Who am I? Why this Blog?
I’m Dr. Jonathan L. Kramer.
In August 2016 I completed my Doctor of Law and Policy (LP.D) degree at Northeastern University in Boston. I received my doctoral hood in September 2016. I was a member in the 8th Cohort of that unique program.
I set up this blog at the suggestion of one of the LP.D program leaders whom I truly respect, Professor Neenah Estrella-Luna, Ph.D. Early in the LP.D program she strongly recommended that each Cohort member track their progress and stand up to the scrutiny of peers, just as we do when we publish or present papers.
I took Professor Estrella-Luna’s suggestion to heart, and this blog allowed me to chart my personal journey from a highly-educated lawyer and masters-level blob to highly-educated lawyer and doctoral-level researcher blob.
At least that was my initial goal…
In real life, I’m a practicing telecom law attorney licensed in California and New Mexico, as well as a radio frequency engineer. My law firm has five attorneys, four staff, and two dogs working in offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, and in our covert office on a Southwest Airlines jet (minus the dogs).
I have earned the following academic degrees:
Associate of Science (AS) degree (honors) Los Angeles Trade Tech College. Los Angeles, California.
Juris Doctor (JD) degree (cum laude) Abraham Lincoln University School of Law. Los Angeles, California.
Masters of Law (LL.M) degree (with distinction) Strathclyde University. Glasgow, Scotland.
Doctor of Law and Policy (LP.D) Northeastern University. Boston, Massachusetts.
Having completed my Doctor of Law and Policy degree, just for fun I might go after a few more professional licenses.
My current goal is to become licensed as a Real Estate Broker in California. Done that!
I am personally accountable for my education and the work I put in to that education. Because of that, I’ve decided to be transparent about my grades, whether good or bad (but better good than bad).
Q1 – Summer 2014:
Law and Legal Reasoning 1
(LWP 6120) Grade: A
Law and Policy Concepts 1
(LWP 6401) Grade: A
(LWP 6424) Grade: A-
Q2 – Fall 2014:
Law and Legal Reasoning 2
(LWP 6121) Grade: A
Law and Policy Concepts 2
(LWP 6402) Grade: A-
(LWP 6423) Grade: A
Q3 – Winter 2015:
Law and Legal Reasoning 3
(LWP 6122) Grade: A
Law and Policy Concepts 3
(LWP 6403) Grade: A
(LWP 6420) Grade: A
Q4 – Spring 2015:
Law and Legal Reasoning 4
(LWP 6123) Grade: A
(LWP 6404) Grade: A
Economics for Policy Analysis
(LAW 6410) Grade: A-
Q5 – Summer 2015:
Methods & Theory Appl Research
(LWP6425) Grade: A
(LWP6431) Grade: A
Doctoral Research Design 1
(LWP6500) Grade: A
Q6 – Fall 2015:
Public Policy Theory & Practice 1
(LWP6450) Grade: A
Doctoral Research Design 2
(LWP 6501) Grade: A
Q7 – Winter 2016:
Public Policy Theory & Practice 2
(LWP6451) Grade: A
Doctoral Research Design 3
(LWP 6502) Grade: A
Q8 – Spring 2016:
Public Policy Theory & Practice 3
(LWP6452) Grade: A
Doctoral Research Design 4
(LWP 6503) Grade: A
July 2016: My final GPA after all program coursework is 3.958 on a 4 point scale. I can live with that.
I’m evaluating possible research avenues now that I have the Post-Doc world ahead of me. Given my thesis findings in Calabasas about community-wide perceptions regarding cell sites in neighborhoods, and the comments of my thesis review panel discussing my findings, I’m thinking about conducting a similar but more extensive and focused public opinion study in another one of the communities I work with in Southern California. It’s a community where new cell siting issues have been a particularly contentious and heated issue.
Like most cases in local government, those who show up to public meetings are often and commonly opposed to some issue or proposition. Those who feel that they are not affected (or even supportive) of the issue or proposition don’t typically attend public meetings. The result can be that a vocal minority can distort the perceptions of government decision makers leading to skewed decisions based on thin or no real evidence.
I’m not suggesting that a minority testifying against something at a public hearing is always wrong; only that a better basis for a community-impacting decisions by governments should be to base those decisions on broad community input, including those who don’t show up for meetings.
I’m really enjoying the time I’m spending mentoring a new member of the Doctor of Law and Policy program at Northeastern. It doesn’t take a lot of my time, and the GROI (Gratification Return on Investment) is exceptionally high.
Find someone to mentor in a field or endeavor you know and YOU will grow from the experience. So will your mentee.
Sean del Solar of the City of San Marcos, California has (so far) the best Facebook comment about my newly minted doctorate.
A Doctor, an Engineer and an Attorney walk into a bar. The bartender asks “What can I get you, Jonathan?”
Yup, I really like that one!
In just a few days, on Wednesday September 26, 2016, the entire 8th Cohort of the Doctor of Law and Policy (DLP) program at Northeastern will be hooded, the traditional manner by which a new academic doctor is created.
We stand then bow before our professor, who places the hood over the head and drapes it over the back of our gown. Once hooded, we are recognized as doctors among our peers.
I am so happy and privileged to be a part of the 8th Cohort, the first Cohort that as a group finished on schedule and will all be hooded on the same day.
Pictures to follow.
I’m pushing for NEU’s Doctor of Law and Policy (DLP) program to establish a formal volunteer mentor program for mew doctoral students enrolled in the program. I’d like to see new DLP students paired up with DLP program graduates (such as yours truly, ahem).
Rather than merely advocating for a mentor program, in my usual style, I’ve simply adopted a new student in Cohort X to mentor sans permission. Yeah, that’s my style. Not surprisingly–and to the credit of the program administrators–they seem to have looked in the other direction while I mentor my mentee informally.
The DLP program is a gateway for very special doctoral students who aim to make a difference in their professions. DLP Grads can help keep that gateway open by mentoring.
Dr. Jonathan Kramer, DLP Cohort VIII
Two weeks ago yesterday I successfully defended my thesis; two weeks from right now I’ll be in Boston at myhooding ceremony.
It feels very strange to not be devoting many hours each week to thesis research, writing, obsessing, correcting, and more of the same. In truth, I miss it.
I do have another major writing project, which I’ll be describing in detail in a coming post.
Today, Gerry Lederer, a respected wireless attorney at the government law firm of Best Best and Krieger, commented on Facebook regarding my thesis defense slides. He asked several appropriate and very probing questions. With his kind permission, I quote his comments and questions here along with my reply. I’ve cleaned up a few bits of the text for readability.
Gerry Lederer: I read [your thesis defense slides] and they are brilliant. How long did it take for the professors to keep up to you? I know I had to read them a couple times. By the way, [your] GPA was rather ridiculous. Not sure I would have had the guts to publish my grades at the beginning of the process. Do you fear than any of the slides will be used against you in future proceedings? Or have some of the community groups questioned your outlook as to whether or not their homes’ values are impacted by the presence of a cell tower?
Gerry, old friend, I deeply appreciate your questions/comments.
I made a decision at the beginning of this journey that I would be transparent as a student and [as] a researcher. On the wise counsel of my program inspiration and chief supporter, Professor Neenah Estrella-Luna, I started my personal blog, JonathanKramer.com to make that goal a reality.
I knew that posting my thoughts and my grades would risk [negative] public exposure, and they already have. I have had to answer questions about my research from several of the jurisdictions I serve, sometimes in response to resident complaints that I am biased. Each time I have been charged, I have unreservedly agreed with the charges of bias: I am biased to discovering [actual] facts, rather than simply accepting assertions as facts. In fact (pun intended), I am currently responding to a new set of resident assertions in one of my client jurisdictions and I will respond the same way: look to the facts, not to the fears, to find the truth.
I have been fully prepared for years to lose clients for political reasons [over my research and findings]. [It’s] a worthy trade for gaining knowledge for the public. I expect to lose at least two or three major government clients within the first few months following publication of my full thesis, and that will not diminish my life by a single iota (Matthew 5:18*).
This doctorate has only whet my appetite to do more and deeper research in the same [subject matter] area. I have the great fortune to have the intellectual honesty to follow where the facts lead without fearing who will be offended. Maybe I can convince Northeastern University College of Professional Studies to let me do post-Doc research to better see where those facts lead.
I stand by what I said in reply to Gerry’s query. Even if the truth is unpleasant to some, I’ll take transparency and honesty even when the results are surprising, uncomfortable, or unprofitable.
* Huh? I’m quoting the New Testament? Sure. Have to cite research sources. jlk