Contributing Editors

Jerome Lyle Rappaport

Jerome Lyle Rappaport
Founder and Board Member
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Edward Glaeser

Edward Glaeser
Professor of Economics at Harvard University
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Stephen P. Johnson

Stephen P. Johnson
Executive Director of Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation
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Greg Massing

Greg Massing
Executive Director for the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service
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Alasdair Roberts

Alasdair Roberts
Professor of Law and Public Policy at Suffolk University Law School
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Joseph Curtatone

Joseph Curtatone
Mayor, City of Somerville
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Tim H. Davis

Tim H. Davis
Independent Research Consultant
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Scott Harshbarger

Scott Harshbarger
Senior Counsel, Proskauer Rose LLP
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Vivien Li

Vivien Li
Executive Director of The Boston Harbor Association
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Guest contributors

Monika Bandyopadhyay
Suffolk University Law Student

David Barron
Harvard Law School and former Deputy Counsel for the Office of Legal Counsel in the US Department of Justice

Linda Bilmes
Senior lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Assistant Secretary of Commerce during the Clinton Administration.

Brandy H.M. Brooks
Director, Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, Bruner Foundation

Felicia Cote
Rappaport Fellow, Harvard Law School/Harvard Kennedy School.

Amanda Eden
Suffolk University Law School student

Sara Farnum
Student, Suffolk Univ. Law School

Kristin Faucette
Student at Suffolk University Law School

Benjamin Forman
Research Director, MassINC

Arthur Hardy-Doubleday
JD/MBA student at Suffolk University Law School and the Sawyer School of Business

Theodore Kalivas
Boston Green Blog, Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy

David Linhart
Student, Boston University School of Law

Antoniya Owens
Research Analyst, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Susan Prosnitz
Senior Advisor, TSA, Washington, DC

Ben Thomas
Boston Green Blog, Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy

Matthew Todaro
Student at Boston College Law School

Alexander von Hoffman
Senior Researcher, Joint Center for Housing Studies

Brett Walker
Student, Boston College Law School

Margarita Warren
Student at Suffolk University Law School

Articles by Ben Thomas

Reforming Parole by Getting Smart on Crime

Monday, May 23rd, 2011
By Ben Thomas

The Massachusetts’ legislature is still considering how best to reform parole after the tragic death of Woburn Police Officer Jack Macguire in December 2010. Macquire’s murder occurred at the gun of Dominic Cinelli, a repeat offender released on parole in 2008 after serving 24 years of three concurrent life sentences. Officer Maguire’s murder and similar violent crimes committed by repeat offenders reflect a need for parole reform in Massachusetts.

In response to the outcry that followed Macquire’s death, state legislators and Governor Patrick filed parole reform bills. One bill, H.000434, would eliminate the option of parole for all three-time felons. Alternatively, Governor Patrick’s bill (H.00041) would eliminate parole for three-time felons convicted of specific, serious violent felonies. Following a House committee hearing in March, it is still not clear what reforms will be undertaken.

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Solar Boston and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
By Ben Thomas

The Solar Boston initiative continues to outshine many other solar programs around the country. In addition to the Solar Boston Interactive GIS Maps, Boston has also adopted measures to facilitate the completion of solar projects. Last fall, the Boston City Council approved Mayor Menino's solar permitting guidelines, which reduced solar project permitting fees up to 60%. In addition, Boston has created the Solar Permitting Guide to streamline the permit process and educate residents, businesses, and solar installers. The guide provides information about PV technology, net metering, installation methods, permitting, and government incentives. Other cities throughout the country have adopted Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs to spur renewable energy projects. Under PACE programs, localities issue bonds to create a loan pool to help local property owners finance renewable energy and efficiency projects. Property owners repay their loans through assessments on their property taxes or other locally collected bills over the course of a decade or more. The idea of attaching the loan directly to the property is that the loan for the improvement stays with the party that will benefit from the improvement, rather than the property owner who might sell the property. By extending loan repayment over decades, the monthly savings from energy cost reductions are in closer proportion to the monthly repayment of the project's costs.

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Waste Reduction: The Product Stewardship Institute, Extended Producer Responsibility

Friday, March 18th, 2011
By Ben Thomas

It's odd that a city as "green" as Boston has such a low recycling rate. The Sparking Boston's Climate Revolution report states that Bostonians recycle approximately one-seventh of the trash they produce, but that more than one-half of their trash could be recycled. Perhaps we should advocate for extended producer responsibility (EPR) or product stewardship laws as a higher order strategy to divert more trash from landfills. EPR laws shift some responsibility for recycling, disposal, and reuse of consumer products from the government to product manufacturers. A major objective of these laws is to motivate manufacturers to develop products that can be recycled and disposed of at a lower monetary and environmental cost.

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Paving a Greener Future with Sustainable Transportation

Monday, February 7th, 2011
By Ben Thomas

On Earth Day 2010 (04/22/10), the Climate Action Leadership and the Community Advisory committees sent the report Sparking Boston's Climate Revolution to Mayor Menino. The report offers strategies for achieving Mayor Menino's goal to reduce Boston's GHG emissions 25% by 2020. The proposals covered three areas: building efficiency and energy, solid waste, and transportation. The report states that 27% of Boston's 2008 GHG emissions originated from the transportation sector. To make reductions, Boston has several programs in place including WalkBoston, Boston Bikes, Complete Streets and the diesel retrofit grant program for businesses.

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$4 Million Federal Grant Boosts Metro Boston Sustainable Development Plan

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
By Ben Thomas

(Originally published in the Boston Green Blog, Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy.) In October, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) received a $4 million federal grant to advance smart growth principles that "promote development while protecting the environment, encouraging social and economic equity, and conserving energy and water resources." The grant is part of the $100,000,000 Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program that is run by HUD in collaboration with the EPA and U.S. DOT with the goal of empowering regional planning efforts that promote sustainable zoning and land use. The MAPC, an organization representing 101 communities within Metro Boston, will use the HUD grant to fund its new regional development plan MetroFuture, which is designed to promote smart growth through compact development, focused economic growth, and coordinated transportation alternatives. This plan was designed by the MAPC with the assistance of over 5,000 residents and organizations through public surveys, workshops, and meetings. After more than 5 years of development, MetroFuture was adopted by the MAPC in 2008 to replace its previous regional plan, MetroPlan.

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» Show all posts

Mayor Menino attends Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Course for high school students
Former Lt. Governor Kerry Healey speaks about political parity at the Rappaport Center
U.S. Representative Barney Frank speaking at the Harvard Kennedy School, cosponsored by the Rappaport Institute.
Statnet panel of current and former heads of local performance management programs including Stephanie Hirsch (far right), former head of SomerStat and Devin Lyons-Quirk, third from right.
 MA Attorney General Martha Coakley Hearing on Sexual Exploitation Online
Gov. Deval Patrick speaking at the Rappaport Center's Gubernatorial Speakers Series
HKS Professor Jeffrey Liebman (left) spoke about new ways to spur policy innovation at a State House briefing sponsored by State Representative (and former Rappaport Urban Scholar) Charles Murphy (right).
Arianna Huffington and Alan Khazei speaking at the Rappaport Center
Triumph of the City: Ed Glaeser talks about his new book on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

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