerous polyps.
in the providers’ medical skill. This
• Using existing community resources and
is based in an historical opinion
networks is an important tool for policies
to reduce medical mistrust. pertaining to the quality of IHS
and IHS-referred physicians.
It is essential to reduce medical mistrust in Native American populations be-
cause medical mistrust reduces the likelihood that individuals will seek appropri-
ate care including preventive screening and follow-up care. Some key practices
include one-to-one outreach, involvement of the provider and tribal community,
and practicing cultural competency.

One-to-one outreach programs, especially those employing members of the

community, have been found to be effective in improving the health of Native
Americans. Because the information provider is a member of the tribal commu-
nity, there is less mistrust associated with the information distributed. In addition,
the healthcare “navigator” is familiar with tribal customs and can help encourage
screening in a way that is culturally sensitive.

In order to involve provider and tribal communities to the fullest extent, the
following key steps ought to be pursued. First, researchers should involve the
community in research planning at the earliest stages. Second, it is important to
receive consent from the community leaders and representatives as well as from
individual participants. This means consent from the initial planning stages in
which patients are enrolled, through consent to use the data for further analysis
beyond the original intentions of the researchers, an area in which consent has
not always been obtained. Third, community members can be employed as field
staff and trained to collect data. This is an alternative to hiring already trained
personnel from outside the community. Lastly, researchers and tribal members
should share authorship and work cooperatively in the publication of papers,
press releases, and reports.

A further step in reducing medical mistrust is increasing cultural competency

among healthcare providers. To achieve this, it is imperative that training pro-
grams are instituted on a regular basis for healthcare workers. Effective methods
have included quarterly cultural orientations on different topics; creation of an
environment for health care that reflects local culture in its architecture, galleries,
gardens, and walking trails; week-long history classes; cooperative medical teams
of Western doctors and traditional healers; and variations of above programs.

Next Steps
Medical practitioners should work with tribes to develop and distribute cultur-
ally sensitive information about screening through tribally affiliated one-to-one
healthcare navigator programs. Healthcare providers should include cultural
competency training for physicians interacting with Native American patients.

———————————— Sources ————————————

*A full list of sources is available upon request
Federally Qualified Health Centers
Jarrad Aguirre, Yale University

Fifty million people lack basic health care, and 53% of underserved and
underinsured populations are racial or ethnic minorities. Studies show that
wider access to primary care can temper minority health inequalities.

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) extend health care to vulnerable

populations, providing social ser-
vices such as transportation and Key Facts
language assistance that address • In the United States, 50 million people lack
barriers to access. However, the access to adequate health care and 53% of
eligibility criteria for choosing underserved and underinsured populations
FQHC sites do a poor job of are racial or ethnic minorities.
identifying and targeting at-risk • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQH-
Cs) provide care for at-risk populations, but
populations. The Index of Medi-
narrow eligibility requirements handicap
cal Unservice (IMU), which quali-
the efficacy of FQHCs.
fies locations for funding, fails to • Diseases that disproportionately affect
consider several well-established minorities, such as hypertension, could be
deterrents to health care access. better addressed with more accessible
Using existing data sources, such primary care.
as the National Health Care Dis-
parities Report, the federal gov-
ernment should implement several IMU adjustments, in order to better identify
vulnerable populations and to guide the expansion of future health centers

First, expand poverty guidelines to include individuals that have incomes up to

200% of the poverty threshold. One in three people under the age of 65 with
incomes between 100% and 200% of the
poverty threshold are uninsured. Insurance
Talking Points
coverage profoundly determines access to
• The Index of Medical Unservice
(IMU), which qualifies locations health services, and this modification would
for FQHC funding, could better allow the IMU to respond to more unin-
provide primary care to at-risk sured Americans. Second, include educa-
populations by considering ad- tion status as an additional variable. Educa-
ditional obstacles to health care. tion also influences health independent of
• IMU revisions could be imple- income. Fully 35% of individuals with less
mented using existing data than a high school education are uninsured,
sources. healthcare expenses as compared to 14% of those with a post-
stem from chronic disease care,
secondary education. Third, incorporate
redirecting patients to primary
primary language data. People with limited
care sites, instead of emergency
departments, would save $7 bil- English skills are less likely to receive pre-
lion annually. ventative care or have a regular source of
primary care. Fourth, consider the incidence of diseases that disproportionately
burden minorities.

Currently, seventy-five percent of U.S. healthcare expenses stem from chronic

disease care. Furthermore, redirecting patients to primary care sites, instead of
emergency departments, would save $7 billion in annual health care expenditures
in the U.S. The savings associated with providing accessible and affordable care
to at-risk populations is tremendous. Improving the IMU criteria will not only save
countless dollars, but represent a significant step in uprooting the health dispari-
ties entrenched in our society.

In recent years, health centers have received bipartisan support for expansion,
with over 4,000 health center sites currently serving over 16 million Americans.
Investments in FQHCs have grown greatly in the past decade, to nearly $2 billion
today. Most recently, President Bush announced the High Poverty County Presi-
dential Initiative, which provides funds to improve primary care health in counties
that previously lacked a health center. The expansion of the FQHC network is an
opportunity to combat health disparities. Changing the IMU criteria will allow us to
maximize the impact of this growth.

Due to small sample sizes at the community-level and outdated datasets, estimates
concerning income, education, and primary language may have large variances in
assessing local health disparities. For example, the US Census contains informa-
tion about most Americans, including location, but it only occurs every 10 years. To
calculate IMU, several conflicting data sources can be consulted. For instance, dif-
ferent surveys categorize “uninsured” individuals according to varying parameters.
Lastly, due to nonresponse bias, surveys may underestimate disparities affecting
non-English speakers. Increasing frequency of surveys, standardizing survey defi-
nitions, and issuing surveys in a range of languages could help to address these

Next Steps
The adjusted IMU criteria will start one-year after the current cycle of government
funding for FQHC. Other changes to FQHC must ensue as well. An expansion of
services, including pharmacy and dental, at existing FQHC would improve health
management. Medication management, for example, would improve if on-site phar-
macies provided prescription drugs at discounted prices. The money saved from
providing preventative care to previously neglected populations could offset any
additional costs.
———————————— Sources ————————————
*A full list of sources is available upon request

Solving San Diego’s Budget Deficit Problem:
Hotel Taxes and the Tourism Industry
Sharanjit Singh, University of California, San Diego

The City of San Diego should increase its Transient Occupancy Tax
(TOT) to at least 14% or higher to help curb the current budget deficit.
Instead of reinvesting the tax revenue into tourism marketing districts,
the income should be directed toward the city’s General Fund to help
support under funded city services.

The City of San Diego has a debt looming over its head that will grow unless
a cut in spending or acquisition of new capital takes place. The deficit reflects
unfunded budgetary needs of city services and public goods. Experienced po-
lice officers have fled the city
to work for agencies providing Key Facts
better pay; even construction • Since 2003, San Diego budget reductions
workers are having trouble fix- have amounted to a total of $126.9 million.
ing pipe ruptures. The deficit • The City of San Diego currently has a Tran-
is expected to reach $32 mil- sient Occupancy Tax of 10.5%, whereas San
Francisco and Los Angeles have a TOT of 14%.
lion in 2009 and $85.3 million
• San Diego has a hotel room occupancy rate
in 2011. Instead of relying upon of 73.30%, a RevPAR (revenue per available
one time solutions like diving room) of $95.843.
into reserves to balance the • Only 1/6th of the revenue generated by the
budget, the city should seek Transient Occupancy Tax actually goes into
out more permanent sources the city’s general fund.
of income. San Diego has a
lucrative tourism industry; the
city can afford to levy more taxes on the hotel industry. As San Diego attempts to
subsidize the hotel industry, other cities make hoteliers pay for impacts of their
developments and essential services.

Talking Points Increasing the rate of a Tran-
• In 2004, the City of San Diego Fire Department
sient Occupancy Tax is not
had an unfunded budgetary need of $38 million,
and departments in the city as a whole had an uncommon in California.
unfunded need of $274.2 million. However, to raise the TOT
• San Diego does not require heavy tourism in a city, an amendment to
advertising paid for by the city; the tourism in- the city charter is required.
dustry is largely self-driven, as evidenced by the In San Diego, the proposal
city’s high hotel room occupancy and RevPAR. must be placed on a ballot
• The revenue generated by the Transient Oc- measure and muster up the
cupancy Tax should be redistributed so that at required a two-third vote. In
least two-thirds of it goes into the city’s General the November 2004 elec-
tion, Proposition J went before San Diego asking the public to back a 2.5% in-
crease in the tax, putting the TOT at 13%. However, with 58.41% of voters saying
“no” Proposition J did not get very far. A San Diego Union Tribune writer notes,
“People resist the idea of raising taxes or fees, well aware that San Diego is a tax-
averse city; voters in 2004 even rejected two measures that would have raised
taxes for tourists but not residents.”

According to the San Diego Convention and Visitor’s Bureau the city raked in
$150,417,640 during 2007 demonstrating strong positive growth in TOT revenue
since 2007. If a subsequent TOT increase performs just like it did in 2007, then
we can set up a proportion to estimate how our tax increase will perform. If the
10.5% tax yielded a total of $150,417,640 in 2007, then proportionally a 14% tax in
2007 could have yielded $200,556,853. Only 1/6th of the TOT revenue goes into
the city’s general fund. Even at that rate, Proposition J was expected to provide
the General Fund with $28 million, sufficiently cushioning city service needs.

This proposal focuses on a city tax increase and therefore would be of most use
to the City Council of San Diego who first agreed upon the terms of the Transient
Occupancy Tax in the city charter. Other than the local government, residents of
San Diego, the voters, are the primary beneficiaries and decision makers of the

Next Steps
San Diego should immediately seek out community benefit agreements with ho-
teliers, giving the city more incentives to support the industry and its demanding
infrastructure. Furthermore, the city should immediately attempt to draft a ballot
measure to increase the Transient Occupancy Tax to 14%, but must first educate
tax wary San Diegans that the TOT is specifically a hotel tax, and not a tax against

———————————— Sources ————————————

Baxamusa, Murtaza. “The Truth about TOT.” Voi, 4 March 2008. http://www. deChapter03/Ch03Art05Division01.pdf
cafesandiego/928baxamusa1122007.txt Ernst and Young, “2007 U.S. Lodging Report,”
EYGM Limited, 2007.
City of San Diego Independent Budget Commit ernst-andyoung/international/s?Industry_
tee. “City of San Diego Structural Budget Real_Estate_2007USLodingReport&nsytype=
Defcit,” Office of the Independent Budget pdf&ns_url=[
Analyst Report. 14 February 2008. http:// sets.nsf/International/Industry_Real_ Estate_2007USLodingReport/$file/Industry_
City of San Diego. “San Diego Municipal Code:
Article 5, Chapter 3, Sec. 35.0103” http:// *A full list of sources is available upon request
Cemetery Preservation in New Jersey
Kate Maley, Rutgers University

The New Jersey Cemetery Board should play an active role in ensuring
that burial grounds receive the respect they deserve. Well-preserved
cemeteries benefit the community by strengthening social bonds and
demonstrating an appreciation for history and public space.

Cemeteries are largely unmonitored, sacred pieces of community history that are
at risk in the state of New Jersey for degradation from ignorance and lack of atten-
tion. The functions of the Cemetery Board should be extended to a more active
attempt at maintenance and preser-
vation, and jurisdiction should en- Key Facts
compass all cemeteries within the • New Jersey is home to over 2,000
state of New Jersey. cemeteries, but fewer than a quarter fall
under the control of its Cemetery board.
Of the dozens of burial societies that
History once maintained cemeteries in cities like
According to the New Jersey Newark, virtually none remain.
Cemetery Association, most of the • The vast majority are exempt from state
state’s estimated 2,000 cemeteries scrutiny regarding maintenance and
depend on funding from the gov- preservation, and many face destruction
ernment or religious organizations. and desecration as a result.
Owners of the 400 that fall into • Over 500 headstones were overturned
neither category are required to ob- in a New Brunswick cemetery on Janu-
tain a “certificate of authority” from ary 4th, 2008. A volunteer cleanup of
one Jersey City cemetery took away
the state. Since 1971, New Jersey’s
two truckfuls of trash in April 2008; local
Cemetery Board has regulated only residents particularly noted the lack of
these “non-religious cemeteries and care for soldiers’ graves.
its salespersons in New Jersey.” This
designation allows them to operate
their cemeteries as long as they can prove that they meet certain regulatory crite-
ria, some of which include devoting
funds to preserving the grounds
Talking Points
• New Jersey’s cemeteries are a crucial and seeking state approval before
reflection of its cultural, political, spiritual, selling a parcel of the cemetery’s
and social history. They remain a vital land or a large amount of plots.
resource for academics and are the last
point of contact for families that have But official reports on the current
moved out of major cities during the last state of New Jersey’s cemeteries
decades of urban decay. are undocumented, unavailable,
• At the very least, New Jersey must begin or nonexistent. This is simply in-
by developing thorough and accurate
adequate. Residents should be
records of its cemeteries with an online
informed about and involved in
database and preservation watch list.
cemetery upkeep. Up-to-date re-
cords should be publicly available and outreach on the importance of cemetery
care should occur. Burial grounds are historically and culturally significant markers
of a community, and allowing them to fall into disrepair communicates disrespect
and a lack of community sentiment.
Permanent preservation of New Jersey’s cemeteries requires that the state gov-
ernment expand the scope of the Cemetery Board to all burial grounds, not just
the 400 that currently have a certificate of authority. To streamline this process, the
New Jersey Cemetery Board should compile a statewide Cemetery Register: an
online database with maps and locations of each cemetery. The Board should also
compile a Preservation Watch List, flagging cemeteries in danger and states of de-
cay, and establish a fund to pay for repairing cemeteries in severe states of decay
and to prevent other burial grounds from falling into disrepair. The Board should
also disseminate information about the importance of cemetery preservation and
community involvement. Many of these suggestions have been successful imple-
mented by the Montgomery County Cemetery Inventory Project in Maryland.

Much of this project’s funding will likely come from community members. Thus,
the Cemetery Board should collaborate with university Archeology departments,
historical societies, and museums, initiate Adopt-a-Cemetery programs in schools,
and host local heritage events. Part of this outreach effort should involve the New
Jersey Department of State, which oversees “arts, cultural, history, and volunteer
programs in the state.” Partnership with the State Department will ensure the
Board’s productivity and maintain its access to funds.

Next Steps
Creation of an online database and preservation watch list will give decision mak-
ers a basic sense of the condition of New Jersey’s cemeteries. As beginning steps,
they will demonstrate the scope of this endeavor, and define whether its focus will
be on restoring neglected cemeteries or on preventing their future destruction.
Once the burial grounds have been identified and documented, this information
can be used to raise awareness, elicit support, and inform future policy making
decisions regarding preservation.

———————————— Sources ————————————

Associated Press. “Four New Jersey teens arrested after tipping over 500 gravestones.” New
York Daily News: January 10, 2008.
Jacobs, Andrew. “Jewish Newark’s urban pioneers rest uneasily.” New York Times: October 15,
Koepp, Paul. “Historic Cemetery Decays.” Jersey City Reporter: April 29, 2008.
Montgomery County Cemetery Inventory. ://
New Jersey Cemetery Association.
New Jersey Cemetery Board.
New Jersey Department of State.
Improving Flexible Tax Structures to
Promote Business in Low-Income Zones
By Peter Wallach, University of Virginia

Existing tax structures should be altered to promote new business

growth in low income communities. Taking the form of decreased corpo-
rate tax rates, targeted Fannie Mae lending action, diverted corporate
tax flow, and deductible accounts, these actions would serve to build on
current legislation and improve impoverished communities.

It almost goes without question in to-

Key Facts day’s world that location can make or
• A lack of business opportunity in low break a particular industry’s success.
income communiites forces com- A financial firm with Wall Street of-
munities to operate at a competitive fices or a high-end retail company in
disadvantage. Georgetown can claim location as an
• Most federal action taken targets
intangible asset which improves their
housing development, and not busi-
ness development. value. The same logic would go for try-
ing to start an import auto dealer in a
poorer community; the market simply
does not have the same need. In a broad sense, businesses which generate more
profit tend to exist where the market takes them, which typically is not to lower
income communities. As a result, financial incentives need to be put in place to
motivate business growth in these communities.

Inner-city poverty is not new. Throughout American history, income level has
been a critical determinant of communities within city limits. From the condensed
urban “dumbbell” housing structures built at the turn of the 20th century in New
York, to the Hope VI project, to the advent of the suburbs, communities have
been segregated by income.

Lower-income communities trap many of the individuals living there. Business
opportunities are scarcer,
crime rates tend to be higher, Talking Points
and given a basic lack of fund- • The lack of a universal tax incentive to de-
ing, these communities simply velop business in lower income communities
operate at a competitive dis- has focused wealth in areas where wealth
advantage. Most action taken already exists.
by federal institutions has in- • Creating such a tax incentive would provide
a chance for communities to generate growth
volved housing development
through jobs and investment.
projects. Tax involvement has
been limited to programs like low-income housing credit or breaks for businesses
in “empowerment zones” created in the New Market Credit program. However,
the lack of a universal tax incentive to develop business in lower income com-
munities has focused wealth in areas where wealth already exists.

Next Steps
To remedy the situation, the national government should move away from credit
returns and move towards liability discounts (assuming starting a business in a
low income community incurs increased liability insurance and/or more difficult
loan structures). To do so, cities of large enough population could create a dis-
tribution using tax data based off income of an entire district, ward, or zip code.
Collecting this data retroactively, we can create a normal distribution using the
net income and population of each designated area. For each standard distribu-
tion away from the mean, the business should be assigned or subtracted (if it is
higher or lower respectively) an additional tax credit of a value no greater than
1% per standard deviation.

First, this would not be a redistribution of wealth scheme as the need for this
credit system is based on a pre-existing market failure. The benefits from this
scheme are numerous. A weighted tax scheme means that there would be a high-
er profit on corporate taxes, unless they somehow progressed or regressed to
the mean, which in itself would be ideal as long was the mean was high. Secondly,
the effect of an area-wide tax scheme would mean that successful businesses in
low income communities would greatly benefit for being successful in its loca-
tion. Job creation in these communities and higher investment would be a side
effect of these tax breaks as large corporations would have a strong incentive to
develop these communities. This distribution would be recalculated biannually,
so as to cut the cost of information collection while capitalizing on a corrective
market measure. This policy, whether implemented on a local or national scale,
would be a great boon to low income communities, and would help to solve the
market inequality in location value.

———————————— Sources ————————————

Citizens for Tax Justice, “The Hidden Entitlements”,

*A full list of sources is available upon request.

Eliminating the 100% Marginal Tax Rate for
Non-Custodial Parents
James Coan, Princeton University

Reducing wage withholding from non-custodial parents paying child

support from 100 percent to 35 percent encourages them to work lon-
ger or seek higher-paying jobs, improving their own lives and support to
their families.

Direct wage withholding that automatically deducts from paychecks of non-cus-

todial parents, over 80 percent of whom are fathers, accounts for more than half
of the $21 billion in child support payments. The wage withholding system has
been improved over the past
two decades, but the rules Key Facts
that govern the withholding • Children in low-income, one-parent households
are deeply flawed. rely on child support for more than a third of
their living costs, and over half of the $21 billion
The withholding rules come collected annually comes from direct wage
from the Consumer Credit withholding.
Protection Act (CCPA), • 10.6 million non-custodial parents are ordered
to pay child support, and the majority do pay.
which states that individuals
• A non-custodial parent with child support debt
who have a debt cannot be who works a minimum wage job will receive the
required to pay more than 25 same amount of money if he works 30 hours
percent of their income, but per week or 85 hours.
those with a child support
order can have between 60
and 65 percent of their income captured. Sixty-five percent is the maximum
for those who owe past-due payments, or arrears. However, because of a well-
intentioned technicality designed to protect the poorest workers, many individu-
als face a 100 percent marginal tax
Talking Points rate.
• A 100 percent marginal tax rate pro-
vides no incentive to work, reducing the History
dollars earned and ultimately reducing The Office of Child Support En-
the support given to the children.
forcement began in the mid-1970s,
• The highest tax bracket with the wealth-
iest workers only faces a top federal
and it has undergone many dramatic
marginal tax rate of 35 percent. changes during its existence. Child
• The current arrangement encourages support began as a way to repay the
parents to work in the underground government for welfare, but it has
economy: 26 percent of non-custodial evolved into a program that gives
parents who have no reported income over 90 percent of money paid to
still paid at least 50 percent of their families. Having states take less
child support. than what the CCPA allows would
represent a much smaller shift in policy since the CCPA provides a maximum but
not a minimum withholding rate, so lower rates are legal.

According to the CCPA, no income can be withheld before one works 30 hours
at the minimum wage, or $217.50/week at the soon-to-be new minimum wage
($7.25/hour at 30 hours). This provision protects the most vulnerable in the popu-
lation. It has a valuable moral purpose, and it also cannot be changed because
it remains a federal rule. Above this amount, however, all wages can be captured
until 60 or 65 percent of total wages have been captured. In other words, a mini-
mum wage worker in arrears will not see any additional income after he works 30
hours/week until he completes a nearly impossible 85 hours of work/week.

The effect of the current policy can also hurt individuals who want to get a better
job, since they can earn the same amount working 40 hours at a minimum wage
job as they can working 40 hours/week at a job with nearly twice the salary.
Economists speak of the distorting effects of high marginal tax rates on labor, and
a 100% marginal rate is the worst case of all, because it completely eliminates any
monetary incentive to work.

Therefore, wages earned on work above 30 hours/week should only be subject

to a 35 percent marginal rate, equal to the highest marginal rate in the federal
income tax code. This amount should still provide sufficient wage withholding to
pay child support, and the reasonable marginal tax rate will encourage individu-
als to stay in the legitimate economy and earn enough to fully pay their child
support orders on their own.

The change in wage withholding may result in some cases in which the amount
of income for child support falls, although it should increase in other cases be-
cause of the increased incentive to work. If a child support office is concerned
about the first possibility, it could create a hybrid approach with less than total
withholding (i.e. complete withholding from 30-40 hours worked at the minimum
wage and then reverting to a 35 percent rate above 40 hours).

Next Steps
State-level child support offices can apply for this provision, and they can offer
this idea as a pilot program to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement.
In its beginning stages, this program will likely be implemented at the state level,
and initial data will determine what, if any, hybrid adjustments need be made to
protect custodial as well as noncustodial parents.

———————————— Sources ————————————

*A full list of sources is available upon request