Heather Mac Donald speaks about illegal immigration Jan. 15, 2007 Heather Mac Donald Interview 2003

I spend Thursday from 8am - 2pm (1/17/08) at the Manhattan Institute's conference on L.A.'s safer city initiative.

I sit at a table with George Kelling, who co-wrote the famous broken windows policing article in 1982 with James Q. Wilson.

I ask Kelling and UCLA professor Mark A. R. Kleiman about the thesis in Freakanomics that the biggest reason for the crime drop since 1992 was 1973's legalization of abortion. Dr. Kelling completely dismisses that though he says he's never studied it. Dr. Kleiman says abortion mattered less for the crime drop than the getting rid of lead from gasoline (which caused lower IQs and hence crime).

These non-economists resent the over-arching claims of economics.

My economics professor at UCLA, Dr. Russell Roberts, taught: "There is only one social science and economists are its practicioners."

Here's audio from the first panel discussion. It is moderated by Brian Kennedy from Claremont. Heather Mac Donald, Mark A. R. Kleiman, Andrew Smith, and Carol Wilkins participate.

Here's audio of Gretchen Dykstra (former president of the Times Square business improvement district).

Here's audio from Estele Lopez, executive director of L.A.'s Central District East Association.

Here's audio from Tori Osborn, Senior Advisor to Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Mayor of the City of Los Angeles.

Here's audio of the last five minutes of LAPD chief William Bratton taking questions.

The Manhattan Institute reached out to its critics. Some showed up. The ACLU would not. There are several bloggers from downtown Los Angeles and some former members of skid row (including one woman who's a double-felon and an ex-drug addict).

ViewFromALoft (Ed Fuentes) reports:

Those attending The Manhattan Institute Panel Discussion "Policing Skid Row: Is the Safer Cities Initiative the Right Approach?" heard LAPD Chief of Police William Bratton's now often used phrase "Cops Matter" ––a decree carrying more weight as Bratton's reputation as the urban crime fighter becomes bi-coastal.

The panel discussion was inspired by Heather McDonald's The Reclamation of Skid Row a City Journal article  that returned the infamous Downtown district back to the national spotlight by highlighting Captain (now Commander)  Andrew Smith's execution of Bratton's "Broken Windows Theory".  The article also credits LAPD's success in reducing crime came despite the resistance of the ACLU and the way "the rest of the homeless industry have used to keep Skid Row in chaos."

Bratton's Safer Cities Initiative dropped New York crime levels while he served as NYPD Police Commissioner. First practiced in Manhattan's subways, you can see how Bratton may have seen public transportation as a petri dish for crime while he was Chief of Police for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and later Chief of Police of the New York City Transit Police.

Blogger Don Garza (who's lived on skidrow for five years) took the mic twice and delivered passionate mini-lectures.

Eric Richardson writes on blogdowntown.com:

LAPD Chief William J. Bratton today likened the Safer Cities Initiative to a medicine, saying that while current efforts to treat the ills of Skid Row have been successful, it is time for the prescription to be altered. "What is missing after all our efforts are new forms of medicine." Bratton said that the situation is nearing a tipping point, and that his department needs the cooperation of other agencies in order to continue making gains. He emphasized his belief that housing must be provided for the core homeless population left on the streets of Skid Row.

Bratton promised that LAPD would maintain its increased staffing Downtown regardless of the city's budget woes. "My commitment to this community ... is that the police resources will stay." The primary goal of the Safer Cities Initiative was to restore order on the streets, and Bratton said that now that the department has made great gains in that regard it is time for others to come alongside and help the people who are left. "That's a different set of doctors," he said of the current needs. "That's a different set of skills."

Bratton's remarks came during the keynote address for a conference entitled "Policing Skid Row: Is the Safer Cities Initiative the Right Approach?" The event, put on by New York's Manhattan Institute, also included two panel discussions and drew a packed crowd of Downtown stakeholders.

The Manhattan Institute was super-friendly to us bloggers.

Josh Gerstein writes for the New York Sun Dec. 26, 2007:

PALO ALTO, Calif. — A search for the intellectual center of gravity behind Mayor Giuliani's presidential campaign leads not to his hometown of New York, nor to the nation's capital, but to a conservative think tank here amid Stanford University's mild climes and mission-style roofs.

At least a dozen policy advisers to Mr. Giuliani's campaign hail from or have active connections to Stanford's Hoover Institution, a number that appears to outpace other right-leaning research centers such as the Manhattan Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation.

The former mayor's policy team is divided into four general areas: domestic, foreign, economic, and homeland security. Mr. Giuliani's chief economic adviser, Michael Boskin, is a senior fellow at Hoover and a former aide to President George H.W. Bush. The campaign's top foreign policy expert, Charles Hill, is a diplomat in residence at Yale University and a research fellow at Hoover.

"It turns out that two of the four boxes are headed by people who have a longtime affiliation with Hoover," Mr. Giuliani's chief policy adviser, William Simon Jr., said. In an interview with The New York Sun, Mr. Simon took pains to deny any favoritism toward Hoover. "We haven't skewed towards any one think tank, but we've tried to make sure we get the leading experts, and Hoover obviously has more than their fair share of experts," he said.

Here's Heather Mac Donald opposing illegal immigration:

"Let's stop welcoming undocumented immigrants" Moderator: John Hockenberry Speaking for the motion: Vernon M. Briggs, Jr., Mark Krikorian and Heather Mac Donald Speaking against the motion: Daniel T. Griswold, Enrique Morones and Karen K. Narasaki

IQ2US marks the launch of Oxford-style debating -- one motion, one moderator, three advocates for the motion, three against -- in New York City. Each evening begins at 6:00P with a complimentary cocktail period. As you enter the theater before the debate starts at 6:45P, you cast your vote for or against the evening's motion. Those results are displayed midway through the debate as each side makes its statements. After all six panelists speak, the audience has a chance to ask the speakers questions and vote again. The debate finishes with brief summations from the panelists, the votes are tallied and a winning side is declared.

Manhattan Institute senior fellow and City Journal contributing editor Heather Mac Donald on WCBS News. She is quoted on her support of George Bush's plan to cut Homeland Security funding for New York City due to what she sees as the possibly overstated threat of terrorist attack. The interviewer is Andrew Kirtzman of WCBS. From Saturday, December 1, 2007.

Manhattan Institute senior fellow and City Journal contributing editor Heather Mac Donald on the November 6, 2007 edition of NY 1's "Inside City Hall." Heather debates New York State Governor Spitzer's proposal to issue drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. Heather is co-author of the new book, "The Immigration Solution." Chung-Wha Hong from the New York Immigrant Coalition represents the other side of the debate.

Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow and City Journal contributing editor Heather Mac Donald offers an eloquent critique of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-poverty initiative. From NY 1's "Inside City Hall," September 13, 2007.

Manhattan Institute senior fellow and City Journal contributing editor Heather Mac Donald discusses a New Jersey policy that all illegal immigrants arrested for crimes must be reported to the Department of Homeland Security. From the September 14, 2007 episode of Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor."