Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesday: We're Gonna Do It ... Our Way!

(P-G, Rich Lord)

"If done well, they can be attractive, and in the appropriate setting, even an amenity," said Mark Fatla, executive director of the Northside Leadership Conference. "Unfortunately, most of them are relatively crass."

Sounds like a reasoned opinion to us, and a good argument for public hearings.


(Trib, Boren and Reilly)

Police Cmdr. Catherine McNeilly said detectives requested details about the Jan. 31 gas line rupture near Verner Avenue, but they haven't received a response to their queries from Art Victor, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's director of operations.

Cmdr. McNeilly is back in the news -- and Art Victor is finally a part of it. This article paints no picture we care to think about, but we suppose we must.

BONUS: Rick Earle gets back on the scoreboard (WPXI).


(P-G, Rich Lord)

Executive Director A. Fulton Meachem Jr., though, won't back off of programs geared toward the authority's youth, even as his agency struggles with upkeep.

"People, I guess, want to put the Housing Authority in a box -- 'The only thing you should do is warehouse poor people.' I don't think that's all it is," he said.


The $7,660 cost of the windbreakers was covered by federal money, because they were characterized as educational costs. The goal, said Mr. Meachem, was to give the authority's good kids "an identity, just like the drug dealer who has on his shirt, 'Snitches get stitches.' "


Mr. Meachem said he doesn't plan to shift money from services to maintenance. He said the authority has "cut back" on things like the 78 golf shirts, for $611, it bought for participants in a 2006 resident leadership conference. But such expenses won't be eliminated.

"I think it's important for us to give as much positive reinforcement to our residents as we possibly can," he said.

It would be worthwhile to debate whether or not the mission of the Housing Authority should be so broad as to encompass things like providing positive reinforcement.

Given that it does currently operate in that manner, the Comet wonders whether or not anybody at HACP has any actual education or expertise in the field of social work.

If these somewhat extracurricular, well-intentioned soft initiatives are not grounded in rigorous, scientific social work and social policy theory, then it should surprise no one that the inclinations and intuitions of lay-persons, hired with different skill sets in mind, are resulting in inefficiencies to the point of seeming absurdity.

People don't need embroidered windbreakers, countered Matt Hogue, a former authority assistant property manager who has criticized the agency's spending since resigning in October.

"They need good, affordable housing that isn't falling down," he said.

Has anyone else heard of mission creep? There may be a common thread here with the Redd Up narrative.

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