Sunday, July 27, 2008

Nonprofits & Gang Fighting

1) The idea—as expressed in this article—is good but the implementation is not, as a city council acting as a board of directors will bring the same problem government has—lack of entrepreneurship— to private nonprofit fund raising, effectively reducing its impact; as well as creating a quid pro quo atmosphere for the foundations of the corporations doing business with the city.

An excerpt.

“Leaders are considering establishing a city-controlled nonprofit organization that could help create a bookstore and other programs to promote literacy.

“The move may enable Pittsburg to enhance the creative arts community without dipping into its own pocketbook, city officials say. The organization also could partner with private individuals and corporations for community improvement or tap into a foundation grant, such as the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation…

“There are few examples of city-controlled nonprofit organizations like the one Pittsburg has in mind, said Peter Guadagni, a city business development manager.

"What we're trying to do is be a little more novel and innovative" than other cities that also operate nonprofit groups, he said, noting that the City Council would serve as the board of directors, closely aligning itself with the operations.”

2) The editorial from the Bee today on the proposed tax for gang fighting is right on point, particularly pointing out that any new taxes going to programs to fight gangs have solid evaluative research indicating they are successful, otherwise it is just throwing money down a hole.

Solid evaluative research is research done by a third party—not the program itself—and using control groups.

The only proven strategy I am aware of that controls gangs is police on the streets, and with Sacramento trailing most cities in its proportion of police to population, it is probably time to look at a broader public safety push rather than one that is gang specific, and the broader push may control the gang problem.