September 28, 2016 is a BIG DAY for DLPers

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.


Incoming DLP Students Would Benefit From Having Mentors

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 and Two Weeks

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.


Will I will Lose Government Clients Because of My Research? Probably.

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?

My response:

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, 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


Dr. Jonathan Louis Kramer, DLP

Dr. Jonathan Louis Kramer, DLP

I’m very pleased (and relieved) to report that this morning I successfully defended my doctoral thesis, “Cell Towers, Community Perspectives, and Hedonic Price Modeling: Utility, Limitations, and Localism.”

It was wonderful the be greeted with, “Congratulations, Doctor Kramer” when the three thesis committee members came back from their private discussions after my defense.

Thanks to all of you for your support of me along this path, and for those of you who were able to join in the defense today by video link. If you would like to see the slides I used this morning for the defense, I’ve posted them here in PDF format. The animations would show, but you’ll get the idea.

(Note: the slides linked below contain non-substantive corrections made as of 9/3/16. An errata sheet is provided in these slides. Thank you to Michael J. Friedman for his eagle eyes.)


Jonathan Kramer’s DLP Thesis Defense Announced

Sent out today by James Passanisi, Associate Director, Doctor of Law & Policy Program, Northeastern University regarding Jonathan Kramer’s thesis defense:

DLP community,

I am happy to announce that Jonathan Kramer will be defending his DLP thesis Cell Towers, Community Perspectives, and Hedonic Price Modeling: Utility, Limitations, and Localism on Tuesday, August 30 at 11:15 am, Eastern Time. Attached you will find the abstract of his project.

Please note that Jonathan will be defending his thesis remotely from California. Current students and alumni are welcome to attend the defense via webcast or in person at our office in Boston.

Here is the abstract of my thesis mentioned by Mr. Passanisi:


The installation of cell sites in communities, especially in residential areas, is often controversial. Public concerns regarding residential property value diminution and negative health impacts attributed to cell sites near homes are commonly heard at local government planning and zoning hearings. Cell site permit denials can lead to federal or state litigation frequently based on the local government’s denial prohibiting the provision of a communications service, a federally-protected right under the Telecommunication Act of 1996. This research explores the history of hedonic price modeling in assessing the disamenity value of cell sites in residential areas, focusing on the utility and limitations of the prior research conducted in the United States, Europe, and New Zealand, as well as and how that research has been utilized by the courts. Also reported are the results of surveys and interviews of Calabasas, California residents regarding their perceptions of cell site impacts on property value and health in that city. This study finds that the prior hedonic price models of cell sites have important limitations and omit potentially relevant variables regarding spatial relationships and physical elements between cell sites and homes. In addition, the courts have given little weight to hedonic modeling studies, preferring locally-related comparable home value appraisal data. The conclusion suggests and discusses potential methods and variables that may improve future hedonic models of cell site impacts. Survey respondents in Calabasas exhibit an unexpected willingness to allow camouflaged cell sites in residential areas but are undecided regarding potential health impacts from cell sites. Finally, a proposed potential theory is suggested to explain why cell site opponents may argue property value diminution concerns at local government planning and zoning hearings as a surrogate for privately held concerns regarding health effects from cell sites.

JEL Codes: K11, K23, K40, K41, R30, R38
Keywords: Telecommunications Act, cell tower sites, wireless, hedonic, property value, radiation, health, Calabasas



My Thesis Title is Approved

Today I received my PI’s approval for the title of my thesis.

I had suggested, “Hedonistic, Hedonic, or Hilarious: Taking the road less paved” for my contribution to society. Alas, my PI preferred “Cell Towers, Community Perspectives, and Hedonic Price Modeling: Utility, Limitations, and Localism” for the thesis. Who am I to argue with one of three people on my thesis committee who stand (or sit) between me and my doctorate.

Well, okay then. I’ll take the road officially approved.

I defend my thesis on Tuesday, August 30th around 9 a.m. Pacific Time, which by my calendar is just 13 days from now. Tick-tock, Tick-tock.