We have a bad case of
We’ve already overdosed on race-baiting rhetoric, style over substance, divisive posturing and election coverage more in tune with the reporting at Churchill Downs.
And, the campaign season has barely kicked off.
More Heat Than Light
We keep hoping that someone will accidentally trip up and talk about something that really matters, a real problem or a real issue. It’s beginning to feel that we might as well get used to media coverage that emphasizes heat over light, but meanwhile, we think the rest of us should take it on ourselves to ask the kinds of questions and engage in the kind of discussions that are needed on the campaign trails.
Maybe, it’ll even be contagious and a candidate or two will start talking about some new answers to some of our city’s oldest problems.
We promise to keep things in perspective. After all, despite all the inflammatory coverage,
We Are Not Alone
The former mayor of
And that’s just a few of the headlines from across the country.
Missing The Boat
In other words,
There’s New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s unveiling of the most comprehensive greening plan in the U.S. – 127 separate initiatives aimed at reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. If that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, he also says he’s going to tackle poverty in the Big Apple.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s takeover of the city’s public schools and the first experiment with pilot schools continue, and inspired by Menino’s success,
Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson rolled out a $85 million, multi-pronged crime-fighting plan that builds on his leadership on regional issues. Speaking of regionalism, we’ve previously mentioned Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s phenomenal victory at the polls, winning a regional referendum in which voters increased their taxes to pay for 119 miles of new and extended light rail and commuter train lines that cost about $5 billion (not to mention his victory with a referendum for $378 million jail bond issue).
If there’s any single issue that best exemplifies
Digital technology is being used widely in other cities to reinvent government services, but here, our local governments can’t even give us websites that are usable or useful, much less offer serious e-government programs.
Wi-fi plans proliferate in more than 300 cities, but not in
Most of all, it brings a data-driven approach to government administration that in time changes the culture itself through budgets based on performance measurements. Budgeting for results seems like a pretty straightforward concept, but legislators often resist it because they rightly conclude that the measurements could just as easily be used to hold them accountable.Knowledge Is Power
As former Martin O’Malley – now governor of
All in all, there is a widespread lack of understanding in government about how data can be used to drive important decisions, and normally, its implementation is driven by a single disciple elected to the mayor’s office. As a result, it’s unlikely to become part of our city government anytime soon, but hopefully, it will at least become a topic for the campaign trail.
At a time when revenues are getting tighter and tighter, more and more elected officials are grasping the connection between dollars and results. Best of all, the results are being given to the public so it can see what’s being done with its tax dollars.
Data And More Data
No one in public offices seems to grasp the potential of a data-driven government as much as Mayor Bloomberg. But then again, he made billions by creating a company based on real-time data.
A final lesson to be learned from Mayor Bloomberg is an emphasis on hiring the smartest people and letting them do their jobs. His directive to one newly appointed manager: “It’s your agency. Don’t screw it up.” We wonder the last time any city director heard that from Mayor Herenton.