Monday, August 10, 2009

City Layoffs and Republican Bizarro World

Who would have thought the local Republicans would become the party of big labor ? It's not terribly surprising. Shortly after I moved here in the early 80s, I noticed the "conservatives" had a decidedly fascist streak.
In one of the worst global economic downturns, the city, suffering an extreme lack of tax revenue, decided to make across the board budget cuts. City Manager Dohoney directed department heads to propose what to cut. The labor unions were asked to make concessions. People were afeared of cuts in the fire and police departments. The Fire Department trimmed expenses and avoided the loss of personnel. The Police Union attempted a game of brinksmanship and has, so far, lost.
Now Republican candidates for mayor and council, challengers and incumbents are lining up behind the FOP. Kinda weird that the party of business and smaller, more efficient government is backing up what appears to be a bloated big labor type department that has duplicated resources and relies on union rules and not sound management rules to make changes.
I do have to recognize mayoral hopeful Wenstrup for his fairly proper use of the word decimate.
Republican Candidate Amy Murray, who twittered, "we must run efficient gvnt - managed competition would save $$" appears to back up the police union and not want to apply managed competition to the law enforcement agency.
It's impossible to make strategic layoffs in a completely unionized organization. I can't imagine how a business like, maybe, 5/3, would run under such conditions. The Republicans should be looking at outsourcing law enforcement to a private company like Blackwater/Xe. heck the president is even a hard core evangelical.
Even with that, a police department is largely reactionary. It can't do much to prevent crime except by just being there. People need to stop committing crimes. How do we go about that ? Municipal recreation facilities were proven to help in combatting juvenile delinquency in the 1920s. Rec centers are a good place for communities to congregate and organize civic projects. All of this stuff is only sustainable through taxes, tho. If kids are not making constructive use of recreational facilities then there's no need to have them. If the tax revenue is not there to keep them open, alternatives must be found. For meeting purposes, civic centers could be merged. Meetings and activities could be held in public schools and branch libraries. This would cut down on the duplication of management and maintenance of these facilities. this would also bring kids and adults together which could foster a greater sense of citizenship in the kids which might lead them away from juvenile delinquency (which would cut costs in law enforcement).
Increasing tax revenue to pay for public services like law enforcement is essential and utilizing our assets, like beautiful old architecture, a large riverfront, a university and medical complex is essential. Investing on a short-distance rail transit circulator option (street car) from the riverfront to UC makes perfect sense. It will empower developers of varying size to create business sites, condos and apartments. Entrepreneurs will be able to start or expand businesses to cater to the new residents. People will be able to live in a relatively small area with a great variety of locally owned businesses and services. The resultant re-population of the largely vacant Over the Rhine neighborhood would expand the tax base and dissipate crime.
Using infrastructure (at a time when construction costs are low - saving tax dollars) to empower entrepreneurship, lower crime and increase the tax base to pay for services appears to be anathema to a lot of our area Republicans, tho.

1 comment:

Radarman said...

Zounds! Excellent post w/ v. good ideas. My local rec center is already organized for the convenience of its staff, being closed on Saturday and having its large swimming pool closed when working stiffs might actually be able to use it.

I must say that the local coppers had finally started to use modern crime statistics in their policing and that will be immediately dropped to show us how mean we all are.

I still would like to axe all the pudgy constables who ride their overpriced mountainbikes on the sidewalk. What rotten examples they set