Biden Was Right: Fewer Cops Mean More Rapes
November 14, 2011

When visiting Flint, Michigan to promote President Obama’s American Jobs Act in October, Vice President Joe Biden touted the jobs bill—specifically, the portion that would give local governments funds to retain police officers—as only he could: “In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city.

Of Note
August 03, 2011

Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has created an Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives to focus on city and regional economic development activities. The office is a partnership with the state funded by the Council of Michigan Foundations, a consortium including the Kresge Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, and the Mott Foundation. Program office will be located in Detroit, Flint, and Grand Rapids. Another map-based transit app has debuted. Unlike our recent transit-job access tool, Mapnificent computes transit access by timeframe.

A Successful School, Under the Budget Knife
March 02, 2011

For those who missed it on the TNR home page, I have an article in our latest print edition about Durant Tuuri Mott Elementary School in Flint, Michigan. DTM serves a low-income, high-risk student population in the middle of one of the most distressed communities in America. But it’s kids are performing well on tests and, based on what I observed over a series of visits, those test scores are no aberration. The kids are really learning. The article’s main purpose is to convey some first-hand observations about the effects of No Child Left Behind.

February 10, 2011

Durant-Tuuri-Mott (DTM) Elementary School in Flint, Michigan, is exactly the kind of place that reformers had in mind when they crafted President Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in 2001. The facility is in obvious disrepair; eight out of ten students, most of whom are African American, qualify for federal free lunches. On a visit to the school, I once saw a bulletin board displaying essays on the topic “I’ll never forget when... .” One student wrote about the time “my stepdad had come to say hey! He had a weopen in his back pocket. He almost hit my mom with the wepen but she moved.

Drain Education Reform Money, Lay Off Teachers, or Pay Them Less? An Ugly Choice.
July 16, 2010

The fate of the $10 billion edujobs bill, which is meant to prevent more than 100,000 teacher layoffs across the country, remains unclear. Before Congress went on vacation earlier this month, the House passed edujobs as an amendment to a larger spending bill and sent it to the Senate. But, as I wrote at the time, the House agreed to pay for the provision in part by cutting funds from some of Obama’s most vital education reform initiatives, including Race to the Top. The president threatened a veto, and the Department of Education immediately embarked on a push to find the money elsewhere.

Great Lakes are Dead, Long Live the Great Lakes
June 01, 2010

The portion of the blogosphere inclined to noodle over Brookings State of Metro America report, included some who now ask, “whither the Rust Belt?” and “whither the Brookings Great Lakes Economic Initiative?”.  I’m pleased to say all are alive and in forward-looking form. The Great Lakes Economic Initiative developed several years ago, not out of a DC-based “mega-region” overlay, but as I traded notes from my years as an elected official and public policy-shaper in Michigan and teamed up with similarly situated political, business and civic leaders from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and el

'Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast': Detroit's Bi-Polar Thinking on Auto Recovery
October 19, 2009

Over 140 economists, researchers, Michigan and Ohio state and local officials, business and non-profit leaders recently camped for two days at the Detroit Branch of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, to review--in ghastly, numerical detail--the economic and human toll of the collapse of the auto industry, and to vet any and all approaches to aid dislocated auto workers in response. Overall, the atmosphere and information was grim: Huge job losses in auto-dependent communities, significant human and community suffering, and maddeningly small increments of opportunity for those that have been th

If it Can Happen in Flint…
September 01, 2009

  Don’t look now but the poster child for urban disinvestment and the decline of manufacturing has at least one small bright spot. As the New York Times pointed out last month, the Flint, Mich. neighborhood of Carriage Town is experiencing increased investment with new and existing homeowners revamping the area’s historic Victorian houses. The old architecture and the neighborhood’s location adjacent to downtown provide the lure. Just like the houses themselves, the neighborhood has the “bones” for rebirth—the existing infrastructure, location, and urban amenities.

Auto Destruct
December 31, 2008

It's been more than a month since the auto industry came to Washington, begging for a rescue. And, since that time, it's become clear just how dry Detroit's reservoir of goodwill has run. For conservative opponents of bailout legislation, like Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, the U.S. auto industry is an object of scorn—"dinosaurs," he has called them. For the liberals who support a rescue, like Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, Detroit remains an embarrassment.

Conflation Rate
June 28, 2004

A mainstream liberal consensus on Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 has emerged quickly. It goes something like this: Moore's a nutty conspiracy theorist, and parts of the movie--in which he suggests, among other things, that we invaded Afghanistan not because of 9/11 but because we wanted to build a natural gas pipeline--showcase Moore at his least responsible.