Researching Public Law and Public Policy in the Public Interest

Publications

The rapid growth of the nation’s poor population during the 2000s also coincided with significant shifts in the geography of American poverty. Poverty spread beyond its historic urban and rural locales, rising rapidly in smaller metropolitan areas and making the nation’s suburbs home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country. Yet, even as poverty spread to touch more people and places, it became more concentrated in distressed and disadvantaged areas.
The Distressed Communities Index (DCI) is a customized dataset created by EIG examining economic distress throughout the country and made up of interactive maps, infographics, and a report. It captures data from more than 25,000 zip codes (those with populations over 500 people). In all, it covers 99 percent of Americans.
Residents from Van Pelt Road, Shepherds Road and Weavers Lane crowded the committee chambers to standing room only, protesting the anticipated lease of the Holly Thorn House at 143 Readington Road to WayPointe,” a premier residential treatment and transition program designed for men ages 18-26 who are experiencing challenges with becoming self-sufficient and finding their purpose while struggling with mental illness or co-occurring disorders,” according to the WayPointe website.
A group of veterans, led by Kristofer Goldsmith, on Capitol Hill in January. He received a less-than-honorable discharge. When he petitioned for an upgrade of it because of undiagnosed PTSD, the Army rejected his appeal. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
A small group of veterans are pushing for a bill in Congress that would overhaul the system by mandating that the military give veterans the benefit of the doubt, requiring the boards to decide cases starting from the presumption that PTSD materially contributed to the discharges.
In this post we explore the degree of income inequality seen in New Jersey’s municipalities using the same process as in our previous analysis where we explored the Gini Index and 80/20 Household Income Ratio of US counties.
Despite this profoundly unfair set up, cities like Flint have long been regarded as at fault for their own problems and in need primarily of a stern dose of fiscal temperance (for example, shopping around for supposed basement bargains on crucial contracts like water supply).
Nearly a year and a half after the city started using water from the long-polluted Flint River and soon after Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s news conference, the authorities reversed course, acknowledging that the number of children with high lead levels in this struggling, industrial city had jumped, and no one should be drinking unfiltered tap water. Residents had been complaining about the strange smells and colors pouring from their taps ever since the switch.
Areas that were once economically important languish as jobs are clustered in urban centers, creating a feeling of powerlessness as their populations grow older, poorer and less educated.
Multiple adverse events linked to poorer concentration and more aggression, Rutgers researchers find.
They’re designed to provide extra attention to students who suffer from trauma. But are they worth all the extra taxpayer dollars?

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This student analysis discusses the legal impediments to implementing a regional school system in New Jersey, and potential strategies that will help to advance a regional school system. The New Jersey Supreme Court has already noted that funding will not solve the problem of inadequate at-risk schools. Thus, using the “thorough and efficient” language of the Education Clause of the New Jersey Constitution may make a regional integration method legally possible. Using the examples of Asbury Park and Holmdel, this paper concludes that because increasing the amount of money that the state contributes to each at-risk school district has not proven to be successful for improving the quality of at-risk schools throughout the state, regional school districts would be a better alternative.
This paper will compare the townships of Maplewood and Irvington, New Jersey. Although the towns share a geographic border, the difference between the two communities is considerable. In Part I, I survey the financial differences and fairly typical Census measurements. In Part II, I will review how opportunity for class mobility is present or not present in each community. For this analysis, I am looking at how concentrated poverty in Irvington restricts mobility as compared to Maplewood where such hyper-segregation and concentrations of poverty do not exist. I focus mainly on opportunity outcomes in housing and education in both towns and address additional issues such as race relations and crime.

Growing concerns about wealth inequality and the expanding racial wealth gap have in recent years become central to the debate over whether our nation is on a sustainable economic path. This report provides critical new information about what has fueled the racial wealth gap and points to policy approaches that will set our country in a more equitable and prosperous direction.

This paper will perform an equity analysis on two New Jersey towns, Elizabeth and Westfield, both located in Union County. This paper moves forward on the premise that there is a direct relation between on the one hand actual space, the number of people who occupy that particular space, and the “color” of the people who occupy that space and on the other hand opportunity, or lack thereof, as an outcome of equity indicators such as cost of living and median income, residential segregation, home ownership and affordable housing, crime, education and fiscal capacity.
The City Mayors Code of Ethics serves as a benchmark to honest and open local government. C/o City Mayors.
Infrastructure in the US is generally financed through sub-national capital financing vehicles, termed municipal bonds, which encompass the issuance of bonds by state and local governments, their agencies and quasi-public bodies generically termed special districts. While the term comprises issuers other than municipalities, the first bond of this trail-blazing genre was issued in 1812 by New York City. This pioneering debt instrument was a general obligation bond, which meant that it was backed by the taxing power and tax revenues of the issuers. Read more in this comprehensive account of municipal finance.
The New Jersey Supreme Court‘s Mount Laurel decisions (1975 and 1983)1 ruled that local zoning had to take into account regional housing needs, obligating the state‘s 566 localities to provide their ―fair share‖ of affordable housing. Although these two decisions have long been seen across the nation as seminal ones with respect to land use and affordable housing opportunity, their role in New Jersey land use regulation and practice remains hotly contested many decades later. The cumbersome procedures and micro-management of local planning that have ensued have failed to satisfy either local governments or housing advocates, while the Council on Affordable Housing, created to implement the court‘s mandate, has never found political legitimacy. As the political climate has shifted in recent years, with Governor Christie seemingly committed to abolishing the Council on Affordable Housing and housing advocates fighting a rearguard action, the Mount Laurel principles and the entire concept of fair share housing are at risk.
What characterizes the local governance system in the United States is not only fragmentation of governmental units, but increasing fragmentation of service delivery. This has been more extreme in metropolitan areas owing to the rate of population growth following the end of World War II. In this article, Mayraj Fahim argues that now is the time for inter-governmental cooperation and collaborative service delivery.
After briefly discussing the problem of competition and the claims of new regionalists, this Article will track the development of school finance reform, including the recent success of plaintiffs in asserting claims seeking adequacy in education, rather than simply equity in funding. It will show that school districts’ traditional reliance on local property taxes has been effectively lessened by state equalization. This Article will examine two states where significant changes in school equity occurred in the 1990s: Kentucky and Michigan. This Article will conclude by noting that some form of litigation strategy together with public education and organizing could advance the possibility of regional reform in other areas, such as municipal finance, regional land use and/or governance issues. Finally, the Article will argue that the collaboration necessary to build a school and municipal equity coalition can also be used to build a coalition on land use planning and regional governance.
This article details Troutt's theory that legal localism --the judicially sanctioned principle of local autonomy over critical police powers and land use policy-- has functioned as the de facto successor to Jim Crow school and residential segregation as a result of key cases decided by the Supreme Court in the 1970s. This article from the Journal of Affordable Housing is largely excerpted from a larger article published in the Buffalo Law Review, entitled "Katrina's Window: Localism, Resegregation and Equitable Regionalism," 55 Buff. L. Rev. 1109 (2008), in which the author sets forth a more detailed case for regional equity.

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