Thursday, July 26, 2007

DeSantis v Ravenstahl

Mark DeSantis came out swinging for the fences, in an article by the Trib's Brown and Boren.

"So fudging numbers or coming up with phony or phantom numbers, or giving extraordinary estimates on revenue from gambling, and all those other fun things, all the tricks you can play -- let's stop doing that"


"As a private citizen, I cannot get good numbers, and I know how to get good numbers, and I can't get them, so right away there's a problem. Informed speculation: probably bad numbers."

The Trib has the video available. It makes him sound less like Dwight K. Schrute.

He made some bold proposals: merging public safety and public works with the county, consolidating the budgets of many city "authorities" into the main budget, and an intriguing "Citizen-Police Council" to assist in determining how to best deploy law enforcement.


"PittMAPS is a new way of managing the City that will provide us with a map for Pittsburgh's future."

The P-G's Rich Lord covers Luke Ravenstahl's hiring of consultant Chuck Half to oversee the Management, Accountability, Performance, and Strategy program -- or PittMAPS.

"I'm looking for savings -- real money, and efficiencies, and just making decisions based on real data and analysis rather than the way we've done it for the last decade," said Mr. Ravenstahl yesterday.

Mr. Half's job, the mayor said, is "to really change city government."

PittMAPS is to use computerized data analysis to figure out things like what streets need what kind of paving, and seemingly far more.

Editorial Comments: If Mayor Ravenstahl has truly come around to data-driven decision making, then that is great. Huzzah!

We are as yet a bit skeptical of PittMAPS. We've heard better names on mutual funds.

The devils will be in the details: what data is collected, how the data is weighed, and when you choose to surreptitiously alter the formulas.

And perhaps most importantly, how you get started.

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