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Published Articles

Crime Cost Estimate:
Cleveland's Public Safety Strategy Should Start With More Police

(Crain's Cleveland Business, Apr 2023

A recent Crain's op-ed on the cost of crime and public safety quantifies the cost of crime in Cleveland and assesses whether hiring more police would reduce the overall cost of crime. The question boils down to whether more police or social programs are the most cost-effective means of reducing crime.


What's new in this article? Nobody has previously tried to estimate the cost of 26,000 crimes in Cleveland. The article estimates that the cost to Cleveland residents is $1.6 billion (or $4300 per capita), a huge burden on Cleveland residents, 


The article quantifies whether hiring more police would reduce the overall cost of crime to Cleveland residents. The result was that adding 10% more police reduced the cost of crime by 480 incidents and $63 million including the cost of police. Going to full staffing would save even more. ​

Look at the Crain's artice or see more detailed tables in the PDF.

I developed a model based on other research studies to calculate the cost of Cleveland crime and to estimate the crime cost savings from hiring more police officers.

The result? 484,000 Net Crime Savings per Officer.

A Return to "Normal" Public Schools Is Not Enough

(Crain's Cleveland Business, March 7, 2022)

The 2020-21 school year was dismal for public education in Cuyahoga County as schools were buffeted by the COVID pandemic and social and political currents.


Most parents and the public hoped that schools would return to "normal" for the county's 130,000 public school students this year, but even if COVID disruptions fade in the spring, the public schools' "normal" performance fails to prepare many students for the future and handicaps Cuyahoga County's economic growth.

I compiled data on school proficiency scores and expenditures per student. The Result? About 47% of Cuyahoga public school students achieved proficiency scores uner 50%. Many poorly performing districts spent over $20,000 per student.

Public Has Right to Know About County Jail, Justice Center Deliberations

(Crain's Cleveland Business, April 2022

Cuyahoga County is approaching a critical community decision on public safety with virtually no public input or debate. The Cuyahoga County Justice Center Steering Committee is nearing a final recommendation on the location and design of a new $500 million jail and a $1 billion justice center. The two facilities will last 30 to 40 years and have a profound effect on public safety, which is a primary governmental responsibility.​

Before moving forward, the Steering Committee should communicate a lot more with the public about their key assumptions on crime prevention and diversion programs in designing the facilities. More importantly, they need to explain how expenditures on the jail and justice center will reduce crime, improve public safety, and improve the efficiency and fairness of the courts.

A Better Site for Jail Exists on Opportunity Corridor

(Crain's Cleveland Business, May 2022

The Justice Center Steering Committee recently announced its initial site selection for the new jail in an effort to reassert its control and demonstrate its competence in the face of public criticism.


As usual, the committee was not completely open about the specific reasons for its selection of three parcels at 2700 Transport Road and why additional sites weren't worthy of further consideration. They picked a poor site with several obvious problems, but a better site is available on Opportunity Corridor.

Cleveland Innovation Project Goes Back t0 the Future with 2020 Plan

(Crain's Cleveland Business, Nov 2020

By slanting the Cleveland Innovation Project's 2030 goals toward unrealistic social objectives rather than broad economic benefits of innovation, CIP missed an opportunity to rethink economic development and apply the lessons of the pandemic.

The Coming Crisis of Entrepreneurship

(Crain's Cleveland Business, June 2020

The pandemic has had a severe impact on local employment and on local employers. Many employers simply will not survive and the lack of employers will retard efforts to reduce unemployment.


Local leaders must recognize that most people will not start a business that will eventually hire workers if they feel government will devalue their sacrifice and redistribute any potential rewards to the workers. 

Leaders Must Step Up to Rebuild the Urban Service Sector

(Crain's Cleveland Business, April 2020

If the region is to rebound and recover its economic vitality, local political and community should prioritize preserving existing service businesses and restoring business confidence so that new entrepreneurs are willing to make investments that will create jobs.

Positive Economic Trends Hiding in Plain Sight

(Crain's Cleveland Business, Mar 2020

For the past two decades, many Clevelanders have experienced real economic losses. However, in the past two years, there appears to be real economic improvement in jobs and unemployment that has perhaps gone unnoticed, and certainly largely unreported, by local media.


If local policymakers can recognize the trend, identify the underlying causes and align local economic development policies to support further improvement, Clevelanders may be able to replace their pessimism with some realistic optimism.

Could Measuring Local Government Performance Make A Difference?
(Crain's Cleveland Business Dec 8, 2019)

Can Cleveland Become One of America's Safest Big Cities
(Crain's Cleveland Business, Oct. 7, 2019)

Metropolitan Cleveland Needs a Scoreboard on Government Performance to Improve Political Accountability.

A famous politician once said, "Elections have consequences." In Cuyahoga County, the "consequence" of absence of performance data is that no politician is ever held accountable at election time for delivering government services effectively and efficiently. Ultimately, if voters do not punish politicians for government ineptitude, the "consequence" for the community is poor quality and relatively expensive public services and the area is less attractive to entrepreneurs and migrants.

What metropolitan Cleveland needs is a widely available scoreboard that summarizes how well government is delivering public services, compared to other communities. 

Reducing Violent Crime in Metro Cleveland Should Be A Higher Community Priority.


Political and community leaders — should focus on reducing crime and violence and creating greater community safety because it is a precondition for achieving so many other community goals.


Persistent levels of crime make it more difficult to increase economic opportunity and reduce poverty and they compromise the delivery of educational and community services. 

Finding Safety and Happiness in Cuyahoga County 
(Crain's Cleveland Business, June 30, 2019)

Is County Government Acting in the Spirit of the Founders?

The Fourth of July is a time when we celebrate one of the great documents of human history: the Declaration of Independence. In just 1,458 words, the document defines man's fundamental rights and the nature of legitimate government. Is county government operating in the spirit of the founders?

Changing the Entrepreneurial Climate in Metro Cleveland
(Crain's Cleveland Business, May 19, 2019)

New Policies Are Needed to Encourage Entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship in Metro Cleveland has trailed national and regional rates for some time. It's past time for community nonprofit and business leaders to re-examine and revise their strategies to fix metropolitan Cleveland's poor entrepreneurial climate.


The unfortunate reality is that entrepreneurial businesses are just hard to start and it's doubly hard to succeed and grow if the environment is not very supportive.

It Sure Feels Like Groundhog Day In Cuyahoga County Government
(Crain's Cleveland Business, Feb. 3, 2019)

County Government Reform Has Run Out of Steam.

For a while over the last few years, Cuyahoga County residents could feel better with successful sports teams, the Republican Convention, downtown housing projects and positive national press, and could sense that county government was making some progress.


Over the past year, however, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that we’re seeing the reoccurrence of county corruption, incompetent county leadership and poor county governance. 

Are You Getting Your Money's Worth from Cuyahoga County Government?
(Crain's Cleveland Business, Sep. 18, 2018)

County Residents Get Mediocre County Government Services for Above-Average Taxes.

Cuyahoga County property owners recently received a reappraisal of their property from the county's fiscal office. For many property owners, the reappraisal will result in a substantial property tax increase in 2019.


Most of the increase will flow to the Cuyahoga County government, so it's worth asking how the county government is spending the public's tax dollars and whether the public is getting its money's worth.

Was "Reform" Successful in Cuyahoga County?
(Crain's Cleveland Business, July 22, 2018)

More County Government Reform is Needed.

On Nov. 3, 2009, two-thirds of Cuyahoga County voters approved a reform of Cuyahoga County government. Voters hoped fundamental reform would stem rampant county corruption, strengthen political accountability and improve the county's economic growth. Nearly a decade later, it's time to assess how successful the reform was.

Economic Erosion on the Shores of Lake Erie

(Community Leader, Aug 2016)

Cuyahoga County hosts two-thirds of metropolitan Cleveland’s business base, encompassing over 37,000 firms and 620,000 workers.  Unfortunately, those numbers represent a 10% decline from 2001, and the county loses 100 companies per year.

 These losses and the low rate of startup activity indicate that within Cuyahoga County we are failing to create a safe, predictable and dynamic environment that nurtures entrepreneurship and encourages enterprise formation and growth. 

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