Saturday, November 22, 2008

The hidden crime

Cronyism....nepotism...they're hard sins to notice because their malevolent effects take a while to notice. We're not talking just "brother-in-law deals", I'm talking about appointing incompetent people to high levels of it private or public. Wether it's city government like New Orleans, or an entrepreneur who hired his wife's nephew to run the marketing department of his company...this story always ends badly.

I'm reminded of this on so many levels in my life right now....the common level between you and I dear this city's mayoral administration staff. How many times have we watched this administration....well...just...fuck up. I don't know of any other way to put it. City council has been requesting accurate sanitation contract records from Veronica White for over a year, and she has failed to produce any notion of an "audit" for her department since those requests began. It's truly pathetic. is. If this were the I.R.S. requesting this information, she'd be on her way to jail....lucky for her it's just Stacy Head.

I was once again reminded of the hidden, but long term effects of cronyism the other day when I read this article in the Gambit (link currently down) about Brian Denzer's amazing IP-based, crime alert system, which he pieced together by using existing technology, with no budget and no ulterior motive other than to help people in the city avoid potentially dangerous situations. Why did he do this? Because he cares.

It's a simple solution which makes a world of difference...unlike say...crime cameras.

I reflect on the past 7 years of Nagin's administration...I look at all the millions and millions of dollars that have been spent by his newly appointed CTO position (funnel)...I ask myself, "What do we have to show for it?" Does any technology this mayor has implemented actually work? The website is completely out of date...and just...stupid. The crime cameras don't work. The 311 phone system doesn't work. The stupid green parking meters don't work. The free city wi-fi deal...kind of worked until it stopped being free. The bomb proof trash cans....well...maybe they did actually work but who gives a damn?

I only wish Denzer's crime location system could notify us when a Nagin, or one of his staff, fails to complete their responsibilities or kicks back cash to their peeps.

Regardless, thank you Brian...I wish we had a CTO as passionate and innovative as you.


Anonymous said...

If I were, I'd give half of the CTO's $160,000 salary to cronies like you so you could continue to heap praises upon me.

But seriously, major cities don't make the six-figure salaries some of the department heads here make.

For the record, the Gambit article accurately depicted what *could* be done if records were made available. I can't build an alert system on an irregular flow of records, with significant time required for manual data entry and correction. It's in the works, though, and the City Council may soon make a positive statement in support of a more free flow of records.

Jason Brad Berry said...


- Why did he do this? Because he cares.