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Majoritarian Cities

Policy Making and Inequality in Urban Politics

Neil Kraus

Publication Year: 2013

Neil Kraus evaluates both the influence of public opinion on local policy-making and the extent to which public policy addresses economic and social inequalities. Drawing on several years of fieldwork and multiple sources of data, including surveys and polls; initiatives, referenda, and election results; government documents; focus groups; interviews; and a wide assortment of secondary sources, Kraus presents case studies of two Midwestern cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Gary, Indiana. Specifically, he focuses on several major policy decisions in recent decades concerning education, law enforcement, and affordable housing in Minneapolis; and education and riverboat casino development in Gary. Kraus finds that, on these issues, local officials frequently take action that reflects public opinion, yet the resulting policies often fail to meet the needs of the disadvantaged or ameliorate the effects of concentrated poverty. In light of citizens’ current attitudes, he concludes that if patterns of inequality are to be more effectively addressed, scholars and policymakers must transform the debate about the causes and effects of inequality in urban and metropolitan settings.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Cover

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p. C-C

Summary, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book has taken over ten years to write, and I have incurred numerous debts along the way. When I was growing up, my parents sparked my interest in the subject matter. Many years ago, my father and late mother, Donald and Noreen Kraus, initiated a conversation about politics and government that continues to the present day....

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Chapter 1 - Majoritarian Cities

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pp. 1-39

After the 1990 census was published, Minneapolis leaders worried about what was happening to their city. In fact, many were afraid that the city would lose its "status as one of the most livable urban communities in the nation" (Goetz 2003, 94). The census showed that population trends that had begun to affect dozens of other Northern and Midwestern cities...

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Chapter 2 - Patterns of Inequality, Public Attitudes, and the Cases

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pp. 40-68

Chapter 2 provides critical background for the chapters that follow. First, I will briefly discuss the how the subject of economic inequality is addressed in some of the recent literature on regionalism, and identify the similarities between my approach and that of the new regionalists. Following this, I will outline contemporary national data on patterns of inequality ...

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Chapter 3 - When Political Support Is Not Enough to Reform Urban Schools

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pp. 69-100

For much of the history of Minneapolis, the schools were the pride and joy of city residents. But in recent years the district finds itself struggling with the interconnected issues of racial and economic segregation and the lower academic achievement characteristic of these patterns. The children of better-off residents, particularly those living in the southwest section of ...

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Chapter 4 - Focusing Events and the Limits of Law Enforcement Reform

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pp. 101-130

This chapter addresses the politics of law enforcement in Minneapolis through the lens of three focusing events: the social unrest of the 1960s and early 1970s in north Minneapolis and at the University of Minnesota; the accidental death of an innocent elderly Black couple during a failed 1989 Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) drug raid; and a small-scale riot in ...

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Chapter 5 - “The Number One Issue”? The Struggle for Affordable Housing

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pp. 131-161

This chapter chronicles the politics of affordable housing in Minneapolis over the last two decades, including the creation and implementation of the city's Neighborhood Revitalization Program, the ongoing struggle to get the city council and the mayor to adopt substantive measures related to affordable housing, and the election and subsequent administration of ...

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Chapter 6 - The Popularity of Gambling Meets the Need for Economic Development

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pp. 162-187

This chapter examines the process of locating riverboat casinos in Gary in the mid-1990s. The two main issues addressed are the level of public support for the casino proposal as well as the tangible impact of the casinos on the city and region. In recent decades, several forms of legalized gambling have become increasingly common across the United States. Further, as...

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Chapter 7 - Democratic Control in an Impoverished, Segregated Urban School District

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pp. 188-211

This chapter discusses the story of the Gary schools over the last several decades. I highlight the unequal outcomes in the school system that first became apparent with the racial segregation of African American students in the mid-twentieth century, but have more recently become associated with most schools as a result of the substantial levels of poverty and racial...

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Chapter 8 - Politics, Policy, and Inequality in Urban and Metropolitan America

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pp. 212-236

The conclusion summarizes the major findings of the book and re-states the argument. I also discuss implications of my argument in terms of urban policy and politics, and conclude with an analysis of the relationship between democratic processes and inequality in metropolitan America....

Notes

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pp. 237-240

References

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pp. 241-262

Index

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pp. 263-274


E-ISBN-13: 9780472029549
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472119028

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2013