Amid the ongoing national debate about health care policy, UCLA Luskin Professor Mark A. Peterson was asked to comment on an idea floated by Republican Sen. Rand Paul that would legalize nationwide health associations in an effort to allow people to get group health insurance across state lines. Peterson expressed doubt that insurance prices would be reduced by such a change. “What drives cost of care is the cost of medical care. If I’m in California, which is an expensive medical care state, and I buy my insurance from Delaware, which is not, I’m still going to doctors and hospitals that are very expensive and the insurance plan is either going to cover that or not,” Peterson said.
LA cops and public at odds over when video of police shootings should be released, survey finds | Los Angeles Daily News In a story about efforts to create a policy that will guide the Los Angles Police Department regarding when and how videos of critical incidents will be released, Jorja Leap of UCLA Luskin Social Welfare says every police video of critical incidents should be released, but she believes the timing should be determined on a case-by-case basis. Leap cautioned that video should be released with appropriate explanation and context because the footage may not tell the whole story.
Analysis: Trump picks a fight with NFL players that is full of risks | San Francisco Chronicle President Donald Trump’s decision to criticize professional athletes carries political risk, says Gary Segura, dean at UCLA Luskin and professor of public policy and Chicana/o studies. Even though players kneeling for a national anthem or otherwise protesting police brutality and racism are predominantly African American, the NFL and NBA have fans from all racial backgrounds. “When you tell somebody they can’t speak their political mind, it cuts pretty hard in suburban, middle-class, white communities — even if they disagree with players taking a knee,” Segura said.
Politics and comedy: Where has joke telling gone? | LA Progressive In a commentary, author Jack Rothman, UCLA Luskin professor emeritus of social welfare, writes: Sure, there’s more sophistication and social weightiness in the new style of comedy. It has a cutting edge and pushes for greater social awareness. But I really wish the old school had continued and we could have side-by-side comedy forms that include just plain fun and ironic scorn.
This L.A. mall is famous for its African American Santa Claus. Can it survive gentrification? | Los Angeles Times In the Crenshaw District, which many view as the heart of L.A.’s black community, residents are wrestling with the evolving identity of the 70-year-old Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and surrounding neighborhoods. Paul Ong, director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA Luskin, says, “The challenge facing this particular area is how to manage some of those changes so the benefits are generated in a way that it doesn’t just displace people who cannot afford to remain there.” An interview with Ong about gentrification in Los Angeles is also part of a new series of stories by KCRW radio.
Some Angelenos are fleeing high-cost L.A. | KPCC
In a radio interview, Michael Stoll, who teaches public policy at UCLA Luskin, says that the disproportionate share of people leaving L.A. for cities like Las Vegas are lower-to-moderate income renters and house hunters who are most intensely feeling the brunt of high housing costs. But Stoll said they have to weigh a move against family ties and social connections that they would leave behind if they relocated.
Lessons Learned from a Concrete River | meetingoftheminds.org In a blog item, Kelsey Jessup of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation writes about the long and sometimes contentious history of the Los Angeles River. The river, which winds through 51 miles of industrial lots, open space areas and residential neighborhoods, has the potential to serve millions of people, she notes.
The Right Jobs? | KCBS Radio For its Labor Day weekend coverage, the San Francisco all-news station spoke with Chris Tilly, professor of urban planning, about recent job creation numbers and whether the United States is creating the right types of jobs for a sustainable and prosperous economy. Two news pieces based on the interview can be found here.
‘City Rising‘ documentary | KCET The Los Angeles public television station includes Gilda Haas, an urban planning expert at UCLA, in its new multi-platform documentary series about California communities that are fighting gentrification. Check local listings to see when the documentary is airing, or view it online. “The question isn’t whether everybody has the right to a house,” Haas says during a video interview. “The question is whether everybody has the right to a home.”
Mike Dukakis: From brink of the presidency to a quiet life of significance | Boston Globe Catching up with former Massachusetts governor and U.S. presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, a Globe columnist asks about Donald Trump as president. The statesman-turned-educator draws upon his experience teaching at UCLA Luskin and at Northeastern for an answer. “Most of my students in both universities — at least the ones taking my courses — think he’s crazy,’’ Dukakis said of Trump. “But he has in a funny way dramatically increased interest in public service on the part of these students. They now understand that elections matter.’’
Urban Designers Look to Nature as Solution for Flood-Prone Cities | Voice of America News Kian Goh, assistant professor of urban planning at UCLA Luskin, says flooding in Texas neighborhoods near dams and levees as a result of Hurricane Harvey is an example of America’s inability to control how developers build. “Many urban designers have acknowledged that leaving out natural systems is actually a big problem, and the reasons why these cities are flooding is because we have taken away wetlands; we have paved over rivers, we have largely ignored the interaction between physical and natural systems,” Goh says in a text piece accompanying video story.
Charles Young in Sonoma may be most overqualified school chief in U.S. | The Press Democrat Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and former UCLA Chancellor Charles Young has kept plenty busy during his retirement. His latest challenge? Running a K-12 school district in his adopted hometown. “I wouldn’t have taken a job anywhere else,” said Young, who is now 85. “I did this because I thought it needed to be done and I could do it.”
How affordable housing in LA reinforces economic segregation | KPCC and scpr.org KPPC spoke with UCLA Luskin Urban Planning expert Michael Lens for comment on reporters’ analysis of records that show nearly two-thirds of projects funded by a tax credit program were built in L.A.’s poorest neighborhoods. “You can look at it innocently and say there are plenty of cities that feel like they don’t have much of a housing supply problem,” said Lens. “But on the flip side there are many places that just don’t want low-income people living within their boundaries.”
Crenshaw Line shows transit cuts both ways in housing crisis | KPCC and scpr.org Research about gentrification by UCLA Luskin’s Paul Ong is cited in an online story and accompanying audio piece about the challenges of providing high-density housing near transit lines. For example, Metro’s future Crenshaw rail line is already raising concerns about home prices and displacement of current residents. “There’s no question. There is a link between public investment in transit and gentrification and displacement,” says Ong, a professor of urban planning.
Growing pains of incarcerated youth | BYU Radio In an interview with BYU Radio, Laura Abrams, chair of Social Welfare at UCLA Luskin, discussed the challenges for young people who have been incarcerated in the juvenile justice system and then released back into society. For those trying to leave their criminal pasts behind — which social scientists call “desistance” — the way forward is even more fraught and confusing. Abrams discussed her new book, “Everyday Desistance: The Transition to Adulthood Among Formerly Incarcerated Youth,” during the interview.
‘Linkage fee’ to spur affordable housing production clears city committee | Curbed The Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2017, to charge developer fees to help pay for affordable housing. In a letter to City Council members, assistant urban planning professors Paavo Monkkonen and Michael Manville warned that the linkage fee, as drafted, might backfire. They proposed four amendments, including swapping the fees paid for by commercial and residential developers, so that commercial developers pay more.
Is congestion pricing fair to the poor? | Medium.com In an op-ed written for Medium.com, Michael Manville, assistant professor of Urban Planning, addresses the question of whether charging tolls for roads is punitive for the poor. “Many low-income people do drive, and tolls may burden them. Fortunately, tolls also come with a built-in solution to this problem: revenue. Toll revenue can offset costs for low-income drivers. This is how we help low-income people afford other forms of priced public infrastructure, like heating, gas, electricity, and public transit.”
Leaving town at rush hour? Here’s how far you’re likely to get from America’s largest cities | Washington Post How far can you get in one hour if you leave at rush hour in some of the biggest cities in the U.S.? The Washington Post decided to do the math on this, with help from measurements from cellphones and traffic sensors. Los Angeles, of course, is one of the areas covered, but L.A. is “particularly tricky,” said Madeline Brozen of UCLA Luskin’s Institute of Transportation Studies, because it’s “a city of a thousand villages without a center.” She noted that jobs have cropped up in the adjoining coastal towns without affordable housing in those areas, exacerbating the problem.
In California’s economy, north trumps south for now | San Francisco Chronicle Michael Storper, professor of urban planning, is quoted in a story about how the Bay Area’s technology-centered economy is far surpassing the Los Angeles region’s lackluster economic performance. Storper likens what happened in Los Angeles to the decline of the industrial upper Midwest. “Across these larger cities, Los Angeles most closely resembles Detroit,” he said.
As inland toll lanes boom, why are new freeway lanes rarely free? | Riverside Press-Enterprise The growth of toll lanes in the Inland Empire reflects a national trend in which transportation agencies are turning to toll lanes to finance freeway improvements and manage congestion. Martin Wachs, professor emeritus of urban planning, explains why toll lanes are booming. “The only way to ensure that traffic is moving more swiftly is to charge people for it,” Wachs said. “It can always reduce congestion because you can raise the price higher and higher until some people choose not to use it.”
The federal government may inadvertently be helping MS-13 to recruit | The Economist Is the Trump administration making it easier for the notorious MS-13 gang to recruit new members? That’s the premise of a story in The Economist. Jorja Leap, adjunct professor of social welfare, says MS-13 targets undocumented immigrants because it knows they may hesitate to report crimes for fear of deportation. “They might threaten to kill an aunt, an uncle, a grandma back in El Salvador or Honduras,” Leap says.
Can the Valley’s Orange Line—the nation’s most successful BRT—get any respect? | Curbed Los Angeles There’s talk of converting the Orange Line bus rapid transit system that connects Chatsworth to North Hollywood into light rail. But Juan Matute of UCLA Luskin’s Lewis Center says the existing bus line is a success on multiple levels, moving more than 25,000 daily riders at speeds that are 30 to 50 percent quicker than conventional L.A. buses. “The Orange Line has been an extremely cost effective transportation amenity,” he says. “You could build five Orange Lines for the cost of a light rail corridor.” The article also cites research by Anne Brown, a PhD candidate in urban planning who studied neighborhood change around the Orange Line.
Should We Be Listening To Academics? | GlobeST.com GlobeSt.com continues to highlight the thinking of UCLA Luskin’s Donald Shoup, professor of urban planning. A recent piece asks for his thoughts about why local governments and lobbyists seem to miss important academic research and the potential solutions therein related to L.A.’s housing shortage. “Academics are not the most convincing people to elected officials. I think it really takes interest from journalists, who can spread ideas in simple terms,” Shoup says in the article, which can be read in full by those who register for the site.
What to know about gentrification before buying a house in LA | Curbed Los Angeles Writing about her own search for a new home, CurbedLA writer Danielle Directo-Meston worries about contributing to gentrification and seeks advice from UCLA Luskin’s Dana Cuff, director of cityLAB and professor of architecture and urban design at UCLA. “The displacement issue is absolutely critical in defining [gentrification],” Cuff says. Most people want to see their neighborhoods improve, but Cuff notes that “the problem is people are displaced unwillingly and they’re priced out of the market in one way or the other.” Also quoted in the article is Rudy Espinoza MA UP ’06: “It’s a system that helps people who already have money,” he says about the current local housing crunch, “and it’s leaving the majority of us behind.”
Mark Peterson, professor of public policy, is quoted in a Voice of America story about President Trump’s vacation in New Jersey. Discussing Trump’s proclivity for using Twitter, even while he’s on vacation, Peterson said: “I doubt that anyone is surprised that President Trump would continue his use of Twitter or has not shifted away from the tone and style that have come to define the way he usually communicates with that medium.”
Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the Luskin School, is quoted in a story about what impact the 2028 Olympics might have for L.A. Yaroslavsky provided some context for the issue by looking back at the 1984 Olympics. “In 1978, we had no term limits in the City Council,” Yaroslavsky said. “We would be held accountable for success or failure of the Games. There was a political survival instinct to protect us from a fiasco that would be detrimental to us.”
Ian Holloway, assistant professor of social welfare, is co-author of an op-ed appearing in the Take Care blog focusing on President Trump’s tweets about transgender service members. “In 417 characters, he jeopardized the livelihoods of committed soldiers serving our country at home and abroad,” Holloway and co-author Jody L. Herman of the Williams Institute wrote. “While the numbers may seem small, the impact of President Trump’s tweets could be quite large in their toll on service members, their families, and the progress that has been made toward inclusion. … The President’s decision is not supported by credible scientific research or facts.”
J.R. DeShazo, chair of public policy and director of the Luskin Center for Innovation, is quoted in this story/podcast about the debate over whether electric vehicles are responsible for as much pollution as internal combustion engines. “If driving electric vehicle reduces the number of people exposed to harmful pollution, then that improves people’s health and society’s well-being,” DeShazo said.
Prostitution Decriminalized: Rhode Island’s Experiment | Newsworks Manisha Shah, vice chair of public policy, was quoted in a story/podcast about efforts to decriminalize prostitution in Rhode Island. “I think more people should be talking about Rhode Island,” Shah said. “I think, for me, the biggest takeaway is that decriminalization really does improve public health outcomes.” For Shah, the Rhode Island experience was pure gold in terms of its research opportunities. “I was like, we can do really, really great research from, you know, from this natural experiment.”
Jorja Leap, adjunct professor of social welfare, was quoted in The Weekly Standard’s story about the MS-13 gang in Los Angeles. “It is neither completely disorganized nor highly structured,” says Leap, an anthropologist at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs who studies gangs. “When we go beyond the main story and look at processes and the dynamics and the hierarchy, MS-13 is very reminiscent of a fraternity or a start-up business.”
Mark Peterson, professor of public policy at UCLA Luskin, is quoted in a story about President Trump’s threat to pull health insurance for members of Congress. “Stripping away this subsidy would mean that members of Congress and congressional staff would be treated entirely differently from almost every other person in the nation working for a large employer,” Peterson said.
Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, is quoted in ESPN’s story about L.A. being awarded the 2028 Olympics. “[LA2024 chairman Casey Wasserman] and the mayor, they know their success will not be measured against Tokyo [in 2020] or Rio, but rather that of Peter Ueberrot,” said Yaroslavsky, who spent 40 years as an elected official in Southern California, including 19 on the L.A. City Council. “They know that, and they want to do an even better job than Ueberroth.”
In a story aboutraising the minimum wage in Los Angeles, Chris Tilly, professor of urban planning at UCLA Luskin, said the minimum wage law won’t trigger any big impact that many business owners are anticipating. Business owners in other states that passed minimum wage increases were nervous, Tilly said, but once the laws went into effect, they found ways to adapt to the increases.
An op-ed piece by UCLA Luskin’s John Villasenor and Lara Bazelon of the University of San Francisco School of Law addresses an effort by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to revise current federal policy regarding the handling of sexual assaults on college campuses. The legal scholars detail various shortcomings of the current policy and call for a major overhaul that will ensure fairness to both sides after a sexual assault accusation. “Due process must be the core component of any campus adjudicatory system,” the authors write. “Otherwise, on-campus sexual assault proceedings will continue to be rightly challenged as lacking in fairness and legitimacy.”
No discussion of urban America’s parking woes is complete without UCLA Luskin’s Donald Shoup, and Vox provides a particularly creative summary of his research on the topic in a new video produced through Mobility Lab. Meanwhile, another online news outlet, GlobeSt.com, cited Shoup in a piece about land use and zoning.
A study by UCLA Luskin’s Gregory Pierce in conjunction with C.J. Gabbe of Santa Clara University is cited in a piece about the negative impact of requiring developers to provide a set number of parking spaces for every new unit of housing. Parking should be thought of as an equity issue, according to the authors. “The provision of parking supply without associated demand can only be characterized as wasteful,” they write. “While many households might have chosen to pay for on-site parking in a free market, this proportion is surely lower than what has been mandated.” The same study is also cited by Wired in a recent story about a reduction in parking spaces in Mexico City.
Joan Ling, lecturer in urban planning at UCLA Luskin, answers five questions about the livability of major cities in a piece that offers a statistical comparison of 62 U.S. cities regarding factors such as affordability, quality of life and safety. What is the biggest mistake that people make when moving to a new place? “Not having a job lined up,” Ling says.
In a story about a young Riverside woman who is converting a school bus into a home, Vinit Mukhija, who chairs UCLA Urban Planning, says the small home concept has evolved beyond its roots in environmental activism. Although the overall cost of such homes is low, Mukhija explains that necessary customizations can lead to a cost per square foot that is higher than in a standard home.
The New York Times turned to UCLA Luskin’s Jim Newton as part of its coverage of the decision to release O.J. Simpson on parole. “When I first started covering the LAPD in the early 1990s, officers would not hide their racism, even from a reporter from the Los Angeles Times,” said Newton, who covered Simpson’s murder trial and 1995 acquittal. “The short code for a spousal abuse episode involving a black couple was N.H.I., which stood for ‘No Humans Involved.’ That was something they transmitted to each other on police radio.”
In its coverage of the suicide death of Chester Bennington from the band Linkin Park, the San Jose-based news outlet repeats an earlier quote to the Guardian from UCLA Luskin’s Mark Kaplan. “Suicide is a big problem, but it’s under-resourced and under-funded,” said Kaplan, a professor of social welfare.
Writing together in an op-ed piece, three UCLA Luskin urban planning experts argue that the best way to address Los Angeles’ housing affordability crisis is to tax land, not development. The mayor’s plan to finance subsidized affordable housing with a “linkage fee” is well-intentioned, write Michael Manville, Paavo Monkkonen and Michael Lens. But it won’t raise as much money or produce as much benefit as would a nominal land tax. “Land taxes put the responsibility for solving our housing crisis where it belongs — on every property owner in the city,” the article notes.
In an Associated Press story picked up by multiple news outlets, UCLA Luskin’s Laura Abrams talks about the lack of consistency in a California practice that impacts juvenile offenders. In an effort to keep juveniles out of detention centers, judges can instead sentence the youths to wear GPS ankle monitors and abide by rules set by probation officials. But those rules vary by county, and some young offenders end up back behind bars for minor offenses as a result. Centralized probation systems in some smaller states ensure that juvenile offenders follow the same rules, said Abrams, a professor and chair of Social Welfare. “I’m not sure disparities are this large in other states, partly because California is so diverse,” she said.
In an op-ed column for the Los Angeles Times, UCLA Luskin’s Zev Yaroslavsky and co-author Salam Al-Marayati write: We are an American Jew and an American Muslim. Because our communities are well versed in the pain of discriminatory and exclusionary policies, we are fiercely committed to protecting, defending and upholding the American democratic ideals under threat by President Trump’s travel ban. … Muslims and Jews together are derived from the stock of Abraham. Drawing on our shared roots, we look on with trepidation at the risks facing our country.”
In a Slate story about how the only thing that Bay Area tenant activists hate more than high rent is each other, UCLA Luskin’s Michael Manville is mentioned in a discussion about housing growth in Los Angeles. “Everyone wants more affordable housing,” Manville, a professor of urban planning who says the fee is a bad idea, told the Los Angeles Times. “On this policy issue, there just isn’t a clear consensus on whether this is the way to get there.”
In a Los Angeles Times story about how water is looming as the defining economic problem in the coming years, UCLA Luskin’s J.R. DeShazo talks about the lack of a state program to guarantee the affordability of water for all California residents. “We have lifeline rates for electricity, weatherization, even telephones,” says DeShazo of UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, “but we do not have a statewide program that ensures that people have affordable water.” The recent drought, he observes, “has thrown that need into relief.”
In a story about the tactics of President Trump when dealing with other world leaders, UCLA Luskin’s Mark A. Peterson compares him to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who also lacked political experience before taking office. Eisenhower “knew how to compromise, negotiate with people. Trump has none of that capacity,” said Peterson, an expert on the interaction among the president, Congress and interest groups. “That’s going to be a problem with Congress [and] the G-20,” a group of world leaders. “Already our allies are feeling pretty uncomfortable about his positions and approaches.”