Local elections that included some L.A. City Council representatives opting out before the ends of their terms worried residents in some districts. “I think there is just a yearning in that district for some longer-term representation than they’ve gotten,” said Zev Yaroslavksy, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin and former member of both the City Council and County Board of Supervisors. “When people aren’t around for a long time, there isn’t a lot of long-term thinking,” Yaroslavsky said. “Right or wrong, in politics you try do things you can cut the ribbon on while you’re still in office.”
Paul Ong, director of the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge, and his study, “1992 Revisited,” was included in a story about a gathering to reflect on the 25th anniversary of the 1992 civil unrest in Los Angeles, which included a teach-in and a candlelight vigil. Ong’s study tracked socioeconomic changes between the time of the civil unrest and the present. “This will require a comprehensive, inclusive and coordinated effort, one that cuts across silos and institutional layers, and guided by a common vision anchored in a commitment to social justice,” Ong said of efforts to address the continued economic marginalization of South Los Angeles.
In an Op-Ed Piece by contributor Thomas B. Edsall that includes reaction from policy scholars around the country, UCLA Luskin’s Mark A. Peterson provides his perspective on the passage by the U.S. House of a bill to roll back the Affordable Care Act. Peterson’s thoughts from an email exchange are quoted, in part, to say, “The Medicaid cuts and caps would withdraw coverage from large swaths of the poor, the working poor, and lower-paid working class individuals who do not have access to affordable employer-sponsored insurance.”
Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, was recently a guest on KPCC’s Airtalk with Larry Mantle to discuss proposed changes to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “This is about structure, not about the people [on the Board]. The public suffers when you have to govern a large governmental entity like L.A. County by committee,” said Yaroslavsky in support of the addition of an elected chief executive of L.A. County and two more spots on the Board of Supervisors. He favors the changes to the California constitution, but Yaroslavsky expressed concerns about the decision resting with the Legislature and not those elected in Los Angeles County.
Brian D. Taylor, UCLA professor of urban planning and director of the Institute of Transportation Studies, offered his expertise to a USC Annenberg Media piece on Los Angeles bus delays. Taylor advised that knowing when the next bus arrives is even more important to riders than is a schedule. This has led to the development of next bus indicators and apps. Overall, Taylor deemed public transport in the U.S. as inferior — but even if there are chronic delays, many who ride buses have no other option.
“The decision to participate in a protest appears to be driven by normal people taking cues from each other, not from elites,” according to a Phys Org item that quotes from Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld’s paper analyzing social media activity during the Arab Spring uprising. Steinert-Threlkeld, assistant professor of public policy at UCLA Luskin, also talks about his research, which may be the first large-scale, systematic evidence of individual behaviors in each country during the Arab Spring. “This paper demonstrates the contributions big data can make to understanding processes of social influence in social networks.”
In a recent interview with Popular Science about Elon Musk’s proposed tunnel system to alleviate dense traffic conditions, Michael Manville, assistant professor of urban studies at UCLA Luskin, expressed doubt about the viability of the idea. “Politically, we can barely build a subway tunnel,” Manville said. Although it is an attractive idea, Manville does not believe the proper technology exists to realize such a plan. Other traffic-easing ideas, such as dynamic tolling on roads, can be more immediately feasible and cost-effective, he said.
CNN reporter Tal Kopan spoke with Jorja Leap, adjunct professor of Social Welfare at UCLA Luskin, about Persident Trump’s efforts to go after the MS-13 gang. “This attitude that there’s a brand new threat and it’s new and it’s all immigration, there is not a piece of that narrative that is accurate,” said Leap, an anthropologist and longtime gang researcher at UCLA.
The communities most affected by the L.A. Riots have seen little, if any, economic growth during the past two-and-a-half decades, according to a study by UCLA Luskin researchers. In some neighborhoods, unemployment and poverty have worsened despite efforts by community leaders to boost economic development. “People who are in the neighborhood — the residents, small business owners, the churches — they ought to be part of the process in defining what we ought to be doing and how we prioritize the use of our resources,” Paul Ong, director of UCLA Luskin’s Center for Neighborhood Knowledge, said.
In a conversation with Brad Pomerance of Charter Local Edition, Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, discussed the results of the Quality of Life Index released earlier this year by the L.A. Initiative. The interview focused on the results of the survey revealing the serious concerns L.A. residents have about deportation.
Irvine’s Great Park is an unusual case in the modern era, said Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, professor of urban planning and associate provost of academic planning, in a Register story about the long-running development project. Irvine is working with private entities to find revenue sources to build and maintain Great Park, while keeping it open to everyone, she said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Irvine pulls it off because it’s a wealthy community,” Loukaitou-Sideris said. “It would be a great example for other cities.”
In an NPR story about a California bill designed to use the Cap-and- Trade system to control other pollutants, the efficacy and impacts of this possible increase in emissions regulation were discussed. “This is the first time that the design of a greenhouse gas policy has been manipulated in the service of trying to solve another problem,” advised J.R. DeShazo, professor of public policy, urban planning and civil and environmental engineering. DeShazo would rather see stronger local regulations instead of an expansion of current policy to cover something it was not designed to do.
“Gangs do not flourish because of weak immigration policies. Gangs flourish because of economic disenfranchisement,” cautioned UCLA Luskin lecturer Jorja Leap in a story fact-checking President Donald Trump’s tweet about the supposed rise of MS-13 gangs under the Obama Administration. “It’s no surprise that gangs are developing in Central America. As long as people are poor we’re going to have gangs,” Leap said in the factcheck.org story, which details the history of MS-13 in the United States and uses the expert advice of Leap and others to gauge the tweet’s factual basis.
In an interview with Canada’s CBC News, Mark A. Peterson, chair and professor in the Department of Public Policy, talks about the multifaceted role of Jared Kushner in the White House. “Jared Kushner seems to be providing a significant oversight over a very large number of issues, on both the domestic and foreign side. He’s supposed to be the point person on the Middle East peace process; the point person on our relations with China; now he’s in Iraq,” Peterson said in a story posted April 4, 2017. Peterson questioned the wisdom of giving such an expansive role to Kushner, a political neophyte. “Now he’s going to be running this office of American innovation? We had whole commissions in the past where the person was running that and not anything else,” Peterson noted.
In a story about the rush to develop driverless cars and takeout food delivery robots, the Journal talks about sidewalk robots that will soon be tested on the streets of San Francisco. There are still some obstacles and skeptics, however. “I’m not sure what pressing problem these robots are supposed to solve for us,” says Michael Manville, assistant professor of urban planning. If the goal is to ease traffic congestion, Manville offers other means by which cities could tackle this problem, including tolls on busy roads or higher gas taxes, plus improvements to bicycle lanes.
In a story by UCLA Magazine, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, professor of urban planning and associate dean of the Luskin School, and Paul Ong, professor of urban planning, social welfare and Asian American studies, shed light on the ramifications of the expansion of transit in Los Angeles. Along with urban planning graduates Eugene Kim Ph.D. ’00 and Chancee Martorell M.A. ’93, the researchers talk about the toll on vulnerable neighborhoods and communities that have undergone rapid transformations as a result of gentrification and population displacement.
Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and so have sales, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials have come up with new guidelines regarding palliative care and the safest ways of controlling intractable pain and setting a required opioid dosage. However, Barbara Nelson, professor emerita of public policy, social welfare, urban planning and political science, writes that the dosage recommendations in the CDC guideline do not do justice to patients in need of palliative care and higher dosage of opioids. The CDC could simply resolve the matter by producing “an appendix for all prescribers, not just primary care doctors, that would help them provide fully adequate pain relief to palliative care patients with life-long pain rather than near-death pain,” Nelson suggests.
One district’s answer to the Bay Area’s affordable housing crisis could also mitigate teacher attrition rates. Casa del Maestro, a project in recruiting and retaining teachers through housing accommodation in Santa Clara Unified School District’s 822, has set a precedent that other school districts could follow. The passage of the 2016 Teacher Housing Act, enabling districts to provide low-income housing subsidies to teachers and district employees, has raised red flags for some, however. “This pick and choose mentality about professions that we value and professions that we don’t seems kind of crazy,” says Paavo Monkkonen, associate professor of urban planning at UCLA Luskin, in a story about the issue. Affordable housing subsidies are limited, and most teachers might not not qualify for subsidized units. The easier thing to do, Monkkonen said, is to ask an obvious question: “Why not pay them more?”
The proliferation of cars guarantees a convenient way to commute, but free parking has become a major conundrum for government officials to provide. Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor in the Department of Urban Planning, says in a story by The Economist that the negative outcomes of parking requirements include high costs to meet parking minimums, thus hindering housing redevelopment. The scarcity of street parking with permits is another major issue touched on by Shoup. In tiny cities where the demand for parking is high such as Westwood village in Los Angeles, drivers cruising around for spaces has led to traffic congestion and air pollution, damaging our environment.
Mark Peterson, chair and professor in the Department of Public Policy, is quoted in a story about how 44 Democrats sent a letter to President Trump urging him to drop his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and join them in making adjustments to it. “It’s at this point a political strategy more than a policy strategy,” Peterson told the Monitor. “For President Trump to accept this invitation would, number one, mean that he would have to declare that he wasn’t going to do something that he made big promises about. And two, he’d have to work up a coalition built almost entirely around Democrats and some moderate Republicans.”
Donald Shoup, Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Urban Planning, is quoted in a story about how reducing the number of parking spaces west of the 405 might reduce congestion. Shoup argues that cities should eliminate free parking and roll back off-street parking requirements because more parking only contributes to automobile dependence. “The only people who should pay for parking are the drivers,” Shoup told The Argonaut. “It just makes the city worse, because we have the worst traffic congestion and the worst pollution in the country.”
Sarah Reber, assistant professor in the Department of Public Policy, writes a column for Econofact.org about the pros and cons of a school voucher program touted by President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. “The effects of any new voucher programs the federal government might fund — who benefits educationally and financially and who may be harmed — will depend critically on how such programs are designed,” Reber wrote.
Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor in the Department of Urban Planning, is quoted in a Washington Post story about how some employers are trying to create incentives to encourage workers to find a more sustainable mode of transportation. “People who walk or ride the bus get nothing. It is unfair,” Shoup said.
Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, professor in the Department of Urban Planning, is quoted in a BBC story about how benches are starting to appear in urban centers — part of a movement called tactical urbanism. “American cities have an excess of roadway space,” says Loukaitou-Sideris. The street seats movement aims to reclaim some of that road for the pedestrian. The seats “make public space more vibrant,” she added.
In a recent news article published by the Los Angeles Times about the recent rise in violent crime in Los Angeles, Jorja Leap, an adjunct professor of Social Welfare at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and director at the Health and Social Justice Partnership, said, “People don’t want things to go back to the way they were.” She cited finding employment and deportation fears as more of an issue for the residents of South L.A. than crime.
In a recent op-ed to the Los Angeles Times Herbie Huff, a research associate and communications manager at the UCLA Institute for Transportation Studies and the Lewis Center, said, “Nobody likes paying for anything they are used to getting for free, and freeway tolls are no exception. But why are we willing to pay for electricity, gasoline or air travel, but not for roads?” Huff argued for increased use of “dynamic tolling” and High Occupancy/Toll (HOT) Lanes on the congested highways of Los Angeles.
“Anyone who thinks otherwise is living in La La Land,” says Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the L.A. Initiative at UCLA Luskin and a former Los Angeles city councilman and county supervisor, in a story about whether President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric potentially threaten L.A.’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. The International Olympic Committee will decide between Paris and L.A. this September. “I don’t think it’s fair to say L.A.’s bid is dead in the water,” Yaroslavsky says. “I think it is fair to say the bid has been dealt a blow not of its own making.”
In recent weeks, discussion of Measure S has escalated much like traffic builds up around the city. The rhetoric regarding the pros and cons of the measure are tackled in an op-ed piece by Martin Wachs, distinguished professor emeritus of urban planning at UCLA Luskin. He says that Measure S is unlikely to mitigate L.A. traffic congestion; in fact, denser development helps traffic because it reduces urban sprawl. “Voters should not be fooled by specious arguments that it will reduce traffic congestion. This would require a set of measures not addressed on the ballot,” Wachs writes.
The spirit of NIMBYism that permeated recent protests related to the North Dakota Access Pipeline is reaching Los Angeles for a somewhat different reason. With Measure S on the March ballot, Paavo Monkkonen, associate professor of urban planning at UCLA Luskin, is cited in an article related to his recent white paper about the negative impacts of NIMBYism on housing developments and affordable housing. It can lead to serious economic instability, as well as exacerbating income and spatial inequality, Monkkonen writes. He also suggests a set of policy recommendations to address the issue and enhance public awareness of what NIMBYism really is.
In a live interview with HLN host Michaela Pereira, Mike Manville, assistant professor of Urban Planning at UCLA Luskin, weighs in on a plan by Elon Musk to start digging a tunnel under Los Angeles to ease traffic congestion. Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, said he plans to start digging the tunnel in a month but Manville says that the proposed plan isn’t very practical and probably wouldn’t help traffic.
The judiciary has often checked presidential authority in foreign affairs, security and immigration, UCLA Luskin’s Mark Peterson tells the Economist in a story that focuses on the court battles that followed the President’s executive order barring banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. Immigration is the area “most prone to such a judicial role,” Peterson says. Although all presidents encounter some resistance from judges, so far only Andrew Jackson has challenged the authority of the courts, Peterson notes.
In a story about a decline in overall ridership on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s bus and rail system, UCLA Luskin’s Michael Manville talks about the opening of four new rail extensions in Los Angeles since 2009. Although rail ridership has soared 21 percent since then, bus trips — a much larger share of overall ridership — has dropped 18 percent. “We’ve made a lot of investments, and we’re going forward to make a lot more investments,” said Manville, an assistant professor of urban planning. Metro may have lost a small group of dedicated riders who formerly took transit for multiple trips per day, he said. Such riders can have an outsize impact on overall ridership. Manville, an expert on transportation issues, was also recently quoted by Real Deal magazine and its website in a story that looked at parking requirements in big cities.
Research by UCLA Luskin’s Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris that shows gender is the single most significant factor explaining transit-based fear and anxiety is cited by the website in a story about women’s transportation safety around the world . In car-centric Los Angeles, Loukaitou-Sideris says, gendered harassment is more common on buses, which draw ridership primarily from low-income communities rather than “the well-to-do areas of the city. This is affecting a subgroup of the city. Often they’re immigrant women,” she says. “They don’t report it to the police.”
In a piece responding to White House efforts to block access to the United States by citizens from seven countries, UCLA Luskin’s John Villasenor notes America’s reputation as a global leader in technology innovation and mentions tech companies co-founded by immigrants such as Google, Yahoo, eBay and Facebook. Villasenor, professor of electrical engineering, public policy and management, concludes by writing that he understands the desire to keep Americans safe from terrorist attacks. “But that mission can be pursued with tools that are far less blunt than the recent executive order, which among its many other consequences will lead to less technology talent in American universities and companies, less technology innovation, and fewer job opportunities for all Americans, whether native born or naturalized.”
Today’s technology is an advantage for organizers of protest rallies, says Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld, a UCLA Luskin assistant professor who studies mass protests and authoritarian regimes. “Like almost all things computer based, it speeds up the process,” he told Wired magazine. The varied nature of the impromptu protests against policies announced by President Donald Trump also may be an indication that such rallies will become a routine aspect of his term in office. “This is a pretty new phenomenon,” Steinert-Threlkeld says of the multi-pronged approach that organizers have taken. “If anti-Trump protests are driven by sub-issues, then that has the potential to last much longer.”
In a study of rural communities in five countries, researchers found that women provide far more hours caring for others in their daily lives than do their male counterparts. Leyla Karimli, assistant professor in the Department of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, is lead author of the report published by the UK-based international organization Oxfam. “Care work is essential for personal well-being and for maintaining societies,” stated Karimli and her co-authors. “But across the world, it is overwhelmingly the preserve of women, and it often restricts their opportunities for education, employment, politics and leisure.”
In an op-ed column in Zocalo, Daniel J.B. Mitchell, a professor in the UCLA Luskin Department of Public Policy, argues that financier Warren Buffett’s 1987 proposal for a market-based system based on the cap-and-trade arrangements currently being used to control greenhouse gases and other pollutants might be the best solution to our trade troubles with China. “In short, it’s time to dust off the Buffett plan of three decades ago before the U.S. embarks on a road to frictions with China and other trade partners,” Mitchell said.
In a story about the Women’s March on Washington planned for Jan. 21, the day after the inauguration, Mark Peterson, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy, is quoted as saying that, unlike a protest march after the election of George W. Bush in 2001, the Jan. 21 march appears to be focused entirely on the incoming president. He also said that logistical challenges, including heightened security during presidential inaugurations, could hamper the women’s march.
In a story about how immigrants are beginning to change their public transit habits, writer Tanvi Misra cites a graphic presented at a 2016 transit conference by Evelyn Blumenberg, professor of Urban Planning. “It (the graphic) shows that immigrants experienced the highest decline in transit ridership (16 percent to 10 percent) between 1980 and 2014, whereas the trend for other groups is more or less flat.,” Misra wrote.
In a column for The New York Times opinion page, John Villasenor, a professor in the Department of Public Policy, joins Nancy Chi Cantalupo, a professor at Barry University in Miami, in debating the question of whether there should be a higher standard for campus sexual assault. Villasenor makes the point that “Title IX tribunals that have proliferated on U.S. college campuses since 2011 have been enormously problematic.”