Monday, November 22, 2010

Get the facts

If he does nothing else, let's hope the next mayor of Jacksonville asks questions.
Apparently, the current one does not.
Mayor John Peyton, while raising taxes and fees he says are needed to pay employees, has championed spending millions of dollars on the Jacksonville Journey.
This is, like all liberal ventures, well-intentioned. It is supposed to reduce crime, which all would agree is a worthy goal.
But two years into the program, and while spending more than $12 million this year alone, there is little evidence that anything is being accomplished.
One need look no further than the oversight committee's own report.
It hails the hiring of more policemen, without citing any proof that more police results in less crime.
It hails efforts to find jobs for convicted criminals after they are released from prison. It does not cite any statistics on how many were place in jobs or how many returned to crime.
At the same time, it calls for greater efforts to reduce waste, inefficiency and abuse in the costly program. Apparently, the committee knows those deficiencies exist but does not cite any examples.
The most glaring flaw is that it hails a slight drop in crime since the program began without providing vital relevant facts.
They are: is this different from the experience in other cities that are not spending vast sums of money on similar programs? Is it related to demographics, which many studies have found are directly related to the incidence of crime?
The new mayor, as he is struggling to help the city get its finances in order, will need to ask some tough questions and demand answers.
He might start by ordering an independent study. The oversight committee consists of those who invented the Jacksonville Journey and they have an obvious incentive to show that it is working.

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