Archive for the ‘State Government reform’ Category

Aphorism CV

Monday, October 17th, 2016

The purpose of almost all political rhetoric is to demonstrate that excrement is not odiferous (odoriferous).

This rhetoric only works when people cannot smell, politically speaking.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism CIV

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

The dramatic increase in public awareness of police excessive force and killings is due to the proliferation of Internet-linked cameras following technological advance and to new forms of association due to social media, not due to an increase in police excessive force and killings.

There have been police excessive force and killings with impunity for thousands of years. But the new integration of phone and camera technology has made these killings visible, and has made it possible for citizens to respond in coordinated ways to police excessive force and killings.

Now police excessive force and killings cannot occur with impunity. This change has been the dream of reformers for millennia.

Technology has brought us to a new point with the age-old question, Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Who will guard these guardians?

There have always been police excessive force and killings. Now we can see more of them, and react in appropriate ways that protect the rights of citizens.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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More Sad News from Illinois DCFS

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

News reports state that 11 youths died within the care of Illinois DCFS during the two-year period ending 6/30/15.

I recall that the Chicago Sun-Times campaigned against the Catholic child-care institution Maryville in 2002-3 over one suicide, and, with the help of the ACLU, drove the dedicated Fr. John P. Smyth out of child care after four decades of service. Now the Sun-Times reporters and editors should be very proud of themselves, given the catastrophic failure of Illinois DCFS.

As I wrote during the Maryville controversy–

The enduring naive faith of Chicago child welfare reformers in, of all things, Illinois politics to provide stability for poor children is the core dumb idea to which crusading reformers return decade after decade, like the Biblical dog returning to its vomit. . . .

Here is a link with a summary of my correspondence from 2002-3 on this subject.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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African American Legislative Caucuses Commit Slow Suicide by Supporting Abortion

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Despite the African American total fertility rate in the US shrinking to less than the replacement rate for the African American population, African American legislative caucuses continue to commit slow suicide by supporting abortion. With each redistricting to come, whether in civic, state, or congressional elections, the number of predominantly African American legislative districts will continue to shrink, despite activist politics at redistricting time and more and more ludicrous gerrymandering.

There is no fighting demography in the long run. As the African American population shrinks in the US due in no small part to abortion politics, so will shrink the hard-fought political gains of African Americans. African American legislative caucuses are beginning to die by their own hand. After 2030, if present abortion trends continue in the African American community, it is possible that African American legislative districts at all levels could shrink by 40% to even 50%.

This self-inflicted blow was first struck by now elderly legislators of the Civil Rights era who bought into supporting abortion in order to gain and retain power. These foolish elders have dealt their own legacy a death blow, but given the human life span, they will likely not survive long enough to witness the bitter fruits of their own stupidity.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Lead Piping and the Chicago Plumbers Union in the 1980s

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Many have forgotten, but I didn’t. The removal of lead pipes and lead solder from water piping installations was fought bitterly by Local 130 of the plumbers union in Chicago in the 1980s, prior to federal legislation later in that decade that overruled local legislation and banned such use of lead. This is one clear case in US history in which organized labor defended a dangerous environmental hazard with which we are living today.

Here’s a quote from the Chicago Tribune on March 30, 1986 from an article by Casey Bukro: “More than a decade after other major American cities outlawed lead in drinking water pipes, Chicago officials hope to overcome resistance from the influential plumbers union and enact a similar ban here.” Read in the light of 2016, the rest of the article is damning.

Nowhere in the many lead-in-the-water stories today does one find the role of plumbers unions in fighting the removal of lead from the water piping installations, which was clearly and indisputably documented by the Chicago press in the 1980s.

Unions do many good things, but in some cases such as the above, when they put their own interest above the public interest, they can harm the common good.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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How to Fix the Chicago Schools Without Building More of Them

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

In a few neighborhoods in Chicago, there is a call for building more public schools due to overcrowding. But when one looks at vacancies in public schools adjacent to these overcrowded schools, one often finds excess capacity that can accommodate more students. It is therefore apparent that some schools are overcrowded because they are schools of refuge from less desirable schools. Nevertheless, the public constituency for what I refer to as “refuge overcrowding” calls for the building of new schools rather than fixing the adjacent schools that are less desirable.

Because neither the state, nor the county, nor the city have enough money, the means to build a new school of refuge is usually a Tax Increment Financing district, or TIF. A TIF is basically a public means to rob Peter to pay Paul, through public financial slight of hand that prevents Peter, Peter being whoever loses in the TIF deal, from ever finding out the truth of the matter. Even so, the public sector bears an undue capital burden to build a new school when an adjacent school has excess capacity. The public sector in Illinois, be it state or local government, barely has enough money to avoid bankruptcy and utter collapse. Despite this fundamental change in the fiscal position of government, public leaders continue to argue for capital expenditures as if we were in a period of growth, which we are not. This wishful thinking is sheer folly, since their proposed new capital expenditures cannot be completed to a high degree of quality, nor sustained and maintained in a declining future.

I therefore propose a different way to think about preK-12 schools, and that is to think of all such schools, be they public, charter, parochial, or private, as all one educational system. If we look at the capacity of this combined educational system of all schools, there is more than enough capacity to educate all the available children. But what is seemingly missing is a financial mechanism to fund all the schools.

I wrote “seemingly missing” because the financial mechanism is educational or school vouchers which are unpopular with a vocal fraction of the political sector. Educational vouchers help prevent needless capital expenditures on new public school buildings by funding the more efficient use of all existing educational buildings. They are a better use of public funds for education primarily for this very reason–that they preclude the need to build new schools by funding the whole educational system rather than funding new capital improvements for the often stressed or dis-functional public fragment of it.

Educational vouchers would easily allow non-public schools to accommodate many of the students facing overcrowding in nearby public schools when one factors in the reduction in capital outlays. Due to the dire financial condition of the public sector in Illinois that prevents capital expenditures, there is presently a real opportunity to make the school voucher argument as a way to reduce the need for future capital spending. It is therefore surprising that the argument for vouchers is not made more forcefully at this very time of opportunity for school vouchers by educational, non-profit, and religious leaders responsible for non-public schools. This could be due to lack of insight, to distraction, or perhaps, to cowardice.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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How to Resolve the Illinois State Budget Deadlock

Monday, January 18th, 2016

With news in the WSJ that poor students have to drop out of college in Illinois because of the budget deadlock, it is time to apply extreme pressure on the Illinois legislature and governor to pass a budget for FY2016. My solution to the Illinois state budget deadlock is therefore quite simple:

Congress can pass a law that no federal transportation funds can go to a state that does not have a legislated budget in place for its current fiscal year contemporaneous with the federal fiscal year in which transportation funds are allocated to states or spent by states, including funds allocated from previous fiscal years.

Because the Illinois political gravy train runs on road repairs and the money the contractors and unions kick back to politicians from road repairs and from other capital spending (haven’t you noticed that every single road in the Chicago area is under construction despite the State of Illinois having not passed an FY2016 budget?), the Illinois politicians and their political funds would shortly be brought to their knees if federal transportation funds dried up. With no capital funds to dole out, and projects put to a halt, Illinois politicians would soon have no power to make anyone rich, and few would have any money to give to politicians. Such a move by Congress would end the Illinois budget stalemate pronto.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Without a Legislative and Regulatory Reform Agenda, Police Reform Related to Deadly Force and the Suppression of Evidence Will Fail

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

So far, activists protesting the killing of Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police have naively generated no viable legislative or regulatory change agenda.

Without such an agenda, in the end all their public demonstrations will be for naught, and some day, there will be another such killing, and another such suppression of evidence by rogue police. So far, hucksters and anarcho-tourists without any real legislative or regulatory agenda have dominated the activist response, which means that, in the end, all the activism is about them, and not about lasting, effective change.

Much more formality needs to be added to the process for police to acquire security video from the proximity of crime scenes, so that such acquisitions are a matter of public record and that the data are protected. Police hiding and/or alteration / destruction of video and phone records related to any crime should be subject to stringent federal penalties, both to the perpetrators and to the offending police department.

Police internal regulations can also be changed, as can the law governing the use of deadly force, in order to limit deadly force and in order to protect evidence. Now is the time to obtain commitments from mayors, governors, legislators, and regulators, for real legislative and regulatory change. The activists instead are focusing on replacing officials without demanding a legislative and regulatory change agenda.

But as is often the case in political action, identity maintenance supporting the egos of the activists or supporting their favored candidates and not supporting real legislative or regulatory change is dominating the scene.

Until the activists go back to school on how to change laws and to change regulations, they will remain glorious failures, and in the end will have accomplished nothing of substance. What a lost opportunity!

© Copyright 2015, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Comment on US Office of Personnel Management Data Hack

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Here is my comment on the massive personnel data hack at the US Office of Personnel Management, mentioned in this 7/10/15 story in the Wall Street Journal, “OPM Director Katherine Archuleta Resigns After Massive Personnel Data Breach”

“The results of this data loss will reverberate for a century — if we can survive it. I’m afraid the data will, among other things, be sold to the highest bidders. The reaction of the White House reminds me of a typical and recurring Chicago Way moment, after a political appointee messes up an agency or bureau — “Oh, now we’re going to have to hire a real expert to run the place” — until the real expert fixes things up well enough so the next political appointee can be hired. Real change includes reform, but somehow the reform got left out of the change agenda. . .”

© Copyright 2015, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism LXXIV

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Inefficient and ineffective government cannot be compassionate government. Every resource wasted steals from another good purpose. Every unintended consequence or perverse incentive invites another injustice.

Therefore every act of government requires unremitting scrutiny through continuing public policy analysis, evaluation, and reform.

Consequently, to criticize the faults of a government program is not in an of itself lacking in compassion. Compassion and efficient, effective government belong together.

Every good steward must be a student of efficiency and effectiveness.

Poor stewardship and neglect of a public resource is every bit an evil as is narcissism and hardness of heart.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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